Many Muslims claim that the very existence of the Quran is a great miracle. They claim that an illiterate man like Mohammed could not have constructed it without divine inspiration.
However, this is not true. First of all, many of the great authors of ancient works of literature were unable to read and write. Many of them simply told oral stories that were recorded by others. The Greek Poet Homer, for example, might have been blind. Scribes must have written down the words to the Odyssey and the Iliad for him in the event that he could not write. Many of the great epics of the ancient days were created orally. So being illiterate is not the same thing as being uneducated or unskilled.
Secondly, Mohammed’s illiteracy might explain some of the historical mistakes that are found in the Quran. There are several places where the Quran clearly gets the dates of events completely wrong. This could be explained by the fact that Mohammed had to cite historical facts from memory, because he was unable to read the texts himself. Here are some historical mistakes that appear in the Quran.
1. The Quran says that the Golden calf at mount Horeb was molded by a Samaritan. However, this event took place many centuries before the Samaritans existed. The Samaritans were named after the city of Samaria (Sura 20:85-87, 95-97), which didn’t even exist until the kingdom of Omri.
2. The Quran says that crucifixion existed at the time that Joseph and the children of Israel were in Egypt. (Sura 7:124, 12:41, 26:49 ) Actually, crucifixion was invented many centuries later.
3. The Quran says that the wicked Haman was a counselor of Pharoah. Actually, he was a Persian councillor who, once again, lived many hundreds of years later. (Sura 40:36-37).