Does the Quran Use Offensive Insults Against Sinners, or Is It the Bible?


Bassam Zawadi

Many ignorant Christian missionaries run around Paltalk chat rooms claiming that the Quran insults the disbelievers by calling them apes, monkeys, beasts, etc. They claim that certain verses of the Quran directly insult disbelievers in an offensive way and, therefore, cannot be the word of an Almighty and Perfect God. Let's take a look at some of the verses that they allude to:

Surah 2:65

And well ye knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath: We said to them: "Be ye apes, despised and rejected."

Surah 5:60

Say: "Shall I point out to you something much worse than this, (as judged) by the treatment it received from God? those who incurred the curse of God and His wrath, those of whom some He transformed into apes and swine, those who worshipped evil;- these are (many times) worse in rank, and far more astray from the even path!"

Let's see who exactly was punished and why:    

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Those who violated the sanctity of the Sabbath were turned into monkeys, then they perished without offspring.'' Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said, "Allah turned them into monkeys because of their sins. They only lived on the earth for three days, for no transformed person ever lives more than three days. They did not eat, drink or have offspring. Allah transformed their shapes into monkeys, and He does what He wills, with whom He wills and He changes the shape of whomever He wills. On the other hand, Allah created the monkeys, swines and the rest of the creation in the six days (of creation) that He mentioned in His Book.'' (Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, Source)

Those Who breached the Sabbath were turned into Monkeys, but Those Who prohibited Their Actions were saved

Allah said that the people of this village were divided into three groups, a group that committed the prohibition, catching fish on the Sabbath, as we described in the Tafsir of Surat Al-Baqarah. Another group prohibited them from transgression and avoided them. A third group neither prohibited them, nor participated in their action. The third group said to the preachers,

("Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy or to punish with a severe torment''). They said, `why do you forbid these people from evil, when you know that they are destroyed and have earned Allah's punishment' Therefore, they said, there is no benefit in forbidding them. The preachers replied,

("In order to be free from guilt before your Lord (Allah),'') `for we were commanded to enjoin righteousness and forbid evil,' r

("and perhaps they may fear Allah'') for on account of our advice, they might stop this evil and repent to Allah. Certainly, if they repent to Allah, Allah will accept their repentance and grant them His mercy.' Allah said,

(So when they forgot the reminder that had been given to them, ) when the evil doers refused the advice,

(We rescued those who forbade evil, but We seized who did wrong,) who committed the transgression,

(with a severe torment). Allah stated that those who enjoined good were saved, while those who committed the transgression were destroyed, but He did not mention the end of those who were passive (the third group), for the compensation is comparable to the deed. This type did not do what would warrant praise, nor commit wrong so that they are admonished. `Ikrimah said, "Ibn `Abbas said about the Ayah: `I do not know whether or not the people were saved who said;

("Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy...'') So I continued discussing it with him until I convinced him that they were. Then he gave me [the gift of] a garment.'' Allah said,

(and We seized those who did wrong with a Ba'is torment) indicating that those who remained were saved. As for `Ba'is', it means `severe', according to Mujahid, or `painful', according to Qatadah. These meanings are synonymous, and Allah knows best. Allah said next,

(despised), humiliated, disgraced and rejected.

(167. And (remember) when your Lord declared that He would certainly keep on sending against them, till the Day of Resurrection, those who would afflict them with a humiliating torment. Verily, your Lord is quick in retribution and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) (Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, Source)

So, as we see, God turned these criminals into monkeys and swine because they were behaving more like animals in the first place. They had no dignity or honor and just lived their life based on satisfying their instincts, just like animals do. These people did not live as honorable humans, so God might as well have transformed them into animals. They lived for only three days after this, and then they died. It's not like these people lived forever. The ones who did not participate in this sin were saved.

Plus, read this article to learn about the gruesome punishments in the Bible. 

We should not forget that the Quran talks about those true believers from the People of the Book:

Surah 2:62

Surely, those who believe and the Jews and the Christians and the Sabians - whichever party from among these truly believes in ALLAH and the Last Day and does good deeds, shall have their reward with their Lord, and no fear shall come upon then nor shall they grieve.

This is another verse which the ignorant missionaries use:       

Surah 7:175-177

Relate to them the story of the man to whom We sent Our signs, but he passed them by: so Satan followed him up, and he went astray. If it had been Our will, We should have elevated him with Our signs; but he inclined to the earth, and followed his own vain desires. His similitude is that of a dog: if you attack him, he lolls out his tongue, or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls out his tongue. That is the similitude of those who reject Our signs; So relate the story; perchance they may reflect. Evil as an example are people who reject Our signs and wrong their own souls.

Here they say that the Quran insults disbelievers by comparing them to dogs. The verse does not call the individual a dog but compares him to a dog:

And had We willed, We would have raised him up, to the ranks of the scholars, thereby, by facilitating his way to [good] deeds; but he was disposed to, at peace [in], the earth - that is, this world - and inclined to it, and followed his whims, by calling [others] to them, and so We abased him. Therefore his likeness, his description, is as the likeness of a dog: if you attack it, by driving it away or curbing it, it lolls its tongue out, and if you leave it, it lolls its tongue out, and no other animal is like it in this way (both conditional sentences constitute a circumstantial qualifier, that is to say, it has its tongue lolling out despicably in all circumstances. The purpose here is to point out the similarity [between the one who follows his whims and a dog] in terms of condition and vileness, judging by the [contextualising] fâ' [of fa-mathaluhu, 'therefore his likeness'], which relates what comes after it to what came before it in the way of 'inclining towards this world and following whims', and judging by God's saying: That, likeness, is the likeness of those people who deny Our signs. So recount the tale, to the Jews, that they might reflect, upon it and so believe. (Jalal ud-Din Siyuti, Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Commentary on Surah 7:176, Source)

Another verse that the ignorant missionaries use:

Surah 8:55

For the worst of beasts in the sight of God are those who reject Him: They will not believe.

The missionaries state that God is calling all disbelievers beasts. However, just read the verse right after it:

Surah 8:56

They are those with whom thou didst make a covenant, but they break their covenant every time, and they have not the fear (of God).

Imam Razi says in his commentary on this verse:

Ibn Abbass said: This is referring to the Qurayza because they broke the convenant with the Messenger peace be upon him during the Battle of Badr by supplying the polytheists with weapons. Then they said: "We have did wrong". So they made another covenant with the Muslims and they broke it again during the Battle of the Ditch. (Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Tafsir al-Kabir, Commentary on Surah 8:55, Source)

So, as we can see, God is not calling ALL disbelievers beasts. Only those who keep breaking their covenants in order to do harm and cause mischief are called beasts in the Quran. Truly, such people are nothing more than beasts anyway, and if you are not one of these people, then God is not calling you a beast.

Finally, here is another verse which Christian missionaries bring up:

Surah 62:5

The similitude of those who were charged with the (obligations of the) Mosaic Law, but who subsequently failed in those (obligations), is that of a donkey which carries huge tomes (but understands them not). Evil is the similitude of people who falsify the Signs of God: and God guides not people who do wrong.

Again, referring to a specific group of people, and God is not calling them donkeys but comparing them to them:

The likeness of those who were entrusted with the Torah, those who were charged with implementing it, then failed to uphold it, [then] failed to act in accordance with it, in what pertains to the descriptions of the Prophet (s), and so did not believe in him, is as the likeness of an ass carrying books, in that it does not benefit from them. Evil is the likeness of the people who deny God's signs, those confirming the truth of the Prophet (s) - the object of rebuke is omitted but is implied to be hâdhâ'l-mathalu, 'this likeness'). And God does not guide the evildoing folk, the disbelievers. (Jalal ud-Din Siyuti, Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Commentary on Surah 62:5, Source)

The likeness of those who were entrusted with the Tawrah, but did not carry it, is as the likeness of a donkey which carries huge burdens of books. (Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, Source)

So, in summary, the Quran does not use any offensive terms for disbelievers in general. It compares certain evil sinners to the likes of animals to emphasize how inhumane the actions they commit are.

Now, if Christian missionaries had problems with those Quranic verses, then what do they say about the following verses from the Bible?

Job 20:7

he will perish forever, like his own dung; those who have seen him will say, 'Where is he?'

Psalms 59:5-6:15

O LORD God Almighty, the God of Israel, rouse yourself to punish all the nations; show no mercy to wicked traitors. Selah They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city. They wander about for food and howl if not satisfied.

Proverbs 20:11

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. (If you read 2 Peter 2:22 he uses this quote to talk about the false teachers during his time.)

Isaiah 19:14

The LORD has poured into them a spirit of dizziness; they make Egypt stagger in all that she does, as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit.

Jeremiah 2:23-25

"How can you say, 'I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals'? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You are a swift she-camel running here and there, a wild donkey accustomed to the desert, sniffing the wind in her craving-in her heat who can restrain her? Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves; at mating time they will find her. Do not run until your feet are bare and your throat is dry. But you said, 'It's no use! I love foreign gods, and I must go after them.'

Jeremiah 5:8

They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for another man's wife.

Jeremiah 25:33

And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground. (KJV Translation)

Ezekiel 23:20

There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.

Zephaniah 1:17

And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. (KJV Translation)

Matthew 12:34

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

Matthew 16:23

Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

What's worse than being called Satan?

Philippians 3:2

2Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.

Titus 1:12

One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

Revelation 22:15

Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

So whose scripture is more insulting to sinners?



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