Say: Verily, though mankind and the jinn should assemble to produce the like of this Koran, they could not produce the like of it though they were helpers of one another (17.88)
Islamic Tradition claims that the Koran contains not only the words of God, but also that the Koran is unequalled, miraculous and perfect in its nature, that it is a literary masterpiece, and itself proof of Islam. As Muslims claim God is the author of the Koran, such claims are considered to be consistent with its divine authorship.
This chapter consider whether the evidence is sufficient to justify these beliefs and how reasonable they are.
The topic covered by this chapter is a large one and can usefully be divided into three separate questions, namely:
- Is the Koran a literary masterpiece?
- Can the Koran be equalled?
- Is the Koran a miracle and is it itself proof of Islam?
Other areas of relevance to these issues which have been dealt with in other chapters including:
- Has the Koran remained unchanged since it was handed down to Muhammad?
- Does the Koran contain contradictions or mistakes or other evidence suggestive of human rather divine authorship
- Does the Koran contain incredible, magical or mythological material?
- Does the Koran make statements about matters which scientific advances have only recently discovered to be true, thereby proving divine authorship?
But first we will consider:
The experience of reading the Koran
Many authors on reading the Koran find it quite otherwise than as Muslims claim. Bill Warner for instance in ‘A Two Hour Koran’ comments:
“1. It is arranged from the longest chapter to the shortest chapter. This destroyed the story of the Koran.
2. Each chapter has a bewildering array of topics.
3. It is very repetitive. The story of Moses is told 39 times.
4. There is no context to many verses. This is very confusing.
5. It is contradictory.”
Others have read the Qur’an and have commented how poor it is as literature, contrary to its self proclaimed perfection. For ex Muslims, re-reading the Koran with open eyes is often experienced as an ‘The Emperor has no clothes’ moment. By way of example here is what a lady called Ishina says about the Qur’an in a piece in which she is giving reasons for leaving Islam on the Council of Ex-Muslims website:
“Simply by its own internal inconsistencies and fallacies as a work of literature, the Quran is self-refuting. Poorly written, poorly structured, profoundly lacking in original insight and depth, contradictory to the point of needing its own ad hoc system of abrogation, it is a featherweight compared to equivalent works in other traditions. Keep in mind that the Quran is allegedly the unaltered words of a god, verbatim. So sure are Muslims of this that they have fetishised the Quran to the point of becoming a self-parody. To the point of having an existential crisis (and sometimes even to the point of violence) if it is defaced or disrespected.
The Quran only makes matters worse for itself by being such an arrogant work. Making bold claims of perfection, challenging its reader to find better; “Whoever denies it, let him produce a similar one.” The human authors of Islam painted themselves into a corner by proclaiming it to be no less than the Final Testament from the God of Abraham, and further, that Mohammed was the seal of the prophets, appointed to confirm, correct, complete and give closure to the prophesies that came before. It’s an incredibly conceited and short-sighted thing to do, but quite understandable when you take into account the apocalyptic doomsayer culture it was born from, authored by those who thought the world would end ages ago, perhaps even in their own lifetime. And of course, it didn’t end. And so, the supposed measure of divine wisdom revealed in the Quran uncannily resembles the superstitious and ignorant views of the men of that period, frozen in time.”
For a document with an allegedly divine origin, the Koran when read by a critically aware and objective reader appears remarkably repetitive, rambling and disorganised. It is also replete with threats, curses and rhetoric. The dominant theme is the insistent call to belief in Muhammad’s message of Islamic monotheism coupled with threats uttered to those who dare to think otherwise.
The Koran is written in a polemic style and appears addressed to those who disagreed with Muhammad or with doubters or disputers among whom Muhammad or the Koran’s creators lived. There are many verses addressed to Christians and Jews seeking to persuade them to accept Muhammad’s new religion as well as passages addressed to the adherents of the old polytheistic religion of the surrounding tribes. Some of these verses could have been taken by those addressed as amounting to bullying; they are nothing if not forthright. We have seen above that there was at the inception of Islam an atmosphere of religious ferment between multiple sects which no doubt explains the polemical style.
It is full of verses which purport to be proofs of Allah’s claim to be the one and only God. It sees no incongruity or logical difficulty in claiming itself as proof of its own claim. Even though the Koran is clear that there is only one God, it also reveals belief in the existence of other supernatural beings such as Satan (Shaitan), angels and jinn. See for example 35.1 where angels who have two, three or four wings are referred to as having been appointed by Allah.
There are the expected self-serving claims that the Koran is true (eg 35.31). Maulana Wahiduddin Khan sees no difficulty with the Koran claiming itself to be true. But very striking are the often repeated passages devoted to cajoling the immediate audience to surrender themselves fully to Islam and not even think of deviating from it. An example of cajoling is 57.10:
‘And what is the matter with you that you spend not in the cause of Allah?’
This looks more like a very human and impatient Muhammad (or leader) being impatient with his recalcitrant followers; the context was fighting.
The cajoling includes attempts to persuade but also dire warnings, abuse and threats are used. I have given the references in the footnotes for a large number but the reality is that the text is permeated with such verbal abuse. I set out here just three examples (King Fahd translation) to give the flavour of these passages:
But those who reject our ayat (ie proofs, evidence, verses, lessons, signs, revelations etc), the torment will touch them for their disbelief (and for their belying the Message of Muhammad (6:49)
“But those who disbelieve (in the oneness of Allah) for them will be the fire of Hell. Neither will it have a complete killing effect on them so that they die, nor shall its torment be lightened for them. Thus do we requite every disbeliever” (35:36)
“Verily we have prepared for disbelievers iron chairs, iron collars and a blazing fire” (76:4)
Often criminals and sinners are equated and condemned equally with polytheists and disbelievers in Islamic monotheism, so that a thoughtful atheist or agnostic would be treated on the same basis as a professional criminal. The text lacks any notions of freedoms of expression, belief and conscience, which we now value as foundational ethical norms in a modern society.
But the Koran is not all like this. One passage 39.7 seems inconsistently moderate in comparison (Allah ‘does not like disbelief’). Other passages promise paradise to the believers, or rain to those who accept Islam.
On the other hand more verses are threatening: 72.15 states that those who deviate from the right path shall be firewood in hell.
The Tradition implicitly explains that the Suras were issued originally as a means of propaganda to those Muhammad wanted to influence.
A dispassionate reader might conclude that the Koran’s hectoring style justifies the description of the Koran as repetitive or even obsessive.
At the heart of Islam is the idea of submission, submission to Allah as interpreted by Muhammad. The idea of submission is accompanied by, and reinforces, the obsession with stamping out disbelief. Believers must submit themselves to ‘fire and brimstone’ preaching and a level of mind-control reminiscent of the ‘Wee Frees’, some extremist sects which have been reported in recent decades (Jonestown, Scientology, Moonies etc), or some totalitarian regimes (Nazism, Communism).
Not many non-Muslims have taken the trouble to read the Koran, but it is a revelation (pun intended) to read it. A surprising number of Muslims have not read it either! If it is read without the prejudice of being totally committed to everything it says as being God’s word, but with simple common sense and awareness, it is a rewarding read: it shows the naked truth about Islam and will assist the reader assess the claims it makes.
- 1. Is the Koran a literary masterpiece?
Many independent commentators have noted that the Koran is not the perfect piece of writing the Islamic tradition repeatedly asserts it to be. This was noted by early non-Muslim commentators such as the Christian Al-Kindi writing about 830. Christoph Luxenberg remarks that the Koran contains much ambiguous and even inexplicable language. He asserts that even Muslim scholars find some passages difficult to parse and have written reams of Koranic commentary in attempts to clarify its meaning.
The noted 20th century traditional Koranic commentator Sayyid Abul A’la Mawdudi (1903-79) in the introduction to his commentary to Sura1-3 candidly states about the Koran (page 8):
The reader …also encounters abrupt transitions between one subject matter and another. Audience and speaker constantly change as the message is directed now to one and now to another group of people. There is no trace of the familiar division into chapters and sections. Likewise, the treatment of different subjects is unique. If an historical subject is raised, the narrative does not follow the pattern familiar in historical accounts. In discussions of philosophical or metaphysical questions, we miss the familiar expressions and terminology of formal logic and philosophy. Cultural and political matters or questions pertaining to man’s social and economic life are discussed in a way very different from that usual in works of social sciences.
The reader may find all this so foreign to his notion of what a book should be that he may become so confused as to feel that the Qur’an is a piece of disorganised, incoherent and unsystematic writing, comprising nothing but a disjointed conglomeration of comments of varying lengths put together arbitrarily.
I am grateful to Mawdudi because in these passages he concedes the truth of the criticism of the lack of literary quality of the Koran, but he goes on to explain the fundamental claims the Koran makes for itself. If these are accepted then the credulity of the faithful is such that explanations are found for the presentation of the Koran which appear consistent with its claimed divine authorship.
Many other experts have also noted what they saw as defects in the Koran. The noted Arabist and scientific scholar of the Koran Theodor Noldeke compared the Koran unfavourably with the pre-Koranic Arabic poetry which he considered to be free of the shortcomings evident in the Koran.
The noted Arabist and scientific Koranic scholar Dr Puin in a critical assessment of the Koran’s comprehensibility in a 1999 Atlantic Monthly article wrote that:
…. the Koran is a kind of cocktail of texts that were not all understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many of them may even be a hundred years older than Islam itself. Even within the Islamic traditions there is a huge body of contradictory information, including a significant Christian substrate; one can derive a whole Islamic anti-history from them if one wants. The Koran claims for itself that it is ‘mubeen,’ or ‘clear,’ but if you look at it, you will notice that every fifth sentence or so simply doesn’t make sense. Many Muslims — and Orientalists — will tell you otherwise, of course, but the fact is that a fifth of the Koranic text is just incomprehensible. This is what has caused the traditional anxiety regarding translation. If the Koran is not comprehensible—if it can’t even be understood in Arabic — then it’s not translatable. People fear that. And since the Koran claims repeatedly to be clear but obviously is not — as even speakers of Arabic will tell you — there is a contradiction. Something else must be going on.
The great scientific scholar and Arabist John Wansbrough says of the Koran that it:
..is strikingly lacking in overall structure, frequently obscure and inconsequential in both language and content. Perfunctory in its linking of disparate materials and given to repetition of whole passages in variant versions. On this basis it can be plausibly argued that the book (Koran) is the product of the belated and imperfect editing of materials from a plurality of traditions.
Ibn Warraq noted that Westerners reading the Koran have reacted in different even more critical ways.
It is not neccessary to rely on experts to evaluate the Koran. Take 33.37 for instance;
And when you said to him on whom Allah has conferred favour and you have conferred favour : Keep your wife to yourself, and fear Allah. And you hid in your mind that which Allah was bringing to light, and you feared mankind whereas Allah has a better right that you should fear Him. So when Zeyd had performed that necessary formality (of divorce) from her, We gave her to you in marriage, so that (from thereon) there may be no sin for believers in respect of wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have performed the necessary formality (of release) from them. The commandment f Allah must be fulfilled.
You see here an example of Koranic text which contains both an ungrammatical structure and an unstable subject. The first sentence is a subordinate clause which ends before the main clause. Indeed the following sentence also appears to be a continuation of the same subordinated concept and it is only in the third sentence that we reach what should be the main concept of the verse.
At the beginning of the verse Allah is referred to in the third person, then in the third sentence the subject shifts to ‘We’ as if Allah is speaking himself, and the final sentence again refers to Allah in the third person.
I have quoted Arabist scholars who have assessed the Koran in its original language. While other commentators have been reading the Koran in translation, it is fair to recall that one thing a translation has to do is to render a text into another language so as to show meaning. Translators cannot translate into incomprehensible language even where the original meaning is obscure! Therefore, if the original text is partly unintelligible, the translations are likely to be an improvement on the original level of intelligibility, not the reverse (as Muslims frequently suggest).
When putting these points to Muslim advocates of the Koran, one is left listening to further assertions of the miraculous nature of the Koran as a masterpiece of literature. Simply repeating such assertions however is no argument whatsoever.
- 2. Can the Koran be equalled?
The Koran itself lays down a challenge in 17.88 quoted above: “Say, verily though mankind and the jinn should assemble to produce the like of this Koran, they could not produce the like of it though they were helpers of one another”. Similar challenges are laid down in 10.38, 25.23, 28.49 and 52.34.
But even when the Muhammad was publishing his revelations, his audiences were not impressed. See 8.31 This is nothing but fables of the men of old, which candidly records people saying that he was just telling ancient stories, thereby implying that the old stories could match the Koran.
The challenge did not go unheeded. The famous poet Bashar ibn Burd (died783) having heard poems of some contemporary poets in Basra is reported to have said that “These poems are better than any Sura of the Koran.”
Often a Muslim today will repeat the challenge to produce the like of the Koran, thinking that it is a conclusive argument. Neither Muslims nor non-Muslims spend the time to consider the claim realistically, but the challenge is easily answered by anyone who has the benefit of being reasonably well read in the ancient and modern classics of poetry, religion, philosophy, history and fiction.
While any comparisons with the Koran will inevitably involve a strong subjective judgement, it is possible to compare the text of the Koran with the Bible, especially the King James Bible, with the works of Marcus Aurelius, the speeches of Demosthenes, Herodotus, Thucydides, Lucretius, Plato, or Cicero, and fair comparison shows that that the Koran is by no means superior. Those prose texts in my judgement show much clearer composition, flow of argument, clarity of narrative and story. Or choose a modern text like ‘The Good Book’ by AC Grayling or any modern philosophical work such as Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy: these also demonstrate clearly the same qualities lacking in the Koran.
The poetry of Ovid or Homer is easily comparable as is the poetry of more modern poets such as Gerard Manley Hopkins, Tennyson, Carol Ann Duffy etc – and in the judgement of many, better. The Arabic text of the Koran is claimed to be poetic in its own way, a claim that cannot be judged by those who cannot read the original, although some of the descriptions especially of paradise reflect a poetic quality that does come through translation. But much of the remaining alleged poetic quality is sadly lost in translation, if indeed it was ever there. The impression is gained of a ‘poetry’ common to many of the religious scriptures of the ancient world and indeed of some of the modern world.
Some passages may well have been poetry to an Arab’s ear at the time, but when Muhammad makes repeated references to the sea and the day and night eg in 35.12 and 13, the impact in translation is regrettably more banal to the modern ear. Or the poetic effect may be similar to the impact of archaic language, like the King James Bible can have on English listeners.
Other religions also claim their scriptures to be divinely inspired and of high quality. Sikhism’s first scriptures emerged over 500 years ago and the Baha’i‘s first scriptures first came to light in the nineteenth century. Both attracted Muslims converts in large numbers who were presumably impressed by these scriptures over against the Koran.
Perhaps the best test is for the reader to read the Koran for him or herself. When the Koran is read in translation by an intelligent and objectively minded reader, the impression gained is that it is far from the literary masterpiece claimed. Muslims commentators are quick to quote selectively from non-Muslims who have made appreciative comments about the Koran.
Perhaps one should blame the compilers of the Koran for the jumbling together of revelations without adequate editing, context or chronology. Research suggests that this task was probably done in a hurried manner in the eighth century.
The Traditional account implicitly suggests that once Muhammad had died his companions may have regarded the revelations as too sacred for them to be overtly edited to the point of clarity without adding or altering them. Modern research into the origins of the Koran however suggests that the revelations were far from sacrosanct and that much ambiguity in the Koran may flow from the fact that sections of it have been translated from earlier documents written in Aramaic.
Devout Muslims will also argue that you cannot appreciate the Koran unless you understand classical Arabic, but this is only an argument for the Koran being inaccessible to the majority of humankind, suggesting that God is partisan towards classical Arabic speakers and so discriminatory towards the rest of the human race.
In any event the challenge to produce material like the Koran has been met directly in a website: http://suralikeit.com/ – a website devoted specifically to writing Suras in Arabic that compare with the originals.
Whilst reading a translation cannot reveal the alleged beautiful poetic quality of the Koran, expert Arabists such as Noldeke have criticised the Koran for irregular and incorrect language, unexplained breaks in rhyme and meaning, and repetitiveness, and have compared the Koran unfavourably with classical Arabic poetry.
Wikipedia has a page entitled ‘Great Books of the World’. The page lists many books written before the Koran as well as many written since. They are of high literary quality. The reader is invited to assess whether any or all are of a higher quality than the Koran.
The Salafist preacher and Islamic debater Hamza Andreas Tzortis in his website states that anyone trying to match the Koran must do the following:
Replicate the Qur’an’s literary form
Match the unique linguistic nature of the Qur’an
Select and arrange words like that of the Qur’an
Select and arrange similar grammatical particles
Match the Qur’an’s superior eloquence and sound
Equal the frequency of rhetorical devices
Match the level of content and informativeness
Equal the Qur’an’s conciseness and flexibility
He states that those attempting to match it against these criteria have so far failed. But this is like one side of a contest deciding what the rules should be for both sides. The criteria he sets out may have little to do with literary merit, but more to do with replicating the Koran’s eccentricities. For instance he refers to the Koran’s superior eloquence and sound. However for many the sound of the Arabic language appears harsh, and cannot compare with more mellifluous languages like Italian and Finnish.
The truth is that something better than the Koran in any reasonable and widely recognised test of quality you care to mention can be created and already exists in just about every type of literature, in all the major literary languages of the world. The reader can easily judge this for him or herself.
In the final analysis the judgement of a work as an unequalled or unequallable literary masterpiece is subjective. Therefore Muslims arguing the point are really seeking to impose on others their own partial and faith-based judgement.
- 3. Is the Koran a Miracle?
The Islamic position in brief
A remarkable feature of Islam is the claim its adherents make that the Koran itself is a literary miracle and itself constitutes proof of the correctness of Islam and even of God’s existence. Its language and poetry is said to be so profound and beautiful that it cannot be translated adequately. Its language is also said to be precise and intricate.
The Koran is held to be the word of Allah himself, usually dictated to Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel, and then memorised by Muhammad and passed on to his followers.
Muslims believe the Koran was made easy to memorise by Allah, even for non- Arabic speakers, and many millions of Muslims have in fact committed the Koran to memory, of whom many have memorised it even without knowing the meaning of the words. It is said as a result that even if the written word were lost the Koran would still be available in their memories. The Koran is claimed to be the most recited book ever.
Muslims also believe the Koran has been miraculously preserved: it is, they say, exactly the same as it was when it was first handed down to Muhammad. The traditional scholar Mawdudi (1903-1979) wrote
“The Koran that we possess today corresponds exactly to the edition which was prepared on the orders of Abu Bakr”
A contemporary Muslim preacher Nouman Ali Khan says that if the Koran had not been given by Allah it would contain a lot of contradictions; he implicitly denies it contains contradictions. Even the word for contradiction, he says, does not appear more than once in the Koran.
Nouman Ali Khan refers to the middle verse of the second Sura Al-Baqarah – ayah 143 in which Allah is said to say that he has ‘appointed you a middle nation’ (Pickthall translation). That verse is also the middle one in the Sura. He suggests that this is an example of the way the Koran is miraculous.
The Koran is claimed to be a revolutionary book, producing more significant and complete change in seventh century Arabia than other revolutions for instance the French Revolution in 1789 and the Russian Revolution of 1917.
Nouman Ali Khan explains that what are noted as breaks in rhyme in the Koranic text are really clever ways of noting a change of paragraph or a footnote within the text.
As we have seen above the Koran itself issues a challenge – that if anyone doubts the Koran, he should bring something similar. Implicitly that is said to be impossible, so wonderful is the Koran.
For Muslims the Koran further proves its divine origin because it makes statements about matters that were not understood by humans at the time the Koran was revealed 1400 years ago, but which have only more recently been shown by scientific advance to be correct. 
Nouman Ali Khan states that the Koran is central to Muslim faith: if you are satisfied that the Koran is the word of Allah, then all other doubts about Islam are resolved. Inevitably if a person accepts this claim it follows that the whole package of Islamic beliefs is taken on board.
One of the purposes of this book is to address these various claims and to assist Muslims and non Muslims in assessing whether the Koran is worthy of such faith.
For the claim that the Koran is itself a miracle, it is useful first to consider what a miracle is by definition. The classical definition of a miracle is an extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all human and natural powers and is attributed to supernatural causes. It therefore comes to be seen as a sign of God’s existence.
Alternatively a miracle is simply something wonderful or marvellous. In this last sense anyone can subjectively regard something as wonderful.
Hamza Andreas Tzortis in his website has an article devoted to the alleged literary and linguistic miracle of the Koran, in which I note he prefers the definition that a miracle is an event that lies outside the productive capacity of nature. This seems to be another way of suggesting supernatural intervention.
If we take Tzortis’s meaning and the usual definition together – of an event which is outside the productive capacity of nature and/or which surpasses the laws of physics and is ascribed to supernatural powers, it is hard to see on what evidence the claim that the Koran is a Miracle can be made. There is nothing obviously miraculous about it, other than that it does contain fables which relate miraculous stories. Whether a miraculous story is evidence of fabrication and mythology or evidence of the supernatural is a matter for the reader’s common sense.
Generally the more extraordinary and incredible a story, the stronger and clearer the evidence needed to justify belief. Simple assertions of the miraculous are nowhere near enough, but this is all we get in the Koran.
The Koran is a very imperfect and human book, full of errors, contradictions and indications that it has been created by human beings.
Is the Koran itself proof of Islam?
The claim that the Koran is a miracle and itself ‘proof’ is linked to the belief that the Koran is the very word of Allah sent down to Muhammad. This claim contrasts with the New Testament and the Hebrew Bible, for which the usual claim is that they were merely divinely inspired. The Islamic tradition that the Koran is the very word of God claim may explain the fact that the Koran has amongst its followers such a status that there has been with Islam itself very limited tradition or tolerance of the kind of textual criticism that has been so useful in helping both believers (and sceptics) understand the bible (and its defects). However this has been changing: the amount of critical examination of the Koran is on the increase.
Sura 98 is entitled ‘The Clear Evidence’ and picks up a constant theme that the Koran constitutes proof of the oneness of God and the correctness of Islam. The text shows Muhammad’s constant repetition of his call to belief is noted, coupled by references to the munificence of God in providing rain, the sun, etc and these are presented as proof of his message. Our knowledge of meteorology makes these claims look thin. In any event the mere constant repetition of assertions is not proof of their truth and cannot withstand fair minded objective analysis today.
The Koran’s claim that it itself constitutes proof of what it proclaims is a circular and illogical claim, because the Koran could only be valid if it was revealed by God. The existence of God has to be proved first by means outside the Koran before it is reasonable to consider the Koran as a possible revelation from God. And even then it would also have to compete with the scriptures of other religions.
The Koran does itself no favours in making such claims: the first trick of an intellectual fraud is to avoid exposing his basic thesis to critical examination and to assume the truth of his argument as a precondition to debate, as this seeks to preclude further or indeed any criticism. Any criticism or doubt of the Koran is thereby categorised automatically as disbelief, and was so categorised by the authors of the Koran – and is still being so categorised today.
Looking at the Koran from an objective point of analysis the reader is asked to consider whether the claim that Allah sent the Koran down to the world via Muhammad is just such a fraudulent claim.
This chapter has looked at the questions whether the Koran can be fairly considered a Literary Masterpiece which cannot be equalled and a Miracle.
Reasons are offered to find that the Islamic Traditions about the Koran are unsupported not only by the historical evidence but also by the evidence that can be gleaned by reading the text today and comparing it to other literary works. The Koran cannot therefore be fairly judged as unequalled, let alone a miracle, or a literary masterpiece.
 Published by CSPI 2010
 See also 8.50. 8.9, 2.98-99, 2.34, 2.30-31, 15.27 and 55.15
 eg 57.10
 See for example 6.39, 6.49, 7.40, 9.68, 13.18, 16.01, 17.105, 18.02, 18.29, 22.57, 27.90, 35.36, 40.4, 40.7, 40.60, 40.70-76, 41.4, 41.41, 46.20, 48.13, 57.19, 76.4, 78.21-27,
 King Fahd translation
 This comes out for example in 36.59 the King Fahd translation but not in Pickthall
 eg 35.33
 A fundamentalist and puritanical Presbyterian sect in Scotland
 See The Origins of the Koran ed Ibn Warraq p 17
 This is part of his theme in The Syro-Aramaean Reading of the Koran pub Schiler 2007
 English translation by Tafhim al-Qur’an pub The Islamic Foundation UK 1988
 Which Koran? (Ed Ibn Warraq) p87
 Quoted by Ibn Warraq in his Introduction to The Origins of the Koran pub 1998 Prometheus
 Source Alternative Commentary on the Quran by Akshin Sultanov pub Raider 2011 p184
 Pub 2011
 Readers can compare the translations for their various poetic qualities. The translation emanating from the King Fahd Guardian of the Two Holy Mosques is probably the least poetic, in its anxiety for accuracy.
 I have checked Islamic beliefs set out in this part in Youtuibe.com/watch?v=axM5p8IazZk and from Prof Tariq Ramadan’s book ‘The Messenger’ (pub penguin)
 Abul Ala Mawdudi Towards Understanding the Qur’an vol 1 ed Zafar Ansari (Leicester, UK: Islamic Foundation, 1988) p22
 This claim is considered in the chapter on Scientific Errors
 See the bibliography. A useful starting point are the works of Ibn Warraq.
 Eg represented in 10.37