DOES THE QURAN REALLY CONFIRM THE BIBLE IS UNCHANGED?

(in response to Mr. Ibrahim's article)

In the Name of God Most Gracious Most Merciful

"And verily, among them is a party who twist their tongues with the Scripture that you might think that it is from the Scripture but it is not from the Scripture; and they say, 'It is from Allah' but it is not from Allah; and they speak a lie against Allah while [well] they know it!"

The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):78

INTRODUCTION

As a born Muslim, I never believed that the "Holy Bible" is the same as the Injeel mentioned in the Holy Qur'an. 1400 years ago, the Injeel itself was partially correct, and at that time, Allah used to remind the people of the book to follow Mohammad (PBUH) since he is the true Messenger of Allah that was mentioned in their Injeel at that time period. Christian missionaries in almost every discussion of the Qur'an assert that the Qur'an asks Muslims to believe in the Bible as a revelation of God. Many Muslims tend to fall into this trap by saying that "we believe in the Bible as revealed book." Once the Muslim accepts this fact, the evangelist, the bible thumper, the missionary can point out that the Bible contradicts the Qur'an and that since the Bible has precedence over the Qur'an and since Muslims are required to believe in it, it therefore logically follows that the Bible is right and the Qur'an is wrong. But the Qur'an says no such thing.

EXAMINATION OF THE SO CALLED "TORAH"

Mr Ibrahim asks a crucial question :

"Here the question may be asked: "Are what is known as the

Torah and the Injil in Muhammad's (p.b.u.h.) time identical with

today's Bible that contains the Old and the New Testament?"

It is said that an account of Moses and the later Prophets (peace be upon them) and of their teachings is contained in the Old Testament. But look at the Bible from the historical viewpoint. The original text of the Torah, as revealed to Moses (peace be upon him), had been destroyed at the time of the sack of Bait-ul-Maqdas (Jerusalem) in 6 B.C., and along with it had perished the Scriptures of the former

Prophets (peace be upon them). In 5 B.C., when the tribe of Israel after their release from the Captivity in Babylon arrived in Palestine, the Prophet Ezra with the help of some venerable collaborators prepared an account of the life of Moses (peace be upon him) as well as a history of the tribe of Israel. In this work were incorporated in appropriate places such verses of the Torah as were readily available to the author and his associates.

"Say, who sent down the Book that Moses brought as a light and a guidance to people? You make it into sheets of paper showing some of them and concealing much." (6:91)

Consequently, in the period falling between the fourth and second century B.C., various authors (unknown) penned down the Scriptures (from which sources we know not) of those Prophets who had preceded them by several centuries. To take an instance, in 300 B.C., an unknown person wrote a book in the name of Jonah and incorporated it in the Bible, despite the fact that Jonah was a Prophet of the 8th

century B.C. The Psalms was committed to writing five centuries after the death of David and to it were also added sonnets composed by about a hundred poets. We have no knowledge of the sources from which the compilers of the Psalms had gleaned those Sonnets.

Soloman departed from the world in 933 B.C., and an Anthology of Solomon's Proverbs was compiled in the year 250 B.C. which also incorporated the maxims of several other sages.

In short, no book of the Bible bears an authentic connection with any Prophet to whom it is ascribed. What's more, even these books of the Jewish Bible perished at the second sack of Baitul-Maqdas in 70 A.D., leaving extant only their Greek Translation, which dates back to the period falling between 258 B.C. and the first century B.C.

In the second century A.D., the Jewish scholars prepared a Jewish Bible with the help of manuscripts which had survived the vicissitudes of time. The oldest copy of this Bible extant now dates back to 916 A.D. Apart from this, no other Jewish manuscript exists anywheretoday.The Jewish scrolls discovered from the cave of Qumran on the Dead Sea are not older than the first and the second century B.C., and even these contain a few scattered fragments of the Bible.

The earliest manuscript comprising the first five Books of the Bible current among the Samartians was written in the eleventh century A.D. The Greek Translation prepared in the second and the third century B.C. was marred by countless errors. A retranslation form Greek into Latin was done in the third century A.D. By what standard can you judge this material as an authentic source of the life histories and

teachings of Moses and the later Prophets of the Jews?

In addition to the above, there were certain unwritten legends called oral law, current among the Jews. For a span of thirteen of fourteen centuries they remained unwritten until in the later part of the second and the beginning of the third century A.D., a priest known as Yahudah b. Sham'un committed them to writing under the title of `Mishnah'. Commentaries on this work by the Palestinian Jewish scholars under the name of `Halaka' and by Babylonian scholars under the title 'Haggada' appeared in the third and the fifth century respectively. The 'Talmud' is, in fact, an anthology of these three works. Significantly, authoritative evidence which may reveal the chain of transmission is lacking in the case of all traditions incorporated in these books.

WHAT DOES THE OLD TESTAMENT SAY ?

Mr Ibrahim stated :

"First of all, it needs to be noted that the Quran nowhere explicitly

states the Injil (Gospel) was changed! But what about the Torah? History

shows that whenever God revealed Himself, most of His people fell into

disobedience after a period of time. So it was with the Jews. In spite

of this sad fact there were always, up to this very day, good Jews who

remain true to the book God gave them"

Then He Quoted :

Of the people of Moses there is a section who guide and do justice in

the light of truth. (Surah 7, A'raf, verse 159)

First of all, let us examine the first five books of the bible - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy - there are more than 700 statements which prove not only that God is NOT the author of these books, but even Moses himself had no hand in them! Open these books at random and you will see :

* "And the Lord said unto him, Away, get thee down...."

* "And Moses said unto the Lord, the people cannot come..."

* "And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people...."

* "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying...."

* "And the Lord said unto Moses, Get down, charge the....."

It is manifest and apparent that these are NEITHER the Words of God NOR Moses. They indicate the voice of a third person writing from hearsay. The Tauraat we Muslims believe is not the "Torah" of the Jews and Christians, thoug the words - one Arabic, the other Hebrew - are the same. We believe that whatever the Holy Prophet Moses (Pbuh) preached to his people, was the revelation from God Almighty, but that Moses was NOT the author of those "books" attributed to him by the Jews and the Christians.

2: 75. Do you expect that they will believe you when a party of them hear the Word of ALLAH, then pervert it after they have understood it, and they well know the consequences thereof."

THE "INJIL" ? THE BIBLE ?

Mr Ibrahim stated :

"Like in the case of the Injil, the New Testament, the formation of an

official list (canon) of the books that were part of it took a

considerable time. When finally an official list was approved it was

done so in defense against a growing number of heretical writings. The

official list merely confirmed what had been accepted by the Jews

centuries before. Then it was unnecessary because there was a common

agreement as to which writings were part of the Torah."

Actually, a similar state of affairs exists for Jesus's character and teachings from what I ascribed above. Jesus conveyed orally to the people the Bible that Allah (God) had originally revealed to him. His disciples, too, propagated it among the people by the spoken words in such a manner that they presented an admixture of their Prophet's life-story and the revealed verses of the Bible. None of this material was put into writing during the lifetime of Jesus (peace be upon him) or even in the period following him. It fell to the lot of the Christians whose vernacular was Greek to transform the oral traditions into writing. It must be borne in mind that Christ's native tongue was Syriac or Aramaic and his disciples, too, spoke the same language.

Most Greek-speaking authors heard these traditions in the Aramaic vernacular and committed them to writing in Greek. None of these writings is dated prior to the year 70 A.D.; there is not a single instance in these works where the author has cited an authority for an event or maxim attributed to Jesus in order that we might construct a

chain of transmission. Furthermore, even their works have not survived. Thousands of Greek manuscripts of the New Testament were collected, but none of them is older than the 4th century A.D.; rather the origin of most of them does not go beyond the period intervening between the 11th and the 14th centuries. Some scattered fragments on papyrus found in Egypt claim no greater antiquity than the third

century. Who translated the Bible from Greek into Latin and when did he do it, we cannot say.

In the 4th century A.D., the Pope commissioned a review of the Latin translation. In the sixteenth century, this was discarded and a fresh translation from Greek into Latin was prepared. The four Bibles were more probably rendered into Syriac language from Greek in 200 A.D., nevertheless, the oldest Syriac manuscript extant was written in the 4th century. A hand-written copy dating back to the 5th century A.D., contains in most parts a different version.

"And if it be said unto them: Follow that which Allah has revealed, they say: Nay, but we follow that wherein we found our fathers. What! Even though the devil was inviting them to the torture of the fire?"

The noble Qur'an, Lukman(31):21.

Among the Arabic translations made from Syriac none is known to have

been prepared before the 8th century A.D. It is a strange fact that about seventy different versions of the Bible were prepared, four of which were approved by the leaders of the Christian religion, while the rest were rejected by them. We have no information as to what were the grounds of their approval or rejection. However, can this material be credited with authenticity to any extent as regards the character and message (Gospel) of Jesus?

INVESTIGATION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, IS IT REALLY THE INJIL ?

What about the Injeel ? INJEEL means "Gospel" or "Good News" which Jesus Christ preached during his short ministry. The "Gospel" writers often mention that Jesus going about and preaching the Gospel (The Injeel) :

1. "And Jesus went. . . preaching the gospel . . . and healing every disease among the people" (Matthew 9:35)

2. "...but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall savt it." (Mark 8:35)

3. "...preached the gospel.." (Luke 20:1)

The "gospel" is a frequently-used word, but what Gospel did Jesus himself preach? Of the 27 books of the New Testament, only a small fraction can be accepted as the words of Jesus's. The Christians boast about the Gospels according to St. Matthew, according to St. Mark, according to St. Luke and according to St. John, but there is not a single Gospel "according" to (St.) Jesus himself! We sincerely believe that everything Christ (May the peace and blessings of God be upon him) preached was from God. That the Injeel, the good news and the guidance of God for the Children of Isreal. In his life-time Jesus never wrote a single word, nor did he instruct anyone to do so. What passes off as the "GOSPELS" today are the works of anonymous hands!

Mr Ibrahim stated :

No change can there be in the Words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme

Felicity. (Surah 10, Junus, verse 64)

No Muslim would doubt that the Torah and the Injil are words of Allah

too! Therefore, it is impossible for man to change them. God has the

power to watch over His word and to preserve it.

First ask yourself, in the New Testament, are the Words ACCORDING TO ALLAH or ACCORDING TO THE DISCIPLES? Note that many biblical authors are unknown. Where an author has been named, that name has sometimes been selected by pious believers rather than given by the author himself. The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are examples of books which did not carry the names of their actual authors. The present names were assigned long after these four books were written. In spite of what the Gospel authors say, biblical scholars are now almost unanimously agreed that none of the Gospel authors was either a disciple of Jesus or an eyewitness to his ministry.

What about the so-called New Testament? Why does every Gospel begin with the introduction - ACCORDING TO... ACCORDING TO.. Why "according to?" Because not a single one of the vaunted four thousand copies extant carries its author's autograph! Hence the supposition of "according to!" even the internal evidence proves that not Jesus not even Matthew! was the author of the first Gospel which bears his name.

"And as Jesus passd forth thence, HE (JESUS) saw a man, named Matthew

sitting at the receipt of custom : and HE (JESUS) saith unto HIM (Matthew),

follow ME (JESUS) and HE (MATTHEW) arose and followed HIM (JESUS)."

(Matthew 9:9)

Without any stretch of imagination, one can see that the "He's" and "Him's" of the above narration do not refer to God or Jesus or Matthew as its author, but some third person writing what he saw and heard - a hearsay account! If we cannot even attribute this "book of dreams" (as the first Gospel is also described) to the disciple Matthew, how can we Muslims accept it as the Word of God? We are not alone in this discovery that Matthew did not write the "Gospel According To St. Matthew" and that it was written by some anonymous hand. J. B. Phillips concurs with us in my findings. He is the paid servant of the Anglican Church, a prebendary of the Chichester Cathedral, England. He would have no reason to lie or betray to the detriment of the official view of his church. Phillips has this to say about its authorship :

"Early tradition ascribed the Gospel to the Apostle Matthew, but scholars

nowadays ALMOST ALL REJECT THIS VIEW."

(The Gospels, Introduction by J.B Phillips)

But what about the "inspiration" business? The Anglican prebendary has hit the nail on the head. He is, more than anyone else, entitled to do so. A paid servant of the church, an orthodox evangelical christian, a Bible Scholar of repute, having direct access to the "original" Greek Manuscripts, let him spell it out for us. "HE (Matthew) has used MARK'S GOSPEL FREELY" which in language of the school teacher - "has copying WHOLESALE from MARK!" Yet Christians like Mr. Abdullah Ibrahim want us to affirm that The Bible is God's Word? Or that Even The Quran confirms this ? Neither its the Word of Allah (which Allah has proclaimed he will Guard) and neither the words of Matthew! Would the Quran confirm this as "unchanged" ? Would only make a good topic for a boring sunday sermon.

"And who is more unjust than he who fabricates a lie against Allah or said: 'I have received inspiration' whereas no inspiration was given him, and who says: 'I will reveal the like of which Allah has revealed.'? And if you could but see when the unjust are in the agonies of death, while the angels are stretching forth their hands (saying): 'Deliver up your souls! This day you shall be recompensed with the torment of degradation because of what you used to utter against Allah other than the truth, and you used to arrogantly reject His signs."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Anaam(6):93

WHAT INDEED DOES THE HADITH SAY ABOUT THE SO CALLED BIBLE?

Mr. Ibrahim boasted : "Therefore, it can be taken as a proven fact that the Bible has not been changed before the time of Muhammad (p.b.u.h)."

Oh really ? Those are some BIG WORDS by Mr. Ibrahim..ponder again!

Ibrahim fails to even mention the many hadiths which prove the bible has been changed which some are...

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said "How will you be when the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you and he will judge people by the Law of the Qur'an and not by the law of Gospel (Bukhari, Fateh-ul Bari page 304 and 305 Vol 7).

Why Not By the Law of The Gospel And Not the Noble Quran ? Surely since Jesus was the so called "Gospel Giver" why not judge people by the Gospel, the revelation given to Jesus christ ? Simple, Its been changed!

And another hadith we read.......

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The people of the Scripture used to read the Torah in Hebrew and explain it to the Muslims in Arabic. Then Allah's Apostle said, "Do not believe the people of the Scripture, but say, 'We believe in Allah and whatever has been revealed...' ({Bukhari 3.84:>qs3.84})

also.......

Narrated Ubaidullah:

Ibn 'Abbas said, "Why do you ask the people of the scripture about anything while your Book (Quran) which has been revealed to Allah's Apostle is newer and the latest? You read it pure, undistorted and unchanged, and Allah has told you that the people of the scripture (Jews and Christians) changed their scripture and distorted it, and wrote the scripture with their own hands and said, 'It is from Allah,' to sell it for a little gain. Does not the knowledge which has come to you prevent you from asking them about anything? No, by Allah, we have never seen any man from them asking you regarding what has been revealed to you!" (Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 92, Number 461)

CONCLUSION

There is no reference to the Bible in the Qur'an whatsoever. The Qur'an mentions the Taurat and the Injeel. The Taurat is the book given to prophet Moses. This is not the equivalent of the Torah/Pentateuch of the Jews and Christians, since much of it was not written by prophet Moses. And the Taurat is definitely not the Old Testament since the OT includes dozens of books attributed to other prophets before Jesus. The Injeel is translated as the Gospel revealed to prophet Jesus. This is not the New Testament. The New Testament is a collection of 4 biographies of Christ, 27 epistles of St. Paul, and other books on the lives and adventures on the followers of Christ. There is no record of a book revealed to Jesus. Perhaps the closest to it are the words of Jesus himself, which constitutes less than 10% of the NT. Therefore to say that Christians changed the Bible is an inaccurate statement, and can cause trouble in a discussion, because the Christian can then ask questions such as: Who changed the Bible? When exactly was it changed? How do you know it was changed if you don't have a copy of the original?

The Bible, or at least the New Testament, cannot be an altered copy of the Injeel because it is a completely different book. In fact, the original Bible or New Testament (the very first one) did not correspond to the Injeel, Taurat, or Zabur in the first place. It doesn't matter how unreliably it was transmitted; the Bible does not correspond to the Qur'anic Injeel. The Quran does not confirm the Bible is unchanged. Nor do the Hadith confirm the bible is unchanged.

It is not that the Christians have changed the original, but rather they have the wrong book, altogether. The words of Christ are possibly the closest thing to the Injeel. The recently discovered Gospel of Thomas, which is nothing but a list of sayings of Jesus, is even closer to the Islamic concept of Injeel. Therefore, it should be kept in mind in discussion with Christians that the Bible has not been changed, but rather the original documents chosen as the word of God were incorrect.

-Qais Ali 

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