Islamic view of the Christian Bible

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The Islamic view of the Christian Bible, which Christians hold to be revelations from God, is based on the belief that the Qur'an says that parts of Bible are a revelation from Allah (God), but believe that some of it has become distorted or corrupted (tahrif), and that a lot of text has been added which was not part of the revelation. Muslims believe the Qur'an, which Muslims hold to be a revelation to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, was given as a remedy and that it identifies three sets of books from the Bible as genuine divine revelation given to trusted messengers: the Tawrat (Torah) given to Musa (Moses), the Zabur (Psalms) given to Daud (David) and the Injil (Gospel) given to Isa (Jesus). They believe that the Qur'an, these books, and the Suhuf Ibrahim ("Scrolls of Abraham", which they believe is currently lost)[citation needed] together constitute Islam's scripture. Belief that this scripture is divinely inspired is one of Islam's fundamental tenets, and traditional Muslim teaching stresses those passages in the Qur'an which affirm the Christian Gospel and the Hebrew Torah as valid revelations of God and paths to salvation.

Early Muslims held multiple perspectives in regard to the Bible.

Islamic Views[edit]

Torah (Tawrat)[edit]

The Qur'an mentions the word Torah eighteen times and confirms that it was The Word Of God. However, they believe that there have been additions and subtractions made to the Torah. The early Qu'ran exeget Tabari referred to the Torah from the Jewish as "the Torah that they possess today".[1]

Psalms (Zabur)[edit]

Sura An-Nisa 4:163 of the Qur'an states "and to David We gave the Psalms". Therefore, Islam claims the Psalms as being inspired of God. The Qur'an mentions the word Zabur three times (Qur'an 17:55; 21:105)

Gospel (Injil)[edit]

When the Qur'an speaks of the Gospel, it is believed to refer to an original divine revelation from Jesus Christ. The canonical Gospels from the bible are commonly assumed not to be the original teachings of Jesus or were corrupted over time. Some scholars suggested the original Gospel may be the Gospel of Barnabas.[2]

Muhammad and the Bible[edit]

Deuteronomy 18:18[edit]

I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.'

— Deuteronomy 18:18-20 (New American Standard Bible)

Deuteronomy 18:18 has often been considered a prophecy of Muhammad by Muslim scholars.[3] Al-Samawal al-Maghribi, a medieval Jewish mathematician who converted to Islam, pointed to Deuteronomy 18:18 in his book Confutation of the Jews as a prophecy fulfilled by Muhammad.[4] Samawal argued in his book that since the children of Esau are described in Deuteronomy 2:4-6 and Numbers 20:14 as the brethren of the children of Israel, the children of Ishmael can also be described the same way.[5] Some Muslim writers, like Muhammad Ali and Fethullah Gülen, have interpreted several verses in the Quran as implying that Muhammad was alluded to in Deuteronomy 18:18, including Quran 46:10 and 73:15.[6][7]

Historians interpret Deuteronomy 18:18 as referring to a future member of the community of Israel who reenacts the function of Moses, serving as act as a mediator for the covenant between YHWH and the Israelites. Walter Brueggemann writes that "The primary requirement for the prophet, like the king in 17:15, is that he or she must be a member of Israel, thoroughly situated in the traditions and claims of the Yahwistic covenant."[8] The Gospels of Matthew and John both make Jesus out to be the prophet like Moses from Deuteronomy 18.[9]


I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

— John 14:16-17

Many Muslim scholars have argued that the Greek words paraklytos (comforter) and periklutos (famous/illustrious) were used interchangeably, and therefore, these verses constitute Jesus prophesying the coming of Muhammad.[10]

Critical scholarship recognizes that the Paraclete, or Advocate, is mentioned five times throughout John's Gospel (John 14:16-17; 14:26; 15:26-27; 16:7-11; 16:13-17). The Advocate, called the "Spirit of Truth" is considered the Holy Spirit; a replacement for Jesus into the world after Jesus leaves, still dependent on Christ (14:6) and sent by the Father at Jesus' demand (14:16, 24). The Spirit is said to permanently remain with the disciples (14:18-21). John's Gospel says that the world cannot receive the Spirit though the Spirit can abide within the disciples (14:17). The Spirit will accuse the world of sin (16:9) and glorify Jesus (16:14), and though it is 'the spirit that gives life', the spirit does not add new revelations to those of Jesus.[11]

Qur'anic references to other persons in the Bible[edit]

Some of the people revered in both the Qur'an and the Bible include: Aaron, Abel, Abraham, Adam, Cain, David, the disciples of Jesus, Elias, Elisha, Enoch, Eve, Ezra, Goliath, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Jesus, John the Baptist, Jonah, Joseph, Lot, Mary, Moses, Noah, the Pharaohs of Egypt, Samuel, Saul, Solomon, and Zacharias.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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 231.
  2. ^ Oliver Leaman The Qur'an: An Encyclopedia Taylor & Francis 2006 ISBN 978-0-415-32639-1 page 298
  3. ^ McAuliffe, Jane Dammen. "Connecting Moses and Muhammad" in Books and Written Culture of the Islamic World: Studies Presented to Claude Gilliot on the Occasion of his 75th Birthday (Brill 2014): 335.
  4. ^ al-Maghribi, Al-Samawal; Confutation of the Jews (in Arabic). Syria: Dar Al Qalam, 1989, 75
  5. ^ al-Maghribi, Al-Samawal; Confutation of the Jews (in Arabic). Syria: Dar Al Qalam, 1989, 77
  6. ^ Muhammad Ali and Zahid Aziz, English Translation of the Holy Quran: With Explanatory Notes, Revised 2010 edition, 627, 732
  7. ^ Gülen, Fethullah. The messenger of God Muhammad: An analysis of the Prophet's life. Tughra Books, 2000, 11. Link
  8. ^ Brueggemann, Walter. Deuteronomy. Abingdon Press, 2001, 192-197
  9. ^ Barton, John, and John Muddiman, eds. The Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford University Press, 2007, 866, 963.
  10. ^ Zepp, Ira G. A Muslim Primer: Beginner's Guide to Islam. Vol. 1. University of Arkansas Press, 2000, 50-51
  11. ^ Barton, John, and John Muddiman, eds. The Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford University Press, 2007, 987-990
  12. ^ The Koran, N. J. Dawood, Penguin Classics, London, 1999 Index ISBN 0-14-044558-7.