Comments in this book numbered by 3 numbers (included 00 or 0) a few places followed by one small letter = clear cases. Comments numbered by 00 or 0 followed by 1, 2 or 3 letters (big or small) = likely cases.
If nothing else is said, all our quotations from the Quran are from “The Holy Qur’an”, translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, the 2000 edition from Wordsworth Classics, printed with permission from Islamic Propagation Centre, Islamic Vision, 434 Coventry Road, Birmingham, B10 OUG, UK. Mr. A. Yusuf Ali is reckoned by Muslims to be one of the top 3 translators of the Quran to English (the other two are Pikthall and Shakir), if not THE best.
The book is cheap in paperback, and anybody can read it - the language is easy, though often boring and far from high quality literature - and control if our quotations are correct. And anyone can look for the mistakes or other things if they want.
According to Muslim sources, the story goes that the Quran got its final content ca. 650 AD (not later than 656 AD under the third caliph, Uthman). But that is not 100% true – actually far from 100% true. This partly because even if everybody was ordered to burn old Qurans and only keep the new, official one, it took at least 100 - 200 years and may be more (books after all were valuable - and represented the religion like they had learnt it) before all other ones were destroyed, and the texts were known to many educated people. This resulted in changes now and then in texts as they were copied - by hand. Besides the Arab written language at that time lacked the short vowels and also still had none of the points Arabs today use when writing (the so-called dicrital points) and the other signs like full stop, comma, etc. - the written Arab language/the alphabet was not perfected until around 900 AD. Because of that, it frequently is difficult even today to know what word really was written, as one has to guess what vowels to use and what signs are missing. In cases where more than one meaning is possible, all the different possible meanings are judged to be correct by Islam – but they are called “ways of reading” to camouflage that there really are different varieties of the text. And also in the Hadith (explanation in next chapter) it is said that according to Muhammad, the Quran was sent down in 7 versions that all were correct, even where they differed. Not to mentioned all the different varieties that existed in earlier times because of the unclear language. (f. ex. in 1972 a number of very old Qurans were found in Yemen. They turned out to have “small, but significant differences” compared to modern ones - and then western scientists were denied access.) So when a Muslim tells the Quran is always correct, it is pertinent to ask him which Quran (the Arabic Quran dominating today, is the one that happened to be dominant in Egypt when they printed an edition in 1924, the one after Hafs, whereas the one after Warsh is used in parts of Africa, especially North Africa).
Actually for a long time there were 14 - fourteen - canonised versions of the book (Ibn Warraq: “Why I am not a Muslim” and others): Even after Uthman’s version, there were lots of others, partly because of the unclear alphabet. Then there was made a “final” canonisation influenced by the great Muslim teacher Ibn Mohair (dead 935 AD). They stated that 7 variants (other Muslim teachers accepted 10 to 14) had to be accepted as correct. But as each existed in two versions, one ended up with 14 different, all accepted as correct, because it was fully possible to understand the original in those different ways (and actually more), as the original as mentioned was written by means of a far from perfect alphabet. (To make an example in English: If you know that the vowels are omitted, and you have two letters you think represents a word - f. ex. “h” and “s” - the word can as well be “house” as “hose” or even “his“ or “has“).
These are the canonized 14 versions (they called it “ways of reading” – as said to hide that there were many variants). 1. name is the editor, 2. and 3. names are the narrators:
|1+2:||Nafi from Medina||after Warsh or Qalun.|
|3+4:||Ibn Kathir from Mecca||after al-Bazzi or Qunbul.|
|5+6:||Ibn Amir from Damascus||after Hisham or Ibn Dhakwan.|
|7+8:||Abu Amr from Basra||after al-Duri or al-Susi.|
|9+10:||Asim from Kufa||after Hafs or Abu Bakr (not the caliph).|
|11+12:||Hamza from Kufa||after Khalaf or Khallad.|
|13+14:||Al-Kisai from Kufa||after al-Duri or Abul Harith.|
As you understand there is a good reason for asking Muslims which Quran is the one perfect and without mistakes - and which one Allah really sent down (if he did). Only one of these really can be 100% correct - and may be none. Most likely none - too many varieties are possible. And too many mistakes etc. in the book.
Over the years 3 of these 14 came to dominate: Nafi after Warsh, Asim after Hafs and Abu Amr after al-Duri. And today there mostly are two versions that are used: Asim after Hafs - the one used when printed in Egypt in 1924 - and Nafi after Warsh (used in parts of Africa). Asim after Hafs is dominant today, but Nafi after Warsh as mentioned is used in large parts of Africa.
As the question of mistakes is very essential for Islam, we have chosen to quote all places where we have found something that clearly is wrong (numbered by numbers) or very likely wrong (numbered by letters). This means that the same mistake often will be repeated in different connections. We have chosen to mention most of them, so the reader will be able to find the places - if it is too boring to read repetitions many times, read the shortlist instead. You also will find many answers repeated many times (not in the shortlist) - simply because the Quran tells the same stories and the same tales again and again (and often in boring prose - not good literature, no matter what Muslims say).
And: During all these centuries lots of explanations for the mistakes have emerged (We will mention some of them). Some may be true, some make question marks, and a lot obviously are just fast-talk. Use your knowledge and your brain when you meet such explanations: Are they reliable explanations? Is it something that demands more research? Or is it simply fast-talk? All too often it is fast-talk.
NB: If you find any mistakes anywhere, please inform us. If it is a real mistake, it will be corrected.
NB, NB, NB:
1. Read first the 2 small chapters "Some Essentials for how the Quran is to be read and understood" (VII-10-1) and "The Quran is to be understood literally if nothing else is indicated" (VII-10-2).
2. http://www.1000mistakes.com is blocked by many Muslim authorities. To debate with persons in such areas, cut and paste what you want from the pages and send it under titles different from http://www.1000mistakes.com.
3. http://www.1000mistakes.com is one of 9 pages which Muslim organisetions warned especially against in 2008 and 2009 - it could make especially procelytes lose their belief in Islam; correct and "down-to-the-earth" information works. In this connection it is worth noting that in the "warning" http://www.1000mistakes.com was one of 3 which neither was accused of bringing wrong facts, nor of being a hate page.
4. Comment 141 (to verse 6/149) in “The Message of the Quran” (see point 5) explains (translated from Swedish) about Allah's claimed omniscience vs. man's claimed free will:
“With other words: The real connection between Allah’s knowledge about the future (and consequently about the unavoidable in what is to happen in the future*) on one side and man’s relatively (!!*) free will on the other – two statements that seems to contradict each other – lies outside what is possible for humans to understand, but as both statement are made from Allah (in the Quran*) both must be true”. Unbelievable. Blind belief is the only correct and intelligent way of life, even in the face of the utterly impossible!!
5. And an afterthought: In the book “The Message of the Quran”, certified by Al-Azhar Al-Sharif Islamic Research Academy in Cairo (one of the 2-3 top universities in the Muslim world on such subjects) in a letter dated 27. Dec. 1998, it is admitted rather reluctantly that there are no proofs for Allah, and that it is not possible to prove him. An additonal point here is that if there is no proof for Allah and impossible to prove him, automatically there also is no proof for, and impossible to prove Muhammad's claimed connection to a god. And if there is no Allah and/or no connection between Muhammad and a god, what then is Islam?
6. Further: All the mistakes, contradictions, etc. in that book prove 100% that the Quran is not made by an omniscient god - no god makes such and so many mistakes, etc. If then Islam is a made up religion, what then about all the Muslims who have been prohibitted from looking for a real religion (if such one exists)? And where will they in case wake up after living and practising such an inhuman war religion like Islam is according to the Quran (and to Hadiths), if there is a second life somewhere? - Hell or Paradise?
7. NB and PS: No matter how sure you are about something, if it is not proved, it is not knowledge, only belief or strong belief, and can be wrong. Only what is proved or possible to prove is knowledge.
(As http://www.1000mistakes.com is blocked in many Muslim areas - which shows they are afraid of it and lack arguments (if they had real arguments for http://www.1000mistakes.com is wrong, blocking was unneccessary) - "cut and paste" whatever you want from it and send if you want to inform or to debate there. Remember to omit the name http://www.1000mistakes.com).
PS: If we are blocked centrally - f. ex. by spam (there is too much at times already from unfriendly sources) we will reopen with new address somewhere else, and announce the new address om f. ex. http://www.topix.com/forum/religion/islam. Also if your comments to us do not reach us, any comments posted on the thread "What is it with http://www.1000mistakes.com ?" (or make a page containing "1000 mistakes" in the title yourself if you want) on that forum will be read by us - it is a big international debate page.