Gospel in Islam

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Injil (Arabic: إنجيل‎, translit. ʾInjīl, alternative spellings: Ingil or Injeel) is the Arabic name for the Gospel of Jesus (Isa). This Injil is described by the Qur'an as one of the four Islamic holy books which was revealed by God, the others being the Zabur (possibly the Psalms), the Tawrat (the Torah), and the Qur'an itself.

The Arabic word Injil (إنجيل) as found in Islamic texts, and now used also by Muslim non-Arabs and Arab non-Muslims, is derived from the Syriac Aramaic word awongaleeyoon (ܐܘܢܓܠܝܘܢ) found in the Peshitta (Syriac translation of the Bible),[1] which in turn derives from the Greek word euangelion (Εὐαγγέλιον)[2] of the originally Greek language New Testament, where it means "good news" (from Greek "Εὐ αγγέλιον"; Old English "gōdspel"; Modern English "gospel", or "evangel" as an archaism, cf. e.g. Spanish "evangelio") The word Injil occurs twelve times in the Quran.

The word Injil is used in the Quran, the Hadith and early Muslim documents to refer to both a book and revelations made by God to Jesus. Many Muslims believe that the Injil was revealed by God to Jesus in a manner comparable to the way the Quran was revealed to Muhammad; as presumed from passages in the Quran stating the gospel was a received message, such as (tr. Pickthall):

Then We caused Our messengers to follow in their footsteps; and We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow, and gave him the Gospel, and placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him."

— Quran, sura 57 (Al-Hadid), ayah 27[3]

Qur'anic exegetical disagreement[edit]

Muslim scholars have resisted identifying the Injil with the New Testament Gospels. Some have suggested the Injil may be the Gospel of Barnabas or Gospel of Thomas.[4] More commonly, Muslim scholars have argued that the Injil refers to a text now lost or hopelessly corrupted. For example, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, whose translation of the Qu'ran is among the most well known in English, wrote:

The Injil (Greek, Evangel equals Gospel) 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. Fragments of it survive in the received canonical Gospels and in some others, of which traces survive (e.g., the Gospel of Childhood or the Nativity, the Gospel of St.Barnabas, etc.)."[5]

However, other scholars have disagreed, pointing to verses in the Qu'ran which appear to indicate that the Injil was preserved and known among the seventh-century Christian communities of Muhammad's lifetime, such as (tr. Pickthall):

And We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, confirming that which was (revealed) before him in the Torah, and We bestowed on him the Gospel [Injil] wherein is guidance and a light, confirming that which was (revealed) before it in the Torah ] - a guidance and an admonition unto those who ward off (evil). Let the People of the Gospel [Injil] judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein....".

— Quran, sura 5 (Al-Ma'ida), ayah 46, 47a[6]

Regarding this and similar passage Gabriel Said Reynolds argued:

Thus if the Qu'ran speaks against certain Christians, it speaks in support of the Gospel, and moreover assumes that the valid Christian revelation is still at hand in its day.[7]

Scholars such as Reynolds have maintained Injil refers specifically to the Gospel of the New Testament in the possession of the Christians being addressed in such passages, which is none other than the Gospels of the Bible as known today and in copies that predate the lifetime of Muhammad.

In Popular Belief[edit]

Regardless of scholarly disagreement, Muslims commonly believe that Injil refers to a true Gospel, bestowed upon Jesus by God. Muslims reject that Jesus or any other person wrote the Injil, instead crediting its authorship to God. Many Muslim scholars continue to believe that the Gospel has undergone alteration, that the words and the meaning of the words have been distorted, with some passages suppressed and others added. A key Islamic principle of oneness (Tawhid) and wholeness of God's divinity means that in their view it is impossible for Jesus to be God incarnate or the Son of God, and the claims to contrary within the Biblical Gospels must be due to later additions. Nevertheless, the Bible has been used by Muslims as an historical source.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peshitta (Mark 1:1) - "Literal Aramaic idiomatic (Lit. Ar. id.) name: "Awon-galee-yoon," or He Reveals."
  2. ^ Muhammad in world scriptures Abdul Haque Vidyarthi - 1997 "It is derived from the Greek term evangelion which means gospel, good news and happy tidings."
  3. ^ Quran 57:27
  4. ^ Oliver Leaman The Qur'an: An Encyclopedia Taylor & Francis 2006 ISBN 978-0-415-32639-1 page 298
  5. ^ Ali, Abdullah Yusuf (1938). The Holy Qur-an: Text, Translation & Commentary (3rd ed.). Kashmiri Bazar, Lahore: Shaik Muhammad Ashraf. p. 287. 
  6. ^ Quran 47a 5:46, 47a
  7. ^ Reynolds, Gabriel Said (April–June 2010). "On the Qurʾanic Accusation of Scriptural Falsification (taḥrīf) and Christian Anti-Jewish Polemic". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 130 (2): 189–202.  page 195
  8. ^ Camilla Adang Muslim Writers on Judaism and the Hebrew Bible: From Ibn Rabban to Ibn Hazm BRILL 1996 ISBN 978-9-004-10034-3 page 251

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