Will they not then ponder on the Qur'an? If it had been from other than Allah they would have found therein much (كَثِيرًا) incongruity. 4:82

Does the Quran prescribe a threshold on number of inconsistencies needed. The "much" may suggest only a few is okay.


Well a quick search in qtafsir shows that -at least ibn Kathir- holds the opinion that there are no contradictions at all in the Qur'an:

Allah commands them to contemplate about the Qur'an and forbids them from ignoring it, or ignoring its wise meanings and eloquent words. Allah states that there are no inconsistencies, contradictions, conflicting statements or discrepancies in the Qur'an, because it is a revelation from the Most-Wise, Worthy of all praise. Therefore, the Qur'an is the truth coming from the Truth, Allah. This is why Allah said in another Ayah,

(Do they not then think deeply in the Qur'an, or are their hearts locked up (from understanding it)) Allah then said,

(Had it been from other than Allah,) meaning, had it been fraudulent and made up, as the ignorant idolators and hypocrites assert in their hearts,

(they would surely, have found therein contradictions), discrepancies and inconsistencies,

(in abundance). However, this Qur'an is free of shortcomings, and therefore, it is from Allah. Similarly, Allah describes those who are firmly grounded in knowledge,

based on this a single contradiction would mean the Qur'an is not from Allah the all wise and therefore untrue. This is also the conclusion of all tafsirs I've checked so far.

However one needs to define the meaning of inconsistence and or contradiction according to this verse for example the differences in the qira'at, counts and length of verses is excluded (according to imam al-Qurtobi). It was also said if what you (the addressed monafiqeen) have been told -via the Qur'an- was not going ahead with your way of life and not describing your inner souls and actions etc. it wouldn't be from Allah (according al-Qurtobi and also mentiond by ibn Ashur). Al-Jassass made a difference between three definitions of inconsistence/contradiction -which I hopefully can translate in an adequate manner, if not feel free to correct me-:

الاختلاف على ثلاثة أوجه : اختلاف تناقض بأن يدعو أحد الشيئين إلى فساد الآخر ،

The contradiction can appear in three forms: a contradiction of antinomy where one of both things compared says or shows the other one as untrue.

واختلاف تفاوت وهو أن يكون بعضه بليغا وبعضه مرذولا ساقطا ؛

a contradiction of variation where a part is eloquent while an other is inferior or degraded.

وهذان الضربان من الاختلاف منفيان عن القرآن ، وهو إحدى دلالات إعجازه ؛

and both of these kinds are banished from the Qur'an. Which is one of the evidences of its inimitability.

لأن كلام سائر الفصحاء والبلغاء إذا طال مثل السور الطوال من القرآن لا يخلو من أن يختلف اختلاف التفاوت

Because the words of all verbalists and eloquent people if it get longer like the long surahs of the Qur'an doesn't leave out some kind of contradictions of variation.

والثالث : اختلاف التلاؤم ، وهو أن يكون الجميع متلائما في الحسن ، كاختلاف وجوه القراءات ومقادير الآيات واختلاف الأحكام في الناسخ والمنسوخ

and the third kind: the contradiction of agreement, this is when the whole is in a good agreement , like the differences of qira'at, the amount and length of verses, and differences of rulings according to abrogating and abrogated.

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