Muslims use two arguments to trash the Bible:
1. First Muslim Charge against the Bible: “Corrupted Text”
2. Second Muslim Charge against the Bible: “Not in Jesus’ Language”
The Bible is Dependable!
Muslims Similar to Mormons
In endeavoring to study with Muslims, we find that they share a common difficulty with our Mormon friends. They contend that they believe in God, but do not recognize the same sources of authority.
The Mormons have added “The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrines and Covenants. The Muslims have added a book called “The Qur’an,” and another set of books called “The Hadith.”
The Qur’an is considered to be the word of God, while “The Hadith,” are stories of Muhammad’s life and are considered to be “approved examples.” For example, the Qur’an teaches Muslims to pray five times a day, but to learn how to pray, they must turn to the examples of Muhammad’s life recorded in the Hadith.
The Muslims, like the Mormons will claim that the Bible is from God. While the Mormons pay lip service to believing the Bible, they show that they do not fully recognize the authority of the Bible when they qualify their statements with “insofar as it is accurately translated.”
Consequently, any text used to repudiate their theology is thus charged to be an erroneous translation. When pressed, some will even admit that they really don’t want to use the Bible, they only use it to gain access to the homes of non-Mormons.
Two Muslim Charges Against the Bible:
First Muslim Charge against the Bible: “Corrupted Text”
Muslims also claim to believe the Bible, but they also qualify their statement with “insofar as it has not been corrupted.” Any Bible text that you use to demonstrate that Islamic teaching is in error will be calmly referred to as spurious, erroneous, or corrupted. Then it will be ignored and assumed that your argument has been proven invalid.
Second Muslim Charge against the Bible: “Not in Jesus’ Language”
One of the frequent objections one will hear from the Muslims is that because we do not have copies of the Bible written in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke it in, we do not have a book that can be depended on. I have had it argued: “Show me the words of Jesus in the language he spoke them.” They argue that because we do not have the words of Jesus recorded in the language of first century Judah, we cannot trust what we do have.
Refutation of Argument #1: “Corruption”
Let’s look at some of their arguments and see if they are valid. Before we began, however, perhaps some definitions of Islamic terms about the Qur’an are in order.
A. Definitions and Information
Surah – This is the equivalent of a book in the Bible. This Surah or book may be referred to with either a name or a number. For example, Surah 4 is titled “Al-Nisa,” in Arabic, or “Women” in English. There are 114 Surah’s in the Qur’an.
Ayah – This is the equivalent to a verse in the Bible. The Qur’an does not have chapter divisions such as the Bible. Each Surah is numbered similar to the manner verses in the Bible are numbered.
Order – The Surah’s are not arranged in chronological order, but generally, in order of their length, starting with the longest and ending with the shortest. Surah #2 has 286 Ayah and Surah 114 has 6 Ayah. The exception to this is Surah #1 which has 7 Ayah, and is titled, “Al-Fatihah,” or “The Opening.”
B. Books of Jews and Christians are from God
First, we can show that The Qur’an declares the book of the Jews and the book of the Christians to be from God, or as they usually say, Allah.
Surah 6, Al-Anam, The Cattle
6:154 Moreover, We gave Moses the Book, completing (Our favor) to those who would do right, and explaining all things in detail, and a guide and a mercy, that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord.
C. The Book given to Moses was God’s (Allah’s) guide to the Children of Israel.
Surah 32, As-Sajdah, The Prostration 3
2:23 We did indeed aforetime give the Book to Moses: be not then in doubt of its reaching (thee): and We made it a guide to the Children of Israel.
32:24 And We appointed, from among them, Leaders, giving guidance under Our command, so long as they persevered with patience and continued to have faith in Our Signs.
In the Qur’an, it is declared that Israel was commanded to follow the revelation of God contained in the Book of Moses.
Surah 17, Al-Isra, The Children of Israel
17:2 We gave Moses the Book, and made it a Guide to the Children of Israel, (commanding): “Take not other than Me as a Disposer of (your) affairs.”
D. Jews Preserved God’s Word
It is also important to show that in the Qur’an, the Jews were entrusted with the protecting and preserving of God’s book, and no indication is given that they failed in that trust.
Surah 5, Al-Maidah, The Table Spread
5:47 It was We who revealed the law (to Moses); therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the Prophet who bowed (as in Islam) to God’s will, by the Rabbis and the doctors of Law: for to them was entrusted the protection of God’s Book, and they were witnesses thereto: therefore fear not men, but fear Me, and sell not My Signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what God hath revealed, they are (no better than) unbelievers.
E. Old and New Testaments a Guide to Mankind
The Qur’an declares, that not only did God send the book to Moses, He also sent the Gospel of Jesus. These two books, together are stated to be a “guide to mankind.”
Surah 3, Al-Imran, The Family of Imram (the Father of Moses)
3:2 God! there is no god but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting, Eternal. 3:3 It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down Law (Of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the Criterion (of judgment between right and wrong).
The above Ayah, or verse, also declares that Allah sent the Qur’an, called the Criterion here.
We need to be able to point out that the Qur’an ridicules the controversy over the two Testaments between Jews and Christians, but never once declares there is any error in either book.
Surah 2, Al-Baqarah, The Cow
2:113 The Jews say: “The Christians have naught (to stand) upon”; and the Christians say: “The Jews have naught (to stand) upon.” Yet they (profess to) study the (same) Book. Like unto their word is what those say who know not, but God will judge between them in their quarrel on the Day of Judgment.
F. Muslims Commanded to Believe the Bible
The same Surah in the Qur’an declares that Muslims are to believe in all of the writings of the prophets, both the Old and New Testament! This is an important principle to lay down. Muslims are to believe the Bible!
Surah 2, Al-Baqarah, The Cow
2:136 Say ye: “We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord, we make no difference between one and another of them, and we bow to God (in Islam).”
G. Following the Bible would Cause One to Be Admitted to Paradise
The Qur’an says that the Old and New Testaments were adequate to guide men in God’s (Allah’) will, and if they would be followed, they would be blessed in this life as well as be admitted into paradise.
Surah 5, Al-Maidah, The Table Spread
5:68 If only the people of the Book had believed and been righteous, We should indeed have blotted out their iniquities and admitted them to gardens of Bliss.
5:69 If only they had stood fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There is from among them a party on the right course; but many of them follow a course that is evil.
H. Jews and Christians Charged with Failing to Follow their Books
The Qur’an does make several charges against the way Jews and Christians use the books God had sent them. In the following Ayah, we will see the Jews charged with teaching the book to suit themselves. It will charge the Christians with forgetting to teach part of the message. But notice, in neither case does he say that the Book itself has been corrupted.
Surah 5, Al-Maidah, The Table Spread
5:13 God did aforetime take a Covenant from the Children of Israel, and We appointed twelve captains among them, and God said: “I am with you: if ye (but) establish regular prayers, practice regular charity, believe in My apostles, honor and assist them and loan to God a beautiful loan, verily I will wipe out from you your evils, and admit you to gardens with rivers flowing beneath; but if any of you, after this, resisteth faith, he hath truly wandered from the path of rectitude.”
5:14 But because of their breach of their Covenant, We cursed them, and made their hearts grow hard: they change the words from their (right) places and forget a good part of the Message that was sent them, nor wilt thou cease to find them, barring a few, ever bent on (new) deceits: but forgive them and overlook (their misdeeds): for God loveth those who are kind.
5:15 From those, too, who call themselves Christians, We did take a Covenant, but they forgot a good part of the Message that was sent them: so We estranged them, with enmity and hatred between the one and the other, to the Day of Judgment. And soon will God show them what it is they have done.
I. No Charges of Corruption Are Made Against the Bible
The Qur’an charges that both Jews and Christians abused the Book that God had revealed, but where did he charge that the Book itself had become flawed? It is important to understand this, because now we can progress to the application and it’s relationship to Muslim arguments about the corruption of our present Bible.
The Qur’an was written during the lifetime of Muhammad, who lived from AD 570 to AD 632. At that time, no charges of Biblical corruption were made against either the Old or New Testaments. This would indicate that from Muhammad’s perspective as the Muslim’s prophet, the previous revelations were still accurate! This is important! The Bible available to the people of Muhammad’s day was not considered to have been corrupted!
With this in mind, consider the following documents and their dates.
Chart of Document Dates of Biblical Texts*
|Codex Freerianus||Late 4th, early 5th Century||Greek||Egypt||Smithsonian|
Chart of Translations of Biblical Texts
|The Old Latin||As Early as 180||Latin|
|The Latin Vulgate||382-405||Latin|
This is evidence that our modern Bible is translated from documents that existed both before and during the time of Muhammad. Now let’s put the claims of the Qur’an together with the historical documentation of the Biblical text, and look at some observations.
J. Muhammad had current copies of the Bible available.
- He knew they were in use.
- He approved of them as being from God (Allah).
- He did not condemn them as tainted or polluted.
Our Bibles today are translated from texts that existed prior to Muhammad, hence were either the sources of the “Books” or perhaps the same “Books” Muhammad declared to be accurate! That being the case, Muslims need to re-evaluate their position on the corruption of the Bible. They have no basis for claiming that the Biblical Text has been corrupted, when the one they claim as their prophet says that they are not corrupted!
Refutation of Argument #2: “Not in Jesus’ Language “
Refutation of the “Not in Aramaic Argument”
Muhammad did not condemn translations of the Gospels.
There were translations of the Gospels made into Arabic, either verbally or hard copies, and these were read to Muhammad. He did not declare them inadequate.
Vol. 4 – Prophets – Hadith 605
605. Narrated Aisha: The Prophet (SAW) returned to Khadija while his heart was beating rapidly. She took him to Waraqa bin Naufal who was a Christian convert and used to read the Gospels in Arabic. Waraqa asked (the Prophet (SAW)), “What do you see?” When he told him, Waraqa said, “That is the same angel whom Allah sent to (the Prophet) Moses. Should I live till you receive the Divine Message, I will support you strongly.”
Absence of Arguments in Qur’an About Aramaic
The fact that no charge was made against the lack of an original Aramaic translation in the Qur’an is significant. This was not an position taken by either the Qur’an or by Muhammad.
If the translations available were adequate to Muhammad, regardless of language, then they should be adequate to Muslims today.
By the same token, nothing is said in any of the hadith about the Injil (Gospels) being insufficient because it is not recorded in the language of Isa. (Jesus)
If Muhammad, their claimed prophet of Allah, did not refuse the book of the Christians because it was not in Aramaic, Muslims today have no ground to do so.