Muslims believe that Allah is the author of the Quran. In verse 15.9 He says that He will preserve His message:
15.9. We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).
Muslims believe that, from the time it was revealed to Muhammad by means of visions in which the Angel Gabriel appeared and dictated it to him, right down to the present day, the Quran has been preserved perfectly unchanged.
We start with this claim that, letter for letter, the Quran is the word of Allah because if it becomes clear that certain passages cannot possibly be from Allah, the authenticity of the whole Quran must be thrown into doubt.
The Quran claims to be a clear „perspicuous Book“, as in for example the following verse:
5.15. O people of the Book! There hath come to you our Messenger, revealing to you much that ye used to hide in the Book, and passing over much (that is now unnecessary). There hath come to you from Allah a (new) light and a perspicuous Book,-
We should expect from „a perspicuous Book“, the guide for the lives of more than a billion Muslims, that it would be written in an unambiguous way and that it would at least be clear who is speaking; that Allah would write consistently in the first peron, or the second, or the third. Unfortunately that’s not the case. The pronouns are all mixed up, even in the same sentence. Very confusing!
In the following verses, we cannot escape the impression that it is Muhammad himself speaking, not Allah. In verse 39.2, We, Allah and Him are used in the same sentence.
39.1. The revelation of this Book is from Allah, the Exalted in Power, full of Wisdom.
39.2. Verily it is We Who have revealed the Book to thee in Truth: so serve Allah, offering Him sincere devotion.
39.3. Is it not to Allah that sincere devotion is due? But those who take for protectors other than Allah (say): "We only serve them in order that they may bring us nearer to Allah." Truly Allah will judge between them in that wherein they differ. But Allah guides not such as are false and ungrateful.
The Quran is full of this kind of mixing of pronouns. Muslims explain this as a kind of literary freedom, a sign of an elevated use of language, though of course literary freedom and clarity are not the same thing. The passages above could be explained by the way a father might talk to his child: „I told you several times not to beat your brother. Dad is very angry.“ The use of the first and third persons in the same passage does make sense here.
We accept, then, that We, He, Him and I are used in the same verse and that all refer to Allah. But in other instances it is clear from the context that Muhammad himself is speaking. This is the case in verse 11.2: „I am (sent) unto you from Him to warn“ is Muhammad speaking. In the Quran, Prophets are called „warners“, not a couple of times but not fewer than sixty times. One of the roles of Prophets is to warn the people (mainly against hell). That is why Allah has sent them in the first place. Allah is not a warner himself. The translator has noticed this mistake in the Quran so he has corrected the verse by adding the word Say t the beginning, which changes the meaning of the verse. So instead of Muhammad speaking, as it is written in verse 11.2, the translator has made Allah speak: Allah is telling Muhammad to say a certain phrase.
11.1. A. L. R. (This is) a Book, with versees basic or fundamental (of established meaning), further explained in detail,- from One Who is Wise and Well-acquainted (with all things):
11.2. (It teacheth) that ye should worship none but Allah. (Say): "Verily I am (sent) unto you from Him to warn and to bring glad tidings:
11.3. "(And to preach thus), 'Seek ye the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance; that He may grant you enjoyment, good (and true), for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding grace on all who abound in merit! But if ye turn away, then I fear for you the penalty of a great day:
Because verse 11.3 is connected to verse 11.2 with “And”, we assume that Muhammad is speaking here as well.
We give some more translations of verse 11.2:
YUSUFALI: (It teacheth) that ye should worship none but Allah. (Say): "Verily I am (sent) unto you from Him to warn and to bring glad tidings:
PICKTHAL: (Saying): Serve none but Allah. Lo! I am unto you from Him a warner and a bringer of good tidings.
SHAKIR: That you shall not serve (any) but Allah; surely I am a warner for you from Him and a giver of good news,
Whereas Yusufali has corrected the Quran and thus made a false translation, Pickthal and Shakir did not.
In many instances the Quran says before a verse „say“. That is Allah ordering Muhammad to say something to the people and after that it says what Muhammad has to tell them. For example in the following verse:
2.219. They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit."
In the following verse Muhammad obviously got confused by the use of this way of speaking:
39.53. ”Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah. for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
As background information, it is important to know that Muslims only consider themselves servants of Allah, not of Muhammad: thus it cannot be correct that Allah commands Muhammad to tell to the people: “O my servants”. It should have been:
39.53. Say: “O servants of Allah, ...”
39.53. O my servants ...
This can not be literary freedom anymore, with such a mixing of pronouns; this is one of the mistakes in the Quran.
In the following verse, Allah asks himself to curse the Jews and the Christians.
9.30. The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!
This is naturally absurd. Allah sends a message to the people in which he wishes that his own curse may come on the Jews and the Christians. Clearly Muhammad and not Allah is speaking, as is also clear from other translations:
YUSUFALI: Allah's curse be on them
PICKTHAL: Allah (Himself) fighteth against them
SHAKIR: may Allah destroy them
But verse 9.30 is not the only one in which Allah commands the people to ask Allah to curse infidels:
63.4 When thou lookest at them, their exteriors please thee; and when they speak, thou listenest to their words. They are as (worthless as hollow) pieces of timber propped up, (unable to stand on their own). They think that every cry is against them. They are the enemies; so beware of them. The curse of Allah be on them! How are they deluded (away from the Truth)!
3.61. If any one disputes in this matter with thee, now after (full) knowledge Hath come to thee, say: "Come! let us gather together,- our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves: Then let us earnestly pray, and invoke the curse of Allah on those who lie!"
In the opening Sura (Al-Fatiha), the first chapter of the Quran, it is clear that it is not Allah but Muhammad who is speaking: „Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.“:
1.1. In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
1.2. Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;
1.3. Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
1.4. Master of the Day of Judgment.
1.5. Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.
1.6. Show us the straight way,
1.7. The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.
Is the whole Quran then the literal word of Allah? According to Muslims it is. Yet when we think logically, the Quran is obviously in certain passages the word of Muhammad or of somebody else! This naturally casts doubt on the rest of the Quran.