The Attitude of the Qur’an and Sunnah to the Christian Scriptures

Antoin MacRuaidh

1. Introduction

Islam is a prophetic-revelatory religion whose faith and practice centres on its holy book, the Qur’an. Muslims believe that there have been one hundred and four revelatory books – ten to Adam, fifty to Seth, thirty to Enoch, ten to Abraham, one to Moses, one to David, one to Jesus and one to Muhammad. All but those of Abraham, Moses David, Jesus and Muhammad have been taken up to Paradise, and the Book of Abraham is no longer extant. Those that remained, apart from that of Muhammad, are those revealed to Moses, the Tawrah (Torah), to David, the Zabur (Psalms), and that given to Jesus, the Injil (Gospel). The Mosaic and Davidic books mentioned in the Qur’an resemble the Jewish structure of the Tenak (Old Testament) – the Torah, Nebi’im and Kethubim – the Law, the Prophets and the Writings, the last-mentioned often termed ‘the Psalms’ after the first book in the section. Of course, there is no reference in the Qur’an to the Nebi’im, although Islam’s holy book does refer to a number of the prophets mentioned in the Bible, nor is there any reference to the Kethubim, and the reference to the Psalms being given to David indicates that only the individual book of that name is concerned, rather than the entire section of the Tenak sometimes denoted by the term.

The Muslim, as opposed to Qur’anic, charge of corruption against the Bible usually refers to al-tahrif al-lafzi, changing the actual text, rather than al-tahrif al-ma’nawi, misinterpreting such. It should be said at the outset that nowhere does either the Qur’an or the Hadith present us with the idea that the Books of Moses, David and Jesus have been lost, removed or even corrupted, despite the view of many Muslims on the issue. However, as we study the sources of Islamic revelation, we find that while there are similarities between the Jewish-Christian Scriptures and the Books mentioned in the Qur’an, there are also important differences. These distinctions, together with the obvious differences in theology between the Bible and the Qur’an, lie at the heart of the controversy over Scriptural identity between Islam and Christianity.

2. The Nature and Status of the Qur’an

The most difficult aspect of understanding the traditional Muslim view of the Christian Scriptures is caused by the distinct point of reference. Obviously, the Muslim looks at the Bible from the standpoint of that with which he is familiar – his holy book. A Muslim coming to the Bible for the first time finds it difficult to understand what he is encountering. It is not just that he has been continually regaled from infancy with tales of how the Bible has been changed. It is primarily because the nature, structure and teaching of the Bible do not adhere to that of the Qur’an. The Muslim, from his reading of the Qur’an, has a fixed idea not simply about the content of divine revelation (i.e. Islamic doctrine), but also its form and character. He looks at the Bible through the lens of the Qur’an, which he believes to be the ultimate inscripturated revelation from God. The holy book of Islam sets the pattern for the characteristic of an inspired Scripture. In order to see why the charge of corruption against the Bible has arisen among Muslims, we must first understand the nature of the Qur’an in Islam.

2.1 The Nature of the Qur’an

The Qur’an is believed by Sunnis (though not by Shi’is) to be the eternal, uncreated word of God. The source of this belief is found in the Qur’an itself, in the concept that there eternally exists in Paradise (and is therefore free from human influence) the Preserved Tablet, (Lawh-i-Mahfuz), the eternal Word of God, from which revelation descends to humanity. It is termed ‘The Mother of the Book ‘ (Umm-ul-Kitab). The Muslim Qur’anic translator and commentator Yusuf Ali says:

For: 43. 4

…The Mother of the Book, the Foundation of Revelation, the Preserved Tablet (Lauh Mahfuz. lxxxv. 22), is the core or essence of revelation…The Mother of the Book is in Allah’s own Presence…

The Islamic scholar Mawdudi states:

‘Umm al-Kitab': the ‘Original Book': the Book from which all the Books sent down to the prophets have been derived. In Surah Al Waqi’ah the same thing has been described as Kitab-um-Maknun (the hidden and preserved Book) and in Surah al-Buruj: 22 as Lauh-i Mahfuz (the preserved Tablet), that is, the Tablet whose writing cannot be effaced, which is secure from every kind of interference…Different Books had been revealed by Allah in different ages…they brought one and the same Din (Religion). The reason was that their source and origin was the same, only words were different…they had the same meaning and theme which is inscribed in a Source Book with Allah, and whenever there was a need, he raised a prophet and sent down the same meaning and subject matter clothed in a particular diction according to the environment and occasion…

Hence, according to Islam, there is a certain degree of progressive revelation, but not in the Christian sense of the unfolding drama of redemption whereby purely temporary physical phenomena such as the Temple, the Levitical priesthood, the political state, etc., were superseded by the New Testament Church, the common priesthood of all believers (based on the eternal priesthood of Christ after the order of Melchizedek) and the present Messianic Reign, or with respect to the gradual disclosure of Messianic prophecy. In the view of Islam, each book brought the same message, without any typological scaffolding such as prospective sacrifices for sin, etc., the major difference between the Books of Islam being that the previous scriptures predicted the coming of Muhammad, which the Qur’an records as fulfilled. Further, the nature of inspiration was the same, revelation being ‘sent down’ from the Eternal Tablet, and so, as we shall see in my other paper The Compilation of the Text of the Qur’an and the Sunni-Shia dispute, Muslims naturally affirm that the process of canonical compilation was also identical.

It should also be noted that Mawdudi’s point about a prophet bringing ‘…subject matter clothed in a particular diction according to the environment and occasion…’ in itself points to a difficulty Muslims experience with the Christian Scriptures. The ‘Great Commission’ in Matthew 28:18-20, where Jesus enjoins the universal proclamation of His message, contradicts Islamic dogma that all prophets prior to Muhammad were merely local messengers. As one Muslim author puts it,

…God was sending different prophets to the different nations. Jesus was one of these national prophets.

Necessarily, therefore, His Scripture was of purely local and temporary concern. This being the case, a further point in this regard which is often raised by Muslim apologists is the language of the gospels. We know that a principal reason for the New Testament being in Greek was because the Christian message was for all humanity, and Greek was the lingua franca of the Roman and Near Eastern world, comparable to the contemporary position of English today. Furthermore, Palestine itself had been heavily Hellenized since the time of Alexander the Great, as Martin Hengel has demonstrated. When Christ entered the Greek-speaking area of Tyre and Sidon, the Decapolis, or spoke to Roman officials such as the Centurion or Pontius Pilate, he evidently spoke in Greek, as it is most unlikely that the latter in particular would know either Hebrew or Aramaic. However, the usual Muslim position is that the true gospel must have been in Aramaic, since Jesus was a purely local prophet, and against all the evidence, Muslim polemicists hold that Jesus, as a Palestinian, would not have known Greek. Moreover, Muslims hold that revelation suffers in the translation, hence the reason that translations of the Qur’an are always qualified by titles such as ‘The Meaning of the Glorious Qur’an’ (emphasis mine). Thus the Gospels are held to be unreliable simply because they are not in Hebrew or Aramaic.

Muhammad, however, being the Seal of the Prophets, was the universal Messenger for Mankind, S. 7:159; 21:107, and as his message was essentially the Qur’an, the same is true of his scripture – it alone was for all humanity. As the New Testament stands, the climactic and universal claims of Jesus give to Him, and thus to the New Testament itself, what Muslims hold in this respect belongs to Muhammad and the Qur’an. There is no theological and eschatological basis for future prophets and scriptures in the New Testament. Quite apart from the doctrinal problems this produces, it presents a picture of the previous Scriptures that does not tally with the Islamic idea of the characteristic of an earlier holy book. The Bible is self-sufficient and a complete, final revelation, and it is thus incompatible with the Qur’an on this basis.

2.2. Status of the Qur’an

Following from the idea that the Qur’an descends from an eternal Tablet in Paradise, we can see that a major problem is Christian-Muslim dialogue is the misunderstanding about comparison. Christians and Muslims often compare Muhammad to Christ, and the Qur’an to the Bible. Persons and Scriptures are compared with each other. On the Christian side, we make the point that the Bible reveals Christ – that it discloses him as the Word of God and the eternal Son of God, and that through faith in Him, and thus what is revealed about Him in the Bible, we receive eternal life, John 20:31. ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us., John 1:14, and He ‘…came from the Father, full of grace and truth.‘ However, in Islam, it is Muhammad who reveals the Qur’an, the uncreated, eternal Word of God, which became a Book and is recited among us.

Moreover, the Qur’an, in its instructions to men, is the key to the knowledge of salvation – necessarily so, for it is the revelation of God giving them the sign of how to walk the Straight Path of obedience to the divine will – Islam. It is often said of Muhammad by Muslims that ‘his life was the Qur’an.’ It can be seen that on this basis the Qur’an is not exactly equivalent to the Bible in the Christian understanding: rather, as the means of salvation, it stands in Islam where Jesus stands in Christianity. Just as Christians believe that the impartation of spiritual life by the Spirit of Christ enables us to walk in conformity with the will of God, Romans 8:9, so the internalization of the Qur’an enables the Muslim to live the life of perfect submission to God, as exemplified by Muhammad. The true contrast is between Muhammad and the Bible on the one hand, and Jesus and the Qur’an on the other. It is noteworthy that Islam calls Jesus Kalimat’Allah (‘a Word from God’) and Ruh’Allah (‘the Spirit of God’). The concept is clearly linked to the idea of revelation, and of prophets as instruments of this What is interesting in this regard is that the title ‘the Spirit of God’ is also applied to the Qur’an in the Hadith. This being the case, Christians can understand from their own concept of the Holy Spirit what is the nature of the Qur’an for Muslims.

The Qur’an, in its instructions to men, is the key to the knowledge of salvation – necessarily so, for it is the revelation of God giving them the sign of how to walk the Straight Path of obedience to the divine will – Islam:

Surah: 2. Baqara Ayah: 135

135. They say: ‘Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (to salvation).’ Say thou: ‘Nay! (I would rather) the religion of Abraham the true and he joined not gods with Allah.’

136. Say ye: ‘We believe in Allah and the revelation given to us and to Abraham Isma`il 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 Allah (in Islam).’

AL-MUWATTA of Imam Malik

Malik ibn Anas

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘I have left two matters with you. As long as you hold to them, you will not go the wrong way. They are the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet.’

This is often difficult for Evangelical Protestants to understand, given their belief in Original Sin, Free Grace and spiritual regeneration effected by the Holy Spirit on the basis of Christ’s salvific work on the Cross. Since Islam does not regard Man as innately corrupt, but rather as morally neutral, spiritual regeneration is unnecessary. Further, in Islam, sin is not a matter of lack of conformity to the nature of God, but concrete acts which contravene the divine will, as revealed in Islamic law (Shari’ah), based upon the Qur’an and Sunnah. On the same basis, the salvific effects of Christ at Calvary are likewise redundant, because Man, in obedience to the Islamic law, can indeed ‘save’ himself with the help of God in the Qur’an and Sunnah. It follows therefore that what is needed is purely the revelation of God instructing Man on how to walk as the Creator would have him behave. Hence the emphasis on the Qur’an as being the Guide to salvation. There is no sense of Substitutionary Reconciliation or Federal Headship in Islam, because there is no concept of one being saving another. Nor is there the same inter-action between God and Man on the earthly scene. Rather, the transcendent deity sends down the Divine Guidance to salvation through angelic and human intermediaries, and the rest is up to Man himself. We may infer from this that the ultimate answer to Muslim attacks on the Bible is not textual, but Christological.

This being the case, it can be understood why a Muslim, looking at the Christian Scriptures in the light of the nature of the Qur’an, cannot fathom their character, especially given the absence of ‘legalism’ in the New Testament. The Qur’an points to itself as the ultimate revelation of God and means of relation to Him, whereas the Bible points to something – or rather someone – external to itself in this respect. Given, the nature of the holy book of Islam, it is incumbent upon a Muslim to revere the Qur’an. We can see why Salman Rushdie ‘s book, The Satanic Verses, caused so much offence – he committed the equivalent of blaspheming Christ. Islamic jurisprudence states that the Qur’an must not be treated with disrespect, so one must not write in it, or place in on the floor, etc.

A further point worthy of note in this regard is that the nature and status of the Qur’an flow from the belief that it is the miracle of Islam and Muhammad. Muhammad is said to have received revelations during a trance, and that extraordinary phenomena were associated with this, such as strange sounds, being gripped by an angel, perspiring in winter, etc. This indicates that both the act of inspiration and the contents thereof were miraculous. Muhammad himself specifically denied that he performed any miracle, other than conveying the Qur’anic revelation. Many Muslims believe it is impossible to read the Qur’an – at least in Arabic – without being converted to Islam. The claims to its being miraculous mainly relate to its language and style (hence the importance of its being read in Arabic). This in itself makes it difficult for a Muslim to accept the Bible as true Scripture, since its style in so many places is different from his holy book. Unlike the Bible for the most part, the Qur’an is written in a kind of rhythmic prose. This purportedly makes it easier to memorise. von Denffer uses the example of Surah 112 Al-Ikhlas:

Qul huwa llahu ahad

Allahu samad

Lam yalid wa lam yulad

wa lam yakun lahu kufuwan ahad

Thus, an encounter with the Qur’an is similar to the experience of Paul on the Damascus Road when the Christophany (manifestation of the Risen Christ) revealed the Son of God in his life, transforming him therein. The Qur’an is its own self-authenticating miracle, the evidence that Islam is the revelation of God. We may compare the way the Resurrection of Jesus is presented as the authenticating miracle of God which demonstrates the truth of His claims to Divine Sonship, Romans 1:4. Again, Muslims do not see the Bible as making quite the same claims about itself (although Paul makes the claim for the gospel that it is the power of salvation, Romans 1:16).

3. The Nature of the Books of Moses, David and Jesus

3.1 The Character of Inspiration and Authorship

In many ways the subject matter of this section belongs under the previous heading, since the character and mode of the inspiration of the Qur’an is crucial to understanding why the Books of Moses, David and Jesus mentioned in the Qur’an do not conform to the Muslim model of Scripture. However, in order to give a more immediate comparison with the Christian Scriptures, it is pertinent to address the issue here.

Whilst there are examples of Divine dictation in the Christian Scriptures, notably the command to inscripturate the Decalogue, Exodus 34:27-28, such is not the norm with respect to the entire Bible. The Christian concept of Scriptural inspiration is theanthropic – a coterminous work of God and Man, the latter being protected from error by the influence of the Holy Spirit, a concept usually called supervision, referring to the condescension of God in revealing His mind and will through human instrumentation and personality. To give an analogy from music, a ballad played on an Irish harp gives the sound of the strings, but the melody it expresses is that of the composer. Likewise, the same is true of a dirge by the same composer performed on Scottish bag-pipes by another player. The tune, theme and performer may be different in each case, and the personality of the individual musician will be obvious in the performance, but the composer is the same in both cases, and with respect to the Scriptures, we can be sure that God has chosen adequate performers!

The Scriptures are ‘God-breathed’ (qeopneustos – theopneustos) 2 Timothy 3:16, but are simultaneously the genuine work of human beings, as indicated by the reference in 2 Peter 3:15-16 ‘…just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave himHis letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.’ Hence, Both God and Paul were the Authors of Paul’s epistles, the former supernaturally inspiring the latter. 2 Peter 1:21 expresses it perfectly – ‘For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.’

This view is difficult for Muslims to understand. The Christian idea of supervision is analogous to the concept of hadith in Islam – the words of the Prophet, often with commentary by the narrator, true, divinely protected from error, and expressing the mind and will of the Almighty, but not usually direct revelation from the mouth of God. Hence, to a Muslim, the Gospel of Matthew at best seems a mish-mash of hadith and direct revelation – the words of God the Father, Jesus and the Historian writing the book. The Christian apologetic writer William Campbell addresses this issue by presenting how, for example, Luke 8:19-21 would look if presented in Islamic fashion:

According to James, the half-brother of Jesus (may God be pleased with him) the occasion for the revelation of Luke 8:21 was as follows,

Now my mother and brothers and myself came to see Jesus, but we were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.’

And then the verse was revealed, ‘My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.’

This Hadith was transmitted by Luke and Mark in their books, which (along with those of Matthew and John) are the most valuable among the collections of Hadiths.)

Only the portion in bold would be regarded as Injil, and this would be recorded as a separate book from the hadith material.

Ahmad Deedat, viewed by many Muslims as their most effective anti-Christian apologist, presents the idea of ‘three grades of evidence’ – the Word of God, the Words of a Prophet of God, and the Words of a Historian. He goes on to claim

The bulk of the Bible is a witnessing of this THIRD kind.

{It should be noted that Deedat ignores elements in the Qur’an where others than God are held to be speaking in the first person – the classic case being Zechariah and Mary in Surah 19 Maryam, as well as other texts where Iblis, the jinn who became Satan, the Quraish, the prophet Jesus, whom Islam denies to be divine, and others, all speak. Moreover, as explained in my other paper The Compilation of the text of the Qur’an and the Sunni-Shia dispute, Muslims themselves hold that the Qur’an is incomplete without the Sunnah, revealed in the Hadith literature, which comments upon and explains the Qur’anic text. To deny the central import of the Sunnah is heresy, as can be seen from the words of a Muslim scholar on the subject:

…whoever believes in the Qur’an… must rely on… these reports of the sayings and deeds of the Prophet… a very large number of these Traditions form a valuable explanatory supplement to the Qur’an.

The nature of the Hadith is parallel to those very aspects of the gospels (and even epistles) which Deedat derogates – inspired historical comment and explanation. Whilst Evangelical Christians state that their source of authority is the Bible alone, Muslims always refer to their sources of authority as the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Thus, the complete authority for Islam is analogous to the Bible itself! Deedat is hung on his own petard.}

With regard to the Islamic view of the inspiration of the Qur’an, however, the nature and mode of inspiration was dictation, through the agency of the Archangel Gabriel. Essentially, the mode of revelation to Muhammad, apart from when the angel appeared to him, was usually one of trance. Again, we can see a major difference between the Christian and Islamic concepts of the mode and nature of inspiration. Apart possibly from the Apocalypse, the Christian concept is one whereby the agent of revelation is consciously involved in the formation of the scripture, although under divine guidance and protection from error. In the Islamic schema, however, the very fact that the recipient of revelation is in a trance indicates that he is merely a passive instrument of the divine will, like the pen of a writer, naturally so since a trance-like condition precludes conscious activity. The very word ‘Qur’an‘ probably derives from qara’a – to read or recite; the word iqraa – ‘speak’ is related to it. We see examples of this in the command to read or recite in the text itself, for example, the first text to be revealed, Surah: 96. Iqraa Ayah: 2. Hence the Prophet merely recited what had been dictated to him.

This is directly pertinent to our theme. In many ways the essence of Islam is the claim of Muhammad to be the ultimate prophet and apostle of God, in the line of Adam and Abraham. The collegiality of the divine messengers is a central tenet of Islamic faith. The nature of prophetic inspiration is necessarily the same with regard to all the messengers of God, as Surah 4 Nisaa Ayah 163 implies (q.v. footnotes). Hence, if Muhammad was a passive instrument in the revelation of the Qur’an, it follows that the same was true of other prophets. They did not participate in the authorship of the Books associated with their names; rather, they simply recited what was dictated to them. This can be seen in Surah 57 Hadiid Ayah 27, with its reference to Jesus having the Gospel ‘bestowed’ (Arabic aty’na’hu) on him; note also the role Gabriel played in bringing revelation to Jesus:

Surah: 2. Baqara Ayah: 87

87. We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of Apostles;

We gave Jesus the son of Mary clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit..

Hence, the Muslim idea is that Gabriel, the Holy Spirit, inspired Jesus the same way he revealed Scripture to Muhammad. It can be seen that a great deal of confusion is caused when Christians and Muslims tell each other that they both believe that Scripture comes by inspiration of the Holy Spirit; both the nature of inspiration and the identity of the Holy Spirit are very different in the distinct religious schemas. The references to the Book of Moses and the Psalms of David in the Qur’an likewise reflect this concept. Thus, for Muslims, the superscription in Psalm 51 ‘A psalm of David’, which claims authorship for David himself, and the text of which actually demonstrates this claim, illustrates that whatever the Biblical books may be, they are not the texts to which the Qur’an refers. For example, Ahmad Deedat states:

The Tauraat we Muslims believe in is not the ‘Torah’ of the Jews and the Christians… Moses was not the author of the ‘books’ attributed to him by the Jews and the Christians. Likewise, we believe that the Zaboor was the revelation of God granted to Hazrat Dawood (David)… but that the present Psalms associated with his name are not that revelation… What about the Injeel?… of the 27 books of the New Testament, only a small fraction can be accepted as the words of Jesus.

Mawdudi similarly states:

There exists a common misconception about the Torah (Taurat) and the Gospel (lnjil) for the people generally take the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) for the Torah, and the Gospels (the first four books of the New Testament) for the Injil. The misconception creates doubts about Revelation itself and a question arises, ‘Are these books really the Word of God? And does the Holy Quran really confirm all their contents?’ As a matter of fact, the Torah, which the Quran confirms, is not the Pentateuch but is contained in it, and the Injil is not ‘the four Gospels’ but is within these books.

The Taurat consists of those commandments and injunctions which were given to Prophet Moses (Allah’s peace be upon him) during his Prophethood, which lasted for about forty years. Of these were the Ten Commandments which were inscribed on stone tablets and delivered to Moses on Mount Tur: as regards the remaining Commandments and injunctions he himself had put down in writing. Then he handed one copy of the Torah to each of the twelve tribes of Israel for guidance. One copy was entrusted to the Levites for safe custody, which along with the stone tablets, was deposited in the Ark.

That Taurat remained quite safe and sound as an entire book up to the first destruction of Jerusalem. But, by and by, the Israelites grew so indifferent to and negligent and unmindful of it that when the Temple of Solomon was under repair during the reign of Josiah, Hilkiah, the high priest came across it by chance but did not know that it was the Torah; he thought it was only a Law book and passed it on to the Royal Scribe as a curio. The latter presented it to king Josiah who tore his clothes and ordered Hilkiah and others to consult the Eternal about the terms of the book. (2 Kings, 22:8-13). Such was the condition of the Israelites when Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple, and they lost for ever even the very few copies of the Torah which had long lain neglected in some forgotten niches. The Old Testament was compiled by Ezra, when the Israelites returned home to Jerusalem after their captivity in Babylon and built the Temple anew. Ezra gathered together some prominent men of his community, and with their help compiled the whole history of Israel which now comprises the first 11 books of the Bible. Of these Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy tell the life history of Prophet Moses and include those verses of the real Taurat which became available to Ezra and his assistants, who incorporated them in those books at appropriate places in the chronological order of their revelation. Thus it is obvious that the Pentateuch as a whole is not the Taurat but includes it. The real Taurat comprises those verses which are scattered all over the life story of Prophet Moses, and it is not difficult even today to locate and recognize them. Such portions where the author says, ‘God said to Moses,’ or Moses said ‘the Lord your God says,’ the Taurat begins, and where the narrative of the life story is resumed, there that part of the Taurat ends. At those places the author of the Bible has inserted certain things by way of explanation or commentary, and it is here that the ordinary reader fails to distinguish the real Taurat from the commentary. However, those who have an insight into the nature of Divine Scriptures, can distinguish, to some degree of exactness, the explanatory notes from the revealed verses.

According to the Quran, only such scattered portions in the Pentateuch are the Taurat and it confirms them alone. And this can be testified by putting together these verses and comparing them with the Quran. Here and there one might come across a minor difference in their details, but one cannot find even the slightest difference between the fundamental teachings of the two. Even today one can see clearly that both the Scriptures have come from the same source.

Likewise, the Injil is the name of those inspired discourses and sayings which Jesus (Allah’s peace be upon him) uttered as a prophet during the last couple of years of his life. We have no means now of ascertaining whether these pious utterances were recorded and compiled during the lifetime of Jesus. In the introduction to his translation of the Bible, Moffat says, ‘Jesus wrote nothing and for a time his immediate disciples felt no impulse to write any account of him. The data of the historical Jesus, therefore is based on the vivid recollections and traditions of the primitive Palestinian disciples. How soon their materials took written shape we cannot tell, but at least one written record of them was probably in existence by about A.D. 50.’ Anyhow, when, long after his recall, the stories of Jesus were compiled in the shape of four Gospels, (the period of the composition of Mark, the first to be composed was 65-75 A.D.), some of his written or inspired sayings were also inserted at appropriate places in the historical sketches. Thus it is obvious that the first four Gospels are not the Injil, the discourses and sayings of Jesus, but they contain it. . We have no means of recognizing them from the works of the authors except this; Wherever the authors say, ‘Jesus said so or taught so and so’ there the Injil begins and whence they resume the narration, there it ends. According to the Quran, only such portions are the Injil and these alone are confirmed by it. If these portions are compiled together and compared with the Quran, one will find no serious difference between the two, and, if somewhere a trivial difference appears, it can be removed very easily with unbiased thinking.

However – and this must be emphasised – this commonly-held belief among Muslims about the corruption of the Biblical text is not supported by the Qur’an itself. Nowhere does the Qur’an distinguish between the Zabur and the Biblical Psalms of David, or between the Taurat and the Pentateuch, or between the Injil and the New Testament. It never advocates that the original books of the Prophets associated with Moses, David and Jesus have ceased to exist or been textually distorted. As we shall see, the Qur’an throughout presumes that the books to which it refers remain extant and in the possession of the Jews and Christians, and continuing to be the authoritative holy scriptures of the earlier Abrahamic confessions among whom the nascent Muslim community co-existed. Whatever the nature and mode of revelation and prophetic inspiration, the Qur’an clearly holds that the books of the three prophets were actually those in contemporary use by the People of the Book.

3.2 The Content of the Prophetic Books

As we have seen, a fundamental belief of Islam is the unity of the prophets. Surah Al-i-Imran 3:67 claims that Abraham was a Muslim rather than a Jew or a Christian. As Muhammad is considered as an Abrahamic Apostle, perfecting but reiterating the kernel of the revelation given to those who came before him, it is essential to claim that all prophets were Muslims with identical messages – specifically Islam, and that this was the religion of the Patriarchs (Surah Baqara 2:135-136). Muhammad is presented as being in the Patriarchal tradition, and the prophets are seen as prototypes of the Last Prophet. Linked to this idea is the crucial concept of Muhammad as the Seal of the Prophets. Just as the prophets all brought the same message, it follows that the essential teaching of their scriptures is the same. If this is the case, then when Muslims discover something in the Bible which contradicts Islam, it necessarily follows in their minds that Jews and Christians have altered their Scriptures, since there is a uniformity in divine revelation, as can be seen from the Qur’anic exposition of the ministry of certain prophets. To a Muslim, whatever Muhammad preached must be, in essence, what Abraham, Moses and Jesus proclaimed. There cannot be any distinction in their messages. For example, they all preached about the Antichrist (Ad-Dajjal al-Masih).

At times we can hear echoes of Biblical themes and stories in the Qur’an, but the differences in the contents of the biographical and kerygmatic material in the latter do not match the former. A crucial difference is the concept of Prophetic impeccability in Islam – ‘isma – prophets are free from sin. Sunnis and Shia dispute over the extent of the privilege of ‘isma: the former apply it from the time the prophetic ministry begins, whilst the latter view it as effective from birth. Certainly, however, it would be impossible for a man to sin once his prophetic ministry was in operation. For this reason alone, Psalm 51, being a text of repentance and supplication for forgiveness of the sin of David with respect to Uriah the Hittite is incomprehensible to Muslims. There is no reference in the Qur’an to David’s adultery with Bathsheba or murder of Uriah. The very idea horrifies Muslims, and is used in their propaganda against the Bible.

Most obviously, the idea that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, or God Himself, clearly contradicts the Qur’an, which explicitly denies these assertions. The Qur’an also contains material about Jesus not present in the New Testament; for example, it refers to the miracles of Jesus as an infant, such as creating clay birds, Surah Al-i-Imran 3:49, and speaking whilst yet in the cradle, Surah Maryam 19: 29-30. There is no support in the canonical scriptures for these assertions. It is possible that these ideas originated with the visit to Muhammad of the Christian delegation from the Arabian state of Najran. In the sira (biography of the Prophet) of Ibn Ishaq it is stated that the group was sixty strong, and included the political leader of Najran, Abdu’l-Masih, an administrator called al-Ayham, and a renowned bishop and theologian named Abu Haritha. The Mawdudi states that verses 33-63 of Surah 3, Al-i-Imran, were revealed at Medina at the time of the visit. According to the sira, they informed the Muslims that Jesus was God; the son of God; the third person of the Trinity ‘…which is the doctrine of Christianity.’ They supported their claims by pointing to his miracles. These apparently included making ‘…clay birds and breathe into them so that they flew away; and all this was by the command of God Almighty, ‘We will make him a sign unto men.”

The delegation pointed out Jesus had no human father, and that He ‘…spoke in the cradle…’ Further, they argued that Jesus is ‘…the third of three in that God says: We have done, We have commanded… if He were one he would have said I have done… but He is He and Jesus and Mary.’ The text goes on to say that the Qur’an (i.e. Surah Al-i-Imran) came down in answer to these assertions. The references to ‘clay birds’ derives from the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas and the ‘cradle’ story is taken from the so-called Gospel of the Infancy which is itself dependent upon the Gospel of Thomas.

The Qur’an asserts that holy war – jihad – is enjoined both by itself and by the Law and the Gospel. Whilst obviously the wars of the People of God in the Old Testament are somewhat analogous to this concept, especially the conquest of Canaan, there is no corresponding New Testament idea of sacred physical violence. The idea of ‘Crusade’ commands no support from the New Testament, and is indeed forbidden. Rather, the Christian ‘Holy War’ is specifically spiritual in nature – against demonic forces, not against human beings. Probably the most serious problem is that the Qur’an states that the advent of Muhammad was prophesied in both the earlier holy books. It is frequently claimed by many Muslims that Christian and Jews know this truth but have changed their Scriptures to conceal the predictions of Muhammad. Appeal is made to texts which impeach the character of Jews and Christians on the grounds that they are perverted transgressors. Yusuf Ali makes this assertion in his commentary. Considering the centrality of the prophethood of Muhammad for Islam, specifically in his role in bringing the Qur’an, we can see how glaring an omission this is for Muslims.

Nonetheless, whatever the differences between the Qur’an and the Bible, there is no evidence that the former is aware of any distinction between either the content or identity of the Christian holy books and the Qur’anic Taurat, Zabur and Injil.

3.3 The Identity of the Gospel

The crux of this matter will be addressed in the next section. One problem is that the Qur’an speaks of a single Injil, yet Muslims are often puzzled by the presence of four gospels in the New Testament, all ascribed to the evangelists rather than directly to Jesus Himself. This in itself has led some Muslims to believe in the textual corruption of the Christian Scriptures. For example, Yusuf Ali says in his textual commentary

The Injil…spoken of by the Qur-an is not the New Testament. It is not the four gospels now received as canonical. It is the single Gospel, which, Islam teaches, was revealed to Jesus, and which he taught.

However, it is likely that the term Injil was used in a technical sense for the whole New Testament, as Torah can be used for the whole Tenak. This is especially likely when we consider that the earliest definitive contacts of Muhammad with Christians were with a monk in Syria called Bohira. The Syrian Church had a translation of the gospels into Syriac, called the Diatessaron, made by Tatian the Assyrian around 172 A.D. It is most probable that the existence of a single document with which Muhammad was familiar is responsible for the Qur’an presenting the Christian Scriptures in the singular.

In passing, it should be noted that Ahmad Deedat commits a faux pas in this respect, and seems actually to contradict the Qur’an. He says ‘In his life-time Jesus never wrote a single word, nor did he instruct anyone to do so.’ Yet the Qur’an implies that the Injil had indeed been reduced to written material, and since the Muslim view of authorship would require either Him or an assisting scribe to inscripturate the revelation, it would seem that Deedat will have to revise his assertion.

4. The Integrity of the Bible in the Qur’an and Hadith

4.1 Qur’anic Testimony for the Extancy and Integrity of the Bible

All Qur’anic references to the books of Moses, David and Jesus seem to assume that the original revelation was still with the ahl-i-kitab. It is inconceivable that the People of the Book could read the Scripture with the right reading unless they possessed the uncorrupted text. It is clear that the ahl-i-kitab still possessed the original revelations from God – and these must have been the texts which we call the Bible. Yusuf Ali’s commentary says of Surah 2 Baqara Ayah 87/89:

The Jews, who pretended to be so superior to the people without Faith – the Gentiles – should have been the first to recognize the new Truth – or the Truth renewed – which it was Muhammad’s mission to bring because it was so similar in form and language to what they had already received. But they had more arrogance than faith. It is this want of faith that brings on the curse, i.e., deprives us (if we adopt such an attitude) of the blessings of God.

A similar verse makes the same point. Yusuf Ali’s commentary says of this ayah

I think that by ‘the Book of God’ here is meant, not the Quran, but the Book which the People of the Book had been given, viz., the previous Revelations. The argument is that Muhammad’s Message was similar to Revelations which they had already received, and if they had looked into their own Books honestly and sincerely, they would have found proofs in them to show that the new Message was true and from God. But they ignored their own Books or twisted or distorted them according to their own fancies…

For the ahl-i-kitab to look ‘into their own Books honestly and sincerely’ and thereby discover the ‘proofs’ therein they must have still possessed the original true Books of God. The text nowhere indicates that they changed or distorted the truth of God, simply that they ignored such.

Surah 3:113 refers to the ahl-i-kitab who were continuing to recite ‘the revelations of Allah’. Surely, the ‘revelations of Allah’ which they recited were the Jewish holy books, i.e. the Bible (or at least the Old Testament – the reference is to the Jews of Medina) – indicating the extancy of the Scriptures of Moses and David. They scarcely recited the Qur’an, else they would not be called ahl-i-kitab, since they would have become Muslims. Later, v119 states that Muslims believe in the ‘whole Book’, which Mawdudi renders as ‘…all the revealed Books.‘, indicating, as he himself states, that the reference is to the Torah. The concept looks back to the idea of the Qur’an as the completion of the revelatory process which bestowed the earlier Scriptures. This view of continuing extancy is confirmed by texts indicating that both the Taurat and the Injil were still in contemporary existence at the time of Muhammad, and still being used by the People of the Book, the most telling being Surah 5 Maida Ayah 43ff. The text of v43 implies that the Torah is sufficient for judgment, not needing the Qur’an, and that it was extant ‘…they have the Torah…’ Moreover, v44 indicates that it was the same text by which the Prophets, and other officials of the Israelite religion judged the people. In saying this, it is naturally affirming that the contemporary holy book was the same revelation used in Biblical times. Further, it is identified as ‘Allah’s Scripture‘. With respect to v47, it is surely obvious that in order for Christians to ‘judge’ in this way, the true Gospel must still have been in common possession, and thus the Injil must be that to which Christians refer as the New Testament. Note that the text says ‘the Gospel wherein is guidance and a light’ – indicating the continued presence of the true Gospel. Similarly, Surah 5:69 bemoans the failure of the People of the Book to adhere to the Bible. In order for the ahl-i-kitab to ‘stand fast’ by the Torah and Gospel, such must have been extant in its original form. It is significant that Mawdudi identifies the Torah references as Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. The text attacks them for failing in their conduct to follow their revelations, not for distorting the text thereof. Indeed, v71 goes on to warn the Jews and Christians that they have no ground upon which to stand, unless they follow the guidance in the Torah and Gospel. Given the fact that modern Muslim polemics engage in attacking practically every distinctive tenet in the Bible, and arguing that the texts are corrupted, one would have expected the Qur’an to say that the ahl-i-kitab will have no secure ground until they ignore the guidance in ‘their distorted‘ Torah and Gospel! The imperative in the Qur’anic text is incomprehensible if the Scriptures had indeed been falsified.

A very telling text in support of Biblical integrity is Surah 16 Nahl Ayah 43. The text calls upon pagans to question the possessors of earlier divine revelations about the prophets. Yusuf Ali’s Commentary on 16. 43 says;

If the Pagan Arabs, who were ignorant of religious and other history, wondered how a man from among themselves could receive inspiration and bring a Message from Allah, let them ask the Jews, who had also received Allah’s Message earlier through Moses, whether Moses was a man, or an angel, or a god. They would learn that Moses was a man like themselves, but inspired by Allah…

Mawdudi agrees with this interpretation:

‘… people who possess Admonition’ are the scholars of the people of the Books and others, who…had sufficient knowledge of the teachings of the revealed Books and were acquainted with the stories of the former Prophets.’

The point is, if the Torah had been corrupted by this time, it would surely be unhelpful to ask the People of the Book for help in this respect. What is even more startling and even more problematic for those Muslims purveying the idea of Biblical corruption is Surah 10 Yunus Ayah 95, where Muhammad himself is enjoined to question the ahl-i-kitab if he has any doubts. There would be no point in such an action unless the Scriptures they held were genuine and in common possession Similarly, the confession of faith in the Books of God in Surah 29 Ankaboot Ayah 46 is incomprehensible if the Biblical text had been distorted.

In several places the Qur’an accuses at least some of the ahl-i-kitab of concealing the truth of Scriptures, e.g. 2:101, 140, 146, 159, 174; 3:70, 71; 3:187; 6:91, 92. However, the emphasis in these texts seems to be on the Israelites suppressing in their own lives the authority of the Scripture by their misconduct. The Christians are probably not the subject in these verses. The text of Surah 6:91-92 is significant in this respect:

Surah: 6. An-aam Ayah: 91

91. Those are they whom Allah guideth, so follow their guidance. Say (O Muhammad, unto mankind): I ask of you no fee for it. Lo! it is naught but a Reminder to (His) creatures.

92. And they measure not the power of Allah its true measure when they say: Allah hath naught revealed unto a human being. Say (unto the Jews who speak thus): Who revealed the Book which Moses brought, a light and guidance for mankind, which ye have put on parchments which ye show, but ye hide much (thereof), and by which ye were taught that which ye knew not yourselves nor (did) your fathers (know it)? Say: Allah. Then leave them to their play of cavilling.

Apparently, the Jews still possessed the Torah on parchments – as was their common practice in Biblical times.

4.1.1 Changed Words?

What references there are to changing words, as in 2:59; 2:211; 7:162; all seem to indicate that the Children of Israel did not abide by what was revealed, but rather followed their own desires, and in each case it is said that God punished them for so-doing. Surah 2 Baqara Ayah 58 is an example of this. Yusuf Ali’s commentary says:

This probably refers to Shittim. It was the ‘town of acacias,’ just east of the Jordan, where the Israelites were guilty of debauchery and the worship of and sacrifice to false gods (Num. xxv. 1-2, also 8-9); a terrible punishment ensued, including the plague of which 24,000 died. The word which the transgressors changed may have been a pass-word. In the Arabic text it is ‘Hittatun’ which implies humility and a prayer of forgiveness, a fitting emblem to distinguish them from their enemies…

The only ‘Ayah’ (verse) that may support the idea of distortion is Surah 4 Nisaa Ayah 44. It should be noted that nowhere in this verse is there a claim of falsification of scripture; rather, as Yusuf Ali’s commentary explains, the reference is to Jews who opposed Muhammad by mispronouncing words:

A trick of the Jews was to twist words and expressions, so as to ridicule the most solemn teachings of Faith. Where they should have said, ‘We hear and we obey,’ they said aloud, ‘We hear,’ and whispered. ‘We disobey.’ Where they should have said respectfully. ‘We hear,’ they added in a whisper, ‘May you not hear,’ by way of ridicule. Where they claimed the attention of the Prophet, they used an ambiguous word apparently harmless, but in their intention disrespectful…. ‘Raina’ if used respectfully in the Arabic way, would have meant ‘Please attend to us.’ With a twist of their tongue they suggested an insulting meaning, such as ‘O thou that takest us to pasture!’ or in Hebrew. ‘Our bad one!

Yusuf Ali’s Commentary on 2:75ff says

The Jews wanted to keep back knowledge, but what knowledge had they? Many of them, even if they could read, were no better than illiterates, for they knew not their own true Scriptures, but read into them what they wanted, or at best their own conjectures. They planned off their own writings for the Message of God. Perhaps it brought them profit for the time being; but it was a miserable profit if they ‘gained the whole world and lost their own souls’ (Matt. xvi. 26). ‘Writing with their own hands’ means inventing books themselves, which had no divine authority.’

It is noteworthy that Yusuf Ali does not contend that the Jews changed the Torah. Rather, the Qur’an seems to imply that the Jews added to Scripture, and misinterpreted such. Moreover, there is not necessarily reference to all Jews everywhere here (it refers to some Medinan Jews) and certainly none to Christians.

4.2 The Testimony of the Sunnah Concerning the Bible

The testimony of the Sunnah is important for our understanding of the Qur’an, since the Sunnah of Muhammad is viewed by Islamic theologians as the sacred and ideal model. This concept derives directly from the Qur’an. Further, Muhammad’s speech was no ordinary converse; rather, it was divinely inspired. Muhammad was given the responsibility of explaining the Qur’an. The Sunnah of Muhammad was therefore the enacted exposition of the Qur’an, the essential hermeneutic of Islam’s Holy Book. Hence, the attitude and practice of Muhammad to the Scriptures used by the Jews and Christians of his time present an authoritative declaration of the trustworthiness or otherwise of these revelations.

4.2.1 Recitation of the Torah

There are several cases where Muhammad refers to the contemporary recitation of the Torah. There is nothing in these texts to suggest that Jews and Christians have corrupted the Bible. In one case the allegation is simply that they do not practice what is enjoined therein. For this hadith to have any meaning, the ahl-i-kitab must have still possessed the uncorrupted Bible. In another, Muhammad simply refers to the fact that the Jews sought to dazzle the Arabs with their knowledge of the Book in its original language and the latter were unable to refute their interpretations because of it. He does not say that the Book held by the Jews was false – indeed, he calls it the Torah.

4.2.2 The Presence of the Torah

There are a number of ahadith which refer to Muhammad calling for the Torah and having it read to him. Muhammad recognized the scrolls that were presented before him as Tawrat. These ahadith are incomprehensible unless the Torah was still extant and uncorrupted. Muhammad even instructed the Jews to act upon a moral imperative in the Torah (stoning for adultery). The same is true in a similar case. The respect and reverence Muhammad showed for the Torah in this situation precludes any idea of it being a distorted book. Indeed, he stated his faith in the book presented to him. In other cases it is clear that the Muslims had the Torah in their possession. This being so, unless the Muslims later lost the true Torah, it must have been the same book used by the Jews and Christians. Further, if the Torah had been corrupted, it is strange that they did not use this opportunity to expose the Jews for distorting the text. We have seen that the Qur’an holds that Muhammad was predicted in the Torah. A tradition elaborates on this belief. Whether Muhammad is indeed described is not the issue. The fact is that the genuine Torah was still available.

4.2.3 The Presence of the Injil

The earliest reference to the Gospel in the prophetic career of Muhammad is the story of his wife’s uncle, Waraqa, a Christian who translated the Gospel. Khadijah brought her husband to her uncle in order to assure him that his visions were not delusions or the onset of insanity. The different presentations of this story show that the true Injil was in the possession of Christians at this period. Likewise, the story of Salman, who is introduced as a believer in the two books, the Injil and the Qur’an, is clear testimony to the fact that the true Gospel was still extant at the time of Muhammad. Islamic eschatology upholds belief in the Second Coming of Christ, and a tradition states that at His return, Jesus will judge by the Qur’an, rather than the Injil. The emphasis here is on the fact that the Qur’an supersedes the Gospel, not upon its genuineness. The only text implying corruption is the following:

Abdullah ibn Abbas SAHIH AL-BUKHARI

Ubaydullah ibn Abdullah narrated that Abdullah ibn Abbas said, ‘O group of Muslims! How can you ask the people of the Scriptures about anything while your Book which Allah has revealed to your Prophet (peace be upon him) contains the most recent news from Allah and is pure and not distorted? Allah has told you that the people of the Scriptures have changed some of Allah’s Books and distorted them and written something with their own hands and said, ‘This is from Allah,’ so as to have a minor gain for it.

Won’t the knowledge that has come to you stop you from asking them? No, by Allah, we have never seen a man from them asking you about that (the Book al-Qur’an) which has been revealed to you.’

In Islamic hermeneutics, as in Christian exegetical interpretation, the rule is that one interprets the lesser in terms of the greater, and there are far more ahadith testifying to the veracity and existence of the Torah and Injil than this one which may question such. Possibly, the reference is to Surah 4:44, where individual Medinan Jews are berated for corrupting isolated texts in their speech. However, the usual meaning of corruption is perhaps best explained by the following text:

Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As MISHKAT AL-MASABIH

Allah’s Apostle (peace be upon him) heard some people disputing about the Qur’an. Thereupon he said: It was because of this that those gone before you had perished. They set parts of the books against the others (whereas the fact is) that the Book of Allah has been revealed with one part confirming the others.

Therefore, do not falsify some parts with the others and speak only that which you know; that which you do not know, refer it to one who knows it well.

Transmitted by Ahmad and Ibn Majah.

Clearly, ‘falsification’ refers to misinterpretation of Scripture, especially if deliberate distortion, rather than the corruption of the actual text itself. Bukhari, in ar-Rad, says:

‘They corrupt the word’ means ‘they alter or change its meaning’. yet no-one is able to change even a single word from any Book of God. The meaning is that they interpret the word wrongly.

This confirms the fact that the accusations against Christians in the Qur’an and Hadith are simply that they misunderstood or misrepresented the doctrines of the Scriptures, not that they changed the actual text.

4.3 The Testimony of the Shari’ah Concerning the Bible

The testimony of the Shari’ah appears to accept the veracity of the Jewish and Christian holy books, since the official ruling states that they are the books of God. Likewise, with regard to miraculous healing, it is inconceivable that Jews and Christians would use the Qur’an, so the ‘revelation from Allah’ must refer to the Torah and Gospel, which therefore must be extant. It is noteworthy that the official jurisprudence on the issue nowhere alleges the distortion of the Jewish-Christian Scriptures. If the Christians were consciously swearing on a corrupted Scripture, it is doubtful that a Muslim court could take seriously the evidence offered.

4.4 The Testimony of Muslim Scholars

Muhammad ‘Abduh (Egypt) – the charge of corruption

… makes no sense at all. It would not have been possible for Jews and Christians everywhere to agree on changing the text. Even if those in Arabia had done it, the difference between their book and those of their brothers, let us say in Syria or Europe, would have been obvious.

Mawlawi Muhammad Sa’id (Pakistan) –

Some Muslims imagine that the Injil is corrupted. But… not even one among all the verses of the Qur’an mentions that the Injil or Tawrat is corrupted… it is written that the Jews -… not the Christians… alter the meaning of the passages from the Tawrat while they are explaining them. At least the Christians are completely exonerated from this charge. Hence the Injil is not corrupted and the Tawrat is not corrupted…

Sayyid Ahmad Husayn Shawkat Mirthi –

The ordinary Muslim people…believe through hearsay…that the Injil is corrupted, even though they cannot indicate what passage was corrupted, when it was corrupted, and who corrupted it. Is there any religious community…whose lot is so miserable that they would shred their heavenly Book with their own hands…? To say that God has taken the Injil and the Tawrat into heaven and has abrogated them is to defame and slander God…

5. Conclusion

It can be seen from our study of the sources of Islamic authority – the Qur’an, the Hadith and the Shari’ah that the view of the Bible promulgated by some Muslim polemicists is merely an inferential prejudice, nowhere upheld in the holy texts of Islam. The Qur’an and Sunnah uphold the veracity of the Christian Scriptures, and it is obvious that what references there are to the books known as Tawrat, Zabur and Injil clearly refer to the canonical Old and New Testaments. In fact, if a Muslim fails to believe in the previous revelations, he effectively apostatises. Yet it is the very fact that Muslim sacred writings do regard the Jewish and Christian Scriptures as true which causes the problem, since any Muslim can tell that they do not agree with the Qur’an in doctrine or in form. Hence the inference that the Jews and Christians have conspired to change their sacred texts.

On our part, Christians have sometimes failed to properly comprehend the nature and role of the Qur’an in Islam, and so have responded inadequately to Muslim criticisms of the Bible. Because they do not understand the Muslim point of reference, they do not know from where the Muslims are coming in their criticisms of the Bible, and naturally any answer to Islamic polemics suffers as a result. It is essential for Christian scholars to acquaint themselves with a proper appreciation of the Muslim concept of Scripture in order to express more adequately the truth of Biblical revelation. The irony is that Muslim sacred texts actually uphold the veracity of the Christian Scriptures. This in itself is a useful point to make to our Muslim friends, especially those involved in apologetics. One of the greatest evidences to present to Muslims that the Bible has not been corrupted is the assumption of the Qur’an that the ‘previous scriptures’ are both extant and reliable. After all, if the Gospel had indeed been changed at the Council of Nicaea, it is remarkable that nearly three hundred years after the event, the Qur’an never alludes to it, nor charges the Christians with corruption of text.

6. Bibliography

A. Guillaume, Ibn Ishaq’s Life of Muhammad, 9th impression, OUP, Pakistan, 1990

A. Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an: Text, Translation and Commentary, Leicester, The Islamic Foundation, 1975

Ajijola, Alhaj A. D., The Myth of the Cross, Islamic Publications Ltd., Lahore, 3rd edition 1978

Baagil, H. M., Christian-Muslim Dialogue, Islamic Propagation Centre, Birmingham, 1984

Campbell, William, The Qur’an and the Bible in the light of history and science, Arab World Ministries, USA, 1986

Deedat, Ahmad, Is the Bible God’s Word?, 1987 UK reprint, Islamic Propagation Centre, Birmingham

von Denffer, Ahmad, ‘Ulum al-Qur’an, Islamic Foundation, Leicester, 1983

Dimashkiah, Abdul Rahman, Let the Bible Speak, International Islamic Publishing House, Riyadh, 1995

Ghiyathuddin Adelphi, and Hahn, Ernest, The Integrity of the Bible according to the Qur’an and the Hadith, Henry Martyn Institute of Islamic Studies, Hyderabad, India, 1977

Gibb and Kramers, Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam, E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1974

Hengel, Martin, Judaism and Hellenism, SCM, London, 1974.

Mawdudi, S. Abul A’la, The Meaning of the Qur’an, Islamic Publications Ltd., Lahore, 1993 edition.

Pickthall, Muhammad Marmaduke, The Meaning of the Glorious Qur’an, Nusrat Ali Nasri for Kitab Bhavan, 1784, Kalan Mahal, Daryaganj, New Delhi, New Delhi-110 002, India, 5th Reprint 1993 (first published in Hyderabad, 1930).

The Holy Bible, New International Version, New York International Bible Society, Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids, USA, Eleventh Printing July 1980.

Tisdall, Rev. W. St. Clair, The Sources of Islam, T. & T Clark, Edinburgh