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18. Bible and Qur'an Series
BOOKLET 3 - The Textual History of The Qur'an and the Bible
(A reply to Amad Deedat's Booklet: Is the Bible God's Word?)
A Study of the Qur'an and the Bible

1. “Three Graces of Evidence”


Deedat begins his booklet with quotes from two Christian authors, Scroggie and Cragg, to the effect that there is a positive human element in the Bible. He then boldly concludes:

Both these doctors of religion are telling us in the clearest language humanly possible that the Bible is the handiwork of man. (Deedat, Is the Bible God's Word?, page 2)

What he subtly omits to do, however, is to inform his readers, firstly, that the Christian Church has always held that the Word of God was written by men under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21), and, secondly, that these authors were not “letting the cat out of the bag” (as Deedat fondly imagines) but were setting out to show how God has in fact revealed his Word.

Deedat's quote from Cragg's “The Call of the Minaret” is very astutely wrenched from its context. Cragg speaks of the human element in the Bible to demonstrate a decisive advantage that the Bible enjoys over the Qur'an. Whereas the Qur'an is alleged to be free of any human element, in the Bible God has deliberately chosen to reveal his Word through the writings of his inspired prophets and apostles so that his Word may not only be conveyed to man but may be communicated to his understanding and powers of comprehension as well. The apostle not only receives the Word of God but is able himself, infallibly inspired by the Holy Spirit, to convey its meaning to his readers. This the Qur'an cannot do if it has no human element as is generally alleged.

Deedat then ingeniously divides the Bible into “three different kinds of witnessing” (Is the Bible God's Word?, page 4), namely the Word of God, Words of a Prophet of God and Words of an Historian. He then quotes passages where God speaks, others where Jesus speaks, and lastly where things are said of Jesus, proudly suggesting that the Muslims are careful to separate these three. He states that the Qur'an alone has the Word of God, the Hadith has the Words of the Prophet, and other books have the writings of historians. He concludes by saying:

The Muslim keeps the above three types of evidence jealously apart, in their proper gradations of authority. He never equates them. (Deedat, Is the Bible God's Word?, page 6)

We find it most astonishing that a man who poses as a scholar of Islam should make such a claim. He must surely know that there is no truth in his statement at all. Firstly the Qur'an contains many passages which record the words of the prophets of God. For example, we read that Zakariya, the prophet said:

How can I have a son when age hath overtaken me already and my wife is barren? (Surah Al-'Imran 3:40)

If, as Deedat suggests, the Qur'an only contains the Word of God while the words of prophets are only found in the Hadith, it is extremely difficult to see how these words can ever be attributed to God! Secondly there is a passage in the Qur'an which clearly contains the words of angels to Muhammad and not the Word of God to him as is generally alleged:

We come not down save by commandment of thy Lord. Unto him belongeth all that is before us and all that is behind us and all that is between these two, and thy Lord was never forgetful. (Surah Maryam 19:64)

There is no hint in the Qur'an as to who is speaking, but these words are clearly addressed to Muhammad directly by their authors. From the text itself it is quite clear that these are the words of angels and not of God.

Furthermore we find in the Hadith many words which are not the words of any prophet but obviously of God himself. These sayings are known as Hadith-i-Qudsi (divine sayings) and here is an example:

Abu Huraira reported that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: I have prepared for my pious servants which eye has seen not, and the ear has heard not and no human heart has perceived such bounties leaving aside those about which Allah has informed you. (Sahih Muslim, Vol. 4, page 1476)

The Hadith are full of such sayings. Furthermore much of the Qur'an and Hadith read like the passages in the Bible which are alleged to be the words of an historian. The passage in the Qur'an which relates the birth of Jesus from his mother Mary reads precisely like the “third type” quoted in Deedat's booklet:

And she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a far place. And the pangs of childbirth drove her unto the trunk of a palm tree. (Surah 19:22-23)

What the Qur'an says here of Mary is no different in narrative form to what Mark 11:13 says of Jesus. Nevertheless Deedat, using this verse in Mark as an example, says such narratives are not found in the Qur'an!

We must conclude that Deedat's effort to distinguish between the Qur'an and the Bible is founded on totally false premises. The Qur'an has the words of prophets and historical narratives throughout its pages and no one can honestly say that it contains the alleged words of God alone. Furthermore the Hadith also contain alleged sayings of God as well as those of prophets. When Deedat says that these three types of evidence - words of God, prophets and historians - are kept “jealously apart” by the Muslims, he makes a blatantly false statement - one typical of the many we find in his booklet.

It is apparent, right from the outset that Deedat's arguments against the Bible are unjustified and the trend continues right through his booklet.

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