Shabir Ally on Contradictions in the Qur'an

A good while ago, Shabir Ally has taken it upon himself to tackle our section of Qur'an Contradictions. For nearly two years already, we read on his site Islam Answers Back the following claims which are as boastful as they are false:

A Christian missionary web-site contains a list of what are claimed to be internal contradictions in the Qur’an. The list contains forty-nine numbered items authored by Jochen Katz. Readers may access this list at . Here is a reply to each item of Katz’s list. ...
(Source: Shabir Ally's introduction to his section of Answers to Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an, bold emphasis mine)

However, Shabir Ally actually responds on his site only to the first one of those 49 contradictions he is refering to, i.e. the one on conflicting inheritance shares. I have waited nearly two years with answering to Shabir Ally's response regarding the first contradiction in our list, because I wanted to see how his answers would be developing further. Nothing has happened since. This statement was an obvious lie from the very beginning on and it still is. He could have said, "I intend to reply to each item, insha'Allah", and readers would have observed how slow he is in making good on those intentions, but at least he would have been honest.

In the next part, Part 1 of his section, Shabir Ally repeats:

The contradiction list he provides does not contain a single real contradiction among the 49 claims.

However, repetition does not turn claims into facts. We are still waiting that Shabir Ally substantiates his claims.

The rest of this long "Part 1", Shabir Ally spends in attacking my person, my hostile approach, my evil motives and methods, praising his own motives and approaches etc. and in the process makes many words without resolving even one aspect or detail of the contradictions of the Qur'an. Basically, he commits the ad hominem fallacy. We see no necessity to respond to that page at this time. The reader will easily recognize its irrelevance.

In Part 2, Shabir Ally repeats yet again:

A Christian missionary web-site has a list of what are claimed to be internal contradictions in the Qur’an. The list contains forty-nine numbered items authored by Jochen Katz. Readers may access this list at Here is a reply to each item of Katz’s list. We will see that not a single item on the list is a genuine contradiction in the Qur’an. ...

Now we move on to consider and demolish Katz’s claims one by one.

After being incredibly verbose on many irrelevant issues, it seems Shabir Ally finally arrived at dealing with the actual problem. I personally do not understand Arabic (yet), but gladly there are others who do. I am grateful to the friend who wrote the below response to what Shabir Ally himself identified as the "primary claim #1." Maybe at some other time, we come back to the rest of the Alleged Answers to Contradictions in the Qur'an offered by Shabir Ally.

Jochen Katz

Shabir Ally :

PRIMARY CLAIM #1: Inheritance shares totalling more than 100%

REPLY: Adding two unknowns

“Katz misunderstood what he read in the Qur’an. The verses he refers to do not say what the parents will receive in this case. Nor does it say what the wife will receive in this case.”


4:11 deals with the case of the children and the parents. Part of 4:12 deals with the case of wives and husbands. We shall see what the shares of everyone are and to how much they add up, whatever the meaning of the terms is.

Let’s first give the whole Arabic text of these verses :

 .11يُوصِيكُمُ اللّهُ فِي أَوْلاَدِكُمْ لِلذَّكَرِ مِثْلُ حَظِّ الأُنثَيَيْنِ فَإِن كُنَّ نِسَاء فَوْقَ اثْنَتَيْنِ فَلَهُنَّ ثُلُثَا مَا تَرَكَ وَإِن كَانَتْ وَاحِدَةً فَلَهَا النِّصْفُ وَلأَبَوَيْهِ لِكُلِّ وَاحِدٍ مِّنْهُمَا السُّدُسُ مِمَّا تَرَكَ إِن كَا نَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ فَإِن لَّمْ يَكُن لَّهُ وَلَدٌ وَوَرِثَهُ أَبَوَاهُ فَلأُمِّهِ الثُّلُثُ فَإِن كَانَ لَهُ إِخْوَةٌ فَلأُمِّهِ السُّدُسُ مِن بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ يُوصِي بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ آبَآؤُكُمْ وَأَبناؤُكُمْ لاَ تَدْرُونَ أَيُّهُمْ أَقْرَبُ لَكُمْ نَفْعاً ف َرِيضَةً مِّنَ اللّهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلِيما حَكِيمًا

 .12وَلَكُمْ نِصْفُ مَا تَرَكَ أَزْوَاجُكُمْ إِن لَّمْ يَكُن لَّهُنَّ وَلَدٌ فَإِن كَانَ لَهُنَّ وَلَدٌ فَلَكُمُ الرُّبُعُ مِمَّا تَرَكْنَ مِن بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ يُوصِينَ بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ وَلَهُنَّ الرُّبُعُ مِمَّا تَرَكْتُمْ إِن لَّمْ يَكُن لَّكُمْ وَلَدٌ فَإ ِن كَانَ لَكُمْ وَلَدٌ فَلَهُنَّ الثُّمُنُ مِمَّا تَرَكْتُم مِّن بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ تُوصُونَ بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ وَإِن كَانَ رَجُلٌ يُورَثُ كَلاَلَةً أَو امْرَأَةٌ وَلَهُ أَخٌ أَوْ أُخْتٌ فَلِكُلِّ وَاحِدٍ مِّنْهُمَا السُّدُسُ فَإِن كَانُوَاْ أَكْثَرَ مِن ذَل ِكَ فَهُمْ شُرَكَاء فِي الثُّلُثِ مِن بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ يُوصَى بِهَآ أَوْ دَيْنٍ غَيْرَ مُضَآرٍّ وَصِيَّةً مِّنَ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَلِيمٌ

The Arabic word “وَلَد ” has been interpreted by almost all the distinguished Muslim scholars (Cf. The Exegesis of At-Tabari) as meaning “children”. Now, if Mr Ally thinks that he knows better than all the Muslim scholars of the past, one could follow him and see where one can get:

Shabir Ally :

“To arrive at his understanding, Katz insists that he must take the Qur’anic statements in the most literal sense. Yet the text even when taken in a literal manner does not support his misunderstanding. The Qur’an does not literally prescribe what the parents will receive in the case which Katz proposes. It is true that the Qur’an literally prescribes that the parents will share 1/3 when a man dies leaving one child (4:11). But the case which Katz proposes is different. Katz’s case involves three daughters, and the literal Qur’anic prescription involves only one child. Hence Katz’s proposed numerical discrepancy is built on his confusing one case for another.”


Suppose that “Walad” “وَلَدٌ ” means “one child”. One has but to understand it the same way wherever it occurs in the verses, in both positive and negative forms. Here “فَإِن لَّمْ يَكُن لَّهُ وَلَدٌ ” “but if he has not one child” of 4:11 and إِن لَّمْ يَكُن لَّكُمْ وَلَدٌ ” “if you have not one child” of 4:12 imply that this is the case in particular when a man leaves 3 daughters (not one child) and a wife and both a mother and a father. So lets turn back to the case given by Katz, namely : 3 daughters, 2 parents and a wife.

The 3 daughters will get 2/3 because of “فَإِن كُنَّ نِسَاء فَوْقَ اثْنَتَيْنِ فَلَهُنَّ ثُلُثَا مَا تَرَكَ ” “and if they be women above two, then for them two-thirds of what he leaves”.

The mother will get 1/3 according to “فَإِن لَّمْ يَكُن لَّهُ وَلَدٌ وَوَرِثَهُ أَبَوَاهُ فَلأُمِّهِ الثُّلُثُ ” “but if he has not one child, and his parents inherit of him, a third to his mother”.

From the last passage, it’s clear that the father should get “something” but it’s not specified “how much”, so let’s call it x (a certainly non zero value). From “َلَهُنَّ الرُّبُعُ مِمَّا تَرَكْتُمْ إِن لَّمْ يَكُن لَّكُمْ وَلَدٌ ” “and for them a fourth of what you leave, if you have not one child” we conclude that the wife should get ¼.

3 daughters















Shabir Ally :

“If we were to follow the Qur’anic prescriptions literally, in Katz’s case the wife’s share is also not specified. The Qur’an literally prescribes a 1/8 share for the wife if the husband leaves only one child. But Katz’s case involves three daughters. And the number three happens to be more than the number one.”


There are two cases : “one child” and not “one child” (many children). The verses 4:11 and 4:12 deal with both cases. If “walad” is to be taken as “one child” then 4:12 tells clearly how much to give when this is not the case (not “one child”): the wife should beyond any doubt get ¼.

Shabir Ally :

“Katz thinks that the stated shares in this case would be 2/3 + 1/3 + 1/8, whereas in fact since two of these shares are not actually stated in the Qur’an, the shares are 2/3 + ? + ? = ?”


One has but to think that the shares in this case would be 2/3 + 1/3 + ¼ + x which is more than the available property!

Shabir Ally :

“Since the Qur’an does not make a statement on this specific case, it is impossible for the Qur’an to be wrong.”


The Quran actually does whatever the meaning of “walad” is : “one child” or “many children”, see above.

Shabir Ally :

 “The details of this case is left to the comprehensive nature of the Islamic Shariah which does not depend on the Qur’an alone.”


We already knew that the Book of Allah is incomplete!

Contradictions in the Qur'an
Rebuttals to Shabir Ally
Answering Islam Home Page