It’s time once again to show how the Quran falsifies itself by contradicting its repeated claim of being a book that provides a full exposition of all things and a confirmation of the Scriptures that came before it:
This Qur’an is not such as can be produced by other than God; but it is a verification of that (the Torah and Gospel) which IS between his (its) hands, and the explanation of the book, wherein there IS no doubt, from the Lord of the worlds. S. 10:37
In their history verily there is a lesson for men of understanding. It is no invented story but a confirmation of the existing (Scripture) and a detailed explanation of everything, and a guidance and a mercy for folk who believe. S. 12:111 Pickthall
According to the Quran, Abraham supposedly had a showdown with some unnamed king about the nature of the true God:
Hast thou not Turned thy vision to one who disputed with Abraham About his Lord, because God had granted him power? Abraham said: “My Lord is He Who Giveth life and death.” He said: “I give life and death”. Said Abraham: “But it is God that causeth the sun to rise from the east: Do thou then cause him to rise from the West.” Thus was he confounded who (in arrogance) rejected faith. Nor doth God Give guidance to a people unjust. S. 2:258 Yusuf Ali
Suffice it to say, this text raises more questions than answers.
Who was this king? What was his name? What ethnic group or people did he rule over? Where did this king live and rule from?
When did this disputation take place exactly? Was it before Abraham left for Canaan or after settled there? If before, did this take place in Ur of the Chaldees or in Haran?
Did this disputation occur before any of Abraham’s children were born? And if afterward, did this take place after the birth of Ishmael and Isaac, or before the latter’s birth? How can any Muslim answers any of these questions from the Quran alone?
According to the Muslim expositors, the king was supposedly Nimrod (Cf. Genesis 10:6-14):
Have you not seen him who disputed with Abraham concerning his Lord because of the fact that God had given him the kingship? that is his arrogance towards this very grace of God this was Nimrod Nimrūd. When idh is a substitution for hājja ‘disputed’ Abraham in response to the other’s question ‘Who is this Lord of yours to whom you are calling us?’ said ‘My Lord is He who gives life and makes to die’ the One that creates life and death in bodies; he Nimrod said ‘I give life by sparing and make to die’ by killing. He then had two men brought before him killed one and spared the other. When Abraham realised that this man was a fool Abraham resorting to a more sophisticated argument said ‘God brings the sun from the east; so bring you it from the west.’ Then the disbeliever was confused perplexed and amazed; and God guides not the folk who do evil disbelieving to the art of argument. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn https://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=2&tAyahNo=258&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2; bold emphasis mine)
(Bethink thee) have you not been informed (of him who had an argument with Abraham about his Lord) about the Religion of his Lord, (because Allah had given him the kingdom) he is Nimrod Ibn Canaan; (how, when Abraham said: My Lord is He Who giveth life and causeth death) gives life upon the resurrection and causes death by ending the life of this world, (he answered: I give life and cause death. Abraham said) give me proof of what you say. So Nimrod brought two prisoners, killed one and spared the other and then said: this is my proof. When he saw this, Abraham said: (Lo! Allah causeth the sun to rise in the East) from the direction of the East, (so do thou cause it to come up from the West) from the direction of the West. (Thus was the disbeliever abashed) the one who disbelieved kept quiet and could not argue. (And Allah guideth not) to the right argument (wrong-doing folk) the unbelievers, referring here to Nimrod. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs https://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=2&tAyahNo=258&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2; bold emphasis mine)
The Debate Between Ibrahim Al-Khalil and King Nimrod
The king who disputed with Ibrahim was King Nimrod, son of Canaan, son of Kush, son of Sam, son of Noah, as Mujahid stated. It was also said that he was Nimrod, son of Falikh, son of `Abir, son of Shalikh, son of Arfakhshand, son of Sam, son of Noah. Mujahid said, “The kings who ruled the eastern and western parts of the world are four, two believers and two disbelievers. As for the two believing kings, they were Sulayman bin Dawud and Dhul-Qarnayn. As for the two disbelieving kings, they were Nimrod and Nebuchadnezzar.” Allah knows best.
(Have you not looked) meaning, “With your heart, O Muhammad!”
(at him who disputed with Ibrahim about his Lord) meaning, about the existence of Allah. Nimrod denied the existence of a god other than himself, as he claimed, just as Fir`awn said later to his people…
(I know not that you have a god other than me) (28:38).
What made Nimrod commit this transgression, utter disbelief and arrant rebellion was his tyranny and the fact that he ruled for a long time. This is why the Ayah continued…
(Because Allah had given him the kingdom.)
It appears that Nimrod asked Ibrahim to produce proof that Allah exists. Ibrahim replied…
(My Lord is He Who gives life and causes death) meaning, “The proof of Allah’s existence is the creations that exist after they were nothing and perish after they had existed. This only proves the existence of the Creator, Who does what He wills, for these things could not have occurred on their own without a Creator who created them, and He is the Lord that I call to for worship, Alone without a partner.”
This is when Nimrod said…
(I give life and cause death.)
Qatadah, Muhammad bin Ishaq and As-Suddi said that he meant, “Two men who deserved execution were to be brought before me, and I would command that one of them be killed, and he would be killed. I would command that the second man be pardoned, and he would be pardoned. This is how I bring life and death.” However, it appears that since Nimrod did not deny the existence of a Creator, his statement did not mean what Qatadah said it meant. This explanation does not provide an answer to what Ibrahim said. Nimrod arrogantly and defiantly claimed that he was the creator and pretended that it was he who brings life and death. Later on, Fir`awn imitated him and announced…
(I know not that you have a god other than me) (28: 38).
This is why Ibrahim said to Nimrod…
(Verily, Allah brings the sun from the east; then bring it you from the west.)
This Ayah means, “You claim that it is you who brings life and death. He who brings life and death controls the existence and creates whatever is in it, including controlling its planets and their movements. For instance, the sun rises everyday from the east. Therefore, if you were god, as you claimed, bringing life and death, then bring the sun from the west.” Since the king was aware of his weakness, inadequacy and that he was not able to reply to Ibrahim’s request, he was idle, silent and unable to comment. Therefore, the proof was established against him. Allah said…
(And Allah guides not the people, who are wrongdoers) meaning, Allah deprives the unjust people of any valid proof or argument. Furthermore, their false proof and arguments are annulled by their Lord, and they have earned His anger and will suffer severe torment.
The meaning that we provided is better than the meaning that some philosophers offered, claiming that Ibrahim used the second argument because it was clearer than the first one. Rather, our explanation asserts that Ibrahim refuted both claims of Nimrod, all praise is due to Allah.
As-Suddi stated that the debate between Ibrahim and Nimrod occurred after Ibrahim was thrown in the fire, for Ibrahim did not meet the king before that day. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/2/258; underline emphasis mine)
The problem with this assertion is that there is no mention of such a story in the very inspired Scriptures that the Jews and Christians possessed at the time of Muhammad, which is significant since, as I showed earlier, the Quran claims to confirm the textual preservation and authority of those very writings:
“O children of Israel!… believe in what I (God) reveal, attesting to (the truth of) that which IS WITH YOU (the Torah), and be not the first to reject faith in it, nor sell my signs for a small price… and do not clothe truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth while you know it… Do you command righteousness for people and forget yourselves, and yet you STUDY the book?” S. 2:40-44
“And when there comes to them a Book from God, attesting to (the truth of) that which IS WITH THEM (the Torah)… they refuse to believe in it… miserable is the price for which they have sold their souls. When it is said to them, ‘Believe in what God has sent down,’ they say, `We believe in what was sent down to us (the Torah)‘: yet they reject all besides, even if it be truth attesting to (the truth of) what IS WITH THEM (the Torah)…’” S. 2:89-91
“He (Gabriel) brings it (revelation) upon thy heart, attesting to (the truth of) that which is between his (its) hands (the Torah)… and when there came to them an apostle from God, attesting to (the truth of) that which IS WITH THEM (the Torah), a faction (fariq) of those to whom the Book came threw away the Book of God behind their back as though they didn’t know (what was in it).” S. 2:97, 101
It is He (God) who sent down to thee the Book in truth, attesting to (the truth of) what IS between its (his) hands (the Bible), and He sent down the Torah and the Gospel before this as a guide to mankind. S. 3:3-4
But why do they (the Jews) come to you (Muhammad) for decision, when they HAVE the Torah in which IS the command of God? Yet even after that they turn away for they are not believers. Truly We revealed the Torah in which IS guidance and light. The prophets that submitted themselves to God judged thereby those that were Jews; and the rabbis and doctors (did the same), for to them was entrusted the protection of God’s Book and they were witnesses to it. Therefore (O Jews) fear not men, but fear me, and sell not My signs for a miserable price and those who do not judge by what God revealed, they are unbelievers. We ordained therein for them, “life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal.” But if anyone REMITS the retaliation by way of charity, it IS an atonement for him. And those who fail to JUDGE by what God revealed they are sinners. And in their footsteps (of Moses and the Jews) We sent Jesus the son of Mary, attesting to (the truth of) the Torah which was between his hands; and We gave him the Gospel – therein IS guidance and light and attesting to (the truth of) the Torah which was between his hands: a guidance and an admonition to the righteous. Let the people of the Gospel JUDGE by what God revealed in it. And those who do not judge by what God revealed, they are licentious. To you (Muhammad) We revealed the book in truth, attesting to (the truth of) that which IS between his (its) hands from the scripture (the Torah and Gospel), and guarding it (wa muhaiminan `alaihi)…” S. 5:43-48
And this was Our argument which we gave to Ibrahim against his people; We exalt in dignity whom We please; surely your Lord is Wise, Knowing. And We gave to him Ishaq and Yaqoob; each did We guide, and Nuh did We guide before, and of his descendants, Dawood and Sulaiman and Ayub and Yusuf and Haroun; and thus do We reward those who do good (to others). And Zakariya and Yahya and Isa and Ilyas; every one was of the good; And Ismail and Al-Yasha and Yunus and Lut; and every one We made to excel (in) the worlds: And from among their fathers and their descendants and their brethren, and We chose them and guided them into the right way. This is Allah’s guidance, He guides thereby whom He pleases of His servants; and if they had set up others (with Him), certainly what they did would have become ineffectual for them. These were the men to whom We gave the Book, and authority, and prophethood: if these reject the same, We shall entrust their charge to a new people who do not reject it… and they do not estimate God with a just estimation, when they say, `God has not revealed anything to man.’ Say, “Who sent down the book, which Moses brought, a light and a direction to mankind? You make it upon sheets of paper which you show and conceal much: and you are taught that which you knew not, neither your fathers”… And this book We have revealed, blessed, attesting to (the truth of) that which IS between his (its) hands (the Torah), and that you might admonish the mother of cities and all around her. S. 6:83-92
”And the unbelievers say, `We will not believe in this Qur’an, nor in that which IS between his (its) hands (the Torah and the Gospel)’…” S. 34:31
“That which we have revealed to you of the Book is the truth, attesting to (the truth of) that which IS between his (its) hands (the Torah and Gospel)…” S. 35:31
Do you (Muhammad) not see those who dispute concerning the signs of God? How are they turned away? Those who REJECT the Book, and that (book) with which We sent our apostles, they shall know when the collars shall be around their necks, and the chains, they shall be dragged along. S. 40:69-70
And before this was the Book of Moses as a guide and a mercy: and this Book is a verification (of it) in the Arabic tongue to warn those who transgress and as glad tidings to the righteous…They said, “O our people! we have heard a Book revealed after Moses attesting to (the truth of) that which IS between his (its) hands (the Torah) – guiding to the truth and to a straight path.” S. 46:12, 30
In fact, the Muslim scripture even goes as far as to say that the Torah which the Jews and Christians had at Muhammad’s time provide a clear explanation of all things:
Then We gave Moses the Book complete as to whatever is excellent, and explaining all things in detail, and a guide and a mercy, that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord. And this (the Qur’an) is a Book which We have revealed, blessed: so follow it and be righteous, that you may receive mercy: lest you should say, “The Book was sent down to two peoples before us, and for our part, we remained unacquainted with all that they learned by assiduous study;’ or lest you should say: “If the Book (Torah and Gospel) had only been sent down to us, we should have followed its guidance better than they.” S. 6:154-157
He said: O Moses! I have preferred thee above mankind by My messages and by My speaking (unto thee). So hold that which I have given thee, and be among the thankful. And We wrote for him, upon the tablets, the lesson to be drawn from all things AND THE EXPLANATION OF ALL THINGS, then (bade him): Hold it fast; and command thy people (saying): Take the better (course made clear) therein. I shall show thee the abode of evil-livers. S. 7:144-145 Pickthall
The manuscript tradition conclusively proves that the Jews and Christians at that time were reading the very same books of the Holy Bible that we currently possess today. Therefore, the Torah which they would have been reading would be the very same five books found in our current Bibles, which scholars call the Pentateuch. This means that we should be able to find this confrontation between Abraham and Nimrod in the Pentateuch that we currently possess.
Unfortunately for Muslims, not only does the Pentateuch not mention any disputation between Abraham and Nimrod, it doesn’t even record anything remotely to what the Q. 2:258!
This is simply another case of the Quran “borrowing” the myths and fairytales which Muhammad heard and erroneously assumed were based on historical facts.
As the late Dr. Robert A. Morey put it:
Mistakes About Abraham
The Quran makes many errors concerning Abraham:
- The Quran says that Abraham’s father’s name was Azar, but the Bible says his name was Terah (Sura 6:74).
- He did not live and worship in the valley of Mecca (Sura 14:37) but in Hebron according to the Bible.
- It was his son Isaac that he went to sacrifice and not Ishmael as the Quran says (Sura 37:100– 112).
- He had eight sons and not just two as the Quran claims.
- He had three wives and not two as the Quran says.
- He did not build the Kabah, even though the Quran says so in Sura 2:125–127.
- He was not thrown into a fire by Nimrod as the Quran claims in Suras 21:68, 69 and 9:69.
This last error is most serious because it reveals a very frequent problem in the Quran.
Nimrod lived many centuries before Abraham. How then did Nimrod manage to throw Abraham into a fire when Nimrod had been dead for centuries?
The seventh-century Arab, and Muhammad in particular, did not think in terms of linear time, that is, historical chronology.
In the West, people think of history in terms of a straight line with a beginning, a middle, and an end.
In the East, people think of time in terms of never- ending cycles.
Evidently, in the Middle East at the time of Muhammad, Arabs did not have any settled conception of time at all.
Arab stories and legends put together places, people, and events in one present vision as if they were all living at the same time!
This is why throughout the Quran, Nimrod and Abraham, Haman and Moses, Mary and Aaron, etc. were all pictured as living and working together.
This is why the Quran can put together the flood and Moses, the tower of Babel and Pharoah, etc. as if all those things happened at the same time.
This is a very serious challenge to the integrity of the Quran because it violates the historical chronology of the Bible and secular history at the same time. (Morey, The Islamic Invasion: Confronting the World’s Fastest Growing Religion [Christian Scholars Press, revised 1992], pp. 157-159)
Many of the stories in the Quran come from the Jewish Talmud, the Midrash, and many apocryphal works.
This was pointed out by Abraham Geiger in 1833, and further documented by another Jewish scholar, Dr. Abraham Katsh, of New York University, in 1954.19
- The source of Sura 3:35–37 is the fanciful book called The Protevangelion’s James the Lesser.
- The source of Sura 87:19 is the Testament of Abraham.
- The source of Sura 27:17–44 is the Second Targum of Esther.
- The fantastic tale that God made a man “die for a hundred years” with no ill effects on his food, drink, or donkey was a Jewish fable (Sura 2:259ff.).
- The idea that Moses was resurrected and other material came from the Jewish Talmud (Sura 2:55, 56, 67).
- The story in Sura 5:30, 31 can also be found in pre-Islamic works from Pirke Rabbi Eleazer, the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziah and the Targum of Jerusalem.
- The tale of Abraham being delivered from Nimrod’s fire came from the Midrash Rabbah (see Suras 21:51–71; 29:16, 17; 37:97, 98). It must be also pointed out that Nimrod and Abraham did not live at the same time. Muhammad was always mixing people together in the Quran who did not live at the same time.
- The non-biblical details of the visit of the Queen of Sheba (Saba) in Sura 27:20–44 came from the Second Targum of the Book of Esther.
- The source of Sura 2:102 is no doubt the Midrash Yalkut (chapter 44).
- The story found in Sura 7:171 of God lifting up Mount Sinai and holding it over the heads of the Jews as a threat to squash them if they rejected the law came from the Jewish book Abodah Sarah.
- The story of the making of the golden calf in the wilderness, in which the image jumped out of the fire fully formed and actually mooed (Suras The story of the making of the golden calf in the wilderness, in which the image jumped out of 7:148; 20:88), came from Pirke Rabbi Eleazer.
- The seven heavens and hells described in the Quran came from the Zohar and the Hagigah.
- Muhammad utilized the Testament of Abraham to teach that a scale or balance will be used on the day of judgment to weigh good and bad deeds in order to determine whether one goes to heaven or hell (Suras 42:17; 101:6–9). (Ibid., pp. 170-172)
The Incompleteness and Incoherence of the Quran (https://answeringislam.net/Quran/Incoherence/index.html)
The Samaritan Who Did Not Exist (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/03/another-passage-which-proves-muhammads-fraud-the-samaritan-who-didnt-exist/)