Question: The Qur’an mentions Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Moses, Jesus, John the Baptist and other biblical characters, as well as many events recorded in the Bible. But the Bible wasn’t translated into Arabic until 40 years after the Qur’an was written! Wouldn’t this prove divine inspiration of the Qur’an?
Answer: No, it would not, for several reasons. Islam already makes the claim that the Qur’an is a miracle book inspired of Allah through the angel Gabriel because Muhammad was allegedly illiterate and couldn’t have read the Bible, even had it been in Arabic. The truth is, Muhammad was acquainted with many Jews and “Christians” of various sects. Whatever of biblical history and characters he put into the Qur’an, he learned from oral accounts—not from divine inspiration.
Furthermore, Muhammad got it nearly all wrong in the Qur’an. Some of the stories taught to him were false, some were garbled, and he managed to confuse them even more. Thus the Qur’an contradicts the Bible not only in doctrine but in history.
For example, in the Qur’an Noah had a fourth son, who refused to enter the ark and drowned in the flood (Surah 11:42,43). Incredibly, the Qur’an says that Abraham was to sacrifice Ishmael, not Isaac, and Abraham and Ishmael built the Ka’aba, a pagan temple, in Mecca. Moses was adopted by Pharaoh’s wife instead of his daughter, and the golden calf was made by a Samaritan (seven centuries before Samaritans existed). The story of the red heifer in Numbers 19 becomes a fantastic tale of a yellow cow in Surah 2:67-71. Mary gives birth to Jesus under a palm tree (19:21-27), and she is confused with Miriam, sister of Aaron and Moses: “Oh sister of Aaron!” (19:28). The Qur’an denies that Christ was crucified, and says He was taken alive to heaven (4:157, 158).
These are only a few of the contradictions between the Qur’an and the Bible showing that the Qur’an was surely not divinely inspired! Nevertheless, on May 14, 1999, Pope John Paul II bowed to and kissed a copy of the Qur’an presented to him by Shi’ite and Sunni leaders from Iraq during a Vatican audience with Rafael I. Bidawid of Baghdad, Patriarch of the Chaldeans (an Eastern rite Aramaic speaking branch of Roman Catholicism).