A two part series designed to prepare Christians to discuss their faith with Muslims
Part 1:The Qur'anic teaching about the Bible
By Fayek Iskander
Paul the apostle says:I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes:
first to the Jew, then to the Gentile - Romans 1: 16.
We can see here - and from other texts such as Acts 8:35, 1 Corinthians 1: 23, 24 & 2 Timothy 3: 15 – that nothing can lead people to salvation and eternal life in Christ except the word of salvation and of eternal life, which is found in the Bible. Therefore, when we approach people, including Muslims, we must share Christ with them from the Bible.
When we witness to Muslims, they often are not willing to listen to us because their religious leaders claim the Bible is corrupted. But this accusation is in every way baseless. Let us look at what the Qur'an says about the Bible.
The Qur'an testifies to the Bible:
When we look closely at the Qur'an, we can see very clearly that it testifies to the Bible and its integrity. The Qur'an says that the Torah (the Old Testament) is sufficient for the Jews and there is no need for them to refer to the Qur'an.
But why do they (Jews) come to thee [Muhammad] for decision when they have (their own) laws [the Torah] before them? Therein is the (plain) command of Allah - Qur 5: 43.Lo! We did reveal the Torah, wherein is guidance and a light, by which the prophets who surrendered (unto Allah) judged the Jews, and the rabbis and the priests (judged) by such of Allah's Scripture as they were bidden to observe, and thereunto were they witnesses...
Whoever judges not by that which Allah has revealed: such are disbelievers - Qur 5:44. See also Qur 5:45.Regarding the New Testament, which in the Qur'an is called “the Gospel”, the Qur'an also says that it was given to Jesus by revelation.
And We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, confirming that which was (revealed) before him in the Torah, and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein is guidance and a light, confirming that which was (revealed) before it in the Torah - a guidance and an admonition unto those who ward off (evil) Qur 5:46, see also 57: 27.
It is clear to Muslims that the People of the Gospel should judge by that which Allah has revealed therein and whoever of them judges not by that which Allah has revealed in the Gospel, such are evil- livers - Qur 5:47.
Moreover, the Qur'an is to be corrected by the Bible which according to the Qur'an is more reliable:
And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We (Allah) reveal unto thee, then ask those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee Qur 10:94.
The claim that the Bible has been corrupted is not based on the Qur'an:The Qur'an does not accuse the Bible of having been corrupted in any way nor does it cast any doubt on its integrity. On the contrary, it says that the Torah and Gospel (the Old and New Testaments) are good and clear guidance. For example, Allah says to Muhammad:
Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Then bring a scripture from the presence of Allah that gives clearer guidance than these two [the Torah and Gospel] (that) I may follow it, if you are truthful” Qur 28:49.Again, Allah says of the Jews and Christians:
If they had observed the Torah and the Gospel and that which was revealed unto them from their Lord, they would surely have been nourished from above them and from beneath their feet Qur 5:66. See also 3: 199 and 4: 162.
The Qur'an says that Jews misinterpret, not corrupt, the words of the Torah or take them out of context to suit what they want to say.... They change words from their context and forget a part of that whereof they were admonished Qur 5: 13.
Moreover, the Qur'an says that Jews misinterpret the words of not only the Torah, but also the Qur'an itself. For instance:Some of those who are Jews change words (of the Qur'an) from their context and say: 'We hear and disobey' - Qur 4: 46.…. and of the Jews: listeners for the sake of falsehood, listeners on behalf of other folk who come not unto you (Muhammad), changing words from their context and saying: If this be given unto you, receive it, but if this be not given unto you, then beware! - Qur 5:41
The Qur'an in fact does not say that the Bible has been corrupted. The claim of corruption actually started after Muhammad. Muhammad never read the Bible since it was not available in Arabic and he did not know any other language. He learned distorted biblical stories from Jews and Christian sectarians in Arabia. He was thinking that the Qur'an, he recited to people, was not contradictory to the Bible.And Lo! of the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), there are some who believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto you and that which was revealed unto them - Qur 3: 199.
O People of the Scripture! Ye have naught (of guidance) till ye observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which was revealed unto you from your Lord - Qur 5: 68.Later, when Muslim scholars looked at the Bible, they noticed that it was contradictory to the Qur'an, and not like what Muhammad had thought. Then, they started claiming that the Bible had been corrupted. But it is just an accusation which is not founded on fact and cannot be supported.
The Qur'an does not abrogate the Bible:Every now and then, some Muslim preachers claim that Christianity abrogated Judaism, and Islam likewise has abrogated Christianity. In other words, the Gospel abrogated the Torah, and the Qur'an has abrogated the Gospel. This claim is, by all means, baseless.The Qur'an says that it came to confirm the Bible, not to abrogate it:
And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it - Qur 5: 48.
We, Christians, believe that all the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments are the eternal Word of God. As for Muslims, there is their own doctrine of abrogation, but it is about abrogating and abrogated verses of the Qur'an itself. Muhammad used to forget verses he, supposedly, had received from Allah, or to change his mind and receive verses accordingly. To convince his followers, he claimed that Allah replaced verses by others. For example:
Such of Our revelations as We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, we bring (in place) one better or the like thereof. Knowest thou not that Allah is Able to do all things? - Qur 2: 106.
And when We put a revelation in place of (another) revelation,--and Allah knoweth best what He revealeth--they say: Lo! thou art but inventing. Most of them know not - Qur 16: 101.
Allah effaceth what He will, and establisheth (what He will), and with Him is the source of ordinance [of the book] - Qur 13: 39.
Muhammad desired that Allah would give him a revelation in favour of his tribe, Quraish. People of Quraish worshipped the daughters of Allah; Allat, Al'uzzah and Manat. On one occasion when he was with people of his tribe, he recited to them:Have ye seen Lat an Uzza And another the third (goddess) Manat? Their intercession deserves to be hoped for - Qur 53: 19 – 21.
When he was opposed by some of his followers, “Their intercession deserves to be hoped for” telling them that it was given to him by Satan, and replaced it with “What! for you the male and for Him (Allah) the female?”To justify receiving a verse from Satan, we read:
Never did We (Allah) send an apostle or a prophet before thee but when he framed a desire Satan threw some (vanity) into his desire: but Allah will cancel anything (vain) that Satan throws in and Allah will confirm (and establish) His Signs [verses]: for Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom - Qur 22: 52.
It is not logical that the teaching of the sword and killing would abrogate the teaching of love and mercy. The Qur'an says that it is prescribed in the Torah that:…. the life for the life, and the eye for the eye, and the tooth for the tooth ... - Qur 5:45.
The Gospel says:
You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well ...
You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you - Matthew 5:38–44
If the Qur'an abrogated the New Testament, it would have raised the standard to speak about better love. But it is, on the contrary, full of undeniable and incomparable teaching about hatred, killing and shedding blood. For example:
Therefore when ye meet the Unbelievers smite at their necks - Qur 47: 4
.But when the forbidden months are past then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them - Qur 9: 5.
Sharing the Gospel of Christ with Muslims has to be sharing the Gospel itself as it is. We must preach the Lord Jesus Christ who died because of and for our sins and rose again for our justification. This Gospel is found only in the Bible and not in the Qur'an. But at the same time, we need to know what the Qur'an says about the Bible so that we will be able to convince Muslims to read it and accept its message.