I am a Christian, yes. However, even though it should, this fact has no bearing whatsoever on the writing of this four part article you are about to read. The points I raised here are purely mine, gathered over time from my interaction with adherents of the Christian and Islamic faiths, my understanding of, and exposure to the debate on the Divine Authorship claims of both religion’s holy books – The Bible and the Quran.
A point to quickly note here is that by Holy Bible, I am referring to the Old and New Testaments of the Christians scriptures.
That said, please permit me to present my contribution to the debate on whether the Bible has been corrupted and that the Koran is its replacement. Even though this claim has no basis in the Koran, even though the strongest available evidence today runs contrary to this argument, most Muslims still hold on to this view.
We are told that the Koran as revealed by the angel Gabriel to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) beginning in 610 A.D. is the inspired word of God sent down verbatim from a mother book in heaven, and that the Holy Bible as we know it today is a corrupt version of a more authentic book that has been lost to time.
Granted that there may be some variant in the New Testament Christian scriptures, available evidence proves that the core message of the Bible, from before the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) till today has not changed. As a matter of fact, the evidence proves that the Islamic prophet trusted the verity of the Holy Bible that was available in his day, the same copy that is in circulation today according to records.
Despite this apparent fact, it appears some die hard Muslim Apologists have made it a point of note to rebrand their attempt at getting the western world to accept Islam by trying to discredit the Bible. For instance, we often hear some of them making statements likes; “The bible has been corrupted”, “the original bible has been lost”, “there are different types of bibles in circulation today” and so on these days. From where I am standing, I believe these claims are spurious at best and nothing could be further from the truth regarding the Holy Bible.
This is because if one takes a critical look at the Koran, one would find countless evidences that disprove these claims. First, the Koran itself affirms the Divine Authorship of the Bible so much that in its affirmation, it goes as far as telling us in Surah 157 and Surah 6 that it even foretold Prophet Mohammad’s coming!
Muslim apologists today conveniently choose to ignore this fact, while many are ignorant of it and even more are just plain mischievous about it. The Koran clearly stated that the books written by Moses, the Psalms of David and the Gospels written about Jesus Christ were all given by the inspiration of God.
For example, Surah 2:87 tells us that “…we gave Moses the books…”, Surah 4:163 says “…to David we gave the Psalms…” and Surah 3:3 says “…to Jesus we sent the gospels…”, referring to God’s confirmation of some of the books in the Christian and the Jewish scriptures, which were around before, during and after the founding of Islam.
While there are Christians who agree with this particular testimony, there are others who believe these statements were just accidental appearances in the Koran. They ask how the Muslims can continue to claim that the Bible has been corrupted when the Koran speaks otherwise, that does it mean that they do not believe in their own holy book?
The Koran asserts that the books of the Bible and the Jewish scriptures are God’s words and cannot be changed, and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) often referred to these books during his lifetime. Surah 6:34, 6:115 and 10:64 makes this fact clear when they say, “…no change can there be in the words of Allah…” i.e including the books of Moses, the Psalms of David and the Gospels about Jesus.
If Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) received the Koran from God, and at the same time in which he did, God told him as we have seen, that the Holy Bible and Torah came from Him, and that His words in those books could not be changed, at what point then was the Bible corrupted? Was it before, during or after the prophet? If it was before as some say, why then did God not inform Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) of this? If it was during his lifetime, why did God reveal to him that the words in those books were His and could not be changed? If it was after, does it mean God cannot protect His own words ‘which cannot be changed’ from being corrupted and changed? I will return to this point in details in part two of this article.
Some experts believe we are witnessing a deliberate attempt to distort the facts because current revelation coming to light from the Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus and the Dead Sea Scrolls and in fact all the scrolls being discovered in the Middle East today especially in Israel, shows that the Holy Bible has not changed one bit.
Yet we continue to hear die hard Muslim apologists these days quoting from and ‘analyzing’ the Bible, most of the time out of context some would say and other times displaying apparent misunderstanding of what they are quoting others would say. Also, some Christians say the Muslims are morbidly afraid of Christians doing the same to the Koran as they are of atheists and free thinkers too. They say the Muslims insist that non-Muslims cannot explain the Koran yet they themselves always ‘explain’ the Holy Bible. And when you provide them with cogent reasons to show why their book appear faulty, they would dismiss such as the works of haters of Islam, or claim that because you do not speak Arabic, you cannot understand the Koran or the teachings of Islam; and so conveniently forget that more than half of the worldwide followers of Islam today are non-native speakers of the Arabic language who must cram the entire Koran in Arabic.
Some ask why it appears that Muslims do not have a problem with people who seem to see things from their own prism. Why do they tell us to go and learn Islam from Islamic Imams, apologists and or clerics, a thing which they say is akin to asking a thief to be a judge in his own case?
Is this where Christianity and Islam form two very long parallel lines; because it appears Christians understand that a body of knowledge, i.e religion, cannot claim truth unless it can withstand all manner of criticism and tests, no matter how harsh and vile they are, that can be mustered against it. Does this sit at the core of why, even in the Holy Bible, Apostle Paul admonished believers to “…prove all things and hold fast to that which is the truth…” (1 Thessalonians 5: 21).
Conversely some argue, in Islamic societies, questions are discouraged, free minded inquiry is prohibited and dissenters are often executed.
Should this prevent me, in this article, from doing an honest appraisal of both books, within my capacity to do so as a writer, researcher and humanitarian? No, because I see this as a humanitarian endeavour to inform my readers of what I feel about the subject, thus producing a recital of one of many perspectives where it concerns the examination of common knowledge in this aspect of life – faith and religion.
In part two, we shall be apprising the subject of Divine Authorship in light of available evidence, while juxtaposing the assertions of both books in great details.
Albert Afeso Akanbi is a novelist, researcher, columnist and humanitarian. He lives in Abuja FCT, Nigeria. He can be reached by email HERE.
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The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.