Qur'an Contradiction

A Flood in the time of Moses?

The Quran, in several places, refers to the flood which took place at the time of Noah:

Indeed, We sent Noah to his people, and he tarried among them a thousand years, all but fifty; so the Flood (alttoofanu) seized them, while they were evildoers. S. 29:14 Arberry

But they cried him lies; so We delivered him, and those with him, in the Ark, and We drowned those who cried lies to Our signs; assuredly they were a blind people. S. 7:64 Arberry

But they rejected him, and We delivered him, and those with him, in the Ark: but We overwhelmed in the flood those who rejected Our signs. They were indeed a blind people! Y. Ali

But they cried him lies; so We delivered him, and those with him, in the Ark, and We appointed them as viceroys, and We drowned those who cried lies to Our signs; then behold how was the end of them that were warned! S. 10:73 Arberry

The Quran claims that another flood took place during the time of Moses!

So We let loose upon them the flood (alttoofana) and the locusts, the lice and the frogs, the blood, distinct signs; but they waxed proud and were a sinful people… So We took vengeance on them, and drowned them in the sea, for that they cried lies to Our signs and heeded them not. S. 7:133, 136 Arberry

And We brought the Children of Israel over the sea; and Pharaoh and his hosts followed them insolently and impetuously till, when the drowning overtook him, he said, 'I believe that there is no god but He in whom the Children of Israel believe; I am of those that surrender.' 'Now? And before thou didst rebel, being of those that did corruption. So today We shall deliver thee with thy body, that thou mayest be a sign to those after thee. Surely many men are heedless of Our signs.' S. 10:90-92 Arberry

We took the Children of Israel across the sea: Pharaoh and his hosts followed them in insolence and spite. At length, when overwhelmed with the flood, he said: "I believe that there is no god except Him Whom the Children of Israel believe in: I am of those who submit (to God in Islam)." S. 10:90 Y. Ali

The reason for quoting Y. Ali’s version is to show how his rendering implies that Pharaoh actually drowned as a result of the flood, something not reflected in Arberry’s version. Yet reading the passages sequentially or chronologically it seems pretty clear that Allah first sent a flood as part of the plagues upon Egypt and then afterwards drowned Pharaoh in the sea when the latter pursued Israel.

Be that as it may, this fact is certain … the Quran erroneously presumes that God sent a flood upon Pharaoh and his people! Further confirmation that this is what the Quran is actually saying can be seen from the statements of noted Sunni commentator Ibn Kathir regarding Sura 7:133:

<So We sent on them the Tufan>

Ibn `Abbas commented; "It was a heavy rain that ruined the produce and fruits.'' He is also reported to have said that Tuwfan refers to mass death. Mujahid said it is water that carries the plague every where

Ibn Abi Najih narrated from Mujahid about Allah's statement, …

<So We sent on them: the flood, the locusts …>

"Eating the nails on their doors and leaving the wood." As for the Qummal, Ibn `Abbas said that it is the grain bug, or, according to another view, small locusts that do not have wings. Similar was reported from Mujahid, `Ikrimah and Qatadah. Al-Hasan and Sa`id bin Jubayr said that ‘Qummal’ are small black insects. Abu Ja`far bin Jarir recorded that Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "When Musa came to Fir`awn, he demanded, ‘Release the Children of Israel to me.’ But, Fir`awn did not comply; and Allah sent the Tuwfan, and that is a rain which continued until they feared that it was a form of torment. They said to Musa, ‘Invoke your Lord to release us from this rain, and we will believe in you and send the Children of Israel with you.’ Musa invoked his Lord and He removed the affliction from them. However, they did not believe, nor did they send the Children of Israel with him… Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar said, "The enemy of Allah, Fir`awn, went back defeated and humiliated, after the sorcerers believed (in Musa). He insisted on remaining in disbelief and persisted in wickedness. Allah sent down the signs to him, and he (and his people) were first inflicted by famine. Allah then sent THE FLOOD, the locusts, the Qummal, the frogs then blood, as consecutive signs. When Allah sent THE FLOOD, it filled the surface of the earth with water. But the water level receded, and they could not make use of it to till the land or do anything else… (Source; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Another commentator, the noted Muslim historian Al-Tabari, wrote:

The account returns to that of al-Suddi. As for al-Suddi, he said in his account: It is mentioned that the signs by which God tested the people of Pharaoh came before the meeting of Moses with the sorcerers. When the arrow returned to him stained with blood, Pharaoh said, "We have slain the God of Moses," whereupon God sent upon the flood, which was heavy rain; everything they possessed drowned. They cried out, "O Moses! Pray to your Lord to relieve us, and we will believe in you, and we will send the Israelites with you." God relieved them of the flood, and their seeds sprouted... (The History of Al-Tabari: The Children of Israel, translated by William M. Brinner [State University of New York Press (SUNY), 1991], Volume III, p. 59; bold emphasis ours)

Ibn Ishaq said - Ibn Humayd - Salamah: And God brought the signs upon him with the drought when he refused to believe after all that had happened to him and the sorcerers. So He sent upon him the deluge, then the locusts, then the vermin, then the frogs, then blood, all successive signs. He sent the deluge, and it overflowed the face of the earth; then it became still, so they could not plow or do anything until they suffered hunger... (p. 66; bold emphasis ours)

Ibn Humayd related to us - Salamah - Ibn Ishaq - Buraydah b. Sufyan b. Farwah al-Aslami - Muhammad b. Ka'b al-Qurazi, who said: 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'Aziz asked me about the nine signs that God showed Pharaoh, and I said: "The deluge, the locusts, the vermin, the frogs, the blood, his staff, his hand, the obliteration, and the sea." ... (p. 68)

The Tafsir of Ibn Abbas (Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn 'Abbs) states in reference to Sura 7:133:

(So We sent them) Allah inflicted upon them (the flood) continuous, uninterrupted rain: day and night, from Saturday to Saturday (and the locusts) He sent on the locust which ate everything that the earth produced: vegetation and fruits (and the vermin) and He also inflicted them with the vermin-crawling creatures without wings-which devoured whatever the locusts left uneaten (and the frogs) and after this He set on them frogs so much so that they harmed them (and the blood) after which He inflicted on them blood such that their wells and rivers filled with blood (a succession of clear signs) of one month interval. (But they were arrogant) and refused to believe (and became guilty) idolaters. (Source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

The Tafsir al-Jalalayn wrote regarding this same text:

So We unleashed upon them the flood, of water, which penetrated their houses and which for seven days would come up to people's necks as they sat; and the locusts, which consumed their crops and fruits, likewise [engulfing them for seven days]; and the lice (al-qummal is like al-sūs, 'woodworm', or al-qurād, 'ticks'), which would follow [and consume] what the locusts left behind; and the frogs, such that they infested their houses and food supplies; and the blood, [flowing] in their water - distinct, clear, signs: but they were too scornful, to believe in them, and were a sinful folk. (Source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

As anyone reading the Holy Bible knows there was never a flood during the time of the Exodus. The Holy Bible nowhere says that God flooded Egypt during the time of Moses, certainly not as part of the plagues sent against Egypt for Pharaoh's refusal to let the Israelites leave. And lest Muslims claim that the Bible is corrupt at this point we only need to remind them of the following text:

And We gave Moses nine signs, clear signs. Ask the Children of Israel when he came to them, and Pharaoh said to him, 'Moses, I think thou art bewitched.' He said, 'Indeed thou knowest that none sent these down, except the Lord of the heavens and earth, as clear proofs; and, Pharaoh, I think thou art accursed.' He desired to startle them from the land; and We drowned him and those with him, all together. S. 17:101-103 Arberry

And certainly We gave Musa nine clear signs; so ask the children of Israel. When he came to them, Firon said to him: Most surely I deem you, O Musa, to be a man deprived of reason. S. 17:101 Shakir

The Muslims are told to ask the Israelites regarding the circumstances surrounding the Exodus and the plagues which God wrought during that time. As any educated Israelite that knows the Holy Bible can tell you, God never sent a flood upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Interestingly, Sura 17:101 introduces another error, namely the claim that God sent Moses with nine signs as opposed to ten. The Quran repeats this error in another passage:

And put thy hand into the bosom of thy robe, it will come forth white but unhurt. (This will be one) among nine tokens unto Pharaoh and his people Lo! they were ever evil-living folk. But when Our tokens came unto them, plain to see, they said: This is mere magic, S. 27:12-13 Pickthall

In fact, here is Ibn Abbas' Tafsir on Sura 17:101 which lists these nine signs:

(And verily We gave unto Moses nine tokens clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty)) nine clear signs: the hand, the staff, THE FLOOD, the locusts, the lice, blood, the years of drought and the disappearance of properties. (Do but ask the Children of Israel) 'Abdullah Ibn Salam and his followers (how he) Moses (came unto them, then Pharaoh said unto him: Lo! I deem thee one bewitched, O Moses) I think that you are possessed. (Source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Al-Jalalayn also presents a list:

And verily We gave Moses nine manifest signs, clear [signs], namely, [those of] the hand, the staff, THE FLOOD, the locusts, the lice, the frogs, the blood and the obliteration [of their possessions, cf. Q. 10:88], the years [of dearth] and scarcity of fruits [cf. Q. 7:130]. Ask, O Muhammad (s), the Children of Israel, about this (a [rhetorical] question meant as an affirmation for the idolaters of your sincerity; or [it means that] We said to him [Muhammad, s], 'Ask'; a variant reading has the past tense [fa-sā'ala, 'and he asked']), when he came to them, Pharaoh said to him, 'O Moses, I truly think that you are bewitched', duped, your mind deceived. (Source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

As the late Christian writer, ‘Abdallah ‘Abd al-Fadi, noted:

The plagues God sent down upon Egypt were ten; blood (Exodus 7:20), frogs (Exodus 8:6), gnats (Exodus 8:17), flies (Exodus 7:24), death of livestock (Exodus 9:6), boils (Exodus 9:10), hail (Exodus 9:23), locusts (Exodus 10:14), darkness (Exodus 10:23), and death of the firstborn (Exodus 12:29,30).

As for the flood mentioned in Sura al-A‘raf, there was no such event that happened in Egypt during the time of Pharaoh. What the Qur’an is confusing here is the global deluge that occurred during the days of Noah, as it is expressed in Sura al-A‘raf 7:63,64 [see Genesis 6-9]. (Al-Fadi, Is the Qur’an Infallible? [Light of Life, P.O. Box 13, A-9503 Villach, Austria], pp. 88-89)

Thus, here is another time where the Quran commits a plain error by contradicting the previous revelation and sacred history.

Sam Shamoun

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