10 Reasons Muhammad ﷺ Could Not Have Authored the Qur’an


A problem facing many Scriptures is multiple authorship over many generations. The Old Testament consists of 39 books authored by numerous individuals over a period of many centuries. The New Testament contains 27 books written by multiple authors spanning a period of nearly half a century. The questions and uncertainties that surround the chronology and authorship of the Bible, for example many of the books were written anonymously, only serve to hinder one from accepting, at least wholesale, that it is the pure word of God.

This is not a problem that affects the Qur’an. There is no doubt that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was the person responsible for transmitting the Qur’an. There are mass historical reports that support this claim, and the Qur’an itself confirms that it was revealed to him. Although Muhammad ﷺ was responsible for transmitting the Qur’an, was he its author? The following are just 10 of many reasons which prove that it is impossible for Muhammad ﷺ to have authored the Qur’an:


Many non-Muslims are unaware that the Qur’an was not originally delivered to its first audience in the form of writing, but rather speech. Remarkably the Qur’an often did not have the opportunity for an editorial process, as many verses were revealed on the spot as a response to questions and challenges that were brought forward to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ from both believers and non-believers. Moreover, although the Qur’an was revealed gradually over a period of 23 years, it did not go through multiple revisions as it was revealed. This is in contrast to the New Testament which has undergone numerous corrections as the manuscripts were passed from one scribe to another and they decided to correct each other’s mistakes. So had any mistakes or errors crept into the Qur’an, it would have been extremely difficult to correct or retract them given the rapid and mass spread of the Qur’an to multiple tribes and countries.

In the face of all these obstacles, one would naturally expect the Qur’an to exhibit traits of incoherence, contradictions, redundancy, errors and other such issues. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as the Qur’an is incontestably the standard of the Arabic tongue, a literary masterpiece. Every page of the Qur’an is literally filled with such rhetorical devices and literary nuances.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ could not read or write. The Qur’an itself confirms this:

“Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel…” [Chapter 7, verse 157]

Moreover throughout his life, prior to Prophethood, Muhammad ﷺ did not have a reputation for poetry. In fact we know from history that at a personal level he disliked it and wasn’t a skilled poet. There are instances where he attempted to relate some poetry and would jumble the words up [1]:

Qatadah narrated, Aisha was asked: Did the Prophet, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, use to relate anything from poetry?” She said: It was most detestable thing to him except that (at times) he used to relate a verse from the person of Banu Qays and he jumbled it up. Abu Bakr told him it was not like that. So the Prophet of Allah said, “By Allah I am not a poet and neither is it appropriate for me.”

How could a man, unable to read or write and without any reputation for being a poet, have authored the Qur’an, the most important work (in terms of literary merits) in the whole of Arabic literature?

You can learn more about the literary magnificence of the Qur’an here.


Perhaps the greatest miracle of the Qur’an is its inimitability. The author of the Qur’an tells us that it is impossible for any human being or jinn to produce just one chapter like the Qur’an, even if we were to all aid one another in the effort:

Say, “If mankind and the jinn gathered in order to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like of it, even if they were to each other assistants.” [Chapter 17, verse 88]

What’s remarkable is that the tools needed to meet this challenge are the finite grammatical rules and the twenty eight letters that comprise the Arabic language; these are independent and objective measures available to all. For argument’s sake, were the origin of the Qur’an merely the invention of the mind of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, then surely another human being, with equal or greater literary ability would be able to produce a chapter like it. Many have tried and failed to meet this challenge, and this is in spite of having the very blueprint, i.e. the Qur’an itself, as an example.

The Arabs at the time considered themselves (and are still considered by historians and linguists to this day) to be masters of the Arabic language. If the Qur’an was written by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, why were not Arab scholars and linguists able to rival it? The failure of those at the peak of their trade – mastery of the Arabic language – to rival the Qur’an which challenged them should make one think. Furthermore many Arabs accepted him to be a prophet just by listening to the Qur’an as they immediately knew he could not have authored it and that it must be divine.

You can learn more about the challenge of the Qur’an here.


In spite of being revealed piecemeal over a period of 23 years, and in spite of many verses being revealed on the spot as a response to questions and challenges that arose unexpectedly, the Qur’an is remarkably free of contradiction. The Qur’an informs us that had its author been a human being then it would exhibit the following trait:

“Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction.” [Chapter 4, verse 82]

The Bible by comparison is filled with contradictions, both big and small which serves as clear evidence of human tampering.

You can learn more about contradictions in the Bible here.


The position of sceptics is that Muhammad ﷺ was nothing more than a power hungry megalomaniac, with his claims of divine inspiration being nothing more than an attempt to conquer Arabia and Islam being just another desert cult to emerge from a sea of desert cults.

Anyone who has studied cults and megalomaniacs from history will know that there are certain traits or a specific image that the leader of the cult will try to portray. In fact studies have shown that one of the defining features of a cult leader is that they portray an image of infallibility to their followers, whom are expected to revere the leader, with criticism and doubt not being tolerated. This is crucial in order for the cult leader to maintain control of their group.

For the sake of argument, if Muhammad ﷺ was the author of the Qur’an, with Islam representing nothing more than a false desert cult, then one would expect the aforementioned trait of infallibility to be present throughout the Qur’an. Yet what we find in the Qur’an is the complete opposite, here is just one example:

The Prophet frowned and turned away because there came to him the blind man, [interrupting]. But what would make you perceive, [O Muhammad], that perhaps he might be purified or be reminded and the remembrance would benefit him? [Chapter,80, verses 1-4]

The above verses highlighted an incident where Muhammad ﷺ was once sitting with some tribal leaders, inviting them to Islam. A blind man, who was already a Muslim, came to ask him some questions regarding Islam. Muhammad ignored him, as he was busy delivering the message of Islam to the tribal leaders, hoping their tribes would embrace Islam. Thereupon the revelation came reproaching him for ignoring the blind man. Why would an upstart cult leader undermine his own position of power and authority by dwelling on his mistakes?


Returning once again to the theme of cults and megalomaniacs, a common pattern among them is that they are authoritarian in their power structure and totalitarian in their control of the behaviour of their members. Again for the sake of argument, were Muhammad ﷺ the author of the Qur’an, with Islam representing nothing more than a false desert cult, then one would expect the Qur’an to focus primarily on him. Yet again what we find in the Qur’an is the complete opposite, as it mentions other leaders (such as Abraham, Moses and Jesus) by name more times than Muhammad ﷺ. The Qur’an commands Muslims to hold all of them in high regard:

Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which has been sent down to us and that which has been sent down to Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma`il (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Ya`qub (Jacob), and to Al-Asbat (the offspring of the twelve sons of Ya`qub), and that which has been given to Musa (Moses) and `Isa (Jesus), and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted (in Islam). [Chapter 2, verse 136]

Moreover unlike the case with Muhammad ﷺ, the shortcomings of these other leaders are never highlighted. To take things a step further, the Qur’an actually raises the status of these other leaders to a higher position than they have in their own Scriptures, because it denies the bad characteristics and evil sins attributed to them in the Bible! Why would an upstart cult leader not only mention other leaders more times than himself, but also praise them unequivocally and confirm their lofty statuses as Prophets?

You can learn more about comparative Prophethood in the Qur’an and Bible here.


The tribal society at the time of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ gave little care or regard to those who were in positions of weakness in society, particularly women. The doctrine laid out in the Qur’an considerably improved the status of women in 7th century Arabia. For example it was the custom to bury alive unwanted female infants, a practice prohibited in the Qur’an:

“And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief. He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Unquestionably, evil is what they decide.” [Chapter 16, verses 58-59]

In those days before Islam, women were treated like slaves or property. Their personal consent concerning anything related to their well-being was considered unimportant, to such a degree that they were never even treated as a party to a marriage contract. Women had been treated as possessions of their husbands. Again the Qur’an served to put an end to this:

“O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women by compulsion…” [Chapter 4, verse 19]

Women were often used for one purpose, sexual gratification, and then discarded. The Pagan Arabs had no limit to the number of wives that they could marry. In fact Islam is the only Abrahamic religion whose Scripture explicitly limits the maximum number of wives (to four), on the condition that they are treated fairly and justly:

“And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one…” [Chapter 4, verse 3]

Before Islam, women had no independence, could own no property and were not allowed to inherit. Again the Qur’an guaranteed women a fair share of property:

“For men is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much – an obligatory share.” [Chapter 4, verse 7]

It must be noted that by comparison the Biblical rules of inheritance afford women no such rights. The laws of inheritance are outlined in Numbers 27:8-11 in the Bible. Accordingly to these laws a daughter can inherit only if no male heirs exist. Even in comparison to the Secular West, Islam was way ahead of its time. From the point of view of economic rights, we have to remember that in Europe until the 19th century, women did not have the right to own their own property. When they were married, either it would transfer to the husband or she would not be able to dispense of it without permission of her husband. In Britain, perhaps the first country to give women some property rights, laws were passed in the year 1860 known as “Married Women Property Act.” More than 1,300 years earlier, that right was clearly established in Islamic law.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had absolutely nothing to gain by uplifting the status and rights of women in tribal Arabia. Quite the opposite in fact, as the stance of the Qur’an only served to alienate those who were in positions of power and had a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.


For the sake of argument, were Muhammad ﷺ the author of the Qur’an, with his sole mission and purpose in life being to accumulate as much power as possible throughout Arabia, then why does the Qur’an contain an abundance of falsification tests, such that were any one of them to be achieved or proven true by his many enemies and sceptics then it would have completely destroyed Islam as a religion. Here are just a few examples::

“Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction.” [Chapter 4, verse 82]

Say, “If mankind and the jinn gathered in order to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like of it, even if they were to each other assistants.” [Chapter 17, verse 88]


Advances in our understanding of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs have shown that the Qur’anic use of the Egyptian term ‘Pharaoh’ is historically accurate. This is in spite of the fact that all knowledge of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs was unknown at the time of the Qur’anic Revelation.

Knowledge of the old Egyptian hieroglyphs had been totally forgotten until they were finally deciphered in the 19th century CE with the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. The only source of knowledge of the religious past were the Bible-based stories in circulation, but Prophet Muhammad ﷺ couldn’t have copied from the Bible because the Bible gets it wrong with regards to its use of the Egyptian term ‘Pharaoh’.

Muhammad ﷺ couldn’t have been the author of the Qur’an because its author consistently demonstrates knowledge of the unseen, which is not a trait of human beings.

You can learn more about hieroglyphs and the historicity of the Qur’an here.


History has not always dealt kindly with Scriptures. The original Gospel of Jesus was lost in its infancy and replaced by the later works of anonymous writers. In fact prior to the Qur’an, every other revealed Scripture has either been lost or tampered with. It is in this backdrop that the author of the Qur’an makes a bold prediction about its preservation:

“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.” [Chapter 15, verse 9]

One of the means by which the Qur’an has been perfectly preserved to this very day is through the language of the Qur’an itself:

“And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?” [Chapter 54, verse 17]

It is estimated that there are at least 10 million Muslims alive today who have memorised the entire Qur’an in its original Arabic language. In fact if every written copy of religious Scriptures in existence today were to be somehow destroyed then it is only the Qur’an that could be recreated perfectly, thanks to its mass memorisation.

If Prophet Muhammad ﷺ were the author of the Qur’an then he could not have guaranteed that the Qur’an would be perfectly preserved to this very day. This is because the track record of all other revealed Scriptures throughout history only serves to prove that the exact opposite is the case, that their loss and tampering is the norm.

You can learn more about the preservation of the Qur’an here.


Arab society had many groundless superstitious beliefs at the time of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. This is only natural given that they lacked the technology to examine the world around them and had high rates of illiteracy. It is estimated that the number of literate persons in the centre of the region of the Hijaz did not exceed seventeen [2]. History has recorded a large number of myths and superstitions pertaining to the Arabs and the Iraqi Islamic scholar Sayyid Mahmud Alusi has collected many of them. For example, the Arabs took their cows and the oxen to the bank of a stream for grazing. At times it so happened that the oxen drank water but the cows did not. Thereupon they thought that this was due to the evil spirits which had accommodated themselves between the horns of the oxen and were preventing the cows from drinking. In order therefore to drive away the bad spirits affecting the cows they hit the faces of the oxen [3].

It was against this backdrop of ignorance that the Qur’an was revealed, utterly rejecting such superstition. The example that I will cover is the sun and moon, which were worshipped as gods by the Arabs. Rather than upholding these pagan beliefs, the Qur’an rejects them:

“And of His signs are the night and day and the sun and moon. Do not prostrate to the sun or to the moon, but prostate to Allah , who created them, if it should be Him that you worship.” [Chapter 41, verse 37]

Moreover the Qur’an talks about the universe, particularly astronomy, using descriptions and terminology that is not out of place in modern times:

“It is not allowable for the sun to reach the moon, nor does the night overtake the day, but each, in an orbit, is swimming.” [Chapter 36, verse 40]

“Do you not consider how Allah has created seven heavens in layers and made the moon therein a [reflected] light and made the sun a burning lamp?” [Chapter 71, verses 15-16]

There is also a notable incident recorded by the companions of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ  that on the same day his son Ibrahim died there was a solar eclipse and so the people linked the two events together. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ personally denounced such beliefs, saying:

“The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of the death or life (i.e. birth) of someone…” [4]

There is absolutely no reason why Prophet Muhammad ﷺ would go against the superstitions of his people, especially when he came from a tribal culture that blindly followed the traditions of their forefathers.


Sceptics/critics may attempt to argue away some of these points individually. However taken collectively, these arguments provide powerful and compelling evidence that the Qur’an could not have been an invention of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Who then, is the author? The answer to the question of authorship lies in the Qur’an itself:

“Your Companion is neither astray nor being misled. Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him. He was taught by one mighty in Power.” [Chapter 53, verses 2-5]


1 – Tafsir at-Tabari, also see Tafsir Abdul Razzaq 3/86 Narration No. 2496 under Qur’an 36:69.

2 – Futuh al-Buldan, al-Baladhuri, page 458.

3 – Biharul Anwar vol. II pp 286 – 369.

4 – Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 18, Number 152.


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