(Basis for this article found here)
This is an issue which I have seen talked about so little for some reason because in my view it is a major issue for a holy book which is supposedly the word of God and a miracle to mankind. The issue being that God actually used incorrect grammar in his recitation. This error can be found in Quran chapter 6 verse 151 and the first part goes like this:
ۖ قُلْ تَعَالَوْا۟ أَتْلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ
Say, “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you.”
Note that some English translations of the Quran translate the highlighted verb in different ways such as these translations:
Pickthall: “made a sacred duty”
Ahmed ali: “made binding”
Hamid Aziz: “made a sacred duty”
Muhammad Sarwar: “commanded”
Shabbir Ahmed: “enjoined upon you as a sacred duty”
Munir Munshey: “enjoined upon you”
Maududi: “laid down to you”
A.L. Bilal Muhammad: “made sacred”
Amatul Rahman Omar: “made binding”
John Medows Rodwell: “made binding”
This is wrong, and is possibly an attempt to cover up the mistake. Evidence that it really means prohibited is found in the Arab dictionaries such as Lane’s lexicon:
حرّمهُ, inf. n. تَحْرِيمٌ, (Ṣ, Mṣb, Ḳ,) said of God, (Ḳ,) and of a man, (Ṣ, Mṣb,) He forbade it, prohibited it, or made it unlawful,
So with that issue cleared up, we establish that Allah is about to tell us of things that he prohibits next in the verse. The semi-pause denoted by the marker ۖ further confirms this. So here’s the next few sentences:
أَلَّا تُشْرِكُوا۟ بِهِۦ شَيْـًٔا ۖ وَبِٱلْوَٰلِدَيْنِ إِحْسَٰنًا ۖ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوٓا۟ أَوْلَٰدَكُم مِّنْ إِمْلَٰقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكُمْ وَإِيَّاهُمْ ۖ وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا۟ ٱلْفَوَٰحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ ۖ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا۟ ٱلنَّفْسَ ٱلَّتِى حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ إِلَّا بِٱلْحَقِّ ۚ
Join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want;- We provide sustenance for you and for them;- come not nigh to shameful deeds. Whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law
So it goes like: “don’t do this: be good to your parents”. So is Allah actually telling us not to be good to our parents? The next one also basically means “don’t do this: don’t kill your children”. That’s what is known as a double negative, meaning that we should kill our children.
Now, it is obvious what Allah actually meant. He’s actually telling us to be good to our parents and not to kill our children … etc. The negatory in the beginning is a common grammatical mistake that all of us have been guilty of doing. If this was Muhammad speaking then that would be fine and not something to really dwell on. But this is supposed to be Allah speaking. The omnipotent god. And this is the Quran, which is supposedly a miracle of Arabic compilation.
An argument against the idea that this is an error is the view that it means “say, come” as in Allah telling Muhammad to say “come i will recite what your lord has prohibited to you”, then pause, “that you don’t associate anything with god”, then pause, “best treatment for your parents”, then pause, ” and do not kill your children out of poverty”, then pause “We will provide for you and them”, then pause,”And do not approach immoralities”. Basically that with every pause it shifts.
However this is a bad argument as a pause does not constitute a shift in the negatory state. The pauses the argument is reliant upon are denoted with ۖ which means, according to tajweed, that while you may pause here it is better to continue. That’s why It is called a “semi-pause”. You don’t see an actual pause (denoted with a small ج) until the end of “And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right”, which is the end of the list. It also doesn’t shift with each pause. The state of “don’t do this” to “do this” only shifts at the beginning. So when read the correct way there are no pauses at all and they constitute one long sentence punctuated with و (and) between each part.
(fun fact, it appears that the Sahih International translators on Quran.com were aware of this too, but instead of mistranslating the Quran, they distort its meaning by adding words in brackets. So everyone who looks up this verse will get this lie as their top result and are less likely to notice the error)