One of the remarkable things about Islam is that its truth claims are utterly dependant on the bold assertion that the Qur'an is the word of an omniscient god. I've noticed that some Muslims resort to all sorts of fanciful means to explain away the various contradictions, linguistic difficulties, scientific errors and so on in that book.

 

For example, they often disguise an obvious error as a miracle. The verses that mention night and day and then say that the sun and moon float in an orbit are not advocating geocentrism (21:33, 36:37-40)! Nope, they are supposedly a miraculous revelation that the sun orbits the milkyway!

 

Well, one set of verses is so embarrassing that nobody attempts to salvage it as a miracle, but instead sometimes use various means to explain them away as meaning something more mundane. Even many translators interpolate extra words to try to lessen their impact. Those verses, in a passage about Alexander the Great (aka Dhu'l Qarnayn) are:

 

18:85-86 And he followed a road Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness.

 

18:89-90 Then he followed a road Till, when he reached the rising-place of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had appointed no shelter therefrom.

(Pickthall translation)

 

This story in the Qur'an is very, very similar to a popular contemporary legend about Alexander the Great. I've written an article about these verses, 18:86 and 18:90, which I hope some of you will find interesting, and if I'm lucky, you might give me some feedback ;) It's a bit of a niche interest topic, but I think I've discovered some important new info which undermines the various interpretations used to explain away these conspicuous blunders in the Qur'an.

 

For example, the most common strategy is to say the Arabic words in these verses are idioms for the East and West. In my article I point out that the Arabic word used in 18:90 is not used anywhere else in the Qur'an nor hadith in any kind of idiom to mean the East, and the most authoritative lexicon gives no support to that view either. Rather, everywhere else in the Qur'an where the east is mentioned, another word is used. I show some other new problems with the east-west interpretation too.

 

The other popular interpretation is that these words refer to Dhu'l Qarnayn reaching the times of sunset and sunrise. However, the same words in Arabic translated "then he followed a road till when he reached" appear a few verses later when this guy reaches a mountain valley! I point out lots of other awkward evidence in my article, as well as plenty supporting the literal interpretation.

 

Here's the article (or rather, a summarized version - the full version is more comprehensive, but very long!). Half of it is just endnotes and refs; the main text is only 10 pages on paper. I hope it's useful/interesting to someone, thanks!

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looks like you are wasting a lot of time in studying Islam. There are many better things one can do.....
Yes, I have to admit that I agree. I didn't intend to spend so long on this, but I kept finding more things to include! I'm not planning on doing any more study of Islam after this, though I do find it interesting. I just think I ought to share this info as a lot of it consists of new arguments, which in my opinion greatly undermine the Qur'an's claims about itself. It seems a shame that few people who might find it useful (e.g. those considering conversion, apostacy) will ever know about it while it's deep down in any google ranking. I also find it saddening that apologists can disguise these blunders in the Qur'an using interpretations that I've now debunked. I'll just have to accept that's the way it is I guess.

Every time I have confronted muslims they just reply with "Read the koran". One idiot was even saying allah was the "god of science".

 

If there's just a mosque and loads of people reading just one book it seems a sad and empty life to me.

'La supériorité de Mahomet est d'avoir fondé une religion en se passant de l'enfer'  -  Napoleon Bonaparte
martin! what makes Islam most vulnerable is the family(rather sexual) lives of its founders. And secondly behaviour of todays muslims towards any criticism on it. Apart from having so many wives, prophet was also inconsistent on the subject. He on "GOD's ORDERS" allowed other Muslims to have maximum of 4 wives at a time when he himself kepping a dozon(no exaduration) at same time. One of his famous cousin is branded as marriage makng machine by historians. They all wre the same.

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