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An Analysis

Donna Morley

        For years, I have heard about the controversial content of the Qur’an. Rather than simply repeat what others have said about it, I decided to go to the Qur'an myself, and read it in its entirety. I found more than I was expecting, and will, in the near future, write up a summary of each section of the Qur'an and put it on the Faith and Reason Forum website. For now, I’ll only hit on a few key points.

         I read Ahmed Ali’s translation of the Qur’an. I must admit, it was a disappointment. I would have much preferred reading the translation by N. Darwood (Penguin Classics). Perhaps my disappointment stems from the fact that it’s been water-downed tremendously. The question we must ask the Muslim who uses Ali’s version is, “Doesn’t this change the intention and the interpretation of the prophet Muhammed?


Case in point. Take a look at Darwood’s version of 4:34 in contrast with Ali’s:



"Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme."


Men are the support of women as God gives some more means than others, and because they spend of their wealth (to provide for them). So women who are virtuous are obedient to God and guard the hidden as God has guarded it. As for women you feel are averse, talk to them suasively;2 then leave them alone in bed (without molesting them) and go to bed with them (when they are willing). If they open out to you, do not seek an excuse for blaming them. Surely God is sublime and great.

         Notice that in Ali’s translation, “beat them” has been completely eliminated. Interestingly, one of the men who endorsed Ali’s translation said, “This translation of the Qur’an aims at doing something new....It...departs from traditional translations in that it gives more refined and differentiated shades of important concepts.” 3

         Indeed many of the verses I have read are refined, but still, clearly communicate unbiblical and even shocking teaching. In the Qur’an “Allah and the Prophet” must together be obeyed (72:23); and believed (5:10). Jesus is lessened to “only an Apostle” (4:171) and the Trinity has become distorted to being Jesus and his mother, along with God (5:16).

         Along with Christians, the Jewish people are referred to as “people of the Book” (4:47). The Jews are highly condemned and criticized. They are accused of breaking “the sanctity of the Sabbath” (2:65); of ignoring Moses (2:66-71); for killing a man and blaming each other (2:70); for their hearts being “hardened like rocks” (2:74) as they pervert the Word of God (2:75); they are, “lost in fantasies.” (2:65-78). The Jews are also accused of having obstructed people from “the way of God,” who practiced usury, for usurping others’ wealth unjustly (4:161). The Jewish people who believe what has been revealed to them, shall receive a great reward from Allah and the Prophet (4:160-162). Yet, these are very few people. On the whole, the Jewish people are condemned because their beliefs are “vile” (2:93) and as a people they are “covetous...more than other men, even more than those who practise (sic) idolatry” (2:96).


         Jewish people are apparently to be blamed for all the evils in the world, and the Qur’an seems to express the fact that it was Allah and the Prophet who wanted to make peace with the Jews. We are told that Allah and the Prophet actually made a covenant with the Jews. This covenant was based upon the Jews agreeing that they “will neither shed blood among you nor turn your people out of their homes....But you still kill one another” (2:83-85). If only terrorists and suicide bombers would read their own verses and apply them to their own lives!

         Christians do not escape unscathed from the words of Allah or the Prophet Mohammed. They are being accused of having not listened to the warning given to them. Thus, Allah and the Prophet “have caused enmity and hatred among them till the Day of the Resurrection,” when Allah “will inform them of what they were doing” (5:14). Christians are “surely infidels” for they say, “God is the Christ, son of Mary.” (5:72). The Christ, son of Mary, was but an apostle, and many apostles had (come and) gone before him....” (5:75). The Qur’an, as mentioned earlier, is identifying the Trinity as Jesus, Mary and God. Jesus and Mary are “two deities apart from God” (5:16). All unbelievers are those who say “The Messiah, son of Mary, is God” (5:17). It was Allah and the Prophet who sent Jesus, son of Mary (5:46).


         The Quar’an says that Jews and Christians be “damned by God: How perverse they are!” (9:30). It was Allah “who sent His Messenger (Mohammed) with guidance and the true faith in order to make it (Islam) superior to other systems of believe” (9:33). For this reason, and more, Muslims are advised not to hold “Jews and Christians as your allies. They are allies of one another; and anyone who makes them his friends is surely one of them; and God does not guide the unjust” (5:51). Wasted are the Jews and Christian’s deeds and “losers they remain” (5:53).

         There is an underlying theme in the Qua’ran of ingratitude on the part of the Jews and Christians. After all, Allah and the Prophet Muhammed gave “Moses the Book” (2:87); “The Book free of doubt and involution” (2:2); as well, gave Jesus the “clear evidence of the truth reinforcing him with divine grace” (2:87). And, all of mankind should be thankful that salvation is offered to “those who believe (in Allah and Mohammed) and do good deeds (2:82).

         A warning is given to the Muslim. They are not to “believe those who do not belong to your faith” (3:73). Why? Because these non-Muslim’s will:


spare no effort to ruin you: they surely desire your annihilation. Hate is on their tongues, and what they hide in their hearts is worse....Just think! You hold them as your friends but they do not, even though you believe in all the Scriptures.” (3:118-119, and more, 3:119-120).

         Interestingly, when meeting unbelievers on the field of battle, the Muslim isn’t to retreat. If he does, he brings the wrath of God on himself and has Hell as an abode (8:15-16). The Muslim can be guaranteed that it’s not him who does the killing, it is Allah who kills (8:17). The Muslim man is simply to fight until opposition ends (8:39)and is guaranteed that, Allah is your helper and protector (8:40).

         A command regarding the worst creatures, the infidel, (8:55,59) is given to the Muslim, “If you meet them in battle, inflict on them such a defeat as would be a lesson for those who come after them and that they may be warned” (8:57). Prepare against them whatever arms and cavalry you can muster, that you may strike terror in (the hearts of the enemies of God....” (8:60).

         Allah has commanded Muslims to “slay the idolaters wheresoever you find them, and take them captive or besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every place” (9:5). “Say: Are you waiting for anything else but one of two good things for us, (victory or martyrdom)?” (9:52).

         Does anyone wonder why there is constant turmoil in the Middle East? How can we even question, for instance, the Arab Palestinians hatred for the Jews when one reads the Qur’an? Is it any wonder why children, starting at the age of 5, are taught to hate the Jew and strive for martyrdom (being suicide bombers, in the pursuit of killing as many Jews as possible)?

         Interestingly, if a Muslim man wants to live a peaceful life, rather than kill, he’s condemned. The Qua’ran states that Muslim men who want to stay home, rather than fight--shall go to hell. “The heat of Hell is far more intense” (9:81) than that of the battlefield. These non-fighting Muslim’s have gone “against the wishes of God’s Apostle, being averse to fighting in the way of God with their wealth and lives” (9:81).


         Peaceful Muslim men (primarily in the Middle East) are most likely ostracized from their people. As the Qur’an reveals: “You will never go out nor fight the enemy with me any more. You preferred to stay back on the first occasion, so stay at home with those who stay behind” (9:83).

         Along with Allah being a fighter (8:17); he doesn’t readily forgive the unbeliever, nor does he show “transgressors the way” (9:80). Most of all, Allah isn’t a “god” of love. I couldn’t find one verse that spoke of Allah’s love. The only attributes of Allah that seemed to jump off the pages were that of hate, and vengeance. An interesting theme was that of abandonment–especially for the Muslim that ticks Allah off. And so it is, those who do not embrace Allahd, or his prophet Mohammed, will have Hell as their abode....” (10:8).

         How thankful we can be for the truth found in Jesus Christ; for the grace and mercy given to all who seek it (Ephesians 2:8-9); for the love He pours out to all of mankind (John 3:16); for the peace and love He desires we have for all; and the outreach He desires we make for all unbelievers, that they may be invited into God’s kingdom. May it be this message we take to the Muslims.


1. Al Qur’an, A Contemporary Translation by Ahmed Ali (Princeton, New Jersey:Princeton,NJ, 1993). Bilingual edition.

2. Ibid. According to Ali, Muslim scholar Raghib, in his Al-Mufridat fi Gharib al Qur’an gives the meaning of suasively as “talk to them so persuasively as to melt their hearts.” Footnotes, 78.

3. Quoted by Fazlur Rahyman, University of Chicago (back cover of Ahmed Ali’s translation of Al Qur’an.


Copyright © 2006 Donna Morley

All Rights Reserved

Courtesy of Faith and Reason Forum