Are There Contradictions in the Quran?

In Surah 4:82 of the Qur’an, Allah says: “Do they not consider the Qur’an  (with care)?  Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.”  There are several problems with this verse.  

First, it says that if the Qur’an had been from someone other than Allah, we would have  found much discrepancy in it.  So if a book is written by anyone other than Allah, it will be filled with discrepancies.  But this is just silly.  I can write a math book right now that says, “1 plus 1 equals 2.”  “2 plus 2 equals 4.”  Such a book will contain no discrepancies, no errors, no contradictions.  According to the Qur’an, that will make my math book the Word of Allah, since any  book not written by Allah contains much discrepancy, and a simple math book will contain no discrepancy.  

Second, why would we have to find “much” discrepancy in a book to know that it’s  not from Allah?  Why not “some” discrepancy, or “a little” discrepancy?  It’s as if the Qur’an is saying, “You may find a few errors and contradictions in  the Qur’an, but you know it’s the Word of Allah because you don’t find ‘much’  discrepancy.”  

Third, we do find much discrepancy in the Qur’an.  Even if we ignore the numerous scientific errors and historical errors, we still find  a number of difficulties in a book that supposedly has a single, perfect author.  

  • How long did it take Allah to create the universe?  According to Surah 7:54, it took six days.  According to Surah 41:9-12, it took eight days.  
  • What did Allah create first, the heavens or the earth?  According to Surah 2:29, the earth was created first, then the heavens.  According to Surah 79:27-30, the heavens were created first, then the earth.  
  • Who was the first Muslim?  Surah 6:14 says that Muhammad was the first Muslim.  Surah 7:143 says that Moses was the first Muslim.  And yet the Qur’an also declares that Adam and Abraham were Muslims.  
  • The Qur’an tells us in Surah 10:47 that Allah has sent a messenger to every nation.  The Qur’an tells us in Surah 2:125-129 that Abraham and Ishmael came to Arabia, where  they built the Kaa’ba.  And yet Surah 28:46 claims that Muhammad was the first messenger to come to the Arabs.  
  • According to Surah 4:48, committing shirk is unforgivable.  Later in the same Surah 4:153, Allah forgives people for committing shirk.  
  • Surah 16:103 tells us that the Qur’an is written in pure Arabic.  And yet there are many foreign words in the Qur’an.  
  • Surah 2:62 says that Jews and Christians don’t need to fear, because we will be accepted  by Allah.  Surah 3:85 says that the only religion accepted by Allah is Islam.  
  • What is man created from?  Surah 19:67 says that man was created from nothing.  Surah 96:2 says that man was created from a clot of blood.  Surah 21:30 says that man was created from water.  Surah 16:4 says that man was created from a small seed.  Surah 15:26 says that man was created from clay and mud.  Surah 3:59 says that man was created from dust.  Surah 11:61 says man was created from earth.  
  • Will intercession be possible on the Day of Judgment?  According to Surah 20:109, Surah 34:23, and Surah 43:86, yes.  According to Surah 2:123, Surah 6:51, and Surah 82:19, no.  
  • What happened to Pharaoh when he was chasing the Israelites?  Surah 10:92 says that Allah saved him.  Surah 17:103 says that he drowned.  
  • And we have many abrogated verses in the Qur’an—verses that were revealed  to Muhammad but were later cancelled by other verses.  Surah 2:256 says that there is no compulsion in religion.  Surah 9:29 says, “Fight those who do not believe in Allah.”  
  • According to Surah 4:43, Muslims are allowed to drink alcohol, as long as they  don’t show up for prayer drunk.  According to Surah 5:90, Muslims aren’t allowed to drink alcohol.  
  • Surah 4:15 tells us that the penalty for sexual sin is house arrest.  Surah 24:2 tells us that the penalty for sexual sin is one hundred lashes.  

We could go on and on with examples of the Qur’an saying one thing in one place, and  saying something very different in another place.  But think about this for a moment.  Muslims believe that the Qur’an is a perfect tablet in heaven.  On that perfect tablet in heaven are the following three claims: One the penalty for sexual sin  is house arrest; two, the penalty for sexual sin is one hundred lashes; and three, there  is no discrepancy in the Qur’an.  Do you see the problem?  The Qur’an, as it supposedly exists eternally in heaven, is internally incoherent.  And a book that’s internally incoherent shouldn’t be claiming to be so obviously  free from discrepancy that it can only be the Word of God.