1. WHY READ THIS ESSAY?
In case you haven’t noticed, Islam is a hot topic at the moment. However, in all my reading about the religion, it’s philosophy, culture and politics I have never seen an in-depth objective analysis of any of the contents of the Qur’an. This essay is my attempt to rectify that lack. I approach the task using the amazing research that has been pouring out of the world’s leading universities over the last 30 years, research that has yet to find its place in popular literature. But before we get into that research let’s first take a quick look at some of the theological claims made by the Qur’an so that you are familiar with what we will be talking about. These claims spill liberally out of the second chapter of its book and, in no particular order, include the following:
All humans were Muslims before other religions began
The Qur’an was completed before 632AD
All Biblical prophets received the Qur’an not the Torah
Jews and Christians perverted the Qur’an into the Torah and the Gospels
Abraham was a Muslim
Abraham established Mecca
Mecca existed at the time of Muhammad
Muhammad lived in Mecca
All mosques faced Mecca after 624AD
The Qur’an came from heaven via Muhammad
The Qur’an mainly addresses Meccan and Medinan polytheists
Muhammad is the last and greatest prophet
The Qur’an confirms the Bible’s teachings
Allah is a singular monarch, not a trinity
The end times were coming soon after Muhammad
And, Jesus was a Muslim.
As your read this essay all these theological assumptions will be critically analysed for their theological, political and cultural origins, as well as their purposes and consequences.
2. INTRODUCTION TO THE QUR’AN
In the last 40 years scholars have begun to use the tools of higher criticism that were developed to examine Christianity’s roots to now examine Islam’s roots. Using their findings, I will take you into the world behind the second and most important chapter of the Qur’an. Islamic theology is a philosophy of life, not a group of people, and as such must be subject to the same rigors of debate and historical scrutiny as any other worldview. This essay is my contribution to this debate while respecting the sensitivities of those who live within the Islamic worldview.
The Qur’an is the key religious text of the Islamic religion. It is divided up into 114 chapters called surahs. Surah Two has 286 verses called ayats. It is the longest surah in the Qur’an and therefore comes almost at the beginning of the book. Its Arabic name is Al-Baqara or The Cow. Islamic traditional history, which comes to us via the Sira and the Hadith literature, says this surah was the first to be revealed to Muhammad after he fled to Medina, that it was his favourite, and that it was directed toward pagan and Jewish unbelievers of that city.
To read Surah Two is to read a fragmented collection of polemic level arguments and teachings that contain nearly all the core doctrines of the Islamic religious worldview. Surah Two is therefore the perfect vehicle for critically examining the essential teachings of the entire Qur’an.
However, this essay stands in contrast to many popular internet discourses on Surah Two that blindly accept the Hadith traditions regarding its origins, location, background and mode of inspiration. I have instead used the latest research from the world’s leading western experts in Middle Eastern history, culture and linguistics to help you step inside the mind of the writer, or writers, of the surah and discover its true genesis. The remainder of this introduction will now explore these expert findings before I go through the teachings of the surah in detail.
When was the Qur’an Written?
First we must talk about traditional Islamic historical explanations. The official Hadith and Sira explanations of Surah Two were first written down a full two to three centuries after the history they claim to describe. This leaves a suspiciously large historical gap between the events leading to the creation of the surah and their official history. This gap is almost equal to the gap between the American War of Independence and the present. Imagine only now beginning to write the history of this event based on many generations of oral memory. That’s what we have with the Sira and the Hadith. Because of this historical gap, the purely literary nature of the evidence, the many internal contradictions they contain and the lack of collaborating physical evidence, many leading Western scholars are now calling the Sira and Hadith records secondary rather than primary historical source material.
In contrast, the objective evidence from these western scholars has shown that linguistics, rock inscriptions, trade notes, secular historical accounts, religious records, imperial records, geography and archaeology, as well as the internal statements contained within Surah Two itself, all point to a very different origin to that described in the Hadith and the Sira. Many of these findings have only emerged in the last forty years and strongly suggest the Qur’an was completed in the early 8th Century, a full hundred years later than is claimed in the Islamic literary histories.
These somewhat unsettling claims of a late origin for the Qur’an as a complete book, and particularly Surah Two, come from the best secular researchers the world has produced to date: Palestinian professor, Dr Sulimon Bashear, spent a lifetime studying the Qur’an and in so doing he found that the interpretation of various Qur’anic passages evolved from anti-Byzantine to pro-Meccan sentiment and origin and that the story of Muhammad evolved rapidly into legend. John Wansbrough’s ground-breaking theories, now being confirmed by many researchers, suggest the Arab Empire had to hurriedly rework its origins, its theological books and even its geography to give itself legitimacy in the eyes of neighbouring civilizations. Ibin Warraq’s studies confirm that there was no evidence that the Qur’an had authority in the early Arabic Empire. Semitic language specialist Gunter Luling asserts that up to a third of the Qur’an may in fact predate the Islamic timeline and Arabic language, being material used in Syrian church liturgy. This, he says, is why the Hadiths struggle to make sense of much of the Qur’an. Cristoph Luxenberg confirms his conclusions. Professor M J Kister, co-founder of the Arabic departments of Israel’s two major universities, found that there was meagre and scanty real information on the life of Muhammad to be found in any Hadith. French Islamologist Henri Lammens, concluded that large parts of the hadiths were invented to account for the obscurities found in the Qur’an, with the theory of abrogation aiding the commentators for the contradictory passages. Andrew Rippin concludes that in no sense can the Qur’an be assumed to be a primary document in constructing the life of Muhammad. Gerald Hawting points out that One often feels that the meaning and context supplied for a particular verse or passage of the Qur’an is not based on any historical memory. Even Fred Donner concedes that the language of the Hadiths and the Qur’an are different, pointing to a major lapse in time between the two. And we haven’t even touched on the works of Patricia Crone, Robert Hoyland, Yehuda Nevo, Gerd Piun and Tom Holland, all of which have contributed greatly to our current understanding of the true origins of Islam.
Because of the determined work of these researchers we can now say with confidence that Surah Two was actually a very late addition to an evolving collection of Arab holy literature that eventually coalesced into what we now know as the Qur’an sometime around the beginning of the 8th Century. This would place the writing of Surah Two at around 70 to 90 years after the founding of the Arab Empire, and 70 to 90 years after its alleged divine revelation to Muhammad. So, like many other religious documents and historical tales in history, Surah Two probably evolved into what we see today.
The reasons we know of the lateness of this surah are three-fold:
1. Surah Two contains a section that discusses a change of direction for all Muslim prayer (2:142-150). It cleverly does so without mentioning from where this direction was before or to where it now points. Nor does it mention when the change took place. This lack of detail is suspicious for a historical document. The Hadith and Sira literature, written hundreds of years later, conveniently fill in these gaps by explaining that the change took place exactly on the 11th of February 624 AD under inspiration from Allah, and involved a change from Jerusalem to Mecca.
However, we now know this claim is totally false as it has been unequivocally established from archaeological evidence that for the first 100 years of the Arab Empire all mosques faced the city of Petra, in Jordan. Not a single mosque faced Mecca during this era. Not one! This includes the Mosque of Amr ibn al-‘As in Egypt, the Great Mosque of Ba’albek in Lebanon, the Great Mosque of Sana’a in Yemen, the Mushatta Mosque of Amman in Jordan, the Umayyad Damascus Mosque and the Dome of the Rock Mosque in Jerusalem, as well as many others.
The first mosque to be built to face Mecca was the Banbhore Mosque in Pakistan built in 725 AD (some records suggest it was 727 AD). The next hundred years saw mosques facing several different directions with only one of those directions being Mecca. It was only from 822AD, some 200 years after the founding of the empire, and the same time as the writing of the Hadith literature, that we find all mosques facing Mecca.
The reason for this directional absence, confusion and eventual conformity was that Mecca simply did not exist for most of the first hundred years of the Arab Empire’s history. Mecca is actually missing from every possible line of objective non-Muslim and even non-religious Arab historical record until 741 AD. This includes maps, trade notes, ancient histories, religious inscriptions and imperial records from both Arab and non-Arab sources. Mecca is also missing from the Qur’an itself.
Thus, Surah Two’s inclusion of the change of direction regarding prayer points to both a deliberate fabrication of the Sira and Hadith literature, and definitive proof that the surah had to be written after this change of direction, that is, after the turn of the 8th Century. This one fact alone calls into question the life of Muhammad, the history of the Qur’an and the entire Islamic worldview built as it is on the Sira and Hadith literature.
But there’s more.
2. A second piece of evidence that Surah Two is late is its inclusion of the word Qur’an in Surah Two. There is actually no non-Muslim or objective non-Qur’anic reference to the Qur’an as a complete book in any account of the Arab Empire until the year 710 AD. Yes, before that date Surah Two itself did exist, but it is specifically mentioned as a separate stand-alone text, suggesting the Qur’an was still coming together. John of Damascus, writing in 730 AD, still refers to the text of The Cow as a stand-alone book, suggesting it was possibly still not incorporated into the Qur’an at that late date. A Muslim by the name of Qatada ibn Diama (d. 735 AD) also mentions The Cow as a separate stand-alone book.
The oldest independently dated piece of Islamic writing in existence that articulates the emerging Arab religion also confirms the missing Qur’an. This writing is none other than the official inscription inside the Dome of the Rock Mosque in Jerusalem, definitively dated at 691AD. This inscription comes some 70 years after the founding of the Arab Empire and the alleged founding of Islam (For an in-depth understanding of the actual founding of the Arab Empire and its later evolution into an Islamic empire please click here). The use of the words Qur’an and Muslim are conspicuously missing from the Dome of the Rock inscription even though numerous references are made to Christian doctrines, Christian heresies, Jesus Christ and the Christian scriptures. If the Qur’an existed at the time it would have been mentioned in this definitive polemical treatise.
The word Qur’an is also not yet in use in the wider community at that time according to hundreds of rock inscriptions from Israel’s Negev Desert. These inscriptions only begin to mention the word Qur’an after the year 700 AD. They also only begin to use the word Muhammad after 685 AD. Why are these crucial theological words still missing some 50 and 70 years after they were supposed to be in widespread circulation?
By the way, the word Qur’an itself is a Christian Syriac word derived from Qiryan, meaning a scripture lesson or recitation. In the oldest Qur’anic manuscripts it appears simply as qrn, which is much closer to the Syriac. This is a hugely significant choice of a name and religious word for the greatest revelation in Islam. If it was the beginning of a new religion then why did it choose a Christian word for its most important revelation?
The word Muslim is also missing from the earliest records we have of the Arab Empire. No non-Muslim source anywhere calls the Arabs Muslims until the 8th Century. They were always called Hagarians, Saracens, Muhajirun or Ishmaelites. This new term also only came into use at the end of the 7th Century.
3. The third reason we know about the lateness of Surah Two is that some of the Hadith literature, as well as some non-Muslim sources actually describe Abd al-Malik, the Umayyad ruler of the Arab Empire from 685 to 705 AD, as the compiler of the Qur’an. One hadith quotes him as saying I fear death in the month of Ramadan; In it I was born, in it I was weaned, in it I have collected the Qur’an, and in it I was elected Caliph. A letter by the Byzantine emperor Leo III written to the Muslim leader Umar II around 720 AD also describes Abd al Malik’s governor Hajjaj ibn Yusuf as the gatherer, editor and compiler of the Arab religious books in a fashion that suggests his actions were common knowledge at the time. The Hadith writer Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (Tahdhib al-Tahdhib Vol. 4 195-7n386) also makes the claim that Hajjaj ibn Yusuf collected separate sections of script called The Cow, The Woman, and Imran, into surahs 2, 3, and 4 of the Qur’an.
Ironically, the Hadith literature do also talk extensively about an official editing and canonisation of the authorized version of the Qur’an and the concurrent destruction of rival deviant copies, but they say it was done by Uthman and dated to around 650 AD. The likelihood that this story was a convenient reconstruction of later historians is very high in light of the above information.
Who Edited the Qur’an?
Thus we now know Surah Two was not written by a man called Muhammad in a city called Mecca between 620 and 632 AD, and that a book called the Qur’an did not exist as a whole before 695 AD at the absolute earliest and probably came together in the first decades of the 8th Century.
So what would motivate someone to produce Surah Two and the Qur’an in that era?
The answer comes from the political events swirling around the new Arab Empire at the turn of the 8th Century. Until the leadership of Abd Al-Malik, the empire was seen by its rulers as still loosely inside the Christian worldview, as clearly evidenced by their political attachment to Jerusalem and the quasi-Christian polemic inscription inside the Dome of the Rock Mosque. However that very inscription also highlights the Arab Empire’s stridently anti-Trinitarianism theology of Monarchianism and Arianism, which was popular at that time on the borderlands of the Byzantine world, particularly in the regions where the Jewish populations were high. This theological denial of Christ’s deity marked the Arab Christian Empire as the sworn enemy of the Byzantine Trinitarian Catholic Empire. Every empire of that era had to be anchored in a uniting politicised theology that unified its people and motivated its armies, and these two empires hated each other at so many theological levels.
Many things changed under Abd al-Malik’s rule which set the Arabs on a path toward a new religion. Abd al-Malik kept the previously used word MHMT on his coins but now removed the traditional Christian cross on the reverse of those same coins. This tantalisingly hints that the word Muhammad had something to do with Christ, not an Arab warlord. Abd al-Malik also minted the first imperial coins in Arabic instead of Latin and Greek. His administration also saw the adoption of Arabic in all imperial correspondence. Then there was construction of the Dome of the Rock Mosque, another Abd al-Malik project, with its clear and bold articulation of Arab theological war on Byzantine Trinitarian theology. The Negev rock inscriptions mentioned above also start to see references to an emerging Islamic theology toward the end of the 7th Century. Finally, there are previously mentioned Hadith records that tell us his general, Al-Hajjaj, was tasked with pulling together the fragments of Arab theology into a single book.
These developments took place in the context of a near-fatal rebellion against Abd al-Malik’s rule from 685 AD that was led by Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr. The rebellion saw the Arab sacred temple in Petra destroyed and its revered black stone removed and set up in a rival temple near two pre-Islamic pilgrimage sites, Arafat and Mina, on the coastal plain below the old trade stopover of Ta’if in the Hejaz. While the rebellion was going well, the Persians, still smarting from the loss of their empire and who also hated the rule of the Umayyad’s and Abd al Malik, aligned themselves with the rebels and the new place of worship. Once the uprising was quashed, Abd al-Malik allowed the change in the direction of prayer from Petra to Mecca to continue, appeasing the rebels and giving him two religious holy sites, Jerusalem and the new uniquely Arab temple deep in the Hejaz at a place called Mecca.
Abd al-Malik thus spent most of his reign consolidating his power by creating a new Arabic religious theology to justify his sprawling and expanding Arab empire. However, in 750 AD the rebellious Persians, whose great empire still existed in their collective memory, usurped control of the Palestine-based Umayyad Arab Empire and wiped out all Abd al-Malik’s descendants. It was the Persian legal scholars who then created the Sira and the Hadith near their new capital of Baghdad. These legal codes, histories and sayings completed the transition from a Christian to a Muslim empire and were the real birthing of modern Islam.
3. INTRODUCTION TO SURAH TWO
Now let’s go through Surah Two in critical detail so you can see the unfolding of the Islamic worldview blow by blow. Surah One is a very short nine-line prayer, whereas Surah Two has 6,144 words, and from there until Surah 114 all the surahs basically reduce in length. The length and position of Surah Two in the Qur’an tells the reader of the utmost importance of this surah in the religion of Islam. Surah Two is the best articulation of the doctrines of the new Arab Empire that we have and for all intents and purposes it is the real beginning of the Qur’an.
In my commentary I have used N. J. Dawood’s translation of the Qur’an. I have skipped commenting on many mundane ayats in the surah, choosing to focus on the more important ones that give insights into the Muslim worldview. My personal comments on many of them are based on two years of intense research into the true origins of Islam from the works of the scholars mentioned above. You can read the surah in full by clicking on this link which is its Pickthall translation, a superior one to Dawood’s but one I did not have access to in book form when doing my research. Most web links go straight to what is called The Noble Qur’an, a frustratingly inadequate version but the easiest to use with computers as it gives you the exact ayat you search for, so I have referenced nearly all links to this version. For avid readers I suggest you split your page so you can follow Pickthall’s Qur’an and read my commentary at the same time.
As to the author of the Qur’an, I will always refer to the writer rather than Muhammad. I do so because it more accurately reflects a secular understanding of the true origins of the polemic. It gives you a better insight into the nature of Arab imperial and theological thinking around 700 AD.
I admit a grudging admiration for the writer (or writers) of Surah Two! Someone whom I believe to be a very clever, intelligent and highly educated legal scholar. He, or they, make many mistakes as I will soon highlight, but their polemic lays a very clever set of theological presuppositions from which they build a clear superstructure. If you accept these unprovable presuppositions, then Islam makes perfect logical sense. As with every worldview, including atheism and Christianity, it is all about the believability of the presuppositions that makes the rest of its claims seem logical to those who are true believers.
I have also taken the liberty of dividing the surah into sections that I believe form natural groupings and have given each a heading. So, let’s now jump in.
4. THE GREAT ISLAMIC POLEMIC BEGINS
Ayat 1: Readers are warned on the very first line: This book is not to be doubted. It is highly instructive that from the very first line readers are warned not to question the Qur’an’s claims, just to submit and believe it. This is what the very word Islam means; submission. The Qur’an teaches that all humanity are slaves to Allah, not servants, not sons, not daughters, but slaves. Therefore submission is mandatory and unquestioning belief is part of that submission. Unsurprisingly, when this surah was written, this submission to Allah also conveniently meant submission to the Arab Empire, its leaders and its ambitions for conquest. The development of the Islamic religion made it far easier to justify the Arab Empire’s existence, expansion and intellectual control over the minds of its subjects.
It is a guide for the righteous. In the Middle Eastern world religious orthopraxy, or right action, was always more important than the European emphasis on religious orthodoxy, or right belief. In the Islamic worldview obedience and submission is the definition of righteousness, not correct theology.
3. Who give from what We have given them. This is the first instance in the surah where the writer refers to Allah in the plural. However, this is at odds with the official definition of Allah that he is a Unitarian divine Monarch. Allah is claimed to be one and no more, and definitely not three in one. Intriguingly, there are over 60 more examples of this strange pluralised self-reference in Surah Two alone. There are over a thousand examples in the entire Qur’an. They often appear with Allah swapping from singular to plural and from first to third person when speaking, creating utter confusion with the text and the language. Surah 6:126-8 is a classic example well worth the read, as are these: surah 15:26-29 and surah 66:12: The original Arabic version of this ayat suggests it’s the Holy Spirit being breathed into man, surah 23:12-14: In this ayat Allah is the best of creators, a plural term leaving open the idea that there could be other creators, and surah 45:6: Which suggests someone other than Allah is speaking.
The Islamic exegetical explanation for this confusion is that Allah is using the royal We to denote his majesty. However, the several uses of the word We listed above are quite troubling, clearly suggesting a plurality in the Islamic godhead, an anathema for the average Muslim to contemplate, but which is actually suggested in surah 53:19-20
6: As for the unbelievers they will not have faith, Allah has set a seal on their hearts and ears. Intriguingly, immediately after Allah has created and sealed the unbelief of unbelievers, he then immediately declares that grievous punishment awaits them? The paradox of divine predestination and parallel human accountability are hallmarks of the Qur’an’s treatment of humanity. The grievous punishment mentioned here is repeated many hundreds of times in the Qur’an and involves war, subjugation, onerous social burdens, and humiliation, in this life as well as the next.
So right from the start the surah is aggressively pursuing the topic of punishment for anyone who doesn’t submit. The entire book soon unfolds into a huge polemic argument demonstrating beyond doubt that Islam is not a religion of political or religious peace by any stretch of the imagination. Belligerent words against unbelievers dominate most pages of the entire book. Here are just some examples from Surah Three : Ayat 4, 10, 17, 19, 56, 61, 87, 88, 91, 105, 106, 116, 131, 141,151, 176, 197. I could fill a page with references like these if I kept going through the Qur’an.
These threats of retribution look like they are designed to create fear and unquestioned compliance to leadership. This is why Islamic societies have rarely allowed critical thinking and the free flow of ideas to develop beyond the critiquing and condemning of other worldviews. Because its foundational presuppositions are completely literary and therefore subjective, Islam is fundamentally incapable of self-examination if that involves examining its core presuppositions, such as the divine origin of the Qur’an. Taking offense and making threats are often the first lines of defence of these presuppositions. This sometimes rises to threats of death for those born within its faith who wish to leave it. As you read on you will find out why. If the Qur’an is doubted by the masses and loses its status, then the god of Islam and the whole Islamic Empire falls with it. Doubt is death to this religious empire. Once in, you’re trapped.
Islam is unique in that it is the only major world religion that responds to unbelief to its worldview with repeated threats violence and subjugation (surah 9:5). In this respect it resembles modern Communism much more than the core tenets of modern Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or Buddhism. Islam is therefore both a theological and entwined political empire and must be treated as such by the west.
Who exactly are these unbelievers? The Sira and the Hadith literature teach that they were pagan idol worshippers living in and around Mecca and Medina at the time of Muhammad’s revelations. However, in a few ayats you will find that over and over again these unbelievers are the Christians and the Jews, the ultimate enemies of Islam and allegedly the ultimate idol worshippers. The Qur’an’s strong reaction to these two groups is like theological body language, it tells us a lot about the real theological purpose and real geographic location of early Islam, regardless of what is coming out of the mouth of its official histories.
Scholars are increasingly seeing evidence of this real theological and geographic origin on the borderlands of southern Palestine, close to the once fabulously wealthy Arabian homeland of Nabataea, which was actually the home of the Arabian language, the foundation of its ethnic pride, was located quite close to the homes of Abraham and Ishmael, practiced the worship of sacred meteorites and large religious cubes, was the hub of all Arab trade routes, was close to the nearby land where the Byzantines have been defeated (surah 30:1-2) and close to the traditional location of a famous Dead Sea landmark mentioned in surah 37:133-138 and local to the Qur’an’s original readers.
13: Unbelievers are now quoted as foolishly mocking the new Arab holy book and doctrines by saying Are we to believe as fools believe? The Christians and the Jews at that time obviously considered the fervent evangelists of this new imperial religion to be suckers, bringing their backward culture and simple religious heresies with them, many of which were well-known Jewish and Christian heresies. For the Arabs, to be treated with such disdain by those from whom they craved legitimacy must have created deep anger and resentment toward the two older beliefs. They had lived with the stigma of Ishmael’s covenantal rejection since the time of Abraham. Now it was time for political and religious revenge.
23: In response the writer now challenges these doubters to produce one surah as good as it, referring to Surah Two. This is the first articulation of the Qur’an’s persistent circular reasoning. The Qur’an makes no reference to external proof of its divine origins. Its alleged eloquence is its own perfect proof of divine origin. The writer is in effect saying that the ultimate proof that this book is divine is simply because it claims to be divine. You need go nowhere else for evidence, if you do, you are a doubter. This unconfirmed claim to Qur’anic divinity becomes one of the prime presuppositions of the Islamic worldview.
This challenge is actually a dangerous claim for the Qur’an to make because if any glaring errors, or theological contradictions, grammatical errors, scientific fantasies, gross historical inaccuracies, borrowed folktales from that era, or deliberate lies about previous historical events are discovered in the surah, then Islam should very happily disband, or at the very least the surah should be removed from the Qur’an. And yes, all of the above are found in the Qur’an! However, on pain of violence or ostracism, no one living inside the Islamic worldview is allowed to question the Qur’an because if the book falls then the Arab god and an entire civilisation falls with it. Therefore to protect this prime presupposition, there is no negative investigation or critical questioning allowed. The advent of the internet is therefore very dangerous for the future of the entire Islamic religious presuppositional superstructure as it easily exposes many of the above list of errors. The Qur’an is riddled with them.
Allah and the Angels
30: Even the angels now wonder why your Lord would put there (on earth) one who would do evil and shed blood. This is a reference to the violence of the Islamic prophet who, even according to questionable Islamic tradition, eventually morphed from a preacher to a mass murderer. Obviously this was an argument the Christian and Jewish unbelievers were leveling at Muhammad and his new deity. The writer quotes Allah as saying I know what you know not. The problem for the new religion was that Christian and Jewish prophets never shed blood, quite the opposite. However, because Islam’s prophet happily shed enormous quantities of blood and encouraged others to do likewise on specific instructions from Allah himself, the shedding of blood became the standard of many fundamentalist Islamic religious leaders down through the ages, and continues to this day in some places.
The above statement tells us that, only 30 ayats into the surah, Allah is the author of both violence and what outsiders would consider grossly evil actions. This quality is confirmed in surah 4:142, surah 3:54 (planner in English is deceiver in the Arabic) surah 8:30 (planner is again deceiver in the Arabic), surah 27:50 (plan is scheme in the Arabic), and surah 91:7-8. Thus, according to the Qur’an, Allah is an encourager of violence, a schemer, a deceiver and placed wickedness in the human heart. Perhaps this is why the Qur’an, in all its description of its god rarely talks about his holiness or love. What outsiders consider moral and physical evil is perfectly acceptable as long as it achieves submission and advancement of the empire. Could this really be the creator of the marvellous and beautiful universe we all share?
31-39: Here we read the story of the angels prostrated before Adam, Satan refuses to worship Adam so is banished. This is the first of many Biblical passages repeated in eccentric fashion in the Qur’an. This distortion of the facts conveniently forces the story into the theology of the Qur’an which is summarised as follows: A prophet comes, unbelievers refuse to accept the message, and in this case it is Satan, then the unbelievers are judged severely. All versions of Biblical passages without exception from this point on in the Qur’an are corrupted into this single theological narrative.
This story, by the way, is plagiarised from a 2nd Century Talmudic legend. There were actually many legends and fables circulating in the Middle East at the time that curiously found their way into the Qur’an. The book was written on the borderlands of the Byzantine Empire where all heretics were banished, literacy was low and tall tales flourished. Many Christian and Jewish heresies and fables somehow found their way into Islam’s holy book and, because they are in the Qur’an, they were all apparently revelation from Allah disguised as local folktales. If Islam started in the depths of Arabia as a direct revelation from heaven and with no contact with surrounding religions, then what is the following list of Jewish and Christian fables doing in the book?
- Surah 21:51-71 has Abraham destroying idols. This fable is borrowed from a 2nd Century collection of Jewish folktales called The Midrash Rabbath.
- From the 2nd Century fable of Abodah Sarah we find Allah threatening to drop Mt Sinai on the Jews (surah 7:171).
- The story of the prophet known as The Two Horned One (surah 18:82-101) is derived from the Romance of Alexander the Great. But Alexander was no Muslim.
- The story of King Solomon, the hoopee bird and the queen of Sheba (surah 27:17-44) came from The II Targum of Esther, another 2nd Century Jewish folktale.
- The story of Mary, Imram, and Zechariah (surah 3:31-41) also comes from a 2nd Century Christian folktale included in The Protoevangelion’s James the Lesser.
- Fanciful stories about Jesus’ birth in Surah 19:16-28 come from a 2nd Century book known as The First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus.
- The story of the talking baby Jesus (surah 19:29-33) also comes from The First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus.
- Jesus making birds of clay (surah 3:49) comes from Thomas’ Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ.
- The story of Cain and Abel in surah 5:31-32 comes from The Targum of Jonathon Ben Uzziah and Bar Sanhedrin, 4:5.
This embarrassing list is why so many Muslim commentators will tell their followers that these are not real events but parables meant to symbolically teach us something. The trouble with this line of reasoning is that the original writer of the Qur’an gives absolutely no hint that they were parables (surah 25:4-6) and there is no tool inside the Qur’an itself for separating fact from fiction. It is embarrassingly revealing that at least 6 times the Qur’an actually admits that its critics are ridiculing it because it is full of fables (surah 6:25, surah 8:31, surah 16:24, surah 46:17, surah 68:15, surah 83:13). This implies there must have been a sustained attack on its legitimacy, and one met with yet more threats of violence (surah 68:16)
These fables are another proof of the Qur’an’s dubious origins in the borderlands of the Byzantine empire where Christian heretics were banished and where their heresies, such as Gnosticism, Donatism, Marcionism, Montanism, Ebionism, Monarchianism and Arianism flourished. Some of these heresies were even sanctioned by the Syriac Church. The last three laid the foundation for the central Shahada Creed of Islam: There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God (surah 2:255). This creed, by the way, does not exist in the Qur’an and only first appears in 870 AD, some 250 years after the traditions say Muhammad preached. In addition, why is Jesus is either mentioned or referred to 187 times in the Qur’an and Muhammad just four? Why is nearly every major Qur’anic theological concept and even theological word taken from Syriac theology and the Syriac language? More linguistic body language!
Islamic tradition makes the claim that Muhammad’s doctrines emerged in the depths of Arabia at Mecca, completely cut off from surrounding religions, and therefore its truths must have come from above, not geographically next door. In the light of the above evidence, this is clearly a retrospective reworking of surrounding religious history designed to convert the now diverging theology of the Arab Empire into a completely new and triumphant Arab political imperial doctrine to justify the empire’s existence and relentless expansion. To give you an idea of how close the Arabs once were to orthodox Christianity please read an early surah, surah 5:114-115, where the Christian communion table is decreed by Jesus, endorsed by Allah and lack of respect for it brings severe punishment from Allah.
40-43: The writer, on behalf of Allah now addresses Israel by saying My revelations (Qur’an) confirm your scriptures, Do not be the first to deny them. This unveils another core Islamic doctrine; that the Qur’an is the natural heir to the Old Testament, and therefore superior to it. The Qur’an claims to be the final revelation in a long line of divine revelations from Allah, revealed to the final divine prophet called Muhammad (surah 12:1-3). This becomes another reason not to doubt this great Islamic polemic but is another blind and unquestionable presupposition that cleverly puts Islam squarely inside and at the centre of the three Abrahamic worldviews. But once again it looks like a desperate plea for Judaism to accept the Qur’an’s claims to divine revelation.
However, this claim is superficial and comes with a sting. All actions required to become a follower of the Qur’an were actually destroy all the theology and practices of Judaism. Peaceful co-existence was and is never allowed. It only exists if Muslims ignore the Qur’an. Confirmation also meant extinction. This is why any Islamic history of Arabia always starts from the arrival of Islam, because all before that was simply the age of ignorance, the age of Jahiliyyah. This includes the ages of Judaism and Christiainty.
The Islamic Moses
50-71: The first extensive example of this new theological doctrine of co-opting previous religious people, their beliefs and their histories for Arab Imperial propaganda purposes is now expounded via the story of Moses with Pharaoh, Moses with the golden calf, and then the Israelite journey through the wilderness. The story of the golden calf is where the surah gets its name; The Cow. I have emphasised several parts of this extensive passage below:
53: Quoting Allah the writer says We gave Moses the Book. This Book is not the Ten Commandments or the Torah but a set of supposedly eternal tablets originating in heaven that the whole Qur’an is alleged to be an exact copy of. This perfect heavenly Qur’an was revealed to all the Old Testament prophets, but it was then supposedly corrupted by their followers into the Jewish Torah. This Islamic presupposition of the single revelational book repeatedly given to all the prophets occurs again and again as you read through the 400 pages of the Qur’an.
It was an idea that possibly came from Tatian’s merging of the four Gospels, into the Diatessaron which was used extensively in the Syrian Church. Perhaps it came from Jewish legends that said the whole Torah came down to Moses in tablet form from heaven on Mount Sinai. Or perhaps from other religions of that era such as the then highly influential Manichaeism, and Zoroastrianism. Let’s now unpack these last three options.
Moses is mentioned 136 times in the Qur’an but often in the same story repeated many times. Muhammad is cleverly fashioned as a new Moses. After all, wasn’t Muhammad a man like Moses living deep in the desert speaking face to face with God, bringing a set of divine holy laws in tablet form from heaven to earth, condemning local idol worshippers, espousing the true path back to God, leading his people into a promised land by declaring holy war against the polytheists, wiping them out and taking possession of the land for the one true God? Sound familiar?
Manichaeism has striking similarities to Muhammad too. It’s prophet Mani described himself as the last of all the prophets from Adam to Jesus, and that earlier followers of those prophets lost sight of their original religion. He also gave canonical status to his very own writings during his own lifetime. Sound familiar?
The prophet Zoroaster came from a polytheistic culture in Iran, but after an angelic vision from heaven he became a monotheist. His god, like Allah, was beyond human knowledge, human ability to comprehend and not interested in relationship with humans. Zoroaster became the perfect oracle for this new monotheism, but was strongly opposed where he lived so he left for another city. He then won many converts there. Idol worshippers then tried to violently crush his religion so he legitimised holy war against them. The new religion triumphed in his old city and then right across Persia. Sound familiar?
Mani, Zoroaster and Moses are cleverly blended together around the turn of the 8th Century to from the new and clearly legendary Islamic prophet called Muhammad. His name and his home city are virtually invisible from the pages of the Qur’an because the legend came later. Yes, in the Doctrina Jacobi there are records of a mysterious prophet leading the Arab armies. However, the description, theology and dates of this person’s actions are very different to the legend the world now thinks is actual history.
62: The writer now says that Jews and Christians have nothing to fear from the Muslims. They will be rewarded by their Lord. This is an odd statement for two reasons. First, doesn’t fit with the Qur’anic doctrine concerning the terrible future judgement of Christians at the hands of the very stern Islamic Jesus, or the consistent rebuke of Jews and Christians throughout the rest of this surah and the Qur’an. Second, it mentions their Lord as if there are rivals to Allah in existence when Islamic doctrine clearly teaches that Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same god. But the statement is of course followed by this: you turned away. The inference is that Jews are not following true Judaism, and the Christians are not following true Christianity, which would of course conform to Islamic revelation.
79: Ayat 79 explains this last statement more fully. It says Woe betide those that write the Book with their own hands and then declare: This is from God. People who add to the book will be judged. That’s another reference to the Jews who allegedly corrupted their scriptures. However, as can already be seen from this commentary so far, the same accusation can just as easily be directed at the Qur’an!
The alleged act of Jewish corruption mentioned here justified the mistreatment of them by their newly arrived Arab masters. However, there is no proof anywhere in the real world for this claim of Jewish scriptural corruption. The evidence from archaeological discoveries actually goes the other way and casts great suspicion on Islam’s version of its own history. Thus it is another convenient Islamic truth, another presupposition, another piece of imperial propaganda used to justify treating Jews, and everyone else, as second class citizens and worthy of subjugation.
The fact that the above statement appears so often in the Qur’an suggests it was already the foundation of a commonly held and resentful attitude toward both the Jews and Christians by their Arab neighbours in Nabataea and northern Arabia leading up to the beginning of the years of conquest. The Jews and Arabs both had rival claims to the covenant of God’s promise via Abraham. Now it was the turn of the Arabs to rightfully claim it, and victory over the Jews and Byzantines in their combined holiest of city of Jerusalem, was the clearest possible evidence of the legitimacy of this claim.
However, to legitimise this new claim on the world’s number one religious city and its ancient religions, Islam had to borrow so many ideas from Judaism; its pure monotheism, the line of prophets, the proliferation of laws, the facing toward a holy temple, and its adoration of Abraham to name a few. This is why the Jews correctly saw Arab theological nationalism as a very silly but dangerous idea (surah 16:101, surah 32:3, surah 4:82) and refused to convert in large numbers, much to the consternation of their new masters. They even said in jest that Islam’s alleged prophet who couldn’t even perform a simple miracle (surah 6:37).
This counter-claim meant the Torah and the Qur’an could not both be right. So to avoid continual accusations of dodgy scholarship and plagiarism, Muslim scholars quickly and cleverly invented the idea that the Qur’an was the original, perfect and direct copy of eternal tablets kept in heaven and given to their guy (surah 12:1-2, surah 33:40). This reversed the debate: It was actually the Jews who adulterated their one-time Islamic texts to make themselves look important (surah 2:75). Once this simple but proof-less logic was accepted by the ignorant subjects of the new empire, how could the Qur’an be wrong, or even questioned by those pesky Jews. Islam thus claimed to confirm Judaism but extinguished the deeper purpose of that continuity by elevating its own local and arbitrary Arab diety in place of Yahweh of the Bible. Very clever indeed.
The Islamic Jesus
87: Now it is the Christians turn to face rebuke. The writer shifts straight from Moses to Jesus, who was strengthened with the Holy Spirit and did veritable signs. Islam was, and still is, happy to have a form of Jesus who could do the sorts of miracles no other person could do in all history, not even Muhammad. However, it could never tolerate the teachings of Jesus as they diametrically opposed the very core of Islam. Muhammad was to be the true oracle.
This is why none of the extensive teachings of Jesus are ever mentioned in the Qur’an and he is quoted briefly only once. In fact this quote is the only one from the entire Bible that found its way into the Qur’an: the land [of Paradise] is inherited by My righteous servants (surah 21:105). It is the Qur’anic version of The meek shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5) If the Qur’an really did confirm the scriptures that went before it one would expect a lot more than 8 words out of the Qur’an’s 77,449.
The ayat now accuses the Jews of killing the apostle Jesus, as well as the other of Allah’s Old Testament prophets. However, in contrast to this claim, in other places the Qur’an says he wasn’t even killed by the Jews nor was he resurrected from the dead as claimed by Christians (surah 4:157-158). Puzzlingly, in still other Qur’anic passages it actually does say he was resurrected (surah 3:35, surah 19:33). These three opposing versions of the one event are another example of muddled Qur’anic exegesis. A likely explanation for the contradictions is that they are the product of a book slowly being pieced together over many decades as the empire’s theology evolved away from its Arian/Monarchian/Ebionite Christian roots.
90: But now that a book confirming their own has come, they deny it. Once again we are told the Qur’an simply confirms the Bible, but it doesn’t! This must be why the Bible is banned from most Islamic countries so the two books cannot be compared, and why so many Muslims are now becoming Christians for the first time in history via online comparisons of the New testament with the Qur’an. One ex-Muslim in India has seen nearly 200,000 other Muslims come to Christianity simply by allowing them to read both the Qur’an and the New Testament in their own language one after the other.
91: The unbelievers refuse to believe Islam with the stated argument that We believe in what was revealed to us. So a second time the writer says Islam’s book is corroborating their own scriptures. You would only make this statement if you could ban the other book. Only then would no one know the silliness of the statement. All governments and worldviews know that if you say something loud enough, often enough, to enough people, over enough time, and suppress opposing viewpoints, it will eventually become accepted as social truth, regardless of the lack of evidence or logic behind the claim. The Arab Empire used these same propaganda tactics in its bid to gain legitimacy for its new religion: Saturation coverage with no right of reply. Yet even with this propaganda advantage, the rock inscriptions from the Negev Desert demonstrate that the term Muhammad was still not accepted by the people for at least 30 years after it first began to be used in all official government documents from around 690 AD. Which goes to show that every civilisation is only one or two generations away from total ignorance regarding its roots.
91: Now the writer says to the Jews Why did you kill the prophets if you are true believers? And you worshipped the calf and committed evil. Breaking Allah’s covenant, killing the prophets and worshipping idols is the Qur’anic archetypical picture of all Jews all through history. The Qur’an goes on in many places to paint them as the worst of all people to have inhabited the earth and the Jews are viewed as such even to this day in many parts of the Islamic world.
97: Changing tact, the writer now says Gabriel revealed to you the Qur’an, obviously on Allah’s instructions. This begs the question: If Islam was revealed independently of other religions, then why was it a Jewish angel who brought the message? Whoever did not believe the confirmation of truth via Gabriel is now declared an enemy of Allah, His angels, Gabriel, the Apostles and Michael. Old Testament symbolism is so pervasive in the Qur’an it makes a mockery of its claim of independent revelation.
105: The polemic attack now becomes one where unbelievers, Christians and Jews, are simply jealous of the new teachings, they resent that any blessings should have been sent down to the Arabs. This raises another question: Why is the writer of the surah saying that the creator of the universe, who is never in need of humanity or human acceptance, constantly stepping down to engage in petty arguments with those insignificant humans who refuse to accept his authority? These constant negative tirades seem odd and belittling given the alleged majesty of the Arab diety. Or was the writer really speaking on behalf of the authority of an Arab Imperial machine trying to justify its subjugation of two rival religions, and things were not going to plan when these words were penned?
106: Here we see the introduction of the doctrine of abrogation. Any verse We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We will replace by a better one or one similar. This is the uniquely Islamic teaching that says Allah can not only constantly engage in condescending negativity with humans, but also contradict himself at will in his Qur’an if his later statements differ from earlier ones (surah 13:39, surah 16:101, surah 17:86, surah 87:6-7). This is a very convenient doctrine because there are scores of contradictions in the Qur’an, contradictions that destroy the challenge it laid out to find a surah as good as it back in ayat 23.
One gets the impression the writers of Surah Two were dealing with an established script laden with contradictions, so they had to come up with a clever legal doctrine to handle them. One of the urgent reasons why they needed this doctrine comes from surah 22:52-53 where Satan is actually blamed for inspiring some of the wrong Qur’anic revelations that had to be corrected later on by Allah!
Islamic Objections to Christianity
111: This ayat begins another large section of polemic against the Christian faith. The writer now attacks the obviously false claim being made by the Jews and Christians that none shall enter paradise but Jews and Christians. The writer attacks this theological lie by saying the claim is a wishful fancy and then counters with a challenge for proof that it is true. Of course no proof is ever needed for the Qur’an’s own claims about the resurrection because the mere fact that the Qur’an’s claim exists is its own proof of truth. But those that oppose Allah must produce external objective proof, none of which would ever be accepted, even if someone actually rose from the dead!
113: Pushing his point, the writer now attacks the divide between Christians and Jews, because each says the other is misguided. The inference is that if they disagree with each other then they could not be both right and are therefore both wrong. Allah will on the Day of Resurrection judge what they disagreed about. This introduces a new doctrine that becomes more prominent as the Qur’an progresses; that of a great judgement day, not too far into the future from the actual time of writing in the 8th Century. Judgement Day is a terrible time when Allah will justly banish all unbelievers to a torture chamber for eternal pain and punishment.
Throughout the Qur’an his theme of eternal punishment comes up over around 360 times in in all sorts of very colourful versions, and is clearly designed to produce both fear and compliance in the Qur’an’s readers. Here are some examples: Eternity in blazing fire (surah 33:64-5), bound in yokes and chains (surah 14:49-50), clothes of fire (surah 22:19-22), faces burnt (surah 23:104), eating bitter food (surah 88:6-7), food boiling inside them (surah 44:43-46), being submerged in boiling water (surah 37:62-67), and having their skin roasted (surah 4:56). One gets the distinct impression the writer gets a sadistic joy from describing the eternal torture of everyone who doesn’t submit to Arab religious or imperial demands. This reflects very poorly on the value placed on human life in the Arab culture at the time, a value that became mainstream Islamic theology and still shocks the world to this day when applied by fundamentalists such as ISIS, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, The Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabaab who are trying to take their respective societies back to pure Qur’anic teachings.
116: Now it is time for the writer to deal with the Christian claim that God has begotten a son. It is answered with Nay! Islam teaches that Allah is one, not a trinity (surah 2:255). This relegates Jesus to a subservient position to Allah, right in line with classic Arian, Ebionite and Monarchian Middle Eastern Christian doctrines of that era. Allah does not give a counter-argument to the Christian claim here, but does in many other places, such as surah 19:35.
118-9: Instead, Allah now attacks the Christian argument that Jesus was superior because he could do miracles whereas Muhammad could not. The writer says that only The ignorant ask why does not Allah speak to us or give us a sign. None shall be given them because We have sent you the truth, which is explained below.
120: Christians are now told that Allah’s guidance is the only guidance, that We have given the Book, and those that dissent from it will surely be lost. The Qur’an is apparently the ultimate miracle. Its as good as it gets for proofs of Islamic truth. In Christianity the symbolic heavenly Word became a man to be worshiped. In Islam the literal heavenly Word became a book to be revered just as much or more as Christians revere Christ.
The Islamic Abraham
122: The introduction to this section leads into a discussion of Abraham that is again completely different to the Biblical account. Firstly, Israel is asked to remember the favour Allah bestowed upon you. Apparently it was Allah, not Yahweh, who guided Abraham all those years ago! Islamic doctrine emphatically teaches that Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the one god. But having read this commentary this far you can see that the name, nature, attitude and actions of the Christian god are so vastly different to the Muslim god that it is impossible to make this claim with any from of credibility: One exudes holiness (Isaiah 57:15) and love (1 John 4:7-21), the other is a schemer commanding violence against people merely for their unbelief. One is a trinity, the other a unity. One says Jesus is God, the other flatly denies it. Sadly, these irreconcilable differences are not acceptable to modern western secular media propaganda, or to the Catholic Church as it turns out. Lets turn the argument around: If both religions worship the same God, then why don’t Muslims worship Jesus Christ?
125-127: The writer now describes the origins of the Ka’ba, supposedly this is the Ka’ba in Mecca, by saying: Make the place where Abraham stood into a house of worship. We enjoined Abraham and Ishmael to cleanse My House for those who walk round and round it. This introduces another Islamic doctrine, that of the Holy Mosque in Mecca being the true place of worship for all three Abrahamic faiths by claiming it was set up by Abraham and his son Ishmael some 3,800 years ago. Ishmael was the father of the Arabs and according to them, he was also the son of the promised covenant instead of Isaac. All covenant blessings therefore flowed through Abraham, Ishmael, and Mecca. This places Islam’s teachings about Abraham squarely at odds with the other two Abrahamic faiths, suggesting we have two legitimate traditions and one corrupted one.
This is because there is no evidence anywhere in all of history that Abraham ever went to Arabia, or of the existence of Mecca until well after the founding of the Arab Empire. This is a 2,300 year gap lacking any historical evidence. Once again we only have the spurious claims in the Qur’an to go by. Abraham came from Ur in Mesopotamia and eventually lived in Be’er Sheva’ in lower Palestine. He met the three angels at the Tree of Mamre, also in lower Palestine. His tomb is in Hebron, again in lower Palestine. His nephew Lot fled from Sodom and Gomorrah which have always been associated with the shores of the Dead Sea, again in lower Palestine. Mecca’s absence from history also makes it an impossibility for Abraham to have ever been to there to set up a Ka’ba. Ayats 125-127 are clearly designed to justify an existing Arab religious practice just after the shifting of the black stone and the Arab mother temple to Mecca somewhere around 700 AD. This is how the pervasive and strange worship of meteorites and large cubes that was ubiquitous up in Petra became the central point of worship for all Islam down in Mecca. To this day no other explanation of either the cubed Ka’ba or the black meterorite makes any sense.
And there is one more point to make before moving on. Modern Islamic dogma confidently proclaims that today’s Qur’an is word-for-word the same as the divine tablets in heaven that were dictated to Muhammad. Any breach of this “fact” would result in doubt about the whole book and its origins. Strangely this claim ignores the subtle differences between the Warsh and the Hafs editions of the Qur’an that circulate widely today. This link takes you to a list of these small differences between the two editions; one of these differences appears in this very section of the surah and that’s why I mention it. But there’s more to this story of unexpected variation in the Qur’an.
The earliest manuscripts actually differed greatly from today’s Qur’an. These ancient scripts only had the rasm, which means the letter shapes without the added diacritic dots and strokes that help you pronounce each Arabic word correctly. The diacritic dots and strokes only entered the language after the writing of the earliest Qur’ans. Islamic scholars were well aware of the rasm problem and even wrote an eight volume encyclopaedia of over 10,000 words that could be miss-interpreted in the oldest manuscripts because their diacritics were missing. It was called the Mujam al-qir’at al-quranyyah.
Western researchers, led by German linguist Gerd Puin and Islamic art historian H.C. Graf Von Bothmer have now analysed a few of the recently discovered Qur’anic manuscripts found at Sana’a in Yemen. These date to the early 8th Century and are the oldest in existence. Puin found a great many more variants and deviations than had been recorded even by Muslim scholars in the encyclopedia mentioned above. Some words had up to 30 possible meanings, and these words appeared not just once, but often. He even found differences in the counting systems of the early manuscripts to the modern Quran, and many verses were written over older verses, but written differently to the original. This discovery suggests that many tens of thousands of words in the originals could now have a different meaning to the pre-diacritic era texts.
What Puin’s discovery tells us is that when these manuscripts were first written, the Arabic language was obviously a scripta defectiva and still in the process of development. Before the invention of diacritics, short vowels were not written and many consonants were ambiguous as well, being identical in shape to each other. The later insertion of diacritical dots and strokes actually allowed editors to create new words and completely new meanings if so desired. These changes probably explains why so much of the Qur’an doesn’t follow correct Arabic rules of grammar and many sentences don’t flow properly.This evidence flies in the face of the claims that the book was delivered from heaven as a clear Arabic Qur’an: surah 12:1, surah 13:37, surah 16:103, surah 20:113, surah 26:192-195, surah 39:28, surah 41:3, 44, surah 42:7, surah 43:3.
132-3: Now we conveniently, but not unsurprisingly, find the descendants of Abraham following in their father’s authentic Islamic footsteps. Abraham’s grandson Jacob is found to be saying My children, Allah has chosen the faith for you. Do not depart this life except as good Muslims. One day all humanity will be submitted to Islam. That’s the goal.
134: Abraham’s descendants continue, saying they submit to a roll call of Allah’s prophets; Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac: One God. To Allah this community declares To Him we submit as Muslims. However, as we now know the use of the word Muslim is a giveaway that this statement was written at least sixty years after the Qur’an was allegedly completed in 632 AD. This is because the word Muslim cannot be found anywhere until the last decade of the 7th Century on any records, be they imperial, theological, commercial or secular, made by either the people the Arab Empire encountered, or the Arab Imperial administrators themselves.
In fact it wasn’t until 662 AD that we even first see the new Arab dating system used on an official document, and at that stage we still do not see the word Muhammad, the word Qur’an, the word Muslim or the word Islam mentioned anywhere. In their place we still see the Christian cross on the above document, but we do at least see the first mention of the Arab dating system.
135: Knowing that this claim that the prophets were all Muslims was a controversial statement, the writer now addresses Christian and Jewish objections to this strange new doctrine. Concerning these two religions he says By no means! Only the faith of Abraham, the upright one. This gives a clue as to the origins of Islam’s exclusive claim to Abraham. It is well known that Abraham was annually venerated by the Jews, Christians and especially the Arabs throughout history in a great festival at the great oak tree at Mamre near modern day Hebron in Israel. Sozomen’s Historia Ecclesiastica chapter 4 gives an excellent description of this important Arab religious event. The Arab view of the world was an Abraham-centric understanding of life via the conduit of Ishmael, their direct ancestor. The Jewish view was Moses-centric and the Christian view was Christ-centric. That’s what sets the religions apart.
If the reader can grasp that the Arab attachment to Abraham is as strong as the Jewish attachment to Moses or the Christian attachment to Jesus, they will be a long way down the path to understanding the mind of Islam. For the Muslim faithful, Abraham was the first Muslim. Abraham chose the site of Mecca. Abraham received the Qur’an. With Allah’s help Abraham defeated all those who opposed him, from the pagans from his own family all the way to Pharaoh. Abraham belonged to them, he was the first and ideal Arab.
With the coming of the Qur’an the world could now see that their claim to Abraham was superior to that of the Jews because they now had the very revelation he had received from Allah all those years ago, not just a corrupted Jewish or Christian version.
136: Pushing the point, the writer gives us a roll-call of prophets Allah sent: Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes; to Moses and Jesus and the other prophets by their Lord. According to this ayat, once again they were all teaching Islam. Once again, this claim has no basis in history.
139: Next comes the claim that Allah is our God and your God. So, please stop arguing with us! It is so sad to see western religious institutions like the Catholic Church now agreeing with this statement. This is actually one of the first tactics Islamic evangelists use to undermine other Abrahamic beliefs and the Catholic Church has fallen right into this trap.
140: Christians and Jews are now acknowledged by the writer as claiming the above list of prophets for themselves. To which the reply comes Who knows better, you or Allah? Then comes the accusation that they are hiding the truth about the ancient prophets; Who is more wicked than he who hides a testimony he has received from Allah. You can’t win against such circular and illogical arguments, of which the Qur’an has many.
The Qiblah Changes Direction
142-150: This passage deals with the change of direction of prayer I alluded to back in the introduction, toward a Qiblah that will please you. Qiblah simply means the direction of prayer, which was an Arab imitation of the Jewish tradition of facing their most holy site when praying. However, this change in the direction of prayer is from an unspecified previous direction toward the unspecified Holy Mosque. There is zero mention of locations or times.
Tradition says the change was from Jerusalem to the Ka’ba in Mecca on the 11th of February 624AD. As already explained in the introduction, we now know from the direction faced by all mosques built up to 725 AD that this was absolutely not so. All Arab houses of prayer before that date faced Petra, the site of the Arabian mother temple and its famous black stone. The mention of a change of direction in this surah is the strongest possible proof of its lateness and the blatant reworking of Islam’s own quasi-Christian history.
143: The writer’s excuse for the change of direction is the first of many abrogations. On Allah’s behalf he says We decreed your former qiblah only in order that we might know the Apostles true adherents and those who were to disown him. This tells us much about the character of Allah, constantly testing his follower’s loyalty. Is this is the mindset of an insecure tyrant or a benevolent diety?
149-150: Prayer toward Mecca is enshrined in doctrine with this simple statement Whichever way you depart, face toward the Holy Mosque. All Muslims the world over now face Mecca every time they pray. All mosques now have a niche in one of their walls showing them the direction of Mecca. This surah is where it all began.
158: Jumping ahead a few ayats we find more confirmation of the shift in pilgrimage and prayer toward the newly built Arab mother temple in Mecca with the mention of two sacred mounds in the grounds of the present day Ka’ba, called Safa and Marwa.
Allah’s Nature and Character
151-152: Now we have another example of the strange habit of the writer referring to Allah in the plural. Except this time he swaps from plural to singular in two successive ayats. Thus We have sent forth to you an apostle of Our own is followed by Remember me and I will remember you. As was highlighted in the commentary on ayat 3, this once again illustrates the inescapable problems Islamic exegesis has with the issue of Allah’s plural or singular nature.
155: Now we find the writer declaring We shall test your steadfastness with fear and famine. More testing. This once again highlights another Islamic doctrine, that of predestination. In contrast to Christianity, Islam teaches that absolutely everything that happens on earth is as a direct result of the action of Allah because all of nature is in submission. All disasters, whether man made or natural, are therefore the will of Allah. All human thoughts, words and actions are dictated by Allah. He predestines all events, both good and bad because he is the best of schemers (surah 27:50). It is Allah who sends down to the unbelievers demons who incite them to do evil (surah 19:83). It is Allah who tests you with both evil and good (surah 21:35). It is Allah himself who seals the hearts of unbelievers so they will not hear (surah 7:100). There is no room for the free will of humanity in this worldview. This leads to great abuse of others and personal risk taking, all excused with the wand of predestination.
Arguments Against Christians and Jews
159-161: With increasing monotony, once again the writer turns to the topic of severe judgement against the Christians and Jews with another circular argument. The writer declares that those that hide the clear proofs and the guidance We have revealed after We have proclaimed them in the Book shall be cursed. Once again we are hearing that if the Qur’an says something is true, then it is. The simple fact of saying it makes it unquestionable. The normal rules of proof, forensically examining ancient manuscripts to demonstrate this alleged deceit, are completely absent. This theology has contributed to the closing of the minds of so many radical young Jihadists down through history and around the world today.
163: Now we return to the Monarchian–Arian–Ebionite theme repeated so often in the Qur’an: Your God is one God, there is no God but Him. Repetition of this creed, called the Shahada, is now one of the five pillars of Islam. Whenever this statement appears in the Qur’an it is always an attack on Trinitarian Christianity, Islam’s great political and theological enemy. The other four pillars of Islam are five daily prayers (a practice borrowed from Zoroastrianism as the Qur’an only prescribes three in surah 24:58), compulsory alms-giving, daylight fasting during the month of Ramadan, and a once off pilgrimage to Mecca. Unlike the internal transformation required in Christianity, Islam is a religion of external observance only. There is no requirement for a turning away from evil and selfishness, no emphasis on holiness or love, no spiritual renewal and no opportunity for relationship with its deity.
165-166: Allah is stern in retribution against idol worshippers. This has traditionally been interpreted by Muslims as the idol worshippers at the Ka’ba in Mecca. However in light of the true history of Mecca outlined above, and the ayats that follow, this simply cannot be true. The original idol worshippers were the Catholic Trinitarian Byzantine Christians who were incorporating the worship of saints, angels and Mary in their liturgies. They shall never emerge from the fire. The resolve of the Arab Empire was implacably set against the these Byzantine idol worshippers. They were constantly at war with each other for centuries. Their’s was the greatest conflict the world witnessed for almost a thousand years. In fact it is still smoldering today. The Qur’an provided the Arabs with both the unifying political theology and its declaration of jihad. It was the perfect justification for war.
169-175: Anyone following the Christian and Jewish traditions is once again condemned, because their fathers understood nothing and had no guidance. Those Christians and Jews that suppress any part of the Book which Allah has revealed are going to receive woeful punishment. If you are going to read the whole Qur’an at any time in your life you had better get used to these repetitive polemic tirades. They never stop! The Qur’an fabricates a theological crime scene and then fabricates a charge against its chosen victim for committing the alleged crime!
Laws regarding Public and Private Life
178-190: Many Islamic laws and actions are authorized in this section. What is unique about Islam’s Sharia Legal system is that its legal code invades both public and private behaviour, covering both secular and religious life. Sharia Law thus copies the legal norms of ancient Judaism and medieval Catholicism. The Jews first introduced the idea of a legal code that controlled all of life. Islam liberally copied and Arabised this distinctive pattern of divine jurisprudence. This is why so many Islamic laws that are claimed to be universal laws of the creator of the universe have a distinctive medieval Arabian feel about them and are so unfit for the modern world. This is also why western normative statements like the universal declaration of Human rights are scoffed at inside the Islamic world as the mere whims of men.
Let me digress and explain how the two legal systems came about: Judaism had its original Torah, and then came the interpretive Talmud and Midrash that explained the alleged oral teachings missed in the original Torah. Islam likewise had its original Qur’an, and then came the interpretive Sira and Hadith that explained the oral teachings missed in the original document. It is no accident that the Sira and Hadith literature emerged in very close geographical proximity to the great Jewish religious legal academies of Nehardea, Mahoza, Pumbedita and Sura, which were all clustered in Iraq around modern day Baghdad. It was in these academies that much of the Talmud was actually codified several centuries before the Arab Empire emerged. Suspiciously, right next door in Kufa and Baghdad was where the Hadith, with its Islamic laws and regulations, began to emerge. This is far more than a coincidence.
Islam thus takes from Judaism a belief in the sacredness of all spheres of life. There is no secular or private sphere; all of life is lived under submission to divinely ordained and legally binding do’s and don’ts, from food laws to finance, from women’s clothing to personal relationships. Western law does not regulate such personal behaviour and private thought. But conservative Islam would consider it silly not to, and condemns us for not doing so. It borrowed that idea from Judaism.
And the Hadith literature emerged questionably late. It only dates from 850 to 915 AD and was mainly written and collected by the following trusted editors: Al-Bukari (d.870 AD), Muslim al-Hajjaj (d. 875 AD), Abu Dawood (d. 888 AD), Al Tirmidhi (d. 892 AD), Al-Nasar’I (d. 915 AD), and Ibn Maja (d. 887 AD). Islamic law therefore only emerged 200-300 years after the alleged birth of the religion, and not one scrap of this Islamic Sharia legal system was generated in Mecca or Medina, or anywhere where Islam says the religion was birthed. More body language.
The Hadith writers thus created a complete legal system by putting words in the mouth of a figure they created called Muhammad, a legal system that they unilaterally decreed ranked their words equal to the Qur’an as revelation. Yet thousands of blatant Hadith forgeries emerged within two hundred years of the birth of the Empire, and all were allegedly based on perfect oral memory of Muhammad’s words and actions. Each phony Hadith pushed a particular political or theological viewpoint and claimed it was the very word of Muhammad. This led the most trusted Hadith writer, al Bukhari, to cull 97% of the fake sayings of Muhammad when compiling the most “authentic” Hadith some 230 years after Muhammad was supposed to have delivered all those extra teachings not found in the Qur’an.
These Persian legal scholars, by fashioning their second set of holy books, eventually shaped Islam into the mould of their own legal minds rather than that of the ruling Caliphs, Muhammad or the Qur’an. The whole process made a mockery of the claim that Muhammad was the final prophet carrying the final revelation. It also re-instated the Persians, smarting from the loss of their Zoroastrian Empire 100 years earlier, as the lords and masters of the new Islamic empire. A position of power they kept for the next 500 years.
Now, back to the story.
178: Legal retribution is now decreed for a Muslim to react in bloodshed if attacked. This is the classic Arab Bedouin payback system. The 6th Century Bedouin poet, Abīd ibn al-Abras, summed up Bedouin culture well when he said we follow the ways of our forefathers, those who kindled wars and were faithful to the ties of kinship (Hoyland 2001, P121-2). In western law it is the state that is the prosecutor for all criminal cases and starts all wars. Not so inside the Islamic world. This is one reason why there is so much bloodshed in many Muslim majority countries, as evidenced by what we see on international news broadcasts. It is the Arab and Bedouin love of war and violence justified and let loose by religious decree.
183-186: We now read about fasting at Ramadan because it was in the month of Ramadan that the Qur’an was revealed. Some western secular scholars can see many similarities between Ramadan and Catholic fasting during Lent. The mention of the word Qur’an once again tells us this surah is being written after Islam’s theology was fully formed, and was retrospectively creating institutions and rituals for the faithful to follow. The writer’s interest in human religious life even extends to the issue sex with your wife during Ramadan; do not approach them when you should be preoccupied with your prayers, only on the night of the fast. This is a total-control legal system and is an example of why the western mind finds it so hard to understand the Muslim way of life, derived as it is from 8th Century Middle Eastern culture.
War Against Unbelievers Decreed
190-3: The discourse turns inevitably again to deal more fully with the issue of conflict with outsiders and unbelievers. The righteous are enjoined to fight for the cause of Allah those that fight you…slay them wherever you find them. Drive them out of the places from which they drove you. Idolatry is no more grievous than bloodshed…Fight them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion reigns supreme. Here we have the core teachings of jihad, which was initially directed at the Byzantine Trinitarian Catholic Empire, but now extends to the whole planet. War was the means by which the Arabs created their empire, and war was now the means by which they were now divinely destined to conquer the whole world. Ironically, in this they were doing no more than copying the ruthless religious/political methodology of the Catholic Byzantine armies before them. Thank goodness most Muslims do not take this ayat seriously.
This belief in guaranteed conquest in a virtuous war created a powerful eschatology of victory over other religions, cultures and political systems that energises all pious Muslims to this day. They believe they are destined to win the planet. Islam is achieving this by four means: demographics, persuasion, legal decrees and war. Islam’s eschatology of inevitable victory over Christianity was why Islam tried to conquer Europe by force four times in the last 1,400 years; through Constantinople in 674 AD, through Spain in 711 AD, through Italy in 827 AD, and finally through the Balkans from 1453 AD onward. The fifth attempt at conquering Europe, using demographics, persuasion, terrorism and legally suppressing opposition is underway now. This passage is where it all started. Every pious Muslim has a role to play in this metanarrative.
196-200: We now randomly jump back to the theme of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca which is ordained for His sake, meaning Allah. Three million people now make this annual pilgrimage, and it is not cheap. Mecca’s existence is sustained by a thriving tourism business to cater for both the well-heeled pilgrim and the not so well-heeled pilgrim. The Meccan religious tourism industry now boasts the world’s second tallest building. It also has the world’s biggest clock because they are waiting for the world to switch from Greenwich Mean Time to Meccan Mean Time. The logic of this is that Mecca is the world’s mother city and where all global measurements should begin. Pilgrims must abstain from sexual intercourse during the Hajj. The hill of Arafat is again mentioned, signalling that we are definitely talking about pilgrimage to Mecca, not Petra.
More Attacks on Unbelievers
211: The writer once again returns to a familiar theme, one that will be repeated many times by the end of the Qur’an. He gave many conspicuous signs to the Israelites. But he that tampers with the gift of Allah…shall find that Allah is stern in retribution. This theme, now well established, says the Jews of Muhammad’s era scoff at the faithful. Jews have been in the Qur’an’s ideological firing line ever since then for this alleged crime of arrogance.
213: The assault continues with the clever argument that People were once one community. Then Allah sent forth prophets to give them joyful tidings and to warn them via a Book with the Truth. Once again no evidence is ever offered for these claims, but any questioning of the claim is blasphemy against a perfect book. None disputed it save those to whom it was given. Once again the Jews and the Christians are pronounced guilty of the ultimate theological crime.
The doctrine of Islam being one community, the Ummah, embracing the entire Islamic world and superior to competing ethnic, linguistic or national loyalties, is laid out in this ayat. It is now a central tenant of the religion. Islam is not a series of countries. That’s a western construct from the Treaty of Westphalia 370 years ago. Islam is one community, and Islam’s doctrine says it was also the original community of humanity before all religions went astray. With the coming of the Qur’an it was now reborn and will grow until it fills the whole world. All other concepts of human organisation are secondary to the Ummah.
216: The writer now informs his readers that they are all military conscripts in his great cosmic battle against false religions and ideologies. He says fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it…you may hate a thing though it is good for you. It is now all-out war between the submitted and the idolatrous, scripture-corrupting, stiff-necked unbelievers, wherever they exist. This is the unfinished task of the Ummah because Idolatry is more grievous than bloodshed. War is not natural for the human soul, so incentives had to be provided to sign up for battle. One quickly came to prominence; the promise of unlimited sex with eternal beautiful virgins in the afterlife, like prayer five times a day, this is another concept borrowed from Zoroastrianism.
217: In case the reader doesn’t know how long to fight the enemies of Islam, the writer says it is forever. They will not cease to fight you until they force you to renounce your religion, so you must always be at war with them. This is why so many non-Arab peoples across the top of North Africa quietly resent Islam and are now beginning to turn away from it. Over a thousand years ago they were forced to renounce their Christian faith at the point of a sword or face a harsh form of religious apartheid. This is also why Islamic doctrine decrees that anyone who is not yet a Muslim is by definition at war with Islam for refusing to bow their knee to it. They are by classification enemy combatants and to be fought. This is the justification for modern-day terrorism against innocent western civilians. Surah 9:5 best sums up this doctrine.
Marriage and Sexual Relations
219-243: A new section begins here by instructing the submitted about the vices of alcohol, gambling and sexual relations. Regarding the first two, Allah says there is great harm in both…although they have some benefits. This is where the prohibition on the sale of alcohol in so many Middle Eastern countries comes from, a prohibition that obviously does not apply to the offspring of Saudi royalty.
221: Now the writer turns his attention to the topic of marriage and sexual relations. He begins by saying You shall not wed pagan women. This suggests a good Muslim could lose his faith if he spent too much time with a non-Muslim woman with foreign ideas, and what about the faith of their children? In other surahs the relational ban even extends to all friendships (Surah 3:28). This lack of contact and understanding of other peoples and beliefs over the centuries has led to great fear and suspicion of foreign ideas in some Muslim countries. For example, until the advent of the internet, only a few hundred western books were translated into Arabic each year. Saudi Arabia’s oldest university did not even open until 1957, and movies were banned there as well until 2018.
The internet and many satellite TV channels have now breached this ideological moat, which explains why millions of frustrated people stuck inside the Islamic culture are now secretly turning to Christianity and Atheism. A personal conversation I had with the director of Isaac Television, beamed into the Middle East from Lahore in Pakistan, revealed that the number one country for viewer inquiries was Saudi Arabia! Isik Abla Ministries largest Facebook following is amazingly from Kabul in Afghanistan with over 180,000 active followers in that one city, a city where internet coverage is very limited! A seismic shift is underway inside the Islamic world. The Ummah is disintegrating.
223: The writer now tells his faithful warriors that women are your fields, go then into your fields whenever you please. This sexual licence includes up to four wives (surah 4:3) and whatever slaves a man has (surah 23:6). That certainly qualifies as a field. The writer of the Qur’an thus reflected the prevailing Arab social values of late antiquity in nearly all aspects. This included a very chauvinistic culture that persists today across most of the Islamic world. Muslim men have divine permission to enjoy their polygamy whenever they want even if this involves marital rape, and this privilege even extended to the level of pre-pubescent wives (surah 65:1-5). These teachings came from the top. According to surah 33:37, Allah gave permission for Muhammad to marry his own daughter-in-law, whom he lusted after. A few verses later, in surah 33:50, Allah gave permission for Muhammad to have sex with his first cousins and any woman who offered herself to him, a privilege which was his alone.
These teachings on sexual relations are why the Islamic Republic of Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini lowered the age of marriage in Iran to nine years when he won power in 1980. Western concepts of human decency are of secondary importance and must align with what has decreed in the perfect Book of Truth. This is the essence of Sharia Law, which the Qur’an says will one day rule the whole world (surah 61:9). Fortunately at present only about ten Islamic countries have enacted Sharia Law in full, but many more face growing pressure to do so. This push is being courageously resisted by many good people inside the Islamic world.
Intriguingly, I have now seen a consistent pattern anywhere Sharia Law is instituted in a country, or a country goes through an Islamic fundamentalist revolution. A decade or two later there is a significant turning away from Islam and turning to Christianity within that country. The goal of global Sharia is therefore self-defeating in the modern age. It destroys freedom and in so doing destroys credibility.
228-229: The writer now confirms male supremacy by declaring that Men have a status above them, meaning women. This is exemplified further on in ayat 282 where a woman’s legal testimony is worth half that of a man and in surah 4:11 where the writer decrees a double inheritance for male children. In surah 4:34 the writer also gives men the right to be violent toward one’s wives if they become rebellious.
This extreme matriarchy extends to divorce. The writer now decrees that divorce only has to be pronounced twice by a man in the presence of a witness and it is complete. These are the bounds set by Allah. In Malaysia this instant divorce can now be done via texting! The only consolation the writer allows for the divorced women is that they get to stay in the husbands home for a waiting period, and then they are on their own. Incidentally, marriage under Sharia Law is a contract between a groom and the father of the bride, not the bride herself. Sharia Law treats women as perpetual children under male guardianship. It is comical to read of the lengths Muslim apologists will go to justify these draconian restrictions on women in places like Saudi Arabia.
233-234: The writer now issues decrees regarding mothers who give suck to their children, or use a wet nurse. He then advises that he expects widows to wait exactly 4 months and 10 days before remarrying. I include this information to show once again how Sharia Law invades all private space and behaviour. The Qur’an is completely at odds with ideals of western liberalism, personal freedoms and ethics, which, by the way, reached their zenith in Protestant Christian countries and their unique culture over the course of the 19th and 20th Centuries. These two opposing religious worldviews, the one espousing slavery and submission to Allah and the other espousing freedom and love in Jesus Christ, cannot and will not ever co-exist. I believe one or the other will emerge triumphant before the end of this century, and by the end of the next century it will be game over, the question is, for which one?
The Islamic Saul and David
244: The writer now returns to the familiar topic of war. He begins by saying once again: Fight for the cause of Allah. Fighting for Allah is likened to giving Allah a generous loan. War will repay you many times over. Allah apparently loves war. This is in stark contrast to the Christian statement that God is love (1 John 4:7-21), Christ’s admonition that greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13) and to turn the other cheek when attacked (Matthew 5:38-40). The modern Muslim exegesis that the two religions worship the same god flies in the face of these statements. Love is mostly mentioned as a negative in the Qur’an, and of the 99 attributes of Allah, only once is love mentioned, and even that one is circumstantial in nature.
246-251: To illustrate this point about war, the writer now tells a clearly fictitious story of king Saul of Israel. He begins with the issue of the Israelites who said Raise up for us a king instead of what they should have asked for, which was a prophet like Muahmmad. Rejecting your prophet is the cardinal sin in the eyes of the Qur’anic writer or writers. The writer then moves on to show that the new king asked them to fight but they all refused. So their prophet gave Saul the Ark of the Covenant and Allah’s divine presence went with the king. Next, the writer explains how Saul tested his soldiers as they drunk from a river. Only those who do not drink from it, or scoop a little in their hand shall fight by my side. Saul then went to fight Goliath with none except a few men. One of those few, David, slew Goliath and then Allah bestowed on him sovereignty. The passage ends with Such are Allah’s revelations.
This passage presents a significant Qur’anic exegetical problem as it welds together several completely different Biblical passages, people and time periods in Israel’s history; Saul, David and Gideon. Either the writer had a very poor recollection of Biblical history or the writer was drawing his inspiration from just a vague understanding of the Old Testament. Perhaps He was drawing inspiration from yet more 2nd Century fables as previously highlighted, or possibly Biblical history really is completely corrupted and now in the final edition of the Book of Truth, the real story is revealed. I will let you decide which is correct.
Briefly Returning to the Islamic Jesus
253-255: The writer returns to a familiar theme where he once again establishes Allah’s authority over Jesus Christ whom the Christians mistakenly worship as God. The writer starts by declaring once again the link between Allah and we assume Muhammad: One of our emissaries you surely are. Of these emissaries we have exalted some above others. This simply means Allah gives each of his prophets/apostles/emissaries different gifts. To some Allah spoke, to others he raised to a lofty status. This is meant to show how Muhammad was an oracle of Allah and Jesus was the miracle worker of Allah. Then he says We gave Jesus…conspicuous signs and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit. This conveys to the reader that it was Allah all along who allowed Jesus to do miracles, Jesus was but a pawn of the divine will of Allah. A Qur’anic position supported by surah 5:110.
The mention of the Holy Spirit in the above ayat raises another significant exegetical problem. In Qur’anic theology exactly who is the Holy Spirit? The Qur’an is not consistent in its definitions: In surah 19:16-17 the Holy Spirit is a perfect man without fault, probably an angel. In surah 16:102 the Holy Spirit is Gabriel who brought the Qur’an to Muhammad. And in surah 21:91 the Holy Spirit is the very spirit of Allah himself, accurately reflecting the Biblical understanding of Yahweh breathing life into Adam at the creation (surah 15:29). By the way, in surah 3:49 this act of breathing life into objects is something only Jesus can do. With all this confusion regarding the Holy Spirit swirling around, eventually the writer of the Qur’an, in one of the rare occasions when it is not officially Allah speaking, deflects these contradictions by simply decreeing in surah 17:85-89 that the Spirit is of the bidding of my Lord. You have been given of knowledge nothing except a little. A rational person would see this as excusing confusion.
The second half of this ayat is also revealing. The writer says those who succeeded them (Mary and Jesus)…disagreed among themselves. This refers to the great schisms between the many Christian factions that arose in the 600 years between the birth of Christianity and the birth of Islam. The inference is that those who theologically disagree and fight among themselves can’t be right in what they believe. The irony is that that same logic can be applied to Christianity and Islam with its many divisions. Yet some had faith and others had none. Once again the Qur’an reiterates that there were good Muslims who held on to the original Islamic faith taught by the Muslim prophet Jesus, while most followers went astray and became typical unbelievers, typical Christians.
255: The writer finishes the discourse with It is the unbelievers who are the wrong doers because there is no god but Him, the Living, the Eternal One. This single ayat, of which I have quoted just a small part, is considered the Mt Everest of the Qur’an, the most perfectly distilled words that encapsulate its entire teachings, and the source of the first half of the Shahada Creed. It’s the Islamic equivalent to John 3:16.
256: The writer now makes a statement that has become famous the world over in the last two decades. There shall be no compulsion in religion. This doctrine is repeated in many places (surah 16:82 and surah 39:41). It has been used by western-based Islamic apologists to very effectively convey the impression Islam is not an onerous religion but a religion of peaceful coexistence. However, as we already know by what we have read so far, everywhere else in Surah Two and in the rest of the Qur’an, the writer contradicts these passages with direct orders to fight and destroy unbelievers (surah 9:29-33, 73, 123). Since the order to fight is alleged to have been revealed later than this more peaceful statement, the peaceful ayat is abrogated and the order to fight takes precedence. Islamic apologists, religious or secular, will not tell you that fact when trying to convince you Islam is a religion of peace.
This contradiction is yet another of the many abrogations in the Qur’an that were created as a result of the changing political circumstances in which the book was written over many decades. The empire was initially tolerant of Christianity and Judaism, but then became increasingly hostile as opposition increased. This opposition came both from conquered peoples refusing to convert to the emerging Arab-centric religion, and from the Byzantine armies who continued to fight but fall before the newcomers on the edges of the Arab expansion across Africa and into Anatolia all the way to Constantinople in 674-678AD.
258-260: The writer now pens an extended story about Abraham arguing with an unbeliever. As proof of Abraham’s apostleship, Allah tells his man to take four birds and cut them to pieces, scatter them over the mountain tops and then call them back. The resultant miracle was meant to quieten the unbelievers. This is another non-Biblical story that found its way into the Qur’an. It is ironic that whenever the Qur’an quotes an Old Testament person it never quotes from the Old Testament, but from some other legendary source.
Laws Regarding Finance and Contracts
261-283: The writer now explains how he wants alms-giving to happen, and explains the blessings that he promises to those who faithfully give to his cause. This is justified by saying that Allah promises prosperity over and over for the true and generous believer. They will be like an orchard on a hillside. All wealth, no matter how corruptly gained, comes from Allah while Satan threatens you with poverty. The writer also decrees Allah’s curse on usury, or interest on loans. This lays the foundation for Sharia compliant finance where interest is banned, but other favours are returned to the lender as compensation for the risk of lending.
Finally the writer addresses the issue of debts, which must always be put in writing. These laws once again demonstrate the complete separation between the Islamic worldview and the western worldview. This also raises two questions: 1. If Muhammad was both a trader and illiterate, then how could he read his debtors contracts? 2. If Arab culture was oral in nature then why the instruction to have all debts recorded?
284-286: The surah, the longest Chapter in the Qur’an at 6,144 words, finishes with another reiteration of the doctrine of predestination: He will forgive whom he will and punish whom he pleases. It then includes an admonition to believe all that Allah’s faithful prophet has revealed and a prayer to give us victory over the unbelievers.
Surah Two provides many fascinating insights into the Islamic worldview. It illustrates disturbing aspects of the religion that western minds urgently need to fully understand if we are to respond to the religion correctly and wisely. Below are a few take home points from this commentary that fall out of Surah Two and the Qur’anic references cited:
Islam’s god is the author of evil. We are but his slaves
Islam’s god predestines all humans to heaven or hell
Islam’s god arbitrarily changes his mind many times
Islam’s god insists he is a unity, but confusingly refers to himself in the plural
Islam’s god considers holiness irrelevant to his existence, submission is paramount
Islam’s god sinks or swims on the believability of his book
Islam’s book has destroyed previous Biblical history to justify Islam’s existence
Islam’s book despises the religions that went before, while claiming to confirm them
Islam’s book is full of contradictions, but these can never be questioned
Islam’s book is a blatant vehicle of Arab imperial expansion
Islam’s book evolved slowly over the decades of this Arab imperial expansion
Islam’s book evolved out of Monarchian/Arian/Ebionite Christianity
Islam’s book includes many legends and fables from the 2nd Century
Islam’s war was initially against the Christians and the Jews, not fellow Arab polytheists
Islam’s war with the rest of the world is now universal and never-ending
Islam’s war is especially against Christian Civilisation, which must eventually bow its knee
Islam’s war will see it victorious in world history. World domination is the goal.
My commentary of Surah Two also explains many things that don’t otherwise make sense if we only accepted the traditional Islamic explanation of Islam’s birth from the Sira and the Hadith. Here are a few:
I explains why The Arab Empire was not born in the depths of Saudi Arabia, but in the constantly disputed borderlands of two great empires and why all early rulers of the Arab Empire come from these lands and ruled from Damascus, Jerusalem and Baghdad, but never Mecca or Medina in Saudi Arabia.
It explains why Mecca is not mentioned in the Qur’an (there is a single mention of a mysterious Bakkah, but not Mecca) and why we have no objective historical evidence of Mecca’s existence in any Greek, Roman, Syriac, Aramaic, Coptic or other literature until 741 AD.
It explains why all mosques faced Petra in Jordan until 725 AD, the utter confusion in their direction over the next hundred years, and the final alignment with Mecca only in 822 AD.
It explains why 7% of the Qur’an is a version of Old Testament events, but a version that twists, warps and bastardises every Biblical narrative into conformity with an Islamic theology which does away with any accurate reference in the Old Testament.
It explains why 56 Biblical names appear in the Qur’an, why Jesus is mentioned directly or indirectly 187 times (25 times by the name Isa, third-person 48 times, first-person 35 times, and the rest as titles and attributes), why Moses is mentioned 136 times, Abraham 69 times, Noah 43 times, and Mary 34 times. It also explains why Muhammad is mentioned only 4 times.
It explains why the Qur’an has plagiarised many early Jewish and Christian apocryphal-mythical fables from the 2nd to the 4th Centuries, fables that were considered divine revelation by the clearly ignorant writer or writers of the Qur’an.
It explains why the words Muhammad, Qur’an, Islam and Muslim were not seen anywhere for almost 70 years after the birth of the Arab Empire, and why the 691 AD inscription inside the Dome of the Rock Mosque repeatedly elevates Jesus as Allah’s servant and messenger.
It explains why the Qur’an covers two distinct time periods; the theological “Meccan” years, and the imperial “Medinan” years. Years of imperial tolerance leading to years of imperial intolerance.
And it explains why early mosques such as the Dome of the Rock Mosque resemble churches of that era and region.
These and many other truths that were revealed in this study of Surah Two lead to only one possible conclusion: That Islam, its book and its prophet were the carefully crafted product of an ascendant Arab empire being rejected by those people it conquered. In response it designed a political/religious justification for its existence by reinventing its own history.
This has led to a 1,400 year war with the Christian Civilisation which is ongoing and now hotting up again. The 21st and 22nd Century will see this clash of these two great civilisations increase across the globe. There will be only one winner. If it is Islam then the future is bleak for the West. Islam is the most successful ideology ever invented for the global destruction of Christianity and the resulting civilisation that Christianity created.
Fortunately however, it will not be Islam that wins this future battle for the hearts and minds of the world’s citizens. We are currently in the early stages of a globally-wide mass turning of Muslims to Christianity that is gaining momentum every year. Cracks in the Muslim edifice are appearing everywhere. Hundreds of millions of good people are trapped inside its suffocating ideology and yearn to escape.
Please join me in praying for these spiritual cracks to turn into an unstoppable earthquake. You can do so by subscribing to my weekly prayer newsletter on the right side of my home page (called PICTURE) where I highlight the prayer needs of one Islamic country each week.
Thanks for reading this far!