5 - WHY MUSLIMS DON'T TRUST THE BIBLE?
CHALLENGE: Not a few Muslims abandon Islam and become Christians. Yet for them the temptation is often present to return to Islam and give up their belief in the Gospel. It is important to give these Christians reasons and arguments why they should not go back to believing the Koran. Are there such reasons which will help former Muslims not to become Muslims again? Can such arguments be found based on the Koran?
ANSWER: Yes, there are such reasons and arguments. These open themselves up to us when we look for reasons why Muslims do not trust the Bible. The most important reason lies in the fact that there are great differences between the Bible and the Koran. Since Muslims start with the supposition that all of the books that Allah sent down to His messengers are excerpts from one primordial book in paradise, they expect no great differences to be found between the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel, and the Koran. Yet in fact, these four books show decisive differences when compared with each other. Muslims decided to explain these differences by erecting the pseudo-theory, as though Jews and Christians had maliciously falsified the original books of Moses, David, and Christ. This is why Muslims do not trust the Bible, but only the Koran. They believe their book was revealed directly from Allah. For them the original revelation especially appears in such passages of the Koran, which have no parallels in the Bible. We will now show that not a few of these apparently innate Koranic passages in fact do have parallels in writings that originated in pre-Islamic times. This finding weakens their argument considerably, that the Koran is a pure revelation from Allah. It can help a former Muslim not to revert back to Islam, and can also give questioning Muslims a reason to abandon Islam.
When the Bible is compared with the Koran, four types of texts can be discerned. In order to demonstrate these by way of example, we will primarily limit ourselves to accounts regarding Abraham in the Koran and in the Bible:
1. Koranic texts that do have parallels in the Bible : The Koran contains quite a number of narrations and not a few commandments that come directly from the Bible.
The Koran reports, for example, of the visit of the messenger of God to Abraham in order to announce to him the birth of Isaac (Suras Hud 11:69-73 and al-Hijr 15:51-60 = parallels to Genesis 18:1-22a), or the account of the offering up of the son of Abraham (Sura al-Saffat 37:101-113 = parallel to Genesis 22:1-19). However, not a single Koranic text with parallels in the Bible is a literal quote from the Bible. Muhammad always formulated the Biblical texts in his own words and reshaped them Islamically. This is why more or less marked discrepancies exist between the Biblical and the Koranic versions of the corresponding texts.
The Koran primarily contains parallels to texts from the Torah (the five books of Moses) and from the Gospels.
2. Biblical texts that have no parallels in the Koran: Since the Koran is only about one-fifth as large as the Bible it is clear that more than 80% of the Biblical texts can have no parallels in the Koran.
In view of the Abraham narratives of the Bible, there is lacking in the Koran, for example, the genealogies (Genesis 11:10-27), or the narratives in which women play an important role (for example Abraham and Sarah in Egypt: Genesis 12:10-20; or Sarah's death and Abraham's purchase of a burial place for her: Genesis 23:1-20; or the report of Abraham's second marriage to Keturah: Genesis 25:1-6).
Almost all Biblical texts outside of the Torah and the Gospels were left out of the Koran.
3. Koranic texts that are not present in the Bible but that have parallels in texts from pre-Islamic times: These Koranic texts electrify Muslims. The proof that there are parallels to them from pre-Islamic times can help searching Muslims, as well as former Muslims, to give up their trust in the Koran.
In regards to Abraham, the passages from the Koran can be cited here, that as it were describe the life of Abraham before he departed from Ur of the Chaldees for Canaan. The Koran says, for example, that Abraham was thrown into a fiery furnace and was saved from it by God (Suras al-Anbiya' 21:68-70 and al-Saffat 37:97-98). This story does not appear in the Bible, but has its parallels in the , in the Babylonian Talmud, for example (Pesahim 118a), or in the Midrash (Genesis Rabba 44:18), which were already in existence before Muhammad was born. The Prophet of Islam must have heard of these narratives from Jews in Arabia. To try and win them for Islam, he incorporated these Jewish legends into his Koran. Besides this, Muhammad integrated material from Jewish and Christian heretics into the Koran. To this category belong texts from Jewish-Gnostic, Jewish-Christian and Christian-Gnostic mixers-up of religion, whose texts are found today in the . The Koran reports, for example, that God commanded the angels to worship Adam immediately after he was created; all the angels obeyed, except for the devil, and therefore he was banished from heaven. (Sura al-A'raf 7:11-18 among others) This story is taken from the Pseudepigraphic text “The Life of Adam and Eve”, which neither Jews nor Christians accept as authentic, but which they reject as a Gnostic-Jewish heresy from the first century after Christ.
4. Koranic texts not present in the Bible and which have no pre-Islamic parallels: These are the genuine Islamic Texts in the Koran.
The Koran, for example, presupposes that Abraham and his son Ishmael erected the Kaaba in Mecca, and that they were the first Muslims. (Sura al-Baqara 2:127-132) No trace of this can be found in Jewish or Christian texts.
Such Koranic texts are usually connected to Muhammad's efforts to win not only Jews and Christians to his Islam, but also idolaters and followers of heresies. They show how strongly the Koran is influenced by syncretism (= mixing up of religions).
SAD NEWS: Not Jews and Christians have falsified their Holy Scriptures, but rather, the Koran can be understood as a falsification of the Bible. In it Biblical, as well as non-Biblical, material has been mixed together. Therefore it contains many texts that are fanciful fabrications or highly imaginative lies. Muslims believe that these are true, and therefore reject the Bible.
GOOD NEWS: We can trust the Bible, because only writings were included in it, that were determined by the truthfulness and faithfulness of the living God. Lies and ingenious fantasies are inconsistent with the Spirit of Truth that guided the Biblical witnesses in their writing.
TESTIMONY: My name is Fauzi and I live in Morocco. Even before I entered elementary school, my father sent me to a Koran school, where I memorized the Koran. As a teenager I prayed five times a day. During my ritual washings before the Morning Prayer, I used to listen to Islamic radio-stations. One day I hit upon a new station. I listened to the program and found out that it was from Christians who were broadcasting Biblical texts. That made me very upset. After my prayer I wrote a letter of attack against that radio-station. I expected no answer. However, two weeks later a letter came from that radio station. They did not revile me in the letter, but they addressed me in a friendly manner. I sat down and again wrote a letter. Out of that grew a long correspondence, in the course of which I received much literature about the Koran and the Bible. I took this material to my imam in the mosque. He said that in these Christian writings there was nothing false about Islam. What really bothered me was a book showing that many Koranic passages were rooted in pre-Islamic writings. Because of this, I began to doubt Islam. But I still wanted to give my religion a last chance. I confined myself to a room for months, where I lived only from bread and water. There I practiced ascetic rituals of Sufism (Islamic mysticism) in order to experience Allah directly. When this way also brought me nothing, I left Islam and turned to Christ. Today I believe the Bible and answer everyone who asks me about it in humility and truthfulness.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we bow beneath the guilt of the many Christians who preached heresies in pre-Islamic times. Not only Muhammad is responsible for the Koran, but also false Christians who influenced him. Help me to abide in your truth and faithfulness and not follow fanciful lies, so that no heretical teachings may come out of me.
FOR MEMORIZATION: “The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)