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The Qur'an is a Flawed Text

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/6/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,656 times Debate No: 74821
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (28)
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This argument will be on whether or not the Qur'an is flawed.

flawed: blemished, damaged, or imperfect.

PRO will have to prove that the Qur'an contradicts itself, makes mistakes, etc. This is the definition of flawed for this debate, as in imperfect.

BOP will be on PRO to prove so.

*Rule: Con must be Muslim/Anyone who is well versed in the study of the Qur'an.


Alright, I'll debate this topic. I wish my opponent good luck and await round 2.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting this debate.

I will put my proofs forward one by one. Hopefully my opponent will share this format as it is easier and quicker. Either way, let us continue.

I would also like to first state the Muslim idea of the Qur'an, which is that it is flawless, and is from God. So, if there are any contradictions found in said document then it clearly can't be from God.

(1.) In Surah 20:85-88, 95 we read:

"He [Allah] said, "We have tempted thy people since thou didist leave them. The Samaratin has led them into error." Then Moses returned"and we cast them [(gold) ornaments], as the Samaritan also threw them, into the fire." (Then he brought out for them a Calf, a mere body that lowed; and they said, "This is your god, and the god of Moses, whom he has forgotten.")"Moses said, "And thou, Samaritan, what was thy business?""

Now, let us consider this for just a moment. How can a Samaritan have led the Israelites astray at the time of Moses (approx 1400 B.C.) when the city of Samaria was founded by King Omri about 870 B.C.? The Samaritans did not exist until after the exile of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the resettlement of the area under King Sargon II in 722 B.C. with non-Israelites who then adopted a syncretism (mixture) between the religion of the Jews and their own polytheistic background. The Samaritans did not exist until 530 years after Moses. By this mistake alone, the Qur"an can be rendered unreliable and certainly not an inerrant work of God.

(2.) One of the questions which puzzled the ancient Arabs was, "Where did the sun go when night time came?" The Qur'an gave them Allah's answer.

He [i.e. Zul-qarnain] followed, until he reached the setting of the sun. He found it set in a spring of murky water.
(Surah XVIII ( Kahf) vs. 85-86)

So, I do agree with Muslim scholars that Zul-qarnain refers to Alexander the Great (see Yusuf Ali's appendix on this subject in his translation of the Qur'an). According to this surah, Alexander the Great traveled west until he found out what happened to the sun. It went down into and under the murky waters of a pond. When it was completely covered by the water, darkness fell upon the earth.

To the early Muslims, this surah gave the divine answer as to why darkness fell when the sun set in the West. They assumed that the sun, like the moon, was the size perceived by the human eye, about the size of a basketball. Darkness came when with a mighty hissing roar it went down under the dark waters of a pond. They boldly and proudly proclaimed that this marvelous answer proved that the Qur'an was indeed the Word of God.

Today, modern Muslims are quite embarrassed by this passage and try to ignore it or to quickly dismiss it as poetry. But the passage is not part of a poem. Thus it cannot be dismissed as figurative language or poetic license. In the context, it is part of a historical narrative which relates several historical incidences in the life of Alexander the Great.

The mistake was based on the erroneous assumption that the earth was flat. The authors of the Qur'an did not know that the earth was a sphere which revolved around the sun.

So, Con. Are you prepared to believe and to defend the Qur'an in this passage> Either the sun sets in a pond or it doesn't. It is either one way or the other. There can be no middle ground, no compromise, no evading the issue. If you agree with us that the sun is shining on the other side of the earth and thus it does not go down into murky water, then you must also agree with us that the Qur'an contains scientific errors.

(3.) The Qur'an states, incorrectly, that semen originates from a spot between the backbone and ribs. Today we know sperm comes from the testicles and semen from the pelvic region, which is not between the spine and ribs.

"He is created from a drop emitted- Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs" Qur'an 86:6-7

(4.) When a fresh water river flows into the sea or ocean, there is a transition region in between. This transition region is called an estuary where the fresh water remains temporarily separated from the salt water. However, this separation is not absolute (thus cannot be described as a "barrier"), is not permanent, and the different salinity levels between the two bodies of water eventually homogenize. The Qur'an however erroneously says that the seperation between the two types of water is absolute and permanent.

"It is He Who has let free the two bodies of flowing water: One palatable and sweet, and the other salt and bitter; yet has He made a barrier between them, a partition that is forbidden to be passed."
Qur'an 25:53

(5.) It took thousands of years of domestication and cross-breeding before horses were domesticated approximately 4,000 years ago in East Europe and Central Asia. Prior to this, horses were wild animals though the Qur'an neglects to mention this important fact. Even today feral horses are descendants of once domesticated horses that aren't tamed or used for human transportation.

"And (He has created) horses, mules, and donkeys, for you to ride and use for show; and He has created (other) things of which ye have no knowledge."
Qur'an 16:8

I have plenty of more contradictions, and scientific errors that I can bring up. However, I would like to give CON a chance to disprove what I am saying. Seeing as how Muslims believe that the Qur'an is the word of Allah there should be no contradiction in it whatsoever. Therefore, just one little error will result in the entire book crashing down.

I eagerly await Con's statements defending his position.


1. Fist things first, this has been terribly, terribly quoted. I urge you to check the following link:

However, as to the Samari, new research based on a more careful study of the Samaritan Chronicle has led to a re-evaluation of their origins. The Samaritans are the direct descendants of the Joseph tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh, and until the 17th century C.E. they possessed a high priesthood descending directly from Aaron through Eleazar and Phinehas. The Quranic mention of the name al-Samiri sometimes translated as the "Samaritan" is entirely consistent with modern investigations into the origin of the Samaritan sect.

2. To put it bluntly,
" This is the first of the three episodes here mentioned, his expedition to the west. "Reaching the setting of the sun" does not mean the extreme west, for there is no such thing. West and East are relative terms.

It means a western expedition terminated by a "spring of murky water." This has puzzled Commentators, and they have understood this to mean the dark, tempestuous sea."

I definitely disagree with the sun setting in murky waters.
As an aside, poetry and figurative language are everywhere in the Quran - It's written more beautifully than anyone else could hope to equal. This doesn't make the Quran a poem.

To begin with, these verses say nothing whatsoever about the creation of sperm or the creation of anything else. Consequently, they do not inform us of where the creation of sperm takes place. They merely say that the substances under discussion come out form the places being described. The word being used is "yakhruj" meaning "to exit, leave, come out, emerge". It in no way implies anything related to creation or origination.

Secondly, the phrase "ma'dafiq" (emitted fluid) is not restricted in meaning to sperm but is used in Arabic for both the sperm and the egg. Ibn Kath?r, in his commentary on this verse, writes: "It emanates from the man and the woman, and with Allah's permission, the child comes forth as a product of both.'

Thirdly, the words translated as "backbone" (sulb) and "ribs" (taraib) are not understood in Arabic to belong to the same person. Arabs understand the "sulb" to refer to a part of the male body and the "taraib? to a part of the female. Ibn Kathir states: "It refers to the 'sulb' of the man and the 'taraib' of the woman, which is the area of her chest." He then quotes this interpretation on the authority of the Prophet's companion Ibn `Abb's. This same understanding is given in all the major classical works of Quranic commentary.

Moreover, the word "sulb" should not necessarily be translated as "backbone". This word has many possible meanings and backbone is only one of them. It is also quite commonly used to mean the loins of a man. This is how it is used elsewhere in the Quran. Allah says: "Prohibited to you (for marriage) are...wives of your sons proceeding from your loins (aslab, the plural of sulb).? [Surah al-Nisa: 23] There can be no problem with sperm coming out from the area of a man's loins.

Likewise, when we look at the word being translated as ?ribs? (taraib, the plural of tarabah) we find that it is used linguistically for the general are of the chest and the abdomen. In al-Qamus, the famous classical dictionary of al-Fayruzabadi it is defined as a number of things: "the bones of the chest or what comes after the two collarbones or what comes between the collarbones and the chest or the four ribs to the right of the chest or the four ribs to the left of the chest or the hands, eyes and feet or the collarbones." Some Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and some Successors had also provided many possible meanings, like the lower ribs and al-Dahhakas statement that it is the area between the breasts and feet and the eyes (a mere indication of centrality).

This word clearly has a very broad and diverse definition. It is so ambiguous a word that the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) could not give it a precise definition. Scholars of Quranic commentary have consistently admitted to there being at least three different possible meanings for this word as it is used in the verse. This is an admission that they do not know for certain what the taraib are, except that they generally agree it refers to an area of the woman?s body. It can apply to any region nearing the ribcage. Therefore, the area of the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, or the uterus can easily fit into the general area that is being indicated by these verses.

What we are dealing with here is a gross error in translation and not a scientific error at all.

4. Simply put, the freshwater and saltwater layers stratify. They don't actually "mix". They always separate from each other. I'd like a source for your claim that they do mix, as I couldn't really find anything when I searched.

5. I'm not sure what the problem here is. This verse was sent down in Muhammad's (pbuh) lifetime, which was approximately 570-630 C.E. Horses were domesticated in Arabia around 3000 B.C.E. Horses were domesticated then.
Debate Round No. 2


CON, I must disagree with you when it comes to point (2.). Given the context of the passage it was not written to be any type of symbolism or poetry. If you look at History Muslims clearly believed that the Sun set in the murky waters, if it was meant to be interpreted in any other way then why wasn't it done so? It was clearly written as a way to explain why part of the world went dark. Once again, you can't dismiss this as figurative or poetic language given it's historical context. It's based off of the assumption that the Earth is flat (A popular belief at the time). CON hasn't refuted my point yet.

Back to point (1.) Con, you can't ignore that given Historical Evidence Samaria wasn't founded till 1,000 years after Moses. Therefore, a Samaritan couldn't have existed. CON has still not refuted anything.

(4.) this is a link to how they end up mixing. This alone debunks the Qur'an as it shows that it was wrong. Therefore, not the word of God.

(6.) Creation: The biblical Genesis account says God created all in six days (see Genesis 1:1 - 2:2). The Quran, however, has a real problem here as Surah 41:9, 10, 12 have a total of eight days of creation (4+2+2=8) Meanwhile, Surah 10:3 gives the total number of days of creation as six. This is a problem of self-contradiction.

Pharaoh: According to the Quran (Surah 7:120-125) Pharaoh used crucifixion in dealing with the sorcerers - a practice which historical evidence gives no precedent to before the Babylonian Empire. This is once again a problem of historical compression.

Alexander the Great: According to the Quran (Surah 18:89-98) Alexander the Great was a devout Muslim and lived to a ripe old age. Historical records however show that Alexander the Great died young at 33 years of age (b. 356 B.C. - d. 323 B.C.), and believed he was divine, forcing others to recognize him as such. In India on the Hyphasis River (now Beas) Alexander erected twelve altars to twelve Olympian gods. Once again the Quran shows errors in historical and religious fact.

Now, given the Historical Evidence it shows that the Qur'an was wrong. I believe I have done enough to sufficiently disprove the Qur'an. However, i'll give CON a chance to try to refute my statements.


1. It seems you ignored the historical and more recent evidence I provided. You haven't defended your point yet.

2. Re-read my argument. I wasn't saying that the section was meant to be poetry, only that poetic elements do exist in the Quran and assuming that just because it isn't a poem it cannot have elements of poetry is absurd.

4. If you read beyond the first source, it goes on to explain that the mixing is merely temporary and they separate soon afterwards, thus not having completely mixed.

6. Had you researched this, you would have learned that the four days in Ayat 10 are inclusive of the two days in Ayat 9 - thus you have 2+2+2=6. No problem here, simply another misinterpretation without letting Islamic scholars give explanation.

7. Evidence of Crucification not existing does not necessarily point to it not having been practiced, perhaps in rare cases. You merely stated that one aspect cannot be proven by current historians - not that it is necessarily DISproven

8. Alexander the great is one extremely outdated interpretation, and was never really generally agreed with. It is possible it refers to Cyrus the Great, or perhaps Darius I Hystaspes

Finally, I ask that you stop copy-pasting exactly what you find online and actually re-write. Not only are you plagiarizing as you do not give the source, but some of your sources actually have evidence against the point on the very same page. I strongly suspect you are not reading my arguments and are merely copying yours from the internet. A quick google search confirms that the majority of your information is word-for-word what is written on some web-pages, and very unreliable-looking as well.
Debate Round No. 3


My apologies with the copy and pasting, I had thought I put quotations before and after the statements, however in my haste I forgot to put them.

Con, most of my sources are impartial. Yours have almost been entirely from pro-Islamic websites which have the tendency to warp the truth as I have visited some of the ones you're referring to already. So, don't tell me that my sources are unreliable given the fact that yours are biased.

Back to (2.) CON you're ignoring the obvious. That story is clearly written as a true, historical event. It isn't meant to be taken as poetic, it's written in a historical context that is explaining one of the events that took place in Alexander the Great's life. You said:

" I wasn't saying that the section was meant to be poetry, only that poetic elements do exist in the Quran and assuming that just because it isn't a poem it cannot have elements of poetry is absurd."

No, no, no. You're right it isn't a poem, it's written as a historical event therefore, there is no metaphor or poetry. If I am reading through a History Textbook, and I come across one section about Genghis Khan that is tracing his life and says he had the ability to turn into a tiger then naturally it would follow that the writer genuinely meant/believed that he could do so, as it was found in a History book, not a poetic novel. You still haven't countered my claim.

(7.) Your remark on Egyptian practices is highly ignorant. Egyptian Civilization is probably one of the best studied of all Ancient CIvilizations. Such a practice would've came up by now among all of the other methods used for torture by Ancient Egyptians. Crucifixion was a practice developed much later. My argument still stands, therefore I will extend it.

(8.) First off, the only reason why Alexander the Great is considered outdated is because it threatens the Muslim belief system. However, I have evidence to the contrary. Now, the story is called Dhul-Qarnayn. In english it is translated as The Two Horned One. We have historical evidence from the Ancient Greeks that depicts Alexander the Great as having two horns. Interesting coincidence, isn't it? I will proceed to quote from an article on Wikipedia

" The Egyptian god Ammon-Ra was depicted with ram horns. Rams were considered a symbol of virility due to their rutting behavior. The horns of Ammon may have also represented the East and West of the Earth, and one of the titles of Ammon was "the two-horned." Alexander was depicted with the horns of Ammon as a result of his conquest of ancient Egypt in 332 BC, where the priesthood received him as the son of the god Ammon, who was identified by the ancient Greeks with Zeus, the King of the Gods. The combined deity Zeus-Ammon was a distinct figure in ancient Greek mythology. According to five historians of antiquity (Arrian, Curtius, Diodorus, Justin, and Plutarch), Alexander visited the Oracle of Ammon at Siwa in the Libyan desert and rumors spread that the Oracle had revealed Alexander's father to be the deity Ammon, rather than Philip.[27][29][30] Alexander styled himself as the son of Zeus-Ammon and even demanded to be worshiped as a god"

So, we have good historical evidence that supports this. Let's continue. Ancient Greek currency also depicts Alexander the Great as having two horns.

The evidence is clearly slated in favor of Alexander the Great being the one that is depicted in this particular story in the Qur'an. Not Cyrus the Great, or any other. The fact that He is depicted with two horns isn't a coincidence. So, I refuted your argument on the story depicting somebody else. The story was clearly designed to explain the setting of the sun to ancient Muslims. It is written a historical story, therefore it doesn't have poetic elements.

My arguments still stand.


Impartial? Impartial? Link some of those sources and maybe the voters would be able to see who's "impartial"

2. I'm not saying it's meant to be poetic. that wasn't even my main argument, just an afterthought. Go back to round 2 and see my argument.

7. Not necessarily. I actually searched and no actual scholars who try to disprove the Qur'an attempt to use the absence of hard proof of Crucifixion to counter Islam. These may even have been an individual event - never in the Qur'an does it even say that Crucifixion was a common method of torture/punishment.

8. Two horns and two-horned symbolism was used widely at the time and was the insignia of many rulers. Cyprus the Great can certainly fit the description. Cyrus has historical records of being a God-fearing and just king, such as is described in the Qur'an. The only reason you seem to believe that Alexander the Great is "clearly" referred to is because he was affiliated with horns. Many other figures were used as the time. To quote Wikepedia:

"The first of these characteristics may be applicable to Cyrus. The Prophet Daniel, in the Biblical account, saw a vision that the united kingdom of Media and Persia was like a two-horned ram before the rise of the Greeks."

"Furthermore, two horns and two horned symbolism was not an unknown emblem of the kingdoms of Persia and its predecessors, for we see that Elamite kings used this symbol routinely in their insignia."

And, since you still seem to not want to list sources, I suppose I'll give you mine.

I highly urge you and voters to read that article, as there are many other evidences for Cyrus the Great being referred to in those verses.

I hope the voters can see that Con was clearly biased, and got his information from dubious and unlisted sources. His refusal to even list the places from where his information was gathered should shed some light on his reliability.
Debate Round No. 4
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tschuk 2 years ago
I mean the Historical Jesus.
Posted by tschuk 2 years ago
I'm interested in further debating either of you.

Whether it be AllahoAkbar or HomelySherlock.

What I wish to debate on is whether or not the Qur'an gives an accurate picture of Jesus. Feel free to accept, or deny. Just elt me known.
Posted by HomelySherlock 2 years ago
Please. List your sources. Then attack mine.
Posted by tschuk 2 years ago
To all the voters remember. The purpose of the debate was to show that the Qur'an was a flawed text. It cannot be the work of God if it has even the slightest mistake.

I've more than proven in the case of the story with Alexander the Great and the Sun setting in murky water that it isn't the word of God. I've done the same in other cases.

So, vote Pro.
Posted by tschuk 2 years ago
Getting your facts about your religious text that's from a website ran by people of that religion will almost always warp the truth. Just like for YE Creationism. They can't be expected to be impartial because they have a stake in the argument.

The majority of your sources came from Islamic Websites which I don't believe are trustworthy given that they're Muslim.
Posted by AllahoAkbar 2 years ago
@HomelySherlock The debate ended arguing about who "Zulqurnain" is, I searched this topic some time a go and I found a lot of Jewish scholars interpretation of his identity, which some of the muslim scholars used, but the Qur'an and the Verified hadith didn't care about his identity but only about his experiences and his actions.
great debate Allah Bless you.
Posted by HomelySherlock 2 years ago
tschuk, did you not read his argument? "Planners" and "deceivers" is synonymous. Closed-minded people like you who try to find the most obscure, incriminating misinterpretations of the Qur'an honestly make me wonder if they've ever read the actual meaning of it.
Posted by HomelySherlock 2 years ago
Unfortunately, it seems I misjudged Con. He did in fact list ONE source.
Posted by AllahoAkbar 2 years ago
My holy text is more than perfect it's miraculous and it is still available in its original language, but a translation is not a holy text, it is just a translation of the holy text, here is an example of Quran verse (4:142) with the 3 major most used translations to the same word ;

(Sahih International Trans.) "Indeed, the hypocrites [think to] deceive Allah , but He is deceiving them. And when they stand for prayer, they stand lazily, showing [themselves to] the people and not remembering Allah except a little,"

(Yusuf Ali Trans.)"The Hypocrites - they think they are over-reaching Allah, but He will over-reach them: When they stand up to prayer, they stand without earnestness, to be seen of men, but little do they hold Allah in remembrance;"

(Shakir Trans.)"Surely the hypocrites strive to deceive Allah, and He shall requite their deceit to them, and when they stand up to prayer they stand up sluggishly; they do it only to be seen of men and do not remember Allah save a little."

In the first translation "deceiving them", second "over-reach them", third "requite their deceit to them"
it is a matter of the translator choice of word to transmit the meaning to the reader, and that is why no matter what language we speak we all pray in Arabic from the original text because it is the only reliable source.

I really hope you or some 1 else will open such subject for debate, it will be very interestings.
Posted by tschuk 2 years ago
It's funny, because if your Holy Text is so "perfect" then you would've made sure to put "Allah is the greatest of planners".

It says He is a deceiver because that's what fits closest with the english meaning.

Allah is the devil, sorry to break it to you.

God bless.
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