Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Searching for the True Religion?

By Dallas M. Roark, Ph.D.

Dr. Adel Elsaie wrote a book, titled “History of Truth, the Truth about God and Religions”. In this book, available both in print and online, the author seeks to establish that Islam is the only true and authentic religion. In his concluding chapter, under the heading “The Religion Criteria”, he lists eight points by which he suggests one should judge a religion and evaluate whether it is the one and only true religion.

Ironically, this chapter reads like a contradiction to the standard set forth, namely, the requirement of prudence and objectivity. When I read the chapter I concluded that the author was a denier, one who denies objective history, a denier who ignores anything that tarnishes the reputation of Islam.

In the following, I will examine each of these criteria, as well as the conclusions that the author draws from them.

Here is Dr. Elsaie’s first criterion:


Since we know that God is one, and we are all His people, it follows that there must be one religion... Therefore, religion should be universal regardless of race, color, time, place, wealth or gender.

The author continues to reason that Judaism should be excluded because in Judaism God prefers the Jews and only the Jews to the rest of humanity.

Problems and questions

The word “must” strikes me as a threat.  Knowing that Islam is free to conquer with the sword, or whatever means in this modern era, “must” seems to deny freedom of people to be wrong. Coercion is too common in Islam and I would feel more comfortable with “should.” Now let me raise some points in regard to this argument.

First, the conclusion that Islam is the only religion contradicts the opening statement that “God is one, and we are all His people.” If we are all his people why does the Qur’an command that the infidels be slaughtered wherever one finds them? Moreover, since Jews are people of the Book, why is there such hatred of the Jews and defamation of character of the Jews? Why is there such a desire to kill the Jews since they believe in One God?

Second, what era of Jewish history is to be judged? Yahweh declared that “that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?” (Gen.18:18 ASV) Is there a time limit on this promise?  Has God abrogated this promise?   When one examines the record of the Nobel prizes for science the Jews greatly outnumber the Muslim scientists.  What have Muslims done to bless humanity?

Third, conversion is a mere formality. One can convert to Judaism in thought and life style without formal acceptance in a synagogue, state, or organizations. The matter of a Jewish mother is irrelevant to one’s acceptance of Judaism. 

My conclusion is that Judaism is not out of the running for the author’s reasoning.


A religion by definition should be understood and practiced by all people regardless of their intellectual and educational capability. A religion should be for illiterate as well as those with the highest degree. There should not be any confusion or ambiguity in the explanation of the religion.

The author then declares that “the trinity has never been understood for two thousand years since the beginning of the Byzantine arguments until the present time.” After an irrelevant quote from a Harvard lecturer he concludes that “Islam is an extremely simple religion, that advocates Truly One God for all Creations.”

Problems and Questions

First, it would be silly to expect God to be simple. We don’t even understand the full psyche of humans,   and to conclude that the Being who created the Universe, and all forms of life, including the complexity of man is simple imposes a very low view on God. Equating the word “simple” to “oneness” does not do justice to God’s nature.

As for Islam being simple that is misleading. Sure, there are the five pillars of Islam, but beyond that there is Shariah and all that is involved. One has only to consult Islamic sites where questions are answered about problems in life and one finds that Islam is very complicated and legalistic.

Second, life is complicated, and if religion should be comprehensive and deal with all aspects of life, it is impossible for that religion to be “simple”. Add to that the complexity of the nature of God, then it should be obvious that a religion that is simple will be inadequate.

In fact, further on in the chapter under Openness, the comment is made that “Anything can be discussed in Islam, except, of course, the nature of God, which is beyond human comprehension.”  And “beyond comprehension” is the opposite of simple.

Immediately following the statement that Islam is simple the author attacks the Christian idea of the Trinity in claiming that no one seems to understand it. But if God is “beyond comprehension” in Islam, why would the author consider it a negative point for Christianity when he is not able to understand the Trinity? The author quotes a Harvard lecturer whose students complained that they did not understand Jesus’ words about being forsaken by God. Some concluded Jesus could not be the Son of God.

Religious maturity of Harvard students is not much different from students anywhere else. They have not been taught the great truths of the Bible and consequently do not have a grasp of what Christian faith is all about. The students are merely confessing their ignorance, not the ability to understand theology. Students have not understood the Trinity because they have never tried to understand the nature of God. Moreover, lots of students do not understand atomic physics, quarks, mesons, and other subatomic particles.  I have had business students claim that they could not understand philosophy. When one declares that one does not understand something there is no reason to assume that it is wrong. One is simply confessing ignorance or stupidity.  One cannot comprehend fully the nature of the Infinite God who has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, but we can go much further in understanding than mere ignorance, lack of study and thought.

Students often think that man is the model for thinking about God.  One should start with thinking about God and man as a faint image of God.

The question of how we can know about God is important and the view of God in the Qur’an is quite different from the view of God in the Bible. Prohibiting questions about God is affirmed in Bukhari.

Narrated Ash-sha'bi:
The clerk of Al-Mughira bin Shu'ba narrated, "Muawiya wrote to Al-Mughira bin Shu'ba: Write to me something which you have heard from the Prophet." So Al-Mughira wrote: I heard the Prophet saying, "Allah has hated for you three things:

1. Vain talks, (useless talk) that you talk too much or about others.
2. Wasting of wealth (by extravagance)
3. And asking too many questions (in disputed religious matters) or asking others for something (except in great need). (Sahih Bukhari 2.555) 

In contrast, the Bible declares the words of God, (Isaiah 1:18) “I, the LORD, invite you to come and talk it over. Your sins are scarlet red, but they will be whiter than snow or wool.  (CEV)

Third, if one will read the Bible, particularly the words of Jesus, one will be driven to conclude that God is not simple. One example,   

"I am the way, the truth, and the life!" Jesus answered. "Without me, no one can go to the Father.   If you had known me, you would have known the Father. But from now on, you do know him, and you have seen him."
Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father. That is all we need."
Jesus replied: Philip, I have been with you for a long time. Don't you know who I am? If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. How can you ask me to show you the Father?
Don't you believe that I am one with the Father and that the Father is one with me? What I say isn't said on my own. The Father who lives in me does these things.
Have faith in me when I say that the Father is one with me and that I am one with the Father. Or else  have faith in me simply because of the things I do. (John 14:6-11 CEV) 


Then I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you.   The Spirit will show you what is true. The people of this world cannot accept the Spirit, because they don't see or know him. But you know the Spirit, who is with you and will keep on living in you. (John 14:16-17) 

Fourth, a lack of understanding on the words of Jesus about God forsaking Him shows that the author has a superficial understanding of the life and character of Jesus as he faced crucifixion. One simple answer is that he was meditating and quoting the Psalms to Himself. (Psalm 22:1) There are certain experiences of Jesus that emphasized his human nature but not his divine nature.  He was hungry, he slept, he was thirsty, and he suffered pain on the cross.

The Muslim author continues:


The Holy Scriptures should be unique and only the original version should be used. There should not be multiple versions that are revised and revised again by humans.... The basic Christian doctrines of the son of god and trinity exist only in the King James Version, and these doctrines are deleted from alter versions.  This represents a serious problem to the Christian Faith...

But with the Qur’an, there is only one unique Arabic text for all times in all places.

Problems and Questions

First, the naivete of this author expressed in these comments is saddening.  This is sheer false propaganda.  The claim that the basic doctrines of the Son of God and Trinity exists only in the King James Version is sheer idiocy. What is the basis for the remark? Where is the evidence for this?  None is presented.

Maybe the author has not read the New Testament at all.

These great doctrines are in the original Greek New Testament, and are therefore also found in the various translations. These doctrines come from the lips of Jesus and are in modern translations as well as older ones.  I have 20 different translations on my computer including the Greek texts and they all affirm that Jesus is the Son of God. The same translations give a basis for affirming the Trinity idea. The word Trinity is not in the New Testament but the persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are described there–hence the Trinity.

Rejecting translations of the Qur’an is good for Muslim propagandists because a great many cannot read Arabic, understand Arabic, and are therefore ignorant of what the Qur’an declares.  This keeps people under the ignorance of the teachers of Islam.  When people begin to read the Qur’an in a translation they are horrified to learn the character of Mohammed as well as the message of the Qur’an.

If the author is against so many Bible translations, is he also against Qur’an translations?

Moreover, there is not just one Arabic text (see here).

Consider the following testimony of one who read the Qur’an: (and there are more like her)

“The Quran I always found hard to take, it was sadistic, but because everyone I knew found it so beautiful I began to think it was me that I was reading it the wrong way. Mohammed, I didn’t dislike, but as hard as I tried to love him there was something holding me back. It was like for every one beautiful Hadith I read there were ten horrendous ones. The deeper I began to dig into the real Islam I found darker and darker things, until I snapped. I hate this man. How did God ever think it was a good idea to send him as a prophet?” (By “Jane”; here)

The issue of an unchanging Quran is a claim that needs examining. Such a claim by a Muslims sounds like he should know what he is talking about. Unknown to the unsuspecting reader are the problems facing early Muslims.  There were lots of variations in the suras that were being circulated.  “Three other codices were in existence before the official Uthmanic codex compiled by Zaid ibn Thabit, the more famous ones being Ubayy b. Ka'ab, Abdullah ibn Mas'ud  and Abu Musa. Some allege even more. These codices had some significant variants with the Uthmanic codex.

Since Uthman was not a prophet how do we know that he destroyed the wrong ones and kept the right one? There are serious textual problems with the Quran and one may see some of them here.

Muslims often argue that the Scriptures are corrupted even though the Qur’an affirms the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians in his day. Muslims should ponder the questions: if God did not keep the Old and New Testament uncorrupted, how can one think God has kept the Qur’an uncorrupted? You might check out this article.


Following the above condition of simplicity, a religion should be opened with all its aspects.  The exact history should be presented. The evolution of doctrine, if any, should be known and accessible to the public...

Islam gives freedom and full play to man’s faculty of every kind.  Islam imposes no restrictions on knowledge or acquiring any information from the highest to the lowest level. Anything can be discussed in Islam, except, of course, the nature of God, which is beyond human comprehension.

Problems and Questions

One big problem is that this claim of openness is not true. Consider the fact that the Muslim world inherited much of the Greek and Roman culture and its science.

What happened to Muslim science? A division was made between Islamic sciences and "foreign" science. Islamic sciences related to the Quran, the traditions of the Prophets (hadith), legal knowledge (fiqh), theology (kalam), poetry, and the Arabic language. Arithmetic was useful for dividing inheritances, astronomy was useful for prayer time computations, and there was a purpose for medicine. But beyond these areas Arabic science did not break through to the modern era of science.

Toby Huff declared,

This means that the modern scientific world view rests on certain assumptions about the regularity and lawfulness of the natural world and the presumption that man is capable of grasping this underlying structure. In addition to subscribing to the notion of laws of nature, modern science is a metaphysical system which asserts that man, unaided by spiritual agencies or divine guidance, is single-handedly capable of understanding and grasping the laws that govern man and the universe. (The Rise of Early Modern Science, Cambridge U. Press, 1993, p. 65)

In the Arabic-Islamic world in the late 800's and early 900's there were a number of philosophers who were very liberal in their thinking, so much so that they can be described as "free-thinkers" suggesting that philosophical knowledge was the most noble and some suggested that religion was "little more than superstition." (Ibid., p. 67)

By the 12th and 13th centuries a change had taken place and thinkers were criticized for religious arguments that might lead ordinary believers astray.

Ibn Qadama wrote "no one is ever seen who has studied speculative theology, but there is a corrupt quality of his mind." (Ibid., p. 68)

He had some severe words of punishment to be meted out to those who took up speculative theology. Departing from the Qur’an, the Sunna, and the Islamic sources was regarded as a tainting enterprise. Consequently, philosophy and natural science went underground. One would not like to acquire the reputation of being an impious person which could threaten your life.

In the midst of these ideological developments came the educational system of the Islamic world. The madrasas began to have influence in the 11th century and dominated intellectual life. A major feature of the madrasas was its curriculum. Instruction was centered around the religious sciences exclusively, while philosophy and the natural sciences were ignored.

Some teachers did consider the natural sciences and gave private instruction in their own homes.

A further complication for intellectual life in medieval Islamic life was the division between the learned and the ignorant. While there were various reasons among different thinkers for doing so, they all shared "the sentiment that ordinary citizens (the masses) are not capable of grasping the higher truths of philosophy" or the scripture. "In some cases it was simply asserted that if a person were ‘a believer’ he will know that to discuss those (philosophical) questions openly is forbidden by the Holy Law." (Ibid., p. 82)

This doctrine of concealment ran against the whole ethos of scientific development in terms of universalism and communalism. For more, go here.

The educational environment of the Madrasas continues to perpetuate a closed system of education. Criticizing or questioning the Qur’an or the Hadiths is off limits for students. They are to hear and obey, not question and doubt.  So the claim that “Islam gives freedom and full play to man’s faculty of every kind” is simply a bogus claim! The lack of openness is seen in the Nobel awards in chemistry, physics, etc. in which 182 winners have been Jewish and only 9 have been awarded to Muslims.


The scriptures of a religion should be authentic and traceable to its origin. Also, all the records should not be adulterated or tainted with any Human ideas or perception. The original writer, or writers of the scriptures should be known, and there should be sufficient evidence for the trustworthiness of the writers. The subject of authenticity should be very clear and definite without any confusion about who actually wrote the scriptures.

… No serious scholar ever questions the authenticity of the Qur’an.

Problems and Questions

Concerning the Gospels in general and Matthew in particular, the author wrote in the chapter on the Gospels:

“Many scholars regard Matthew as a writer with wild imagination. He includes stories in his Gospel that are unbelievable. An example, of his outrageous imagination, is the description of the events relating to the crucifixion of Jesus. The whole country became dark for three hours, the temple was torn into two pieces, the tears started at the top and tore all the way to the bottom, an earthquake happened, and many dead people were resurrected and went to Jerusalem, and were seen by many (27:51-53). This is a big story. It should have been reported in the other Gospels. Did these stories convert a large number of people to Christianity? These stories have no correspondence in the other three Gospels.

The most debatable story in the Gospel of Matthew concerns Jonas’ sign (12:38:40). When the Pharisees ask Jesus for a proof, Jesus replies that the son of man will give the miracle that happened to Jonas. Luke has the same story, but Mark is in contradiction with Matthew and Luke with regards to the sign of Jonas.” (Source)

Let us look at some of the statements that are totally lacking in evidence. Who are the “many scholars”? No reference is given. What is unbelievable about the stories? For many atheists and agnostics the resurrection is unbelievable. There is a reference outside the Bible relating to the darkness. A Christian historian in the 3rd century wrote a world history up to the time of 220 AD in five volumes. In it this comment is made: “In the third book of his history, Thallus calls this darkness an eclipse of the sun--wrongly in my opinion. (5.50)” (Go here.)

Muslims seem to ignore anything contrary to their belief system.

What is the big story of the gospel of Matthew? It is the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

That is the big story of all the gospels. The author indicates that the Temple was torn in two. What was torn was not the building but the curtain. The events of the curtain tearing, the resurrection of other people is a side story to the Big One. They have no meaning apart from the big story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

Moreover, Matthew records:

When the centurion and those guarding Jesus with him saw the earthquake and the other things that were taking place, they were terrified and said, "This man certainly was the Son of God!" (27:54)

What are the other things? Did they see the resurrected people? We are told that the authorities provided hush money for their silence about the resurrection. (Matthew 28:11-15) Muslims today do not want to quote sources that affirm belief in the crucifixion and resurrection. Neither did the authorities back then.

Is it necessary that all the Gospels tell the same story? If they all told the same story the criticism would be that they are all copies of the first one. Their credibility would be charged on the basis of copying. The independent stories found in the different gospels warrant the conclusion that they were not in collusion with one another.

The author regards the story about the sign of Jonas as being the most debatable story in the Gospel of Matthew. However, he does not tell us why it is debatable. The passage reads:

But Jesus replied: You want a sign because you are evil and won't believe! But the only sign you will get is the sign of the prophet Jonah. He was in the stomach of a big fish for three days and nights, just as the Son of Man will be deep in the earth for three days and nights. (Matthew 12:39-40)

The fact that Jesus was referring to his crucifixion, death, and resurrection seems so obvious. However, to a Muslim who rejects the crucifixion that may be a problem.

The author concludes concerning the story of Jonah that “Mark is in contradiction with Matthew and Luke with regards to the sign of Jonas.” This is not explained. How is it a contradiction?

No information is given. Moreover, the word “Jonah” does not appear in Mark at all, so how can there be a contradiction?

It is impossible to read the texts concerning the Gospels without raising so many questions it would require writing a book to deal with all the inferences and bad conclusions.

On the other hand, one should raise questions about “no serious scholar ever questions the authenticity of the Qur’an.” What should be said is that “no serious MUSLIM scholar ever questions the authenticity of the Qur’an.” Why is that? Who wants to be killed? That is why!! If the Qur’an were examined by critics – and it is increasingly happening – the Qur’an will be torn to shreds.

Is the story of the Qur’an according to Muslims correct? Look at the facts.

The Qur’an developed over a period of 23 years, it was not given at once. As Mohammed gave it to his companions they memorized, or wrote some of it down. The following excerpts from John Gilchrist indicate the problems surrounding the creation of the Qur’an.

There is certainly no evidence to suggest that anyone had actually compiled the whole text of the Qur'an into a single manuscript, whether directly under Muhammad's express authority or otherwise, and from the information we have about the collection of the Qur'an after his death (which we shall shortly consider), we must rather conclude that the Qur'an had never been codified or reduced to writing in a single text.

Thus it is not surprising to find that the book was widely scattered in the memories of men and on various different materials in writing at the time of Muhammad's decease. Furthermore we shall see that the Qur'an itself makes allowance for the abrogation of its texts by Allah and, during Muhammad's lifetime, the possibility of further abrogations (in addition to a number of verses which had already been withdrawn) would likewise preclude the contemplation of a single text.

The widely accepted traditional account of the initial compilation of the Qur'an ascribes the work to Zaid ibn Thabit, one of the four companions of Muhammad said to have known the text in its entirety. As we shall see, there is abundant evidence that other companions also began to transcribe their own codices of the Qur'an independently of Zaid shortly after Muhammad's death, but the most significant undertaking was that of Zaid as it was done under the authority of Abu Bakr, the first Caliph of Islam, and it is to this compilation that the Hadith literature gives the most attention. It also became the standard text of the Qur'an during the caliphate of Uthman.

Upon Muhammad's death a number of tribes in the outer parts of the Arabian peninsula reneged from the faith they had recently adopted, whereupon Abu Bakr sent a large number of the early Muslims to subdue the revolt forcibly. This resulted in the Battle of Yamama and a number of Muhammad's close companions, who had received the Qur'an directly from him, were killed. What followed is described in this well-known hadith:

Narrated Zaid bin Thabit: Abu Bakr as-Siddiq sent for me when the people of Yamama had been killed. Then Abu Bakr said (to me): "You are a wise young man and we do not have any suspicion about you, and you used to write the Divine Inspiration for Allah's Apostle (saw). So you should search for (the fragmentary scripts of) the Qur'an and collect it (in one book)". By Allah! If they had ordered me to shift one of the mountains, it would not have been heavier for me than this ordering me to collect the Qur'an. Then I said to Abu Bakr, "How will you do something which Allah's Apostle (saw) did not do?" Abu Bakr replied "By Allah, it is a good project". (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, p.477)

So I started looking for the Qur'an and collecting it from (what was written on) palm-leaf stalks, thin white stones, and also from the men who knew it by heart, till I found the last verse of Surat at-Tauba (repentance) with Abi Khuzaima al-Ansari, and I did not find it with anybody other than him. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, p.478)

It is the very character of these sources that we should at this stage assess and reconsider. Zaid relied on the memories of men and various written materials. No matter how much those early companions sought to memorise the text perfectly, human memory is a fallible source, and, to the extent that a book the length of the Qur'an had been committed to memory, we should expect to find a number of variant readings in the text. As we shall shortly see, this anticipation proves to be well-founded.

Many (of the passages) of the Qur'an that were sent down were known by those who died on the day of Yamama ... but they were not known (by those who) survived them, nor were they written down, nor had Abu Bakr, Umar or Uthman (by that time) collected the Qur'an, nor were they found with even one (person) after them. (Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif, p.23)

The possibility that part of the text may have been lost is strengthened by evidences in the Hadith literature which show that even Muhammad himself occasionally forgot portions of the Qur'an. One of these traditions reads as follows and is taken from one of the earliest works of Hadith:

Aishah said: A man got up (for prayer) at night, he read the Qur'an and raised his voice in reading. When morning came, the Apostle of Allah (saw) said: May Allah have mercy on so-and-so! Last night he reminded me a number of verses I was about to forget. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 3, p.1114)

At the time of its codification Zaid knew that his text could not be regarded as an absolutely perfect record as some passages were acknowledged as having been lost and the redactor himself overlooked at least two verses until he was reminded of them by Abu Khuzaima. If Zaid and Abu Bakr were persuaded that his text was unquestionably authentic to the last word and letter, it would almost certainly have been given immediate public prominence.

On the other hand, if Zaid knew that it was only relatively authentic and no more accurate than the many other codices simultaneously being compiled by Abdullah ibn Mas'ud and others, we can understand why it quickly disappeared into relative obscurity. By the time Uthman became caliph, although the other codices were gaining prominence in the various provinces, this codex had in fact receded into the private custody of one of the widows of the Prophet of Islam who simply kept it indefinitely in her personal care. It may have been compiled under official supervision, but it was never regarded as the actual official and solely authentic text of the Qur'an. It had become just one of many codices of equal authority that had been put together at roughly the same time.

(We are not dealing here with a compilation ordered and supervised by the Prophet of Islam with a divine guarantee of its absolutely perfect preservation but rather with an honest attempt by a young man, ultimately at his own discretion as to what should be included or excluded, and that only under the eye of a subsequent leader, to produce as accurate a text as he possibly could).

Once again it must be borne in mind that, once compiled, Abu Bakr did not impose it upon the Muslim community as Uthman later did, so it cannot be regarded as having become the official codex of the Qur'an before Uthman's time as Desai and others wish to believe.

Uthman's action was drastic, to say the least. Not one of the other codices was exempted from the order that they be destroyed. It can only be assumed that the differences in reading between the various texts was so vast that the Caliph saw no alternative to an order for the standardising of one of the texts and the annihilation of the rest. The fact that none of the other texts was spared shows that none of the codices, Zaid's included, agreed with any of the others in its entirety. There must have been serious textual variants between the texts to warrant such action.

It was not the authorised text of Muhammad himself but simply one form of it among many then in existence and uncorroborated in every single point by the others in circulation. It was compiled under the discretion of only one man and came to official prominence purely because Uthman chose it as the appropriate one to represent the single codex he wanted to establish for the whole Muslim community.

One of the most well-known passages said in hadith records to be missing from the Qur'an relates to the so-called "stoning verses" wherein Muhammad is said to have been commanded to stone to death married people who commit adultery. The records all state that the second Caliph of Islam, Umar, once brought the existence of these missing verses to the attention of the Muslim public during one of his sermons from the minbar (the pulpit) of the mosque in Medina. Umar is reported as narrating the matter as follows:

Allah sent Muhammad (saw) with the Truth and revealed the Holy Book to him, and among what Allah revealed, was the Verse of the Rajam (the stoning of married persons, male and female, who commit adultery) and we did recite this Verse and understood and memorized it. Allah's Apostle (saw) did carry out the punishment of stoning and so did we after him. I am afraid that after a long time has passed, somebody will say, 'By Allah, we do not find the Verse of the Rajam in Allah's Book', and thus they will go astray by leaving an obligation which Allah has revealed. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 8, p.539)

In the Qur'an as it stands today the only punishment prescribed for adulterers is a hundred stripes (Surah 24.2), no distinction being made between the married or unmarried state of each of the parties involved. Umar, however, clearly stated that Allah had originally revealed a passage prescribing rajam (stoning to death) for adulterers.

(John Gilchrist, Jam' Al-Qur'an - The Codification of the Qur'an Text, chapters 1-4 (excerpts); source)

The claimed promise that Allah would guard the Qur’an is bogus.  The credibility of the “revelation” seems like a nightmare for serious thinkers. Imagine the belief that the heavenly Qur’an is eternal and correct.  Allah comes along and changes the revelation he has already given to Mohammed. One can easily conclude that Allah and Mohammed are making it up as they go. It does not appear to be the work of an omniscient being.


Because a Holy Book is revealed from God, then one should not find inconsistency or contradictions in the scripture. There should not be any error or even a claim of error associated with the Holy Books...

With the Quran there is not a single inconsistency in the whole text. Even the ayat that describe the scientific miracles of the Quran were shown to be accurate and explain the known facts of our present day precisely.

Problems and Questions

There are two items to deal with – contradictions and miracles of science.

First, contradictions and errors in the Quran. 

There are a number of egregious errors in the Qur’an.  There are errors of history, there are errors of science, and there are contradictions in the Qur’an itself.

One example of an error of history relates to Mohammed’s use of the story of the youth in the cave who slept for 300 years or so.  This was a story that circulated among Christians before Mohammed and he plagiarized it for his own purposes. The original story related that the youth were surprised that Jesus was still preached as the Son of God. Mohammed used the story and concluded that Jesus was not the Son of God. Mohammed’s followers did not have a basis for refuting his use of the story. In this case Mohammed took a myth and claimed it to be a fact.   In the Muslim view of the crucifixion of Jesus, Mohammed rejected a fact and called it a lie.

The Qur’an claims the sun sets in a poodle of water in one place. (18:86 Pickthall)

There are claims by Muslims that scientific miracles were predicted in the Qur’an inspite of Mohammed’s claim that he was only a warner.

All of these issues are treated extensively here.

The Prophet

The character of the prophet on whom the revelation was revealed should be impeccable before the revelation. His life should be documented before and after the revelation to confirm that he was honest and truth. He should not have bowed to anyone else before God.”

Problems and Questions

Let us start with the exact history.  The exact history of Christianity is that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God.  He indicated many times that he was going to be crucified and would rise again from the dead. He did this. There were eye-witnesses and they wrote about it in the Gospels.

Muslims deny these facts because a man named Mohammed did not believe it although he lived about 600 years later.  

The Bible speaks of Jesus being sinless.  Mohammed prayed for forgiveness.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle used to keep silent between the Takbir and the recitation of Qur'an and that interval of silence used to be a short one. I said to the Prophet "May my parents be sacrificed for you! What do you say in the pause between Takbir and recitation?" The Prophet said, "I say, 'Allahumma, ba'id baini wa baina khatayaya kama ba'adta baina-l-mashriqi wa-l-maghrib. Allahumma, naqqim min khatayaya kama yunaqqa-ththawbu-l-abyadu mina-ddanas. Allahumma, ighsil khatayaya bil-ma'i wa-th-thalji wal-barad (O Allah! Set me apart from my sins (faults) as the East and West are set apart from each other and clean me from sins as a white garment is cleaned of dirt (after thorough washing). O Allah! Wash off my sins with water, snow and hail.)" (Sahih Bukhari 1.711)

It is important that what is said about Mohammed be drawn only from Muslim documents. The Qur’an and Hadiths give us information that is indisputable and must be accepted by Muslims if they want to remain Muslims. It is important to know that what is said here comes not from Christian sources, but Muslim sources. Read the following and realize the truth of these Muslim documents.

1.  War is enjoined on Mohammed and his followers.

“Those who believe do battle for the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of the devil. Lo! the devil's strategy is ever weak.” (4:76 Pickthall)

“O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. 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, because they (the disbelievers) are a folk without intelligence....It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise.”  (8:65, 8:67 Pickthall)

“Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.”(9:29)

“O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him). (9:123)

“And if two parties of believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them. And if one party of them doeth wrong to the other, fight ye that which doeth wrong till it return unto the ordinance of Allah; then, if it return, make peace between them justly, and act equitably. Lo! Allah loveth the equitable.”  (49:9)   

Conclusion: fighting is commanded for the Muslims.  It may be war against the pagans, the Jews, the Christians, or even fellow Muslims who differ on some Islamic doctrine. The Sunnis and the Shia have been killing one another for a long time and they are still at it.

Mohammed’s life involved banditry in which he participated and he organized many other raids for his followers.

2.  Mohammed’s sexuality.

A. There are many problems of character relating to his sexuality. One disturbing hadith is the following:

“… So Um Salamah went and talked with the prophet but he did not respond to her. When the group asked her what the prophet said she told them that he did not respond. So they asked her to go talk to him again until he responds… then the prophet said to her, “Do not hurt me with Aisha, for the inspiration did not come upon me when I was IN A WOMAN’S GARMENT (fee thawb imra’ah) EXCEPT THAT OF AISHA.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith Number 2393)

Was Mohammed a cross-dresser?  More alarming is the statement that inspiration came only when he was dressed in Aisha’s clothing.  Is this the cause of his inspirations? Does this not sound like bogus claims?

B. Mohammed married a six year old girl and consummated the marriage when she was 9 years old.

Narrated Aisha:
“The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became all right, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, "Best wishes and Allah's Blessing and a good luck." Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah's Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 234)

Mohammed’s example has been followed to the present time by older men marrying girls who are 7 or 8 years of age.  The problems of child marriage are serious.   I asked a gyn-ob doctor to speak about the problems.  He wrote:

1. Psychological Risks...Children having children is something long eschewed in medicine. That situation is harmful to the mother because it deprives her of her childhood. Before she can learn about life and learn to appropriately react to life... i.e., to mature psychologically...she is prematurely placed in a very adult situation. Lifelong anger and resentment are very common, by my experience, and what acceptance that occurs here could best be described, not as acceptance, but rather by being beaten down and overwhelmed by these circumstances...not accepting but rather being forced to bear (no pun intended!). Parenting skills are much less nurturing and more unloving and uncaring, leaving the child's child's own emotional development in jeopardy.

2. Sexual Risks for children...menarche now occurs approximately at age 12. The physiological ability to become pregnant does not exist prior to this. The risks of sexual contact in prepubescence, say age 9 thru 11, occur as a result of low levels of estrogen. Normal as that is, vaginal trauma, such as tearing of tissue, would be common until the vulvar and vaginal areas had been forcefully dilated. Even so, infections would be very common because of the inherent weakness of this estrogen deprived tissue. Cervical cancer is much more widespread and all the more so the younger the child.

3. Pregnancy Risks...children are, by their very definition, not mature physically. Presumably because of this, and regardless of good pre-natal care...and even worse without it...there is a risk of prematurity and/or low birth weight. This can be disastrous to the newborn, placing it at much higher risk of brain damage and mental retardation. Low birth weight babies are TWENTY times more likely to die the first year of life than normal newborns.. Because bone growth is not yet complete, the risk of cephalopelvic disproportion (too big a baby to get through mother's pelvic bones) is higher, leading to prolonged labors and subsequent infant damage and wastage. Presumably because of poor nutrition, teen mothers are more likely to abort, more likely to develop preelampsia and more likely to have serious accidents.

Preeclampsia and its ultimate form, eclampsia, is a disease peculiar to pregnancy. Preeclampsia is notable by increased blood pressure and loss of protein in urine (proteinuria)...if preclampsia worsens, as it usually does, it may develop into eclampsia, which adds seizures to the symptom complex. I have seen patients die from eclampsia. The only known treatment for the disease is delivery. Untreated, there is a high risk of fetal intrauterine death. The cause of the disease is still largely unknown.

The list of problems to children by the offence of premature sex and pregnancy is longer than I have presented, but this is probably enough for now."

C. Wives

“So when Zeyd had performed that necessary formality (of divorce) from her, We gave her unto thee in marriage, so that (henceforth) there may be no sin for believers in respect of wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have performed the necessary formality (of release) from them. The commandment of Allah must be fulfilled.” (33:37)

This reflects the story of Mohammed encountering Zaynab in partial dress and was greatly impressed by her. The episode seems driven by lust for her.

“O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncle on the father's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the father's side, and the daughters of thine uncle on the mother's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother's side who emigrated with thee, and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage - a privilege for thee only, not for the (rest of) believers - We are Aware of that which We enjoined upon them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess - that thou mayst be free from blame, for Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.”  (33.50)

This gives Mohammed virtually unlimited sex.

D.  Suckling

“Narrated Ibn Shehab:  when he was asked about adult suckling he said; Abe Hozaifa one of the companions of the messenger of God has adopted a boy named Salem, then when God descended a verse in his book concerning Zaied Ibn thabet abating the adoption saying: call them after their fathers (meaning that to attribute those adopted sons to their biological fathers) , Salma the wife of Abe Hozaifa came to the messenger of God saying: we had an adopted son named Salem, he was getting into my house while I was wearing one dress , after the adoption was abated , my husband  Abe Hozaifa hated to see him getting into my home, while I am in such way, so what do you think?, how can I deal with that? The prophet replied her: then let him suck from you five times, and then he will be forbidden to you (as it was thought that if one sucks from a woman, he will be like her son)? She said surprisingly: how could I suckle him while he is a full grown man? Then the prophet smiled and said: I know that he is a full grown man.    She went out and followed that advice and allowed the man to suck from her, she came back to the prophet saying I suckled him, now I don't find anything wrong with my husband any more (1)

This story about Adult suckling was mentioned in:

-   Sahih Muslim, converse number 3663, 3674

-   Mawtte' malek

-   Sonan Al-Nyssa'y

-   Sonan Al-Bayhaky

-   Sonan Ibn Majah

-   The abrogator and abrogated by Abe-Gaefar Al-Mansour, page124

-   And other exegesis

     The Adult suckling issue is among the subjects studied in Al-Azhar University for the students of the third grade (2)

Dr Abdul-Mahdy Abdul-Kader Abdul-Hady one of Al-Azhar professors said about this: this converse is true and considered among the highly truthful converses , and can't be denied by any honest researcher, it is considered a medal on the chest of Islam.("Answering skepticism on the Mohammedan Sunnah" by Dr Abdul-Mahdy Abdul-Kader Abdul-Hady, page.97.103) (Source)

E. Homosexuality

“Man chapter (Surat Al-Insan) 19: "And round about them will serve boys of everlasting youth. If you see them, you would think them scattered pearls" 

“And in the Event chapter (Surat Al-Waqi'ah) 17. "They will be served by immortal boys"

 “Ibn Kathir said: the boys are all the same, never getting older, never change, they are immortal and are youth for ever 

Sheikh Muhammad Galal keshk said: the boys in the paradise are for sexual enjoyment, they resemble the "scattered pearls" while the"Hour Al-in "resemble the "preserved pearls", so they are of the same nature, as both are for sexual enjoyment" (9)

Mr; Ibrahim Mahmoud said: Sheikh Muhammad Galal keshk is an eminent scholar, graduate of Al-Azhar university, he affirmed that the immortal boys are for the sexual enjoyment , as for the man who kept his chastity on earth, will have the right to enjoy in the paradise with all the lusts and desires he refrained from getting on earth (10) (9)

"Muslim thoughts in the sexual issues", By Mr.Muhammad Galal Keshk ,page 214       (10)) "Geography of the lusts" or" the sex in the paradise" by Mr Ibrahim Mahmoud,   Page 384,386 (Source)

F. Sucking on the tongues of young boys and girls.

"Musnad Ahmad," Hadith number: 16245, Volume Title:  "The Sayings of the Syrians," Chapter Title: "Hadith of Mu'awiya Ibn Abu Sufyan," Narrated by Hisham Ibn Kasim, narrated by Huraiz, narrated by Abdul Rahman Ibn Abu Awf Al Jarashy, and narrated by Mua'wiya who said,

"I saw the prophet (pbuh) sucking on the tongue or the lips of Al-Hassan son of Ali , may the prayers of Allah be upon him . For no tongue or lips that the prophet sucked on will be tormented (by hell fire)." (Source)

These and other comments from the hadiths cast a grave doubt about the integrity of the prophet.   What may anger people is that these things are not generally known and the author of this work seems to ignore, or be ignorant in making the claim for the impeccable character of Mohammed.

The Holy Book

The Holy Book should have the following characteristics:

  • It should identify God in names and attributes.
  • It should show Humans the proper way of communicating with God.
  • It should convey a message that does not contradict human intuition and accepted morals.
  • It should guide humans to the right path for salvation that leads to paradise.
  • It should warn Humans against evil acts that lead to hellfire.
  • It should project a sense of purity and holiness.
  • It should outline the divine standard that humans should follow.
  • It should include overwhelming prophecies and scientific miracle as a continuous challenge to the unbelievers.

Only the Quran satisfies all of the above and more! The beauty and eloquence of the Quran resonates with the deepest aspirations of man to change his whole way of life. One feels that Allah authors every Ayah as it touches the heart and inspires the mind. The sensation of listening to the Quran is quite overwhelming. It feels that each Ayah descends from heaven with all the blessing of Allah to mankind, and recitation of the Quran in the original recitation style of the Prophet himself adds reverence to this sensation. 

Problems and Questions

The scientific miracles reflected in the Qur’an appear more like an imposition of scientific data on the text.   In addition, the section on Embryology follows a familiar pattern of quoting the work of Dr. Keith Moore professor of Anatomy and Chairman of the department, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, 1982. There seems to be a serious problem quoting Moore.

“Professor Moore's book The Developing Human, 3rd edition, has two different editions: the standard edition which is used in the west, and the "Islamic" edition which is used in some Muslim colleges. Comparing the two editions, it seems that not even Prof. Moore is sufficiently convinced by the scientific "facts" in the Qu'ran to risk his reputation as a prominent academic in the Western world. The Islamic edition (also in the 3rd edition) of his textbook is not even available in the British Library, nor can it be found in the US Library of Congress, nor in medical libraries in Western countries, presumably because he is aware that not only do the Islamic contributions to it contradict known science, but they also contradict what he himself has written in the standard version of his textbook. Perhaps Prof. Moore's desire to sell his textbooks overseas was greater than his desire to seek the scientific truth?” (One can read more here.)

There are problems with a number of these points, but I would focus on the following.  “It should convey a message that does not contradict human intuition and accepted morals.”

Whose intuition and accepted morals is the author referencing?

It is accepted a priori that Mohammed is the model man by Muslims.  Whatever he did was not wrong. That is certainly contrary to my intuition and that of many others. Many of these things are contrary to reason. What is accepted in the Muslim culture as “right” is certainly wrong from that of non-Muslims. Child marriage, jihad against non-Muslims, polygamy, the demeaning position imposed on women, the secondary status of women’s rights, and much more are intuitively wrong as well as rationally wrong. But in a Muslim culture only the Qur’an and hadiths count.

From an objective stance Mohammed is not the example of a holy man, not a man of ethical purity. His wars, approved assassinations of his critics, his slaughter of the Jews in Medina, and other sinful activities do not fulfill the criteria of a holy prophet nor of a true religion.

Further reading: Is there a true religion?

P.S. After my examination of Dr. Elsaie's "Religion Criteria" was published, his article soon disappeared from the address that is linked above. However, currently his book is still available as PDF here. In this article, I am discussing chapter 10, section 1 of his book.