ALLAH FAILED THE CHALLENGE
The Qur'an challenges the Christian Faith in Surah 2:111:
And they say: “None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian.” Those are their vain desires. Say: “Produce your proof if ye are truthful.” (Yusuf Ali)
But, centuries before the Qur'an came into existence, the Holy Bible puts forth this challenge:
Isaiah 41:21: “Present your case, says the Lord. Bring forth your proofs, says the King of Jacob.
The Challenge raised by both the Holy Bible and the Qur'an has placed upon Christians and Muslims alike the commission to produce proofs for their respective claims as to which of these two Scriptures is the Word of God. Is it the Bible or the Qur’an? However, the followers of Islam have quite frequently resorted to violence to silence all those who take up this Challenge. Still, we will respond and answer this challenge. Unlike Muslims, we will not respond by the Sword but by the Word of God. We will submit to our God and act according to his rules of engagement. This means we are required to respond. We are required to fulfill our commission to defend our Faith. We will respond to the Challenge by producing evidences. Evidences that will prove beyond doubt that the Holy Bible is the Word of God. At the same time, we will also produce evidences to prove why the Qur'an simply cannot be the Word of God. Our primary objective is not to criticize Islam but to help those who are lost in darkness – especially Muslims.
1 Peter 3:15: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Jehovah in his infinite wisdom has made it relatively easier for seekers of truth to recognize which one of the two Scriptures claiming to be divine is true by wisely focusing the Challenge on the vital subject of Prophecy. Thus, Jehovah challenges the false gods (including Allah) to predict the future:
Isaiah 41:21-24: “Present your case, says the Lord. Bring forth your proofs, says the King of Jacob. Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; Let them show us the former things, what they were, That we may consider them, And know the latter end of them; Or declare to us the things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, That we may know that you are gods; Yes, do good or do evil, That we may be dismayed and see it together. Indeed you are nothing, And your work is nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination."
The ability to foretell and fulfill prophecies is a unique attribute of Jehovah’s divine nature:
Isaiah 46:9-10: “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me; declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”
And as a true Creator, Jehovah lovingly appeals:
Isaiah 1:18: “Come now, and let us reason together,” says Jehovah.
Prophecy is a declaration of something to come. In the context of our discussion, it is this facet of prophecy that will be considered here. The Bible is the only religious book in existence that dares to detail hundreds of prophecies. These prophecies involve various essential issues and cover a wide range of vital subjects. They cover subjects from the rise and fall of world empires to the minute details regarding God’s means of extending salvation to mankind in the person of Jesus. Many of these prophecies of the Bible have already been fulfilled accurately to the letter. In no other religious literature will one be able to find hundreds of detailed prophecies that have been fulfilled exactly as foretold. No human has ever presented such detailed predictions of future events. In fact, almost a quarter of all the Biblical verses are prophetic in nature.
In Isaiah 42:8-9, the true God says:
“I am Jehovah, that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”
This declaration by God in Isaiah 42:8-9 shows his ability to make known what will occur in the future. In other words God has the capability to foretell history in advance. Such predictive ability displays God’s unique power. This is how God demonstrates his power and glory, and keeps it from being credited to false gods. Prophecies substantiate the stamp of God’s authority in his inspired Book. The ability to foretell future events of human history is a crucially distinctive attribute of God’s true Scriptures. This is how important prophecies are. It is one of the most essential proofs and evidences of a Divine Book. In relation to the subject at hand, not only will prophecies allow us to compare whether God’s predictive power is present in the Bible or the Qur'an, but it would also help us to determine whether Muhammad is a true prophet of God or not. For a predictive prophecy to be authentic, it must meet the following conditions:
A prophecy must be clearly stated before the historical event which fulfills that prophecy occurs. It is authentic only when the foretold event occurs in history exactly as predicted.
The prophecy which involves human deeds in history must be carried out by people who are either not aware that they are fulfilling the prophecy, or the circumstances of the fulfillment must be totally outside the control of the human agency involved in the proclamation of the prophecy. This condition is necessary to rule out self-fulfilled prophecies. For example, if I were to predict that this tree will cease to exist by the end of the year and then, if I on my own were to chop down the tree, my prophecy is distrustful.
The prophecies of people’s deeds must have been given in fairly specific detail, with recognizable identities and names of people like “Pharaoh” or “King David.” Regarding places involved, recognizable identities and names like Babylon, Israel, Assyria or Mecca should be given. When time factors are mentioned, the prophecy should include a specific and clear description of the length of time involved in the fulfillment of the prophetic event. For example, the number of years, like “70 years.”
Of course, the prophecy must be accurately fulfilled. If it is not accurately fulfilled, then it cannot be a prophecy from God. It is false, and likewise the “prophet” who uttered it.
Also, we are not looking for generally broad or vague predictions of events in which people, places and events are not specifically named, because this would not be clearly verifiable.
PROPHECIES IN THE BIBLE
Though there are hundreds of fulfilled prophecies in the Bible, we will focus on just one for the moment. Jeremiah became a prophet in 647 B.C.E. This was in the 13th year of the reign of King Josiah of Judah (659-629 B.C.E.). And Jehovah prophesized through Jeremiah that, because of their sins, God would bring King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon against the southern kingdom of Judah to defeat and destroy their land and to carry them off to captivity in Babylon for 70 years. But at the end of the 70 years, Babylon would be defeated. (Jeremiah 25:8-14). And Jehovah prophesized that at the end of the 70 years, he would bring the people of Judah out of Babylon and return them back to their homeland. (Jeremiah 29:10-11).
Jeremiah 25:1-2: “The word that occurred to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, the king of Judah, that is, the first year of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon; which Jeremiah the prophet spoke concerning all the people of Judah and concerning all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”
Jeremiah 25:8-14: “Therefore this is what the LORD has said, ‘“For the reason that you did not obey my words, I am sending and I will take all the families of the north,” is the utterance of the LORD, “even sending to Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will devote them to destruction and make them an object of astonishment and something to whistle at and places devastated to time indefinite. And I will destroy out of them the sound of exultation and the sound of rejoicing, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the hand mill and the light of the lamp. And all this land must become a devastated place, an object of astonishment, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”’ “‘And it must occur that when seventy years have been fulfilled I shall call to account against the king of Babylon and against that nation,’ is the utterance of the LORD, ‘their error, even against the land of the Chaldeans, and I will make it desolate wastes to time indefinite.’”
Jeremiah 29:10: “For this is what the LORD has said, ‘In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years at Babylon I shall turn my attention to you people, and I will establish toward you my good word in bringing you back to this place.’”
These predictions qualify as the type of prophecy we are looking for because it is outside the scope of any humans to predict or fulfill it. Furthermore, there are at least six very specific predictive details listed out in this prophecy:
The specific name of the King and the Country that would lead the attack: Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon.
The specific name of the Kingdom that would be attacked: Judah.
The Result of the attack: Defeat of Judah by Babylon.
The Consequence of the defeat: Judah would be taken captive to Babylon.
The Time period of captivity: To be held captive for a period of 70 years.
The Final outcome: Judah’s restoration to its homeland at the end of the 70 years.
The above comprehensive prophecy is one of the most authentic criterions to test the truthfulness of a book claiming divine authorship. This is because the action of taking the people of Judah into captivity, which was carried out by Nebuchadnezzar, as well as the length of their captivity, would be outside the control of Jeremiah or of the people of Judah.
Archaeology and ancient history confirm the precise fulfillment of this comprehensive prophecy of Jeremiah. In 607 B.C.E. King Nebuchadnezzar’s armies subdued Judah, taking thousands of Jews captive to Babylon. This captivity process continued until virtually all of the people of Judah were taken captive. The Babylonian captivity of Judah lasted until Babylon fell to Medo-Persia. Then in 537 B.C.E., Cyrus the Persian King issued a decree permitting the Israelites to return to the land of Judah. Just as it was foretold, they returned and rebuild the temple. Thus, the captivity lasted 70 years – exactly as it was prophesied in the Holy Bible. The accurate fulfillment of this detailed prophecy reveals that Jeremiah was a genuine prophet of God. But more than that, it proves that the Holy Bible is the genuine Word of the true God.
PROPHECIES IN THE QUR'AN
The prophecies in the Bible are both accurate and comprehensive. When the Bible prophesied about the birthplace of Jesus, it mentioned Bethlehem by name. (Micah 5:2). So when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, there was no mistake as to the fulfillment of this prophecy. (Matthew 2:1). Also when the Bible prophesied about the death of Jesus Christ in Isaiah 53:9, it said, “And he will make his burial place even with the wicked ones.” And true to this prophecy, “Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.” (Matthew 27:38).
However, as far as prophecies are concerned, there are no real prophecies in the Qur’an. By this we mean that there are no detailed prophecies which are foretold far in advance of an event to convince us of the divine origin of the Qur'an. The only “prophecy” that resembles anything close to what we can rightly call a prophecy is found in Surah 30:2-4:
“The Roman Empire has been defeated in a land close by; but they, even after this defeat of theirs, will soon be victorious – Within a few years. With Allah is the Decision, in the past and in the Future: on that Day shall the Believers rejoice.” (Yusuf Ali)
Let us analyze this “prophecy.” The Romans (Byzantines) were defeated by the Persians. This defeat took place 6 years before the Hijra (615 C.E.) while Muhammad was still in Mecca. Thus, the first part of the prophecy is really a description of what had already occurred. The verse itself proves this to be true when it states in the past tense, “The Roman Empire has been defeated.” Since the Persians were pagans, the Muslims were unhappy with this outcome. The Romans who were by now “Christians” were considered as fellow monotheist and were viewed favorably by the early Muslims. This explains the last part of the prophecy which states that “on that Day – when the Romans regain victory over the Persians – shall the Believers rejoice.” In truth, only the part which proclaims the Roman victory can somewhat be regarded as prophecy. The whole affair seems to be nothing more than a reassurance from Muhammad. The Muslims who themselves were living amidst pagans were assured that the victory by the pagan Persians were only temporary. However, there are even more essential problems with this “prophecy.”
According to Qur'an translator, Yusuf Ali, the Arabic word for “a few years,” is “Bidh'un.” However, “Bidh'un” signifies a period of three to nine years. Yet, according to historical records, the Romans gained their victory about 13-14 years later. The Persians defeated the Romans (Byzantines) and captured Jerusalem around 614 C.E. The Byzantine counter-offensive did not begin until 622 C.E. and the victory was not complete until 628 C.E., making it a period of between 13-14 years and not “a few years” as implied in the Qur’an. Thus, this prophecy actually failed to transpire within the time frame predetermined by the Qur’an.
Muslim scholar Al-Baizawi writes:
“This passage refers to the defeat of the Byzantines in Syria by the Persians under Khusran Parvis. (C.E. 615 – 6 years before the Hegira). However, the defeat of the Persians should take place soon ‘in a small number of years’. In the light of this prediction, Abu-Bakr undertook a bet with Ubai-ibn-Khalaf that this prediction would be fulfilled within three years, but he was corrected by Muhammad who stated that the word (bida') meant “between three and nine years.”
Since Allah himself introduces a time-factor in this prophecy by stating that the Romans would be victorious within a few years, knowing the precise date of this alleged prophecy is an essential and integral part of verifying whether it came to pass or not. Would a prophecy from God not specify the exact time of the victory, seeing that God is all-knowing, declaring the end from the beginning. When God specifies a time frame as an important part of a prophecy, we would expect it to be precise. For God to speculate that the Byzantines would win at some time within “a few years” as opposed to specifying the exact year is inconsistent with his character as an Omniscient Being. Hence, it is unlikely that the true God would actually declare such a prophecy. This prophecy is in no way comparable to the very specific prophecies in the Bible. Recall how the Bible foretold the exact number of years that Judah would be under the yoke of Babylon. Allah’s prediction does not really qualify as a prophecy since it lacks many essential details.
This problem is further intensified by the fact that the original Qur’anic text had no vowel marks. Thus, the Arabic word Sayaghlibuna, “they shall defeat,” could easily have been rendered, with the change of two vowels, Sayughlabuna, “they (Romans) shall be defeated.” In other words, without the vowels, it could be read in two opposite ways. Since vowel points were not added until some time after this event, it could have been quite possible for a scribe to deliberately tamper with the text, forcing it to become an accurate prophetic statement. This fact is acknowledged by Muslim commentator al-Baidawi. C.G. Pfander mentions Baidawi’s comments on the variant readings surrounding this passage. Notice the conflicting reading:
“But Al Baizawi shatters the whole argument of the Muslims by informing us of certain varied readings in these verses of Suratu'r Rum. He tells us that some read غَلَبَتِ instead of the usual غُلِبَتِ, and سَيُغْلَبُونَ instead of سَيَغْلُبُونَ. The rendering will then be: 'The Byzantines have conquered in the nearest part of the land, and they shall be defeated in a small number of years'. If this be the correct reading, the whole story about Abu Bakr's bet with Ubai must be a fable, since Ubai was dead long before the Muslims began to defeat the Byzantines, and even long before the victories which Heraclius won over the Persians. This shows how unreliable such Traditions are. The explanation which Al Baizawi gives is, that the Byzantines became conquerors of 'the well-watered land of Syria' (على ريف آلْشام), and that the passage predicted that the Muslims would soon overcome them. If this is the meaning, the Tradition which records the 'descent' of the verses about six years before the Hijrah must be wrong, and the passage must belong to A.H. 6 at earliest. It is clear that, as the vowel points were not used when the Qur-an was first written down in Cufic letters, no one can be certain which of the two readings is right. We have seen that there is so much uncertainty about (1) the date at which the verses were 'sent down', (2) the correct reading, and (3) the meaning, that it is quite impossible to show that the passage contains a prophecy which was fulfilled. Hence, it cannot be considered to be a proof of Muhammad's prophetic office." (C. G. Pfander, Mizan-ul-Haqq - The Balance of Truth, revised and enlarged by W. St. Clair Tisdall [Light of Life P.O. Box 18, A-9503, Villach Austria], pp. 279-280)
As admitted by Muslim scholars themselves, the original text can be read both ways. As such, Muslims cannot know for sure the true reading of this Qur'anic text. They cannot guarantee that this verse originally predicted the victory by Byzantine over the Persians. Even for Muslims who read the Qur'an today, can they truly say that they understand this prophecy when it does not state who defeated the Romans, when were they defeated, and where were they defeated. And it does not say over whom the Romans will be victories within “a few years.” Also, what does Allah mean by “a few years”? How long is that precisely? Is the phrase a “land close by” directed towards the Muslims or the Romans? In other words, is it a “land close by” to the Muslims to whom Allah is revealing this prophecy to or is it “land close by” to the Romans who are the subject of this prophecy? And to make matters worse, the absence of vowel points in the Qur’an at the time this prophecy was written in it adds to the problem and renders this “prophecy” extremely confusing. It must be reiterated that vowels were only added to the later editions of the Qur'an. Can anything as uncertain as this be sincerely viewed as a prophecy? We do not think so.
According to Muhammad, “a few years” means a period within nine years. If I were to predict that Abu will die within nine years, and if he does not die within that time, my prediction is totally wrong. It does not matter if Abu dies after that, my prediction is still wrong. Humans can be off mark by a few years, but can this also be true of God? For God to be unspecific that the Romans would become victorious within “a few years” is inconsistent with the perception that he is Omniscient – one who knows all things. Yet, even with the unspecified time frame (3-9 years), Allah got it wrong. The Roman victory came 13 years later. Even then, this military victory was not unexpected. The Roman army being a world power at that time would have been expected to regroup and defeat the Persians. Therefore, any claims of divine inspiration are dubious. Furthermore, the declaration was made while the events were occurring, not many years earlier.
As noted, Surah 30:2-4 did not name the nation over whom the Romans will be victories in a few years. It just says that the Romans would be victories. If I were to tell you that Manchester United will be defeated by a team close by but then they will be victories in a few years, does that make me a prophet? That is exactly the strength of Allah’s prophecy. Thus, this prophecy is of little value because it is a very safe bet to say that within “a few years” the Romans would be “victorious” in some battle somewhere. Since the Romans were fighting several battles during that period, at least one victory would seem almost 100% sure to happen within the space of eight or nine years. Therefore, the prediction by Muhammad can hardly be considered as a prophecy even if it is true. The Romans were the world power of Muhammad’s day. Thus, most people would expect that the Romans to defeat the Persians as time passed. Muhammad could have easily figured out about the Romans’ victory based on the favorable odds that the world power of his day would soon defeat the Persians. During World War II, while the Japanese army was leading the war, some foresaw that the strong Japanese army will soon lose their strength and eventually be defeated. Nicholas John Spykman, a Dutch-American political scientist, predicted that Japan would lose the war. Was he divinely inspired? Was he a prophet? If it is humanly possible for someone to forecast that a strong empire can become weak, why is it not humanly possible for another person to forecast that a defeated empire can regain victory again?
In addition, the prophecy in Surah 30:1-4 might actually be history which Muhammad was aware of, and not a prediction as Muslims claim. This is a very strong possibility because Muhammad was still alive and producing Qur'anic verses for several years after the time of the suggested Roman defeat and victory in history. He was living at the time of the Roman victory of which he spoke, because he only died in 632 C.E. at the age of 63. According to Al-Baizawi’s commentary, the Byzantine Romans became victorious over Persia in 628 C.E. This means Muhammad was still alive four years after that victory. However there is more.
What should be even more troubling for Muslims is the fact that at the time when Muhammad died in 632 C.E., the Qur’an had not been compiled and collected into a book. The original Qur'an was compiled and put into written form in 634 C.E. – six years after the Roman victory. This original Qur'an came to be known as the Hafsah Codex. However, Hafsah’s Codex was destroyed after the release of the “official” Uthmanic Codex. It was destroyed by Muslim leaders in 667 C.E. The reason given for the destruction was that it was at variance with the “official” Qur'an compiled later by Caliph Uthman. Thus, Allah’s original Qur'an vanished.
Caliph Uthman’s “official” Qur'an was recorded and collected into the Uthmanic Codex in about 653 C.E. Today, all Muslims, both Sunnis and Shias, use this “official” Qur'an. This means that the prophecy regarding the Roman’s victory over the Persians was put into writing in the Qur'an only after the fulfillment of the event took place. And even this after-event written text was unclear as it was written without vowels. The words that Muslims considered to be prophetic were written down in the Qur'an years after the event took place. The crucial point is the fact that this prophecy was not documented before the event but after. Prophecies are supposed to be recorded before the event. To accept these words as foretelling the future requires blind faith.
Since the “official” Qur'an with this prophecy recorded in it was only compiled in 653 C.E, this means that the “prophesized” event had already occurred 25 years before it was written down in the Qur’an. Even the “original” Qur'an which is no longer in existence today was compiled six years after the Roman victory. Therefore, at the time when this event was recorded in both the “original” and the “official” the Qur'an, it was clearly a historical record and not a prophecy as claimed by Muslims. A true prophecy would be documented in written form before the event occurs. Otherwise, it can never be verified. The question that we would like to ask the Muslims is this: “Was the prophecy changed to meet the outcome after the event occurred?”
Since the Qur'an was compiled in the present form by Caliph Uthman years after the time of the Roman victory, what do you think will this Muslim leader do when he comes across a false prediction by Allah in the Qur'an? Would he hesitate to correct it? For a man who did not even hesitate to burn all the original hand-written Qur'an’s of the companions of Muhammad so as to unify the Muslim community, the answer is obvious. Therefore, Surah 30:2-4 is history on the one hand, and on the other hand, it is highly suspect. It is also an irrelevant prediction to begin with because it is basically so assured of happening. With no reference of a specific landmark, or a specific enemy, or a specific time, anything can be taken as a fulfillment of this prophecy. And imagine, this is the “prophecy” that Muslims excitedly show to non-Muslims to prove that the Qur'an is the Word of God. As an aside, the first Qur'an burner was Caliph Uthman.
Muslim scholars knowingly hide the historical fact that the Qur'an was compiled after the event of the Roman victory. They conceal this fact even though it is based on Islamic records. While hiding this fact, some Muslim scholars bend over backwards and try to portray that it would have been difficult for Muhammad to perceive that the Romans would defeat the Persians. As stated earlier, prophecies are meant to be documented before the event and not after. Therefore, the arguments raised by these scholars are invalid to begin with and they are not scholarly.
Even if claims were made for validity of this prophecy by Muslims, it is still not sufficient to place our eternal salvation in the supposedly fulfillment of a single prophecy. The Qur'an states that Allah does not perform miracles anymore because people in the past did not believe in them. (Surah 17:59). If powerful miracles could not convince people to believe in Allah, can a single vague prophecy do the trick? It takes not only more than a single road sign but also clear and precise road signs to reach our destination. And Allah’s prophecies are anything but precise.
In view of the activity of false prophets, the Bible warns us against believing every “inspired expression,” which is basically what prophecies are. It admonishes Christians to “test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God.” (1 John 4:1). Jehovah knows that we can be easily misled in the absence of compelling evidences. Hence, he wisely provided hundreds of detailed prophecies in the Bible. By providing numerous proofs, he has lovingly aided us to identify the true inspired Scriptures. Yet, even the single prophecy provided by Allah in the Qur'an turns out to be inaccurate and vague. This lack of predictive power is an exposure that the Qur'an does not possess God’s authority within its pages. It fails to meet God’s challenge.
Compare the vague, ambiguous and erroneous Qur'anic prophecy with the hundreds of detailed prophecies that is outlined in the Bible. There are over three-hundred detailed prophecies regarding Christ alone in the Old Testament. When the Bible’s predictive prophecies are brought forward in comparison, the failure of the Qur'an to demonstrate such powerful proofs stands out even more. This situation is glaringly exhibited, say for example, when one compares the extremely vague prophecy of the Roman victory to something like the amazing accuracy of the predictive prophecy of Jeremiah (cited above) concerning the 70-year captivity of Judah in Babylon. As foretold, their captivity ended right on time at the end of 70 years.
Additionally, these Biblical prophecies can be verified by authentic historical records. About two years after the conquest of Babylon in 539 B.C.E., Cyrus issued a decree in 537 B.C.E. that allowed a Jewish remnant to return to their homeland. In time, Jerusalem’s temple was rebuilt. (Ezra 1:1-11). Archaeology has confirmed that such a decree was in harmony with Cyrus’ policy. On a clay cylinder found in the ruins of Babylon, we find the following declaration of Cyrus:
“I returned to (these) sacred cities…the sanctuaries of which have been ruins for a long time, the images which (used) to live therein and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I (also) gathered all their (former) inhabitants and returned (to them) their habitations.”
The Cyrus Cylinder, a cuneiform inscription found in 1879, records that after taking Babylon in 539 B.C.E.; Cyrus applied his policy of returning captives to their homelands. Among those to benefit were the Jews. In 1883 an archive of over 700 cuneiform texts was found in Nippur, near Babylon. Among the 2,500 names mentioned, about 70 can be identified as Jewish. They appear, says historian Edwin Yamauchi, “as contracting parties, agents, witnesses, collectors of taxes, and royal officials.” The evidence that Jews continued to conduct such activities close to Babylon in this period is significant. It corroborates the Bible’s prophetic statement that while thousands of Israelites returned to Judea from exile in Babylon, some did not. (Isaiah 10:21, 22).
Amazingly, the Nabonidus Chronicle, now in the British Museum, says that “the army of Cyrus entered Babylon without battle.” This was exactly what the Bible predicted would occur, years in advance. Jeremiah 51:30: “The mighty men of Babylon have ceased to fight.” Again, we can see the accuracy of the Bible’s predictive powers.
If Muslims still want to place their eternal salvation in the book of Allah, it is their personal prerogative but they should weigh their words very carefully the next time they decide to challenge the Holy Bible. If that which is supposed to be the strongest proof to validate the Qur'an as the Word of God turns out to be weak, doubtful, ambiguous, vague and erroneous, can we put our trust in the Qur'an? There does not seem to be a single specific prophecy of human history in the Qur'an which is unique and original to the Qur'an. Thus, it fails to meet God’s challenge. It fails to meet the challenge raised by Jehovah in Isaiah 41:21-24.
In contrast, the Bible manifests the powerful unique element of having many specifically fulfilled prophecies, which constitutes authoritative evidence that the Bible truly originates from the Almighty God himself. It is the God of the Bible – the originator of these prophecies – who distinguishes himself as being the true living God. As such, only the Bible can be trusted to explain who God truly is, what his qualities are, and what his requirements are for salvation. And only Jehovah can set out the challenge to foretell the future. We now want to draw our readers’ attention to one very definite and unambiguous prophetic statement of Allah in the Qur'an.
A FAILED PROPHECY IN THE QUR'AN
Surah 8:65: “O Prophet! Rouse the Believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the Unbelievers.” (Yusuf Ali)
Allah prophesized that from now on – from the time of the revelation of this prophecy – a single Muslim warrior who ventures into battle, “will vanquish” ten enemy fighters. Thus, Allah prophesized in no uncertain term that each Muslims warrior “will” be able to defeat by ten-fold the number of his enemies – a ratio of 1 to 10. This is truly an astounding feat. Since this prophetic promise is made by Allah to Muhammad, it is to be achieved, not by the fighting skills of the individual Muslim soldier but by the divine power of the all-knowing Allah. But, this prophecy was abrogated shortly (one verse later) in the Qur'an:
Surah 8:66: “For the present, Allah hath lightened your task, for He knoweth that there is a weak spot in you: But even so, if there are a hundred of you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred, and if a thousand, they will vanquish two thousand, with the leave of Allah: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.” (Ibid)
Surah 8:66 was revealed a short time later after Muslims complained bitterly at the impossible odds they would have to encounter when they engage their enemies in battles. Consider carefully the wordings of these two Surahs. Surah 8:65: “If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the Unbelievers.” (A ratio of 1 to 10). And in Surah 8:66: “… if there are a hundred of you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred, and if a thousand, they will vanquish two thousand.” (A ratio of 1 to 2). Note, there are no changes in the requirements on the part of the warriors. In both the Surahs, they are still required to exercise the same patience and perseverance. So their end of the bargain remains the same. As such, Allah cannot shift the fault to the warriors for the changes. The fault lies in Allah’s miscalculated prophecy. Allah got carried away. No wonder he quickly gave in and invalidated his own prophecy without delay.
“Abdullah told me that when this verse came down it was a shock to the Muslims who took it hard. They were afraid, as the odds were too great. So Allah relieved them and cancelled the verse with another: ‘Now has Allah relieved you and He knows that there is a weakness among you, so if there are 100 (rather than 20) they shall vanquish 200.’”
“When God imposed on them that each one of them should fight ten, it became a burden and an unbearable (task) for them. Thus, God removed the burden from them and each one was (requested) to fight two men.” (Asbab al-Nuzul, p. 134).
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 176:
Narrated Ibn Abbas: When the Verse: -- 'If there are twenty steadfast amongst you (Muslims), they will overcome two-hundred (non-Muslims).' was revealed, it became hard on the Muslims when it became compulsory that one Muslim ought not to flee (in war) before ten (non-Muslims). So (Allah) lightened the order by revealing:
'(But) now Allah has lightened your (task) for He knows that there is weakness in you. So if there are of you one-hundred steadfast, they will overcome two-hundred (non-Muslims).' (Surah 8:66) So when Allah reduced the number of enemies which Muslims should withstand, their patience and perseverance against the enemy decreased as much as their task was lightened for them.
This incident provides us with so many evidences to thoroughly prove Allah’s failure to meet the Challenge raised by Jehovah in the Holy Bible. Consider the following significant failings:
(1) Why did Almighty Allah’s prophecy in Surah 8:65 fail in its fulfillment? Does not this prove that Allah is incapable of seeing through to the fulfillment of his prophecies? Does this not also prove that Allah cannot be the Almighty God as he claims to be?
(2) Why did Allah abrogate his own prophecy and replace it with a contradictory prophecy? Does not the fact that Allah got his prophecy wrong the first time shows that he is learning by trial and error just like any imperfect human? Does not this also prove that there is a failed prophecy in the Qur’an? Can a divine book contain a failed prophecy in it?
(3) Since Allah abrogated his prophecy because of his warriors’ reluctance to fight against such odds, does not this prove that the fulfillment of Allah’s prophecy is dependent on the decisions of imperfect humans? How can the failings of humans to follow divine directions result in the failure of the fulfillment of Allah’s prophecy? Can the Word of God fail?
(4) Why did not Allah know that his warriors would be unable to cope with the demand to defeat their enemies ten times their number? Is it not so because Allah did not know the weakness of the Muslims? Why did not Allah know their weakness just one verse away? Why did Allah choose to lower the prophesized ratio from 1:10 to 1:2 instead of empowering his warriors with the needed strength and courage to measure up to task as predicted in his divine prophecy?
(5) If Allah does not know the present, can we trust him to know the future?
Even though Allah was dealing with one specific people, in one specific time period and in one specific location, he got his prophecy wrong. If Allah is in truth the all-knowing God, he would have known the weakness of the Muslims before revealing Surah 8:65. Since he did not, he had to inspire Surah 8:66 to replace his failed prophecy in Surah 8:65. Allah could have spared his warriors much anxiety, had he given the better verse right from the start. But he could not as he was not only unaware of the situation and also powerless to do anything about it. The truth is that Allah was learning as he went along. He was learning by trial and error. He had to quickly change the ratio from 1:10 to 1:2 because he did not understand and did not know the makeup of his warriors. Allah was ignorant. The fact that the changes made is quite significant – from 1:10 to 1:2 – only serves to prove Allah’s gross miscalculations. And in the end, he had to dishonorably abrogate his own prophecy in the mother of all books – the Holy Qur’an. The existence of even one failed prophecy in the Qur'an is sufficient to prove the Qur'an wrong.
The other so-called prophecies that Muslims point to in the Qur'an are based purely on wishful thinking. They fail to be truly prophetic. Even if Muslims were to falsely claim that there are true prophecies in the Qur'an, it does not essentially change anything. The fact that the Qur'an contains one very clear failed prophecy in it proves that it cannot be the inspired Word of God. We would rightly expect a book that claims inspiration by the almighty God to consistently foretell the future accurately. If the Bible can do this, then it proves that the author of the Bible must be the true God. However, there are also other instances in the Qur'an that shows that Allah does not know the outcome of the future with certainty. For example the Qur’an declares in Surah 3:144:
Muhammad is no more than a Messenger, and indeed many Messengers have passed away before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn back on your heels as disbelievers? And he who turns back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah, and Allah will give reward to those who are grateful (Hilali-Khan)
Muhammad was not only Allah’s greatest prophet but also his final and favorite prophet. Yet, Allah was uncertain about the manner of Muhammad’s death. The phrase, “If he dies or is killed” in Arabic is “Fa-in mata awo kutila.” This verse demonstrates that Allah did not know whether Muhammad will die a natural death (Mata) or be killed by someone (Kutila). Thus, Allah was unable to affirm the exact manner of Muhammad’s death. That is why there is not a single prophecy in the Qur'an that details the manner of Muhammad’s death. In contrast, Jehovah provided numerous prophecies regarding the death of Jesus. He provided these prophecies so that we will know and understand that Jesus is the foretold Messiah. Given below are only a few examples out of the many prophecies regarding the circumstances leading to Jesus’ death:
BETRAYED A CLOSE COMPANION FOR THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER
Prophecy in Old Testament: Zechariah 11:12: “Then I said to them, ‘If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.' So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.’”
Fulfillment in New Testament: Matthew 26:15: “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him to you? And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.” (Compare also Psalms 41:9 with Matthew 26:47-48).
PIERCED BY HIS ENEMIES
Prophecy in Old Testament: Zechariah 12:10: “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.
Fulfillment in New Testament: John 19:34: “But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.”
BEATEN AND SPAT ON
Prophecy in Old Testament: Isaiah 50:6: “I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide my face from shame and spitting.”
Fulfillment in New Testament: Matthew 26:67: “Then they spat in his face and beat him; and others struck him with the palm of their hands”
SOLDIER GAMBLE FOR HIS GARMENTS
Prophecy in Old Testament: Psalm 22:18: “They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
Fulfillment in New Testament: John 19:23-24: When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, “They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” So this is what the soldiers did.
DEATH BY IMPALEMENT
Prophecy in Old Testament: Psalm 22:16: “For dogs have compassed me: A company of evil-doers have enclosed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.”
Fulfillment in New Testament: Luke 23:33: “And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified him.”
NONE OF HIS BONES WILL BE BROKEN
Prophecy in Old Testament: Psalms 34:20: “…he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.”
Fulfillment in New Testament: John 19:33: “But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.”
RESURRECTED BY GOD
Prophecy in Old Testament: Psalms 16:10: “For you will not abandon me in the grave. You will not allow your loyal one to see decay.”
Fulfillment in New Testament: Acts 2:32: “This Jesus God resurrected, of which fact we are all witnesses.”
There are still many more prophecies concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus Christ. However, the above examples are sufficient to prove our point. God preserved these prophecies so that we can be sure that Jesus is indeed the promised Messiah.
The Holy Bible provides a warning regarding those who prophesy falsely:
Deuteronomy 18:22: “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.”
This means that if the predictions of Allah did not come true, it should be rejected as not coming from the true God. And as we have noted, Allah’s prophecies fail to materialize as predicted. Thus, Allah, Muhammad, Islam and the Qur'an should be rejected.