Is the Injeel less or more trustworthy than the Quran?
Over the years, a number of Muslims and some non-Muslims have asked me why I had problems defending my Islamic faith. While a Muslim in the late 1980ís, and seeking the truth within Islam and also desiring to invite others to Islam, I was faced with a number of challenges to defending my faith. On many occasions while interacting with Christians, I claimed the Bible was corrupted and that the Quran supercedes it. But these Christians claimed that this argument was simply a Muslim position without proof and that the Bible was the word of God and it was not corrupted. Since I had not studied the topic myself, but simply repeated what I was taught, I decided to investigate the trustworthiness of the Bible, and focused my attention specifically on the Injeel, the New Testament of Christians. During this time I realized that I knew very little about how the Quran came into being. Growing up, I was taught by Muslim teachers that the Quran of today is the same as the Quran revealed to Mohammad, the Prophet of Islam and its wording is exactly the same letter for letter, even down to the dots and vowel marks as that which was recited to Mohammad by the angel Gabriel. I was also taught that Allah had guaranteed that He would protect the Quran from human tampering.
The purpose of writing this three-part response is to share with my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters the discoveries I made at that historical point in my journey of faith. During this time I was seeking to find the truth in defense of the Quran, and to prove the Injeel corrupted. In trying to grapple with this topic, I was armed primarily with the Quran, Hadith and Bible, along with supporting works by Muslim and non-Muslim authors. To that end, my first challenge was to determine how I was going to judge if the Quran is un-corrupted and that the Injeel is corrupted. The topics to address this include archeology, science, numerology, history, textual criticism, prophecy, etc. Many eminent scholars have spent years addressing them and others continue to do so. During that time, I did not have the time or the inclination to address the whole field. My goal was limited to making an assessment between the two Ė was the Quran or the Injeel more trustworthy? To that end, I restricted my study to the following three topics regarding the Quran and the Injeel:
In this article I will address only the first topic of the study. The other topics are covered in the second and third segments of the study.
I started to check first into what the Quran and Injeel taught about God communicating and protecting his message. From the Quran it is clear that it claims that Mohammad was Allahís messenger.
This was my understanding as that is part of the Shahada, the confession of faith ó that Mohammad was Allahís messenger and has brought to us his words. So next I started to look at what Allah said about inspiring other messengers. I was aware of the Muslim teaching that Moses and Isa were also inspired by Allah. That just as Mohammad received inspiration, the previous messengers were also inspired to express the words of God. This is confirmed in the ayah (verse) below.
However I was very surprised to find that Allah states that he makes no distinction among these messages from him. That was a big surprise to me as I was taught that the Quran was superior to all of the other messages and that is why it was also the last and final revelation to come to mankind. But from the ayah below, Allah clearly states that all of them are equal.
When I started to study the Injeel to determine what it says about Godí message, I discovered that Isa said that the Jewish scriptures had full authority as the words of God. Note what Isa says about the message the Jews had in their possession. These words were spoken during the time when Isa was fasting in the wilderness and Satan came to tempt him. Note Isaís response to Satan as he quotes from the Taurat (Torah):
The words in upper case above are referencing the bolded ones below in the Torah.
Regarding the Injeel, Isa makes the claim that his own words are Godís words and they are truth.
Also note that in the Injeel, we see Apostle Peter bearing witness of what the Jewish and Christian scripture teach regarding the word of God. The words in upper case refer to quotes from the Jewish scripture.
From this portion of my investigation, it became clear, both from the Quran and the Injeel that God had inspired messengers to speak on his behalf and the message they gave are to be considered to be from him. Since the Quran came later, it even goes further and states there was no distinction to be made between the Quran and the previous messages.
Next area of importance for me was if God has spoken to us through messengers, has this message been written down? Being a Muslim, I believed this of the Quran. Nevertheless, I checked the Quran to see what claims it makes regarding this.
Hence not only does the Quran make the claim that it is from Allah, but also challenges others to create a Surah of similar caliber. What surprised me though was that Allah states he has inspired other books Ė which implied these previous scriptures were written down. Therefore the Quran does acknowledge other written scriptures as can be seen below.
When I started checking the Injeel, it claims that all written scripture, has been inspired by God.
When looking specifically at the Injeel I found Isa claimed that his word is Godís word. In addition, he said that Godís word will be brought to the memory of the apostles, which are written in the Injeel.
My understanding was Mohammad had received revelation from Allah and that was directly made part of the Quran, while the other Scriptures were similar to the Hadith (Mohammadís words or deeds), as it contained historical facts and quotes from other than Allah. But from the study of the Quran and Injeel, I was surprised that all scriptures have been written down and are from God, regardless of the format, whether in direct command form as most of the Quran is or multiple forms as in the Injeel and the Jewish scripture.
This was an area of much discussion that I used to have with Christians. In the past, I understood from Muslim teachers that Allah had guaranteed to protect the Quran from human tampering, but the protection of the other Scriptures were given to Jews and Christians and that they had corrupted it. So I started again checking into the Quran regarding this topic, and it became very clear that Allah says that no one can change the words of God.
The question was do the above ayahs restrict the protection only to the Quran? It became clear that this protection included the previous scriptures since Allah makes no distinction among them from Surah 3:84. But what about the Muslim teachers that kept telling me the Injeel and the Torah are corrupted. Where was that in the Quran? I kept looking and only found this type of teaching that says some Jews and Christians were hiding what was in their books. Note the following ayah:
I was very disappointed. I was looking for the strong claim to corruption that I had been taught. But the above ayah does not claim that the Jewish or Christian scriptures are corrupted, only that the Christians and Jews were hiding things from the Muslims and that God has now revealed them in the Quran. I continued to look further, but did not find much to support corruption. Though, I was surprised to find that the Quran supports the authority of the Injeel by commanding the Christians to judge by what they have in their scripture. That is, from what they currently posses with them Ė which implied these are not corrupted, else Allah would not ask them to judge by it.
So, I turned my attention to see what was being said about corruption in the Injeel. Were perhaps the Jewish scriptures corrupted? Looking at the Injeel, it claims all Jewish and Christian scriptures will stand, even if heaven and earth pass away.
Note also the reference by Prophet David to Godís word and their relation to heaven and earth in the Psalms (Zabur),
Further, Isa who speaks Godís word says the same about his words in the Injeel.
At this point, I was satisfied that the Quran and Injeel clearly state that the words of God will stand.
Therefore from study of the Quran and the Injeel I was able to come to the following conclusions:
I had begun with the belief like my other Muslim brothers and sisters that Allah had guaranteed that He will protect the Quran from human tampering, but not the other scriptures. For that reason, I was surprised to learn that Allah had always taught the incorruptibility of scripture even in the Injeel. Protection by God of his message was not new to the Quran. The claim that no human can change the words of God is one made by both the Quran and the Injeel. In addition, nowhere did I find any warning in the Quran that the former Jewish or Christian scriptures had been corrupted. Instead the Quran clearly states that the Jewish and Christian scriptures are authoritative inspiration from God. Regarding the claim that the Injeel was more like the Hadith and contained non-inspired words was not supportable either from the Quran or from the Injeel. I was able to accept that Godís message and teaching can come to us in different forms; it does not always have to come in direct command or quotes from God. Hence based on the ayahs and verses from the Quran and Injeel, it was clear that each of the scriptures speak to itself as being Godís words and to be protected from change.
At this point I was satisfied that I had unjustly denied myself a serious study of the previous scriptures due to fear of corruption. I was now ready to take a serious look at them. It now made sense to me why the Christian Bible not only contains the Injeel but also all of the Jewish scriptures Ė they are all words of God. This caused in me a desire to study all of the words of God, not just what Mohammad had taught.
** This article was first posted at the Answering-Islam website by the author Farooq Ibrahim. Copyrighted by Farooq Ibrahim and used by permission. For comments or feedback, please contact him or The Abraham Connection.