Islamic view of the Bible

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The Qurʾan mentions the Torah, the Zabur ("psalms") and the Injil ("gospel") as being revealed by God to the prophets Moses, David and Jesus respectively in the same way the Qurʾan was revealed to Mohammed, the final prophet of God according to Muslims. However, Muslims generally view these books (i.e the Bible, or parts of it) as having been corrupted, altered and interpolated over time, while maintaining that the Qurʾan remains as the final, unchanged and preserved word of God.

Torah (Tawrah)[edit]

The Qurʾan 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 Qurʾanic exegete Tabari referred to the Jewish Torah as "the Torah that they possess today".[1]

Psalms (Zabur)[edit]

Sura An-Nisa 4:163 of the Qurʾan states: "and to David We gave the Psalms". Therefore, Islam affirms that the psalms attributed to David from the Book of Psalms were inspired by God. The Qurʾan mentions the word Zabur three times (Qurʾan 17:55; 21:105).

Gospel (Injil)[edit]

When the Qurʾan speaks of the Gospel, it is believed to refer to a single book: an original divine revelation to Jesus Christ. The canonical Gospels from the Bible are commonly assumed not to be the original teachings of Jesus, or to have been corrupted over time. Some scholars have suggested that 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. 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 as a prophecy of the coming 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 the appearance of 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 Qurʾan as implying that Muhammad was alluded to in Deuteronomy 18:18, including Qurʾan 46:10 and 73:15.[6][7]

Christian historians interpret Deuteronomy 18:18 as referring to a future member of the community of Israel who re-enacts the function of Moses, serving 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 present Jesus as being the "prophet like Moses" from Deuteronomy 18.[9]

Paraclete[edit]

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 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 (New American Standard Bible)

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]

However, 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' request (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 convict the world of sin (16:9) and glorify Jesus (16:14), and though it is "the Spirit who gives life" (6:63, NASB), the Spirit does not add new revelations to those of Jesus.[11]

Qurʾanic references to other persons in the Bible[edit]

Some of the people revered or mentioned in both the Qurʾan 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 Zachariah.[12]

See also[edit]

References[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[dead 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.