2 - HAS THE BIBLE BEEN CORRUPTED?
CHALLENGE: The Koran teaches that Moses received the Torah (Taurat) from Allah, that David was given the Psalms (Zabur), and that Christ was accorded the Gospel (Injil). Nevertheless, Muslims do not accept these books, which today are put together in the Bible. They claim that Jews corrupted the Torah and the Psalms, and Christians the Gospel. Therefore, in the Bible we are said to no longer have the original proclamation of the will of God.
Muslims base these assertions on statements of the Koran, which they accept as the true and unchanged word of Allah. There one finds accusations against the “People of the Book” (Jews and Christians), claiming they had manipulated the word of God. In studying these statements in the Koran, one can distinguish three types of accusations. We will exemplify each of these accusations with a corresponding verse from the Koran:
- People of the Book are said to have concealed the truth from other people: “Those to whom we gave the Scriptures know it as they know their own sons; and surely, a group of them conceal the truth knowingly.” (Sura al-Baqara 2:146, in the same Sura, see also verses 42, 159, and 174-176.)
- It is purported that People of the Book would twist their tongues when reciting their Book: “And surely, a group of them (of the People of the Book) twist their tongues in (reciting) the Book, so that you may think that it is from the Book, whereas it is not from the Book; and they say, it is from Allah, whereas it is not from Allah; and they (thus) knowingly assert falsehood concerning Allah.” (Sura Al 'Imran 3:76, see also Sura al-Nisa' 4:46b)
- Children of Israel falsified the Word of God from its original context: “Do you (Muslims) then hope that they (the children of Israel) will believe you, when some of them used to hear the Word of Allah and then knowingly falsified it, after they had understood it?” (Sura 2:75, see also Sura al-Nisa' 4:46a and Sura Al 'Imran 3:13)
Are these accusations in the Koran sufficient to draw into doubt the truth of the Torah, of the Psalms, and of the Gospel, and with them the truth of the entire Bible we have in our hands today? Coming from the Koran, do Muslims have to believe that the entire Bible has been corrupted?
The context of the Koran's accusations against the People of the Book always shows that Jews, or children of Israel, were intended, and never Christians. In studying the accusations the following statements can be made:
- If the Koran proclaims that Jews were concealing truths from the Book, then the Koran thereby teaches that they did NOT change the text of their Book that came from God. The truth of the Book that they concealed remains intact, even as they kept silent about it.
- If the Koran teaches that children of Israel are said to have twisted their tongues when reciting from their Book, thus speaking falsehood about God, then the Koran thereby proclaims that the Jews did NOT falsify the Book that was revealed to them from God. Falsely quoting from a book does not change its written text.
- Finally, the Koran reports that only a group of Jews is purported to have falsified some of the words of God. In stating this, the Koran teaches that NOT ALL Jews falsified their Book, and that NOT the entire Book of the Jews is said to have been corrupted by those few. Jews who did not follow the example of the forgers watched over their Book to see that it remained uncorrupted.
SAD NEWS: The Koran does not force Muslims to believe that the Bible we have today is corrupted. The Islamic claim that the divine Books of the children of Israel and of the Christians were falsified cannot be justified using the accusations of the Koran against only a small group of Jews.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: By reading the Koran, one can find out that not a few of its verses confirm the truth of the Torah and the Gospel, and thus also of the entire Bible. We list here evidence from the book of Muslims, showing that the Bible, at the time of Mohammed, had not been corrupted:
- The Torah of Moses is trustworthy: “Truly, we (Allah) have made the Torah to descend, in which there is guidance and light. By it the prophets who surrendered themselves (to God) judge for those who have been rightly guided (the Jews). And the rabbis and the scholars (also judge) with that which was entrusted to them from the Book of Allah. And they were witnesses thereof. …” (Sura al-Ma'ida 5:44)
- The Gospel of Christ is trustworthy: “In their traces we made to follow 'Isa, the Son of Mary, who confirmed what was transmitted to him of the Torah. And we caused the Gospel to come to him, in which there is guidance and light -- corroborating that which was with him of the Torah -- and (it is) true guidance and admonition for the pious. And the People of the Gospel shall judge in accordance to what Allah has made to descend (from heaven to earth) therein.” (Sura al-Mai'da 5:46-47a)
- The Torah and the Gospel must be endorsed in its truth: “Say, O, People of the Book! You are nothing until you endorse the Torah and the Gospel and that which was sent down to you from your Lord.” (Sura al-Ma'ida 5:68)
- In cases of doubt regarding inspirations from Allah Muhammad was instructed to ask the People of the Book: “If you are in doubt about what We have sent down to you, then ask those who read the Book before you were there.” (Sura Yunus 10:94, compare Sura al-Nahl 16:43)
These verses from the Koran make it clear that a Muslim can and must accept the Bible as being true.
TESTIMONY: My name is Ahmad and I live in Morocco. I am a simple worker and can neither read nor write. Yet I was still interested in the Gospel of Christ. Fawzi, a Moroccan Christian, visited me to tell me about Jesus. But I had a problem. My wife Amina was against it. She feared I would become indecent if I became a Christian, because she saw how indecent tourists from Europe behave when they visit our country. Therefore, she always prayed loudly when Fawzi was with us. Together with our daughter, she would loudly recite verses from the Koran to drive out the Christian spirit from our house. One day our daughter had gallstone colic and had to be taken to the hospital for an operation. But that was a long way from our house. Fawzi, my Christian friend, offered me to live with him, together with eight relatives that came with us to comfort our daughter. Since he lived much closer to the hospital, we could more easily visit our daughter in the hospital. Living in Fawzi's Christian home, my wife came to experience that Christians were better than she thought: they are hospitable, don't get drunk, do not do unlawful things, and dress decently. That impressed her so much that she too, after our daughter was well again, began to take interest in Christ. Following many more conversations with Fawzi and his wife Fatiha, my wife and I became Christians. Today our children no longer memorize Koran verses, but verses from the Bible, so that the true word of God can dwell in their hearts.
PRAYER: Truthful God, I thank you that you sent your messengers into the world, so that we can come to know you and do what pleases you. Thank you for your messengers Moses, David, and Christ. Open my heart to your message, which you sent to us through them in the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel. I want to obey you alone.
QUESTIONS: What accusations does the Koran make against the People of the Book in view of the word of God which they possess? What does the Koran say about the Torah and the Gospel? Can one trust the Bible as we have it today?
TO MEMORIZE: “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1-2 -- Words of God through the prophet Isaiah)