Speaking the Truth in Love

Questions Sincere Muslims Ask – Why does the Quran contradict the Bible?

About 10 years ago I read Islam: A Short History by Karen Armstrong. The book wasn’t in any way an attack on Islamic faith. Armstrong had high praise for the Quran’s Arabic poetry. In 1999, she was honored with the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s Media Award.

In her book Armstrong says that Muhammad never learned to read. Illiteracy may therefore help to explain the Quran’s contradictions with the biblical record. He had heard the stories but perhaps didn’t remember the details correctly.

However, another explanation makes even more sense. Muhammad may have contradicted the Bible on purpose. The Mormons (or Latter-day Saints) have millions of adherents around the world. In 1830, an American named Joseph Smith (who could read) wrote the Book of Mormon. Several chapters of the Bible are borrowed and quoted verbatim from the old King James Version. Like the Quran Smith’s book is written after the Bible, depends on the Bible for its meaning, and yet contradicts it at every turn. Smith’s contradiction of the Bible is intentional. His book (which claims to be superior to the Bible) supposedly supports his claim to be a prophet. Claiming to be God’s prophet gives a person great power over others—if they believe him.

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