A Long List of Reasons Not to Convert to Islam

Twenty-five points.

Here are the reasons why no one should convert to Islam, which are not placed in any particular order.

(1) The Quran differs widely from the Bible on such persons as Adam, Noah, Lot, Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, and Moses.

Consider:

A. The Old Covenant Scriptures (Old Testament)

B. New Covenant Scriptures (New Testament)

C. The Quran (7th century AD)

The Quran gets the first two sources confused in its retelling of the stories and verses. Worse, it brings back the punishments in the Old and imposes them on all of society (see the examples in this numbered list).

Example of biblical illiteracy: Even though the Quran depicts Moses as a baffled prophet in Sura (Chapter) 18:60-82, Abraham and Ishmael serve as examples of the Quran’s reshaping the Bible, often for the Quran’s own benefit. The following passage asserts that Abraham settled Ishmael in Arabia near Mecca so that he could lead the Arabs in prayer and denounce idol worship:

14:35 Remember when Abraham said, “Lord, make this town [Mecca] safe! Lord, preserve me and my offspring from idolatry . . . . (MAS Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, Oxford UP, 2004)

And this verse claims that Abraham and Ishmael, while in Mecca, built and purified the Kabah, the sacred shrine that houses a black stone:

2:127 As Abraham and Ishmael built up the foundation of the House [Kabah] [they prayed, “Our Lord, accept [this] from us” . . . ]. (Haleem)

This next verse says that Abraham nearly sacrificed a son, though never mentioning Ishmael by name.

37:102 When the boy was old enough to work with his father, Abraham said, “My son, I have seen myself sacrificing you in a dream. What do you think?” He said, “Father, do as you are commanded and, God willing, you will find me steadfast.” (Haleem)

Personally, I believe Abraham and the other patriarchs actually lived, but I must concede that no extra-Biblical evidence—e.g. archaeological or textual—confirms their existence. Therefore, by extension, no reliable historical evidence can be advanced to support Abraham’s sojourn down to distant Mecca. Muhammad was simply relying on Arab folk belief or his own imagination and elevated it to his sacred Scripture.

Bottom line:T

he Quran is a derivative book—it would have never known about any of the Bible characters if the written Bible had never existed, except only vaguely by oral tradition circulating over the trade routes, sung by poets and told by story-tellers. (And this influenced the Quran often enough.) Therefore, I evaluate the later, derivative book by the original written text as the gold standard, somewhat like the Treasury Department uses the original typeface of printed money and other technology to detect deviations from the original. The Quran deviates too widely from the original.

(2) The Quran denies the actual and physical crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Sura (Chapter) 4:157 says:

[A]nd [the Jews] said, “We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of God.” (They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, though it was made to appear like that to him. Those that disagreed about him are full of doubt, with no knowledge to follow, only supposition: they certainly did not kill him . . .). (Haleem)

This passage is one of the most difficult to accept in the Quran. Jesus was made to appear to have died on the cross. But even the most radical western critics of the Bible do not deny that he was crucified. They may doubt his divinity and miracles, and most may doubt his bodily resurrection, but not his bodily crucifixion.

So where does Muhammad get this belief? Denying Jesus’ actual death-by-crucifixion absorbs docetic teaching circulating around the larger Mediterranean world, which holds that the flesh, the physical body, is evil. (Docetism comes from the Greek word for “seems” or “appears.”) Therefore, a spiritual Messiah like Jesus could not really die in the flesh, but would merely appear to do so. In his own peculiar way, Muhammad seems to be protecting Jesus from the Jews, by denying that they killed him.

However, his atoning death is the heart of Christianity as revealed in the New Testament. No one should give this up.

(3) The Quran grants “special” marriage privileges only to Muhammad.

It seems that Allah gave Muhammad special permission to marry as many women as he desired or to take them as slaves or concubines, just as in the pre-Islamic days of “ignorance.” Average Muslims may marry only four wives (see point no. 4), but Muhammad is allowed to have as many as he wanted.

Sura 33:50, a lengthy verse, grants Muhammad wide latitude in his marriages:

O Prophet, We have made lawful to you those of your wives, whose dowers you have paid, and those women who come into your possession out of the slave-girls granted by Allah, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and aunts, and of your maternal uncles and aunts, who have migrated with you, and the believing woman who gives herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet may desire her. This privilege is for you only, not for the other believers . . . . (Sayyid Abul A’La Maududi, The Meaning of the Qur’an (six volumes), vol. 4, p. 111, emphasis added).

This hadith says that Muhammad used to visit nine (or eleven) wives in one night.

Anas bin Malik said, “The Prophet used to visit all his wives in a round, during the day and night and they were eleven in number.” I asked Anas, “Had the Prophet the strength for it?” Anas replied, “We used to say that the Prophet was given the strength of thirty (men).” And Sa’id said on the authority of Qatada that Anas had told him about nine wives only (not eleven). (Bukhari).

This revelation that permits him to have as many wives as he desires looks suspicious.

(4) The Quran allows a Muslim to be polygamous with up to four wives.

Sura 4:3 says:

And if you be apprehensive that you will not be able to do justice to the orphans, you may marry two or three or four women whom you choose. But if you apprehend that you might not be able to do justice to them, then marry only one wife, or marry those who have fallen in your possession. (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 305)

Maududi paraphrases the verse: “If you need more than one [wife] but are afraid that you might not be able to do justice to your wives from among the free people, you may turn to slave girls because in that case you will be burdened with less responsibilities” (note 6) (See Sura 4:24). Thus, the limit on four wives is artificial. Men could have sex with as many slave-girls as they wanted (see no. 11, below).

However, Muhammad would not allow polygamy for his son-in-law Ali, because an extra wife would hurt Muhammad’s daughter Fatima, by his first wife Khadija. Fatima was married to Ali.

I heard Allah’s Apostle who was on the pulpit, saying, “Banu Hisham bin Al-Mughira have requested me to allow them to marry their daughter to Ali bin Abu Talib, but I don’t give permission, and will not give permission unless Ali bin Abi Talib divorces my daughter in order to marry their daughter, because Fatima is a part of my body, and I hate what she hates to see, and what hurts her, hurts me.” (Bukhari)

Muhammad understands how hurtful polygamy can be for women, but he himself practiced it and allowed it for male Muslims, generally.

See my article Polygamy in the Quran, Traditions and Islamic Sharia Law.

(5) The Quran grants Muhammad twenty percent from raids, wars, and conquests.

Sura 8:1 shows some people complaining about how Muhammad distributed the wealth taken from his aggressive Battle of Badr in AD 624 against the Meccans. He gets a revelation that tells them who the boss is:

They ask you [Prophet] about [distributing] the battle gains. Say, “That is a matter for God and his Messenger, so be conscious of God and make things right between you. Obey God and His Messenger if you are true believers” . . . (Haleem)

Then he gets a revelation that says that he gets to keep twenty percent, to distribute as he sees fit.

Sura 8:41 says:

Know that one-fifth of your battle gains belong to God and His Messenger, to close relatives and orphans, to the needy and travelers, if you believe in God and the revelation We sent down to Our servant . . .

It is true that Muhammad distributes some of his twenty percent to the poor and needy—he is trying to maintain a community of Muslims, after all. But sometimes he gives the conquered spoils to the not-so-poor-and-needy, in order to “win over a people that they may become Muslims” . . . (Ibn Ishaq, Life of Muhammad, trans. A. Guillaume, Oxford UP, 1955, p. 596).

A reliable hadith absolutely supports Ibn Ishaq’s narrative or tradition:

. . . [W]hen the Messenger of Allah . . . conquered Hunain he distributed the booty, and he bestowed upon those whose hearts it was intended to win. (Muslim no. 2313)

That is, after the Battle of Hunain, which took place shortly after he conquered Mecca (early AD 630), he uses “the good things of this life” (Ibn Ishaq) to soften hearts for Islam, in order to convert not the poor and needy, but the elite, or to keep them in Islam.

The Prophet said, “I give to Quraish [large tribe in and around Mecca] people in order to let them adhere to Islam, for they are near to their life of Ignorance (i.e. they have newly embraced Islam and it is still not strong in their hearts.” (Bukhari)

The Quran in Sura 9:60 provides the strongest evidence of this dubious use of money:

Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of God; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by God, and God is full of knowledge and wisdom. (Yusuf Ali; insertions are his, but I added the bold font)

Though this verse speaks of charity and not the spoils of war, it still reveals the manipulation of buying off people to convert them or to keep them converted.

This passage appears manipulative, to me, even though Sura 9:60 says it was “ordained by God.” Jesus never used money or spoils of war to keep people converted, so God did not ordain this revelation and practice.

Click on A Brief History of War in Earliest Islam.

(6) The Quran permits husbands to hit their wives even if the husbands merely fear highhandedness in their wives, quite apart from whether they actually are highhanded—as if domestic violence in any form is acceptable.

Sura 4:34 says:

. . . If you fear highhandedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them. God is most high and great. (Abdel Haleem, emphasis added)

This hadith says that Muslim women in the time of Muhammad were suffering from domestic violence:

Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (Aisha) of her husband and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating). It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah’s Apostle came, Aisha said, “I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!” (Bukhari, emphasis added)

This hadith shows Muhammad hitting his girl-bride, Aisha, daughter of Abu Bakr, his right-hand Companion:

“He [Muhammad] struck me [Aisha] on the chest which caused me pain.” (Muslim no. 2127)

Domestic violence is completely unacceptable. This is reason enough not to convert to Allah’s religion.

Click on Domestic Violence in Early Islam.

(7) The Quran says that Muhammad had little or no authority over some evil jinn (genii) who came into his presence. Also, meteors kill jinn.

Some of the jinn listened to Muhammad’s recitation of his holy book. In Sura 72:13-15, the jinn speak in this passage, and some receive the truth (the Quran), whereas others refuse:

“… As soon as we heard the message of guidance [the Quran], we believed in it. Now whoever believes in his Lord will have neither fear of loss nor of injustice.” And that: “Some of us are Muslims (submissive to Allah) and some deviators from the Truth. Those who have adopted Islam (the way of submission) have found the way to salvation, and those who have deviated from the Truth will become fuel for Hell.” (Maududi, vol. 6, p. 91)

In Sura 72:8-9 the jinn say that shooting stars lie in wait for them, if they try to eavesdrop:

We searched the heavens and found it filled with guards and shooting stars . . . Before this we used to find a seat in heaven for eavesdropping, but now if someone tries to eavesdrop, he finds a shooting star lying in ambush for him” (Maududi, vol. 6, pp. 87-88)

These passages reflect pre-Islamic myths and beliefs that jinn can listen in on human conversations. But Muhammad manipulates the Meccan polytheists’ belief to his own advantage. If jinn have become Muslims, then what about stubborn Meccan humans becoming Muslims, too?

To postulate the existence of spirit beings like demons is one thing (the New Testament does this), but these Quranic passages take things well beyond the Bible and lurch over into manipulation and fantasy.

This index entry explains the jinn more fully. This lecture by a scholar of a previous generation is useful. Both links are offsite.

(8) The Quran allows mature men to marry and have sex with prepubescent girls.

This Quranic permission may be one of the strongest reasons why no one should. The true God would not allow this. Though the verses do not say, “Thou shalt do this,” Muhammad’s example speaks louder than the silence, and he had sex with a nine-year-old girl.

Sura 65:1 and 4 says:

O Prophet, when you (and the believers) divorce women, divorce them for their prescribed waiting-period and count the waiting-period accurately . . . 4 And if you are in doubt about those of your women who have despaired of menstruation, (you should know that) their waiting period is three months, and the same applies to those who have not menstruated as yet. As for pregnant women, their period ends when they have delivered their burden. (Maududi, vol. 5, pp. 599 and 617, emphasis added)

This hadith says that Aisha was only six when she was betrothed:

. . . [T]hen he [Muhammad] wrote the marriage (wedding) contract with Aishah when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consumed [sic, consummated] that marriage when she was nine years old. (Bukhari)

This hadith demonstrates that Muhammad pursued Aisha when she was a little girl. Abu Bakr is Aisha’s father, and he resists giving her to the prophet, until a little pressure is applied.

The Prophet asked Abu Bakr for ‘Aisha’s hand in marriage. Abu Bakr said “But I am your brother.” The Prophet said, “You are my brother in Allah’s religion and His Book, but she (Aisha) is lawful for me to marry.” (Bukhari)

Click on Marriage to Prepubescent Girls in Early Islam.

(9) The Quran orders the mutilation of male and female thieves.

Sura 5:38 says:

5:38 Cut off the hands of thieves, whether they are male or female, as punishment for what they have done—a deterrent from God: God is almighty and wise. 39 But if anyone repents after his wrongdoing and makes amends, God will accept his repentance: God is most forgiving and merciful. (Abdel Haleem)

This hadith says that the repentance of a thief is accepted after the hand is cut off.

Narrated ‘Aisha:

The Prophet cut off the hand of a lady, and that lady used to come to me, and I used to convey her message to the Prophet and she repented, and her repentance was sincere. (Bukhari)

And this hadith just below the linked one to Bukhari says the same—after the penalty:

Abu Abdullah said: “If a thief repents after his hand has been cut off, then his witness will be accepted. Similarly, if any person upon whom any legal punishment has been inflicted, repents, his witness will be accepted.”

Muhammad says that in the days of old, justice favored the rich. But he now imposes this penalty on them, even if the thief were his own daughter Fatima. So no one should intercede on behalf of any thief to prevent the penalty. It shall be imposed.

Do you intercede regarding one of the punishments prescribed by Allah? He then stood up and addressed (people) saying: O people, those who have gone before you were destroyed, because if any one of high rank committed theft amongst them, they spared him; and it anyone of low rank committed theft, they inflicted the prescribed punishment upon him. By Allah, if Fatima, daughter of Muhammad, were to steal, I would have her hand cut off. (Muslim no. 4188)

Click on Thieves, Give Muhammad a Hand!

(10) The Quran endorses slavery, and Muhammad himself traded in slaves.

Sura 47:4 says:

So, when you meet (in fight—Jihad in Allah’s cause) those who disbelieve, smite (their)necks till when you have killed or wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives). Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity (i.e. free them without ransom), or ransom (according to what benefits Islam), until war lays down its burden . . . . (Hilali and Khan, The Noble Qur’an, Riyadh: Darussalam, 2002; all insertions are theirs)

These two conservative translators accurately catch the essence and spirit of early historical Islam in battle and in taking prisoners of war. The Muslim victor has two options for prisoners: free release or ransom—according to what benefits Islam, add Hilali and Khan. The third option in other passages is for the raider to keep prisoners for himself, especially women with whom he may have sex (see point no. 11).

Sura 4:24 says:

And forbidden to you are wedded wives of other people except those who have fallen in your hands (as prisoners of war) . . . (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 319).

The following hadith shows a sad snapshot of abuse in original Islam. The passage matter-of-factly talks about disrobing a recently captured female prisoner of a Muslim raid. Salamah the Muslim raider was “fascinated” by her. But Muhammad wants her for himself. Why?

So we [Salamah and his captured girl] arrived in Medina. I had not yet disrobed her when the Messenger of Allah . . . met me in the street and said: Give me that girl, O Salamah. I said: Messenger of Allah, she has fascinated me. I had not yet disrobed her. When on the next day, the Messenger of Allah . . . again met me in the street, he said: O Salama, give me that girl, may God bless your father. I said: she is for you, Messenger of Allah . . . By Allah, I have not yet disrobed her. The Messenger of Allah . . . sent her to the people of Mecca, and surrendered her as ransom for a number of Muslims who had been kept as prisoners in Mecca. (Muslim no. 4345)

Click on Slavery in the Quran, Traditions and Classical Sharia Law.

Also see Slavery and Freedom in the Bible.

(11) The Quran says that slave-girls are sexual property for their male owners.

Sura 4:24 says:

And forbidden to you are wedded wives of other people except those who have fallen in your hands (as prisoners of war) . . . (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 319).

See also Suras 4:3; 23:5-6; 33:50; 70:22-30, all of which permit male slave-owners to have sex with their slave-girls. Suras 23:5-6 and 70:22-230 allow men to have sex with them in the Meccan period, during times of peace before Muhammad initiated his skirmishes and wars in Medina.

As for the hadith, Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, just finished a relaxing bath. Why? (Khumus is one-fifth of the spoils of war.)

The Prophet sent Ali to Khalid to bring the Khumus (of the booty) and . . . Ali had taken a bath (after a sexual act with a slave-girl from the Khumus).

What was Muhammad’s response to the person who hated Ali for this sexual act?

Do you hate Ali for this? . . . Don’t hate him, for he deserves more than that from [the] Khumus. (Bukhari)

Click on Slavery in the Quran, Traditions and Classical Sharia Law.

Also see Slavery and Freedom in the Bible.

(12) The Quran orders torture (crucifixion) and mutilation.

Sura 5:33 says:

5:33 Those who wage war against God and His Messenger and strive to spread corruption in the land should be punished by death, crucifixionthe amputation of an alternate hand and foot or banishment from the land: a disgrace for them in this world, and then a terrible punishment in the Hereafter, 34 unless they repent before you overpower them: in that case bear in mind that God is forgiving and merciful. (Abdel Haleem)

These hadiths say that Muhammad tortured some tribesmen before he executed them. This scenario provides the historical context of Sura 5:33-34. The explanations in parentheses have been added by the translator:

Narrated Anas: Some people . . . came to the Prophet and embraced Islam . . . [T]hey turned renegades (reverted from Islam) and killed the shepherd of the camels and took the camels away . . . The Prophet ordered that their hands and legs should be cut off and their eyes should be branded with heated pieces of iron, and that their cut hands and legs should not be cauterized, till they died. (Bukhari; here are parallel hadiths: 8.794 and read the passages below this linked one; Muslim nos. 4131-4137; Sunan Abu Dawud nos. 4351-4359)

This hadith shows Allah reprimanding Muhammad for his cruelty.

When the Apostle of Allah . . . cut off (the hands and feet of) those who had stolen his camels and he had their eyes put out by fire (heated nails), Allah reprimanded him on that (action), and Allah, the Exalted, revealed: “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Apostle and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is execution or crucifixion.” (Abu Dawud, no. 4357)

The problem with this reprimand is that it makes Sura 5:33 appear as if it were a vast improvement on Muhammad’s actions. Though the verse may improve on them a little, it still legalizes torture by crucifixion and mutilation. Both methods of punishing criminals are excessive and therefore unjust.

(13) The Quran orders sexual sinners to be whipped.

Sura 24:2:

The fornicatress and the fornicator, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment. [This punishment is for unmarried persons guilty of the above crime (illegal sex), but if married persons commit it (illegal sex), the punishment is to stone them to death, according to Allah’s law]. (Hilali and Khan; the additions in parentheses and brackets are theirs).

The hadith commands that adulterers should be stoned to death.

Then the Prophet said, ‘Take him away and stone him to death.” Jabir bin ‘Abdullah said: I was among the ones who participated in stoning him and we stoned him at the Musalla. When the stones troubled him, he fled, but we overtook him at Al-Harra [rocky place near Medina] and stoned him to death. (Bukhari; insertion added)

This hadith passage reports that a woman was buried up to her chest and stoned to death, her blood spurting:

And when he had given command over her and she was put in a hole up to her breast, he ordered the people to stone her. Khalid b. al-Walid came forward with a stone which he threw at her head, and when the blood spurted on his face he cursed her . . . (Muslim no. 4206)

The hadith commands that homosexuals should be executed.

Ibn Abbas, Muhammad’s cousin and highly reliable transmitter of hadith, reports the following about early Islam and Muhammad’s punishment of homosexuals:

. . . If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done (Abu Dawud no. 4447 and see the hadith below this linked one.)

This hadith says that homosexuals should be burned alive or have a wall pushed on them:

Ibn Abbas and Abu Huraira reported God’s messenger as saying, “Accursed is he who does what Lot’s people did.” In a version . . . on the authority of Ibn Abbas it says that Ali [Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law] had two people burned and that Abu Bakr [Muhammad’s chief companion] had a wall thrown down on them. (Mishkat, vol. 1, p. 765, Prescribed Punishments)

It is true that the Old Testament commands these punishments, so who are Christians to complain? In reply, however, the New Testament teaches that Christ has fulfilled this older sacred text. Also, see How Christians Should Interpret the Old Testament, which offers guidelines on how to interpret the Old Testament in light of the New. It is not wise to go backwards to a Quranic version of an Old Law?

Click on Adultery and Fornication in Early Islam

And click on Homosexuality in Early Islam.

(14) The Quran says that a woman’s testimony counts half of a man’s testimony because of her “forgetfulness.”

Sura 2:282 says:

And let two men from among you bear witness to all such documents [contracts of loans without interest]. But if two men be not available, there should be one man and two women to bear witness so that if one of the women forgets (anything), the other may remind her. (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 205; insertion is brackets is mine).

This verse implies that a woman’s mind is weak, and this hadith removes any ambiguity about women’s abilities in the verse:

The Prophet said, “Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?” The women said, “Yes.” He said, “This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.” (Bukhari, emphasis added)

There will be more women than men in Islamic hell, not because they make up a numerical majority on earth, but because of their (alleged) harshness and ingratitude.

Click on Women’s Status and Roles in Early Islam.

(15) The Quran allows an injured plaintiff to exact legal revenge—physical eye for physical eye, literally.

Sura 5:45 says:

5:45 And We ordained therein for them: Life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth and wounds equal for equal. But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it shall be for him an expiation. And whosoever does not judge by that which Allah has revealed, such are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers . . .). (Hilali and Khan)

Though the verse promotes forgiveness or remitting retaliation, which is positive, the problem lies in literal retaliation.

This hadith says that Muhammad’s household gives him bitter medicine, which he did not want, so in retaliation he will watch them squirm as they are forced drink the same medicine.

Narrated ‘Aisha:

We poured medicine into the mouth of the Prophet during his ailment. He said, “Don’t pour medicine into my mouth.” (We thought he said that) out of the aversion a patient usually has for medicines. When he improved and felt better he said, “There is none of you but will be forced to drink medicine, except Al-‘Abbas, for he did not witness your deed.” (Bukhari)

This hadith says that Muhammad stealthily tried to poke a Peeping Tom in the eye.

Narrated Anas:

A man peeped into one of the dwelling places of the Prophet. The Prophet got up and aimed a sharp-edged arrow head (or wooden stick) at him to poke him stealthily. (Bukhari; the second hadith just below this linked one declares that no one will be blamed if he pokes and injures the eye of a peeper. Though the Peeping Tom should be punished, here the punishment is more severe than the crime because a damaged eye cannot be replaced.

Click on the Law of Retaliation in the Quran and Early Islam

Also click on Eye for an eye and tooth for tooth: Revenge in the Old and New Testaments.

(16) The Quran orders death for individual critics and opponents of Muhammad.

Sura 33:59-61 says:

59 Prophet, tell you wives, your daughters, and women believers to make their outer garments hang low over them so as to be recognized and not insulted [aa-dh-aa]: God is most forgiving, most merciful. 60 If the hypocrites, the sick of heart, and those who spread lies in the city {Medina] do not desist, We shall arouse you [Prophet] against them, and then they will only be your neighbors in this city for a short while. 61 They will be rejected wherever they are found, and then seized and killed. (Abdel Haleem)

Muhammad had already assassinated some opponents for their insults and mockery before these verses were sent down, but now they give him divine endorsement. The word “insulted” comes from the Arabic three-letter root aa-dh-aa that has the semantic range of hurt, suffer, damage, injure, abuse, or harm. “The word . . . signifies a slight evil . . . or anything causing a slight harm” (Abdul Mannan Omar, ed., Dictionary of the Holy Qur’an, Noor Foundation, 2003, p. 19).

Click on Muhammad’s Dead Poet’s Society

And Free Speech in the Quran, Traditions and Sharia Law

(17) The Quran celebrates Muhammad’s slaughter and enslavement of a thriving Jewish tribe (Qurayza) and his confiscation of their property.

The Quran in Sura 33:25-27 says:

25 Allah turned back the unbelievers [Meccans and their allies] in a state of rage, having not won any good, and Allah spared the believers battle [q-t-l]. Allah is, indeed, Strong and Mighty. 26 And He brought those of the People of the Book [Qurayza] who supported them from their fortresses and cast terror into their hearts, some of them you slew [q-t-l] and some you took captive. 27 And he bequeathed to you their lands, their homes and their possessions, together with land you have never trodden. Allah has power over everything. (Fakhry)

The three-letter Arabic root q-t-l means killing, warring, fighting, or slaughtering. Polemicists understandably rush to defend this atrocity: (1) a pro-Jewish Muslim is the one who “adjudicated” this sentence, not Muhammad, so the prophet is off the hook. (2) The Jewish tribe broke a treaty of neutrality and fought with him. But these are easily answered. Muhammad could have called off the “trial” at any time, so he is not off the hook. And even if we assume that the tribe did break the treaty (and that is a big assumption, despite the hadith, since it has to make the prophet seem justified in everything), he had just witnessed Allah turning back a coalition of 10,000 Meccans and their allies (note verse 25). Some hadiths say that he was taking a bath after the battle. Evidently, Muhammad felt relaxed and not threatened, so how were the Jews strong enough to fight with him? Reputable historians say that they did not fight, but that the hadiths must make every effort to justify his atrocity by making the Jews appear extra-bad. Regardless, did the prophet for all of humanity have to exterminate the entire tribe? Could he not have expelled them or executed only the leaders?

Click on Muhammad’s Atrocity against the Qurayza Jews.

And Muhammad the the Jews

And Jihad and Qital in the Quran, Traditions, and Classical Law.

(18) The Quran orders warfare on Christians and Jews around the time of Muhammad’s first “Crusade” (long before the European ones).

Sura 9:29 says:

Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued (Hilali and Khan, insertions in parentheses are theirs)

This verse that commands battle against Christians is all about theology and belief. It says nothing explicit about a real and physical harm done to Islam. Muhammad launched his Tabuk Crusade in late AD 630 against the Byzantine Christians. He had heard a rumor that an army was mobilizing to invade Arabia, but the rumor was false, so his 30,000 jihadists returned home, but not before imposing a jizya tax on northern Christians and Jews. They had three options: (1) fight and die; (2) convert; (3) or submit and pay the second-class-citizen jizya tax for the “privilege” of living under Islam.

This hadith reveals Muhammad’s plan to expel Jews and Christians out of the Arabian Peninsula.

It has been narrated by ‘Umar b. al-Khattib that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim. (Muslim no. 4366)

Click on these articles:

The Truth about Islamic Jihad and Imperialism: A Timeline.

Is the Bible More Violent than the Quran?

Are Christianity and Islam equally violent?

(19) The Quran orders warfare and death for polytheists who refuse to convert.

Sura 9:5 says:

Then, when the months made unlawful for fighting expire, kill the mushriks [polytheists] wherever you find them, and seize them, and besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, establish Salat [prayer five times a day] and pay the Zakat dues [charity tax], then let them go their way. (Maududi, vol. 2, p. 175; insertions mine)

One could interpret that verse as applying only to the pagans at that specific time. But the problems is that this hadith leaves no doubt about Muhammad’s mission in Arabia and his known world:

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:

Allah’s Apostle said: “I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform a that, then they save their lives an property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah.” (Bukhari.)

Click on A Brief History of War in the Earliest Caliphates.

Jihad and Qital in the Quran, Traditions, and Classical Sharia Law

All the Jihad Verses in the Quran

Qital (Warfare) Verses in the Quran

(20) The Quran testifies against its own reliability and incorruptibility.

It does so in at least two ways.

(1) Someone changed some “Satanic verses” to polemical verses. Living in Mecca, Muhammad was discouraged because many in his tribe did not believe his message. He was heavily burdened for them and desired (note the key word) their acceptance of his monotheism.

Tabari the historian and commentator (d. 923) records the verses from Sura 53, which encourages the Meccans to receive intercession from their three main goddesses. He writes:

And when he [Muhammad] came to the words:

Have you thought upon al-Lat and al-Uzza and Manat, the third, the other? [Sura 53:19-20]

Satan cast on his tongue, because of his inner debates and what he desired to bring upon his people, the words:

These are the high-flying cranes, verily their intercession is accepted with approval. (Tabari, ibid.)

This (no longer existing) verse says that appealing to these three deities for intercession is approved by Allah, the high god. This last verse is not found in the Quran today (Arberry’s translation, Sura 53, note 7), but it was replaced with a polemical verse:

Are you [polytheists] to have the male and He [Allah] the female? [53:21]

Here the interpolator argues that human polytheists prefer the male child, whereas they consign to Allah female children. The interpolator uses the beliefs of the polytheists against them because they worshipped the daughters of the higher god. Why should only humans get sons? In seventh-century Arab culture, this was unfair to the deity.

The truth of this incident cannot be doubted for the reason that prominent Islamologist W. M. Watt, who often defends Muhammad, offers:

The truth of the story cannot be doubted, since it is inconceivable that any Muslim would invent such a story, and it is inconceivable that a Muslim scholar would accept such a story from a non-Muslim. (Tabari, Muhammad at Mecca, trans. Watt and M. V. McDonald, Introduction, vol. 6, p. xxxiv)

(2) The Quran asserts that Satan cast words into every prophet while under inspiration. Allah is speaking and uses “We” in Sura 22:52:

We have never sent any messenger or prophet before you [Muhammad] into whose wishes Satan did not insinuate something, but removes what Satan insinuates and then God affirms His message . . . (Abdel Haleem)

Abdel Haleem uses the word “removes” instead of “abrogates” or “cancels,” but this does not help matters. Allah still has to change and correct his revelations. Remember, the Quran was revealed over a short period of time. So what is it about these revelations that Allah has to remove so quickly? The historian Tabari connects this verse to the Satanic verses. Muhammad “wished” for the Meccans to convert, so he spoke the wrong verses in Sura 53. They were changed to 53:21 that is found in the Quran of today.

Allah through the Quran says that every prophet was inspired by Satan. Was Muhammad the prophet who channeled the Quran? This Satanic inspiration calls into doubt other revelations in the Quran, especially when he reveals the truth about Biblical characters that differs so widely from the Bible, the true source (see no. 1 at the top of this entire list).

(21) The Quran shows Muhammad nervously taking refuge in Allah from dark powers and magic.

In light of this Satanic inspiration in reason no. 20, above, this aspect of Muhammad’s life is troubling.

Sura 113, a short one, revealed in Mecca, says in its entirety:

Say [Prophet], “I seek refuge with the Lord of daybreak 2 against the evil in what He has created, 3 the evil in the night when darkness gathers, 4 the evil in witches when they blow on knots, 5 the evil in the envier when he envies.” (Abdel Haleem) (cf. Suras 7:200-201; 16:98; 41:36; and Sura 114, a short one, in its entirety)

The following hadith indicates that Muhammad believes that some sort of knots on the head is the result of Satan and witchcraft.

Allah’s Apostle said, “Satan puts three knots at the back of the head of any of you if he is asleep. On every knot he reads and exhales the following words, ‘The night is long, so stay asleep.’ When one wakes up and remembers Allah, one knot is undone; and when one performs ablution, the second knot is undone, and when one prays the third knot is undone and one gets up energetic with a good heart in the morning; otherwise one gets up lazy and with a mischievous heart.” (Bukhari)

This hadith demonstrates that Muhammad was so deeply influenced by magic that he believed that he was having sex with his wives, but in reality he was not.

Narrated Aisha:

Magic was worked on Allah’s Apostle so that he used to think that he had sexual relations with his wives while he actually had not. (Bukhari)

The highly respected conservative commentator, Sayyid Maududi, says that the hadiths on Muhammad’s bewitchment are sound. “As far as the historical aspect is concerned, the incident of the Holy Prophet’s being affected by magic is absolutely confirmed” . . . (Maududi and scroll down to “Question of Holy Prophet being affected by magic“)

No one can reasonably disagree with Maududi. Muhammad was bewitched.

Please click on How Jesus and Muhammad confronted Satan (offsite and written by the present author of this post)

(22) The Quran recycles events in young Mary’s life that really come from apocryphal gospels, even though Muhammad claims that he received this information only by revelation.

First, Sura 3:44 says this about Muhammad’s revelations concerning young Mary, describing men arguing over her:

This is an account of things beyond your knowledge that We [Allah] reveal to you [Muhammad]: you were not present among them when they cast lots to see which of them should take charge of Mary, you were not present when they argued [about her]. (Abdel Haleem; the first insertion in brackets is mine; the last two are Abdel Haleem’s)

The following passage from the apocryphal gospel says that divining rods were used to decide on the custody of young Mary. The passage describes some tumult among the candidates as well.

The apocryphal gospel says:

8.3 And the heralds went forth and spread out through all the surrounding country of Judaea; the trumpet of the Lord sounded and all [the widowers] ran to it. [The widowers give their rods to the high priest] 9.1 When he took the rods, and went out (again) [from the Temple] and gave them to them: but there was no sign on them . . . [Joseph got a divine sign of a dove]. And the priest said to Joseph: “Joseph, to you has fallen the good fortune to receive the virgin of the Lord; take her under your care. (New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 1, rev. ed. by W. Schneemelcher, trans. R. McL. Wilson, Westminster / John Knox, 1991, pp. 429-430)

In both accounts, divination or divine signs (rods or lots) are used to determine who should take care of young Mary. Also, it is not difficult to imagine in both the Quran and the pseudo-gospel that a small crowd of men gathered, wondering who would win guardianship and then marry her. Both versions say or imply that they “argued” over her. Muhammad simply changed some elements or received an altered version, as the story grew and evolved in the telling, from one century to the next. But the borrowing is unmistakable.

The second example is found in Sura 19 that is even named after Mary. According to verses 16-26, Mary traveled to the east and secluded herself. An angel came and promised her a son. She conceived miraculously, and during the pains of childbirth she cries out.

Sura 19:23-26 says:

23 . . . [A]nd, when the pain of childbirth drove her to cling to the trunk of the palm tree, she exclaimed, “I wish I had been long dead and forgotten before all this!” 24 but a voice cried to her from below, “Do not worry: your Lord has provided a stream at your feet 25 and, if you shake the trunk of the palm tree towards you, it will deliver fresh ripe dates for you, 26 so eat, drink, be glad . . . . (Abdel Haleem)

This story of miraculous deliverance through a palm tree from above and a stream of water from below comes from Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, or more fully, The Book About the Origin of the Blessed Mary and the Childhood of the Savior.

The apocryphal gospel says:

Then the child Jesus, who was sitting with a happy countenance in his mother’s lap, said to the palm: “Bend down your branches, O tree, and refresh my mother with your fruit.” And immediately at this command [voice] the palm bent down to the feet of the blessed Mary, and they gathered from its fruit and they all refreshed themselves . . . [Addressing the palm, Jesus says:] “And open beneath your roots a vein of water . . . and let the waters flow” . . . And when they saw the fountain of water, they greatly rejoiced and quenched their thirst . . . (The New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 1, p. 463)

Though the small details differ, the broad outline of the pseudo-gospel and the Quran match up well. First, both share the same context: a nativity and infancy narrative—the beginning of the Messiah’s life. Second, the Quran has Mary traveling; in the pseudo-gospel Mary (and Joseph and Jesus) also travel. Third, the Quran says that Mary heard a voice or command; the pseudo-gospel adds that the voice or command belonged to baby Jesus. Fourth, the apocryphal gospel says that a palm tree provided food from above, and a stream of water provided refreshment from below; the Quran says the same. Finally, both books recount this fiction as a miracle, when Mary (and Joseph) needed it most. Clearly, Muhammad did not learn this fiction from a manuscript in front of him. He was not a scholar, after all. But some borrowing is undeniable—for objective readers and seekers.

Muhammad did not really get this information about Mary from revelations, but from apocryphal gospels, not revelations. So what does his claim in Sura 3:44 imply?

Click on The Apocryphal Gospels in the Quran (offsite)

This chapter (offsite) is written by highly qualified Islamologist William St. Clair-Tisdall of an earlier generation, who knew Islam and Arabic thoroughly. He provides details that demonstrate that the ultimate source of this Quranic fiction is Buddhist (scroll down to “Story of the Virgin Mary”). By the seventh century, Buddhism had impacted Persia and other points farther west.

(23) The Quran confuses the doctrine of the Spirit.

Islam borrows the language and vocabulary of Christianity, but the historically later religion (Islam) alters them in small and big ways. This is true of the Quran’s pneumatology (doctrine of the Spirit). The references to the Spirit are far, far fewer than those in the New Testament. In fact, the references in the Quran, below, are complete (or nearly so).

The Spirit in the Quran has similar functions as those in the Bible, but the Quranic Spirit’s role is weaker and less defined. Specifically, the Quranic Spirit seems to be involved in creation (Suras 15:98; 32:7-9; 38:71-72). He helped Mary conceive Jesus (Suras 19:18-19; 21:91; 66:12). The Spirit appeared in the form of a man to Mary (Sura 19:18-19). He strengthened Jesus (Suras 2:87; 2:253; 5:110), and the believers (Sura 58:22). Jesus is called a “spirit from God” (Sura 4:171; cf. 2:253). He inspired and revealed the Quran (Sura 16:102; 17:85; 26:192-193; 97:4). Finally, he is a witness or participates in some way in the Last Day (Suras 70:4; 78:38), warning of impending judgment (Sura 40:15).

Thus, the Quran’s view of the Spirit overlaps somewhat with the Bible’s (creation, conception of Jesus, and inspiration), but in other ways the Quran is confused and deficient (Jesus is a spirit; the Spirit appears as a man; his helping believers is mentioned only once). But none of this confusion and deficiency matters, because traditional Islam erroneously reduces the Spirit to the archangel Gabriel. Why? A fully developed pneumatology wreaks havoc on a strict Unitarian doctrine of God.

(24) The Quran says that Muhammad is only a human and mortal messenger.

Sura 39:30 was received in Mecca, and Muhammad is verbally separating off the true believers from the untrue. When Judgment Day comes, each side will see the truth because death will reveal it, even his own death:

You [Prophet] will surely die, and so will they [disbelieving Meccan polytheists] (Haleem; the first insertion is his, the second mine.)

Sura 41:6 was received in Mecca and uses similar heated rhetoric against the Meccan polytheists. Allah tells his prophet to “say” these words to them:

Say [Prophet], “I am only a mortal like you” . . . (Abdel Haleem)

He goes on to say that God revealed to him that God is One. The implication is that the polytheists must change their religion and beliefs.

Sura 3:144 was revealed after the Battle of Uhud in AD 625, three years after Muhammad’s Hijrah or Emigration from Mecca to Medina. His army lost the battle in theory, but in practice he did not lose much materially, so he quickly recovered. But he asks his followers this question, predicated on his mortality.

Muhammad is only a messenger before whom many messengers have been and gone. If he died or were killed, would you revert to your old ways? (Abdel Haleem)

Muhammad dies of a fever in AD 632.

“Narrated ‘Aisha: The Prophet died while he was between my chest and chin” . . . (Bukhari)

See my study (offsite and written by author of this post) References to Muhammad’s Titles.

(25) The Quran denies the divine and eternal Sonship of Jesus Christ.

One verse is sufficient as an example. Sura 9 is one of the last chapters to be revealed, if not the last one, and Muhammad’s rhetoric heats up against Christians (and Jews). Recall that reason no. 18 cites Sura 9:29, which commands Muhammad to fight Christians. In the next verse he curses Christians who say that Allah has a son (verse 30):

. . . Christians say: Messiah is the son of Allah . . . Allah’s curse be on them, how deluded away from the truth! (Hilali and Khan) (cf. Suras 2:116; 6:101; 10:68; 18:1, 4-5; 19:35, 88-93; 21:17, 26-27; 23:91; 43:81-82)

As a reply to this curse, perhaps it is not unreasonable to quote some verses from the Apostle John, who lived and talked with Jesus for three years. John lived longer than the other apostles. In his days many years after the resurrection, he warned Christians of teachers who would arise and deny the Sonship of Jesus Christ.

22 Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father. (1 John 2:22-23)

Christians are to test doctrines by Christ’s and the Apostles’ standards. Based on this New Testament passage, what are Christian supposed to conclude about Muhammad’s denial that Jesus is the Son of God? Muhammad’s denial makes him look bad, standing in the light of these Biblical verses.

These verses are strong, to be sure. But the difference between Sura 9:30 and 1 John 2:22-23 is the context. In verse 29 Muhammad is commanded to fight Christians in real battles with real weapons. In contrast, with words alone John warns Christians about false teachers. He did not call Christians to arm themselves and to chop off heads.

Personally, I choose the Son of God (or he chose me) who was called to die for my and your sins, over and above a human and mortal messenger. I could never give up Jesus Christ by demoting him to a mere prophet or human messenger or watered down, distorted Islamic Messiah.

Conclusion

For me, the bottom line is this: If every person alive today were to follow the Quran to its fullest, the world would be worse off. However, if every person alive were to follow the New Covenant Scriptures to their fullest, the world would be better off.

Thus, for these twenty-five reasons, no one should convert to Islam. Better yet, many millions of people should leave Islam.

This post updates the earlier one (offsite and written by the author of this present post): Why I do not convert to Islam.

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