Does the Qur'an allege that the Bible is corrupt?
The Qur'an declares the Bible acceptable and advocates that it be studied and obeyed.
"'O, People of the Book! Ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord.' It is the revelation that cometh to thee from thy Lord, that increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy ... those who believe (in the Qur'an), those who follow the Jewish (Scriptures), and the Sabaeans and the Christians - any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, - on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve." (Sura 5:71-72). (My emphasis).
"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." (Sura 5:69). (See also Suras 5:16, 7:169). (My emphasis).
"Dispute not with the People of the Book, save in the fairer manner, except for those of them that do wrong; and say: 'We believe in what has been sent down to us, and what has been sent down to you; Our God and your God is One and to Him we have surrendered.'" (Sura 29:45). (My emphasis).
"This Qur'an could not have been forged apart from God; but it is a confirmation of what is before it ..." (Sura 10:37). (My emphasis).
"Who sent down the Book that Moses brought as a light and guidance to men? You put it onto parchments, revealing some, and hiding much; and by which you were taught that you knew not, you and your fathers. Say, 'God'". (Sura 6:91). (My emphasis).
"And what We have revealed to thee of the Book, is the truth, confirming what is before it." (Sura 35:31). (My emphasis).
"Children of Israel ... believe in that I have sent down, confirming the revelation that is with you and be not the first to disbelieve in it ... and do not confound the truth with vanity and do not conceal the truth wittingly (i.e. concealing the truth against better knowledge)". (Sura 2:40-42). (My emphasis).
The above texts presuppose the availability of knowledge of that which has been confirmed, presupposing that the Torah was available in an unadulterated form during the time of Mohammed.
"And when there comes to them (the Jews) a Book from Allah, confirming what is with them (the Taurat) ... they refused to believe in it." (Sura 2:89). (My emphasis).
"He has sent down upon thee the Book with the truth, confirming what was before it and He sent down Torah and the Gospel afore time, as guidance to the People and He sent down salvation." (Sura 3:3). (My emphasis).
There is no doubt that at least as early as A.D. 350 well before the time of Mohammed there was a uniform canon of the Bible and nothing has been changed, adulterated, polluted or perverted since.
"BELIEVE IN Allah and His Messenger and the Scripture which He hath revealed unto his Messenger, and THE SCRIPTURE WHICH HE REVEALED AFORETIME. WHOSO DISBELIEVETH IN Allah and His Angles and the Last Day, HE VERILY HATH WANDERED FAR ASTRAY." (Sura 4:136).
"Each one believeth in Allah and His Angels and His Scriptures and His Messengers - WE MAKE NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN ANY OF HIS MESSENGERS." (Sura 2:285).
"You who have been given the Book, believe in what We have sent down, confirming that which is with you." (Sura 4:47). (My emphasis).
How could they compare the two, if one were lost? (See also Suras 5:43,46,48,65-68; 66:12; 2:44,53; 3:70,78; 5:13,15; 4:44-46 and 2:78,79).
We see quite clearly that the accusations against Jews and Christians are not that they have corrupted Scripture, but they have misinterpreted, concealed or disobeyed it.
"No change can there be in the Words of Allah." (Sura 10:64).
Do Christian Scholars allege that the Bible is corrupt?
Some do. To clarify this, some explanation is needed. A Muslim is a Muslim because he is born into Islam. This view is generally held. No man can be a Christian for that same reason. The Bible denies this most emphatically:
"He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned!" (Mark 16:16).
Without faith no one can be a Christian. Faith in whom? In the God of the Bible!
This is not merely belief in the existence of God. That is obvious:
we read in the Bible (James 2:19).
It is an obedient entrusting of oneself into His Hands and His Will. Our knowledge about God, His Will for us, and our standing before Him is derived from His Word, the Bible. The conscious turning to God and the determination to obey Him, as well as the acceptance of His order, guidance and also a life based on His promises, is essentially an act of will by each individual person.
The decision to become a Christian is as necessary for one's spiritual life as the birth of a child is to its physical life. For Jesus said:
When the church was institutionalised (from the time of Constantine: A.D. 274-337) spiritual decline set in. It became accepted (against the teaching of the New Testament or Injil) that a person became a "Christian" through birth and by the receiving of "Sacraments". The "ordinary" Christians, even the priests in those days, knew little about the Bible. Tradition and ritual replaced the Word of God. This resulted in a christianised world which came to be called the "Christian Occident" or the "Christian Western World". In fact it never was based on Biblical truth and consequently it is not "Christian".
To the person who bases his or her faith on the Bible, the above concept is thus pure heresy. There has never been a "Christian" West or, for that matter, a "Christian" nation. The nation might have been christianised, might have accepted in principle a new set of beliefs collectively and might have celebrated Christian festivals, but faith as such has in essence always been a personal matter resting on an individual decision and the determination to live by it.
Within the "churchified" mass-Christianity that emerged lived believers whose faith was orientated by the Word of God, the Bible, and who constantly tried to be a corrective to mass-Christianity. This situation has remained unchanged to this day.
What the "outsider" believes to be "Christianity" is in fact Western culture with traces of religious concepts and forms - a culture capable of launching Crusades, of blessing wars, of outrageously abusing alcohol, and of accepting and promoting a form of morality that cannot be called moral by any standard. In short, such Christianity is totally devoid of any obedience to God's Word or even knowledge thereof.
But within this decadent mass-Christianity, as we have seen, there is still a goodly number of those who love God, obey His Will, and live consecrated and devoted lives. They are Bible-orientated. It is not surprising therefore that two mainstreams of Christian theology have evolved. The one is man orientated (humanistic, liberal, existentialistic, or whatever one may call it), where church membership does not presuppose Biblical faith and standards, but rather is considered to be "automatic" if one submits to the "Sacraments", i.e. baptism and the like.
This is the type of Christianity of which Jesus, in the Book of Revelation says:
If you have ever considered that to be Christianity, I have good news for you: It is not! And has never been! Liberal theology has denied the revelation of God and "interpreted" it to suit itself and its own lifestyle and purpose. These "theologians" or "Christian Scholars" have discovered all the "contradictions" and "corruptions" that are so eagerly accepted by non-Christians as welcome arguments against the Bible.
There are, however, other Christian Scholars - in the majority, I am glad to state - who base their faith on the Bible. That does not make them blind! In fact, for the last 100 years they have worked devotedly to clear the Bible of any copying errors that crept in over the 3,000 years during which the Bible was copied by hand. Anyone who has written a book is painfully aware of the fact, that despite conscientious care and several proof readings, the finished product always contains errata.
Due to the abundance of very good and old manuscripts - many discovered by archaeologists only within the last 100 years - our latest translations are just about beyond reproach. When in 1948 a number of well-preserved scrolls dating from the Second Century B.C. were found near the Dead Sea, a complete copy of the Prophet Isaiah was found. It coincides with the text of our Bible in every detail.
To answer the question posed at the beginning of this chapter, we can say then that only liberal or "modern" theologians seem to have been determined to find corruption in the Bible. Their claims will be put to the test later in this book.
Do Muslim Theologians allege that the Bible is corrupt?
Deviating from the teaching of the Qur'an, which they profess to accept as revelation, Muslim theologians have exploited the opinions and statements of liberal "Christian" critics. This is only natural, for they are interested in showing the superiority of the Qur'an over the Bible in quality and reliability. To be fair, we have to ask, however, where Muslim textual critics of the Qur'an may be found and what their findings are. A critical assessment of the Qur'an has never been acceptable to Muslims.
To Muslims it is Nazil (i.e came from heaven) and is considered to be beyond human criticism. We find it in poor taste for them to apply a double standard when determining the revelations character of the Bible. We either accept all scriptures as Scripture without subjecting them to criticism, or we apply the same kind of test to all scriptures to determine their trustworthiness.
This serious charge of deliberately altering the text of the Scripture, which many Muslims make, without any proof, is called tahrif-i-lafzi. Do you know that some learned Muslim writers, who have studied this matter, have definitely acknowledged that it cannot be proved against the Jews or Christians? Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan,founder of the Aligarh College, has written: "In the opinion of us Mohammedans it is not proved that corruption (tahrif-i-lafzi) ... was practised." Sir Sayyid quotes Imam Bukhari and Fakhruddin Razi as agreeing with him. Fakhruddin Razi states on the authority of Ibn Abbas, a nephew of Mohammed, that "The Jews and early Christians were suspected of altering the text of the Taurat and Injil; but in the opinion of eminent doctors and theologians it was not practicable thus to corrupt the text, because those Scriptures were general known and widely circulated, having been handed down from generation to generation." This witness is true, and in this book we shall provide all the convincing facts needed. We ask only that the reader will give time to thoughtfully consider them, for as a hen that quickly leaves the eggs will certainly never hatch any chicks, so a mind that refuses to consider facts will certainly never obtain the truth.
How important it is for us to have a real desire for the truth! However, just as spectacles cannot help the blind to see, no more can a statement of facts help a prejudiced mind know spiritual truth.
So love for God, openness toward Him and all His Ways and Revelation, as well as willingness to obey Him at all cost, which is the summary of our faith, are all needed in addition to facts alone.
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