MUHAMMAD AND THE BIBLE
Two Jewish leaders came to Muhammad and asked if he believed that the Torah they had in their possession was the truth from God...
"Rafi b. Haritha and Sallam b. Mishkam and Malik b. al-Sayf and Rafi b. Huraymila came to him [Muhammad] and said: "Do you not allege that you follow the religion of Abraham and believe in the Torah which we have and testify that it is the truth from God?" He replied, "Certainly, ..."
The above quote is from Guillaume's "The Life of Muhammad", which is basically a translation of Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasulallah", the most authentic extant biography of Muhammad, page 268. 
When the Jews confronted him with the question as to whether or not their Torah was "the truth from God", Muhammad said, "Certainly".
This dialog occurred in Yathrib (Medina), around the year 624 A.D.
1 THE BIBLE IS TRUE ACCORDING TO ISLAM
B Islamic sources
C Quran stating that Bible is true
D Support from the Hadith
E Support from the Sira
2 THE BIBLE IN THE HIJAZ IS BASICALLY THE SAME ONE WE HAVE TODAY
B Historical Analysis: Formation of the Canon
C Geographical Analysis: Availability of the Canon
3 MUSLIM OBJECTIONS
A Questionable Quranic verses
B Early Muslims and the charge of corruption
C Why the charge of corruption today?
D Muslim Misconceptions
PART 1 THE BIBLE IS TRUE ACCORDING TO ISLAM
Time and time again, Muhammad testified to the integrity of the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians. He affirmed and confirmed them as the Word of God. Since Muslims believe the Quran to be the Word of God, then it is actually their God - "Allah" - testifying to the integrity and truthfulness of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures existing in Muhammad's lifetime.
There are about 12 verses in the Quran that specifically mention the Gospel. The Arabic word for Gospel is "Injil". Additionally a large number of other Quranic verses testify to the truth of the Gospel. Muhammad, as a self declared prophet, supported those Scriptures because he believed they were God's word as he believed his Quran was God's word.
In testifying to their integrity Muhammad unwittingly undercut his own credibility. Muhammad was unaware of the full extent of those Scripture's teachings and this ignorance allowed him to make contradictory statements because his words and teachings, i.e. the Quran, contradicted these Scriptures. Today, we recognize that God would not send a confused or ignorant man who contradicted himself and His word.
Many Muslims today say the Bible is corrupted. But there is nothing in the Quran that supports this. There is not one word in the Quran that teaches that the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians have been perverted by man. Instead, the opposite is true. The Quran supports the Bible.
Isn't it interesting that the Muslims' Quran has nothing to say about the corruption of the Scriptures of the largest religion on earth? During Muhammad's time Christian influence was known in Mecca. There were Jewish and Christian settlements in the Hijaz, and Christianity ringed the Saudi peninsula. Yet not one word is spoken by "Allah" concerning the Scriptures of their faith and not one word on the corruption of His previous Word.
The New Testament contains the stories of Jesus identifying Himself as the Son of God, Jesus predicting His crucifixion, death, and resurrection, Jesus calling God "Father". Jesus' teachings are contradicted by Muhammad in the Quran time and time again. Further, the Quran contradicts even the Old Testament stories related to such Biblical figures as Gideon, Saul, David, and Noah. Why didn't Islam's "Allah" speak up on corruption if these Scriptures were inaccurate of false? These themes are fundamental, why would the Muslims' god fail to address their corruption?
If such a corruption had actually taken place, wouldn't "Allah" have revealed it in the Quran? The Quran is full of vague statements, misquoted biblical stories, myths from pagan, Jewish, and Christian backgrounds, yet "Allah" has nothing to say about the corruption of His previous word. How could such an omission occur? One has to wonder who Muhammad's "Allah" really was. He certainly didn't appear to be the "All Knowing", or at least, if he knew, he wasn't telling.
Or was it that "Allah" didn't know because Muhammad didn't know?
Jesus taught that false prophets would come into the world and mislead many.
There are passages from the Quran, Hadith, and Sira, that deal with this topic. I will present and discuss a number of them.
B. ISLAMIC SOURCES
The primary source of Islam is the Quran. It is considered to be God's very words. In general Muslims believe that the angel Gabriel, heard God's words and then repeated them to Muhammad. Muhammad than spoke what Gabriel told him as the Quran. I use several translations in this article. Primarily N.J. Dawood's , Yusef Ali's , and Arberry's .
The second most authoritative set of sources in Islam are the "Hadith". Hadith are Muhammad's sayings on particular issues, or anecdotes mostly related to Muhammad's life. Various Muslim scholars compiled their sets of Hadith some two to three hundred years after Muhammad's death. In many cases they recorded what people had told them they had learned from older Muslims, who had learned from earlier Muslims, who had learned from earlier Muslims, etc. This sequence of transmission is known as an "isnaad" or chain of transmitters. Memorization and oral transmission were the primary method used to transmit Hadith from one generation to the next. "Sahih" Hadith are the most "authentic" Hadith. Muslim scholars use the Hadith to help establish the "Sunnah" or lifestyle that Muslims are to live by. These scholars also judge the validity of the Hadith based upon the reputation of people in the "isnaad" of the Hadith.
I will quote primarily from Sahih Bukhari translated by Muhsin Khan . There are several collections up on the internet.
Another important source of biographical information about Muhammad and early Islam are the Sira. I quote from Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasulallah", translated by A. Guillaume as "The Life of Muhammad", which is regarded as the most authentic extant biography of Muhammad, and Ibn Sa'd's "Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir", ("Book of the Major Classes" - biographical information about Muhammad and his primary companions), translated by S. Moinul Haq . The Sira are not regarded as highly as the Hadith.
1) For many important Quranic passages I provide quotes from both Yusef Ali's and N.J. Dawood's translations of the Quran. I think it leads to better understanding of the Quran to compare several translations if you cannot read it in Arabic. I have changed some of Ali's archaic words and spelling. I have also not quoted some verses in full because the material was not relevant and for length's sake.
2) Words in [ ] type brackets are mine.
3) The term "People of the Book" refers specifically to Jews or Christians, or both Jews and Christians. At times the Quran is not clear. Various Muslim scholars cannot agree on who is being addressed in various portions of the Quran.
4) The term "Hijaz" refers to the center - western part of the Arabian Peninsula. This is where Mecca is and where Muhammad grew up and lived.
5) With their permission, I have borrowed portions of writings from three other Christian writers: from Dr. William Campbell's book, "The Quran and the Bible",  and from articles written by Sam Shamoun , and from John Gilchrist's book, "The Christian Witness to the Muslim . Their works can be found at:
I copied their work because I felt that it effectively addressed the issues and there was no reason for me to re-write what they have already articulated. I have folded their work into sections of this series of articles.
C. THE QURAN STATES THAT THE BIBLE IS TRUE
VERSES SHOWING THE TORAH TO BE TRUE AT THE TIME OF JESUS
To begin with, it must be established that both the Torah and Gospel existed and were true in Muhammad's time. So, to begin, I will start with Muhammad saying that when Jesus lived, Jesus testified to the integrity of the Torah, i.e., the canon of Jewish Scripture.
Ali - Quran 3:48 - 50
48. "And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom the Law and the Gospel.
49. "And (appoint him) an Apostle to the Children of Israel (with this message):
I have come to you with a sign from your Lord ...
50. "(I have come to you) to attest the Law which was before me and to make
lawful to you part of what was (before) forbidden to you; I have come to you
with a Sign from your Lord. So fear Allah and obey me.
Dawood - Quran 3:48 - 50
48. He [Allah] will instruct him [Jesus] in the Scriptures and in wisdom, in the Torah and in the Gospel
49. and send him forth as an apostle to the Israelites. He will say: "I bring you a sign from your Lord". ...
50. "I come to confirm the Torah which preceded me and to make lawful to you some of the things you are forbidden. I bring you a sign from your Lord: therefore fear God and obey me."
Ali - Quran 5:46, 47
And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary confirming the law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light and confirmation of the law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.
47. Let the people of the Gospel Judge by what Allah has revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah has revealed they are (no better than) those who rebel.
Dawood - Quran 5:46, 47
After them we sent forth Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the Torah already revealed, and gave him the Gospel, in which there is guidance and light, corroborating what as revealed before it in the torah, a guide and admonition to the righteous.
47. Therefore let those who follow the Gospel judge according to what God has revealed therein. Evil-doers are those that do not judge according to God's revelations.
Ali - Quran 61:6
And remember Jesus the son of Mary said: "O Children of Israel! I am the apostle of Allah (sent) to you confirming the Law (which came) before me...
Dawood - Quran 61:6
And of Jesus the son of Mary, who said to the Israelites: "I am sent forth to you from God to confirm the Torah already revealed,..."
The above verses show the Torah was true during Christ's lifetime (the first century) because Jesus told the Jews that He was confirming the Law. "I am sent forth to you from God to confirm the Torah already revealed,..."
There was no word of "corruption" from Jesus to the Jews concerning their Scripture. There was no word from Jesus on how the Torah had been perverted. Instead, we find that Jesus confirming the Torah, i.e. the Jewish books of Scripture. And today, we virtually have the same Jewish Canon that existed in Jesus' time. Therefore, Muhammad, in the Quran, stated that the Torah in Christ's time was the valid Word of God.
VERSES SHOWING THAT THE TORAH AND THE GOSPEL WERE TRUE AND UNCHANGED AT THE TIME OF MUHAMMAD
Now to establish that Muhammad believed that both the Torah and Gospel that existed in his time were the Word of God.
Ali - 29:46
And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (then mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury); But say, "We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our God and your God is One...
Dawood - 29:46
Be courteous when you argue with People of the Book except with those among them who do evil. Say: "We believe in that which is revealed to us and which was revealed to you. Our God and your God is one.
Ali - 35:31
That which We have revealed to you of the Book is the Truth confirming what was (revealed) before it: for Allah is assuredly with respect to his servants well acquainted and fully-Observant.
Dawood - 35:31
What We have revealed to you in the Book is the truth confirming previous Scriptures. God knows and observes His servants.
Ali - 10:37
This Qur'an is not such as can be produced by other than Allah; on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it and a fuller explanation of the Book wherein there is no doubt from the Lord of the Worlds.
Dawood - 10:37
This Koran could not have been devised by any but by God. It confirms what went before it and fully explains the Scriptures. It is beyond doubt from the Lord of the universe.
Ali - 12:111
There is in their stories instruction for men endued with understanding. It is not a tale invented but a confirmation of what went before it a detailed exposition of all things and a Guide and a Mercy to any such as believe.
Dawood - 12:111
There annals point a moral to men of understanding. This is no invented tale but a confirmation of previous Scriptures, an explanation of all things, a guide and a blessing to true believers.
Ali - 3:3
It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step) in truth the Book confirming what went before it; and He sent down Law (Of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this as a guide to mankind and He sent down the Criterion (of judgment between right and wrong).
Dawood - 3:3
He has revealed to you the Book with the Truth, confirming the scriptures which preceded it; for He has already revealed the Torah and the Gospel for the guidance of mankind, and the distinction of right and wrong.
Ali - 5:46 - 48
46. And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary confirming the law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light and confirmation of the law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.
47. Let the people of the Gospel Judge by what Allah has revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah has revealed they are (no better than) those who rebel.
48. To thee We sent the Scripture in truth confirming the scripture that came before it and guarding it in safety....
Dawood - 5:46 - 48
46. After them we sent forth Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the Torah already revealed, and gave him the Gospel, in which there is guidance and light, corroborating what was revealed before it in the Torah, a guide and an admonition to the righteous. Therefore let those who follow the Gospel judge according to what God has revealed therein. Evil doers are those who do not judge according to God's revelations. And to you we have revealed the Book with the truth. It confirms the Scriptures which came before it and stands as a guardian over them.
Ali - 5:66
If only they had stood fast by the Law the Gospel and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There is from among them a party on the right course; but many of them follow a course that is evil.
Dawood - 5:66
If they observe the Torah and the Gospel and what is revealed to them from their Lord, they shall enjoy abundance from above and from beneath.
NOTE: The root word of "confirm", or "confirming" as used in 10:37, 12:111, 3:3, 5:46, 35:31 in Quranic Arabic is "Saddaqa". It means to "confirm, to give credence, to believe, to accept as true, confirmation, accepting as true, belief, confirming, establishing as true". When Muhammad used this word, he meant that he believed that the Bible was the Word of God. Muhammad confirmed the Bible as the Word of God.
This same root is used in many places regarding truth. For example,
39:33 "And he who brings the truth, and he who confirms it - such are the men who do right."
Below are excerpts from Quranic verses using a conjugation of "Saddaqa". Note how the context of the word is uniform in definition.
2:41 "that I have sent down, confirming that which is with you"
2:89 "a Book from God, confirming what was with them"
2:91 "it is the truth confirming what is with them"
2:97 "he it was that brought it down upon they heart by the leave of God, confirming what was before it"
2:101 "when there has come to them a Messenger from God confirming what was with them"
3:3 "He has sent down upon thee the Book with the truth, confirming what was before it"
3:39 "God give thee good tidings of John, who shall confirm"
3:50 "likewise confirming the truth of the Torah that is before me"
3:81 "then there shall come to you a Messenger confirming what is with you"
4:47 "believe in what We have sent down, confirming what is with you"
5:46 "We sent... Jesus son of Mary, confirming the Torah before him"
5:46 "wherein is guidance and light, and confirming the Torah before it"
5:48 "We have sent down to thee the Book with the truth, confirming the Book that was before it"
6:92 "a Book We have sent down, blessed and confirming that which was before it"
35:31 "that We have revealed to thee of the Book is the truth, confirming what is before it"
37:52 "are you a confirmer?"
46:12 "this is a Book, confirming in the Arabic tongue"
46:30 "we have heard a Book that was sent down after Moses, confirming what was before it"
61:6 "Israel, I am indeed the Messenger of God to you, confirming the Torah"
It is obvious from the sum of these verses that Muhammad truly believed the Bible to be God's word. Over and over again, he "confirmed" the Bible. There is no mention of a "partial" confirmation. There is no statement that says, "confirms only that which I agree with". Instead, Muhammad addressed the Scriptures of the People of the Book and he confirmed its integrity, truthfulness, and accuracy.
The above verses prove that Muhammad confirmed the existence and integrity of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. "If they observe the Torah and the Gospel and what is revealed to them from their Lord. "Therefore let those who follow the Gospel judge according to what God has revealed therein", are two verses that prove that both the Torah and Gospel that the people of the Book held were God's word in Muhammad's viewpoint.
Muhammad's Quran testified to the validity of those Scriptures that existed during his time. He did not speak one word of their corruption. It was Muhammad's ignorance of the actual teachings of those Scriptures that allowed him to contradict their truths.
VERSES WHERE MUHAMMAD APPEALS TO THE TORAH AND OR THE GOSPEL.
Ali - 10:94
If you were in doubt as to what We have revealed unto you then ask those who have been reading the Book from before you...
Dawood - 10:94
If you doubt what We have revealed to you [Muhammad], Ask those who have read the Scriptures before you.
Ali - 16:43, 44
43. And before thee also the apostles We sent were but men to whom We granted inspiration: if ye realize this not ask of those who possess the Message.
44. (We sent them) with Clear Signs and Books of dark prophecies; and We have sent down unto thee (also) the Message; that thou may explain clearly to men what is sent for them and that they may give thought.
Dawood - 16:43, 44
The apostles We sent before you were but men whom we inspired with revelations and with Scriptures. Ask the People of the Book, if you know not. To you we have revealed the Admonition, so that you may proclaim to men what was sent down for them, and that they may give thought.
Ali - 2:113
The Jews say: "The Christians have naught (to stand) upon"; and the Christians say: "The Jews have naught (to stand) upon." Yet they (profess to) study the (same) Book....
Dawood - 2:113
The Jews say the Christians are misguided, and the Christians say it is the Jews who are misguided. Yet they both read the Scriptures...
Ali - 5:68
68. Say: "O People of the Book! you have no ground to stand upon unless you stand fast by the Law the Gospel and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord."...
Dawood - 5:68 - 69
Say: "People of the Book, you will attain nothing until you observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which is revealed to you from your Lord"...
Again we read that Muhammad testified to the Christian's and Jew's Scripture's integrity. "People of the Book, you will attain nothing until you observe the Torah and the Gospel", and "If you doubt what We have revealed to you, Ask those who have read the Scriptures before you" show that Muhammad believed that the Jews and Christians had a book of truth. In fact, "Allah" goes so far as to urge Muhammad to ask the Jews and Christians about the validity of his message. Now, if they were corrupted, God would not instruct Muhammad to ask people who study a corrupted book about the validity of his message.
The Quran clearly testifies that the Scriptures of the People of the Book, i.e., the Old and New Testaments, are the uncorrupted Word of God. Below is a review of Muhammad's words in the Quran that present this.
1) 3:50 - "I come to confirm the Torah which preceded me..."
2) 5:46 - "After them we sent forth Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the Torah already revealed
3) 35:31 - "What We have revealed to you in the Book is the truth confirming previous Scriptures. God knows and observes His servants.
4) 5:46 - 48 "After them we sent forth Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the Torah already revealed, and gave him the Gospel, in which there is guidance and light, corroborating what was revealed before it in the Torah, a guide and an admonition to the righteous. Therefore let those who follow the Gospel judge according to what God has revealed therein.
5) 5:66 - "If they observe the Torah and the Gospel..."
6) 10::94 - "If you doubt what We have revealed to you [Muhammad], Ask those who have read the Scriptures before you."
7) 2:113 - "The Jews say the Christians are misguided, and the Christians say it is the Jews who are misguided. Yet they both read the Scriptures..."
CONFIRM, CONFIRM, CONFIRM.
CORROBORATING, JUDGING, OBSERVING ASKING, READING.
Muhammad believed in the truths of the Bible. But he did not know what the Bible taught. His ignorance led him to make statements that displayed his lack of knowledge. His self-contradictions prove he was not a prophet of God.
D. SUPPORT FROM THE HADITH
There are also several Hadith that agree with the Quran in supporting the truthfulness of the Bible. Here are a few of those Hadith.
Ibn Abbas on the corruption of Scripture.
Ibn Abbas was Muhammad's relative. He was one of a special group of Muslims known as the "Companions". He is regarded as one of the great scholars in Islamic History.
A traditional statement (Hadith) of his is presented below. It is taken from Sahih Bukhari's collection of Hadith, volume 9, as a footnote between 642, and 643. This note is a comment on the Quran 4:46 and 85:21, 22
"They corrupt the word" means "they alter or change its meaning." Yet no one is able to change even a single word from any Book of God. The meaning is that they interpret the word wrongly. [... and he continues to speak about how the Qur'an is preserved ...]
This is the commentary of Abdullah Ibn Abbas, one of the Sahaba (companions) and Mohammed's cousin. His opinions, because he is a Sahabi (companion) are held to be above the opinions and commentaries of all other Sheikhs who are not Sahaba. Since Ibn Abbas' above reference to "They corrupt the word" quotes part of Sura 4:46, it is not only a commentary on Sura 85:22, but also on the meaning of the Quranic charge against the Jews of corrupting the scriptures. This strongly confirms the results of various investigations of the passages in the Qur'an that speak about the earlier scriptures and their textual integrity and continuing authority.
Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar:
The Jews came to Allah's Apostle and told him that a man and a woman from amongst them had committed illegal sexual intercourse. Allah's Apostle said to them, "What do you find in the Torah (old Testament) about the legal punishment of Ar-Rajm (stoning)?" They replied, (But) we announce their crime and lash them." Abdullah bin Salam said, "You are telling a lie; Torah contains the order of Rajm." They brought and opened the Torah and one of them solaced his hand on the Verse of Rajm and read the verses preceding and following it. Abdullah bin Salam said to him, "Lift your hand." When he lifted his hand, the Verse of Rajm was written there. They said, "Muhammad has told the truth; the Torah has the Verse of Rajm. The Prophet then gave the order that both of them should be stoned to death. ('Abdullah bin 'Umar said, "I saw the man leaning over the woman to shelter her from the stones."
The above Hadith confirms that the Torah existed during Muhammad's time and that he had confidence in it. There was no worry about corruption. Instead, Muhammad chose to use it as a credible source.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The people of the Scripture (Jews) used to recite the Torah in Hebrew and they used to explain it in Arabic to the Muslims. On that Allah's Apostle said, "Do not believe the people of the Scripture or disbelieve them, but say:-- "We believe in Allah and what is revealed to us." (2.136)
Here again the Torah was being recited and taught in Arabic, and in public. When Muhammad addressed this, he did not say anything about corruption. He had doubts about whether or not the Jews were being honest in teaching the truth of what they were interpreting.
E. SUPPORT FROM THE SIRA
As was previously quoted at the start of this paper, the Sira also provide proof that Muhammad believed that the Scriptures of the People of the Book were truth from God. This first one was already quoted at the beginning of this article.
Two Jewish leaders came to Muhammad and asked if he believed that the Torah they had in their possession was the truth from God.
"Rafi b. Haritha and Sallam b. Mishkam and Malik b. al-Sayf and Rafi b. Huraymila came to him [Muhammad] and said: "Do you not allege that you follow the religion of Abraham and believe in the Torah which we have and testify that it is the truth from God?" He replied, "Certainly, ...
1) There was a controversy concerning the punishment of two Jews who had committed adultery in Medina. Muhammad was brought into the controversy. The end result was that Muhammad ordered the pair to be stoned. Following his order, an important detail is recorded: (from Ibn Ishaq, page 267)
"Salh b. Kaisan from Nafi freedman of Abdullah b. Umar from Abdullah b. Umar, told me: When the apostle gave judgment about them he asked for a Torah. A rabbi sat there reading it having put his hand over the verse of stoning. Abdullah b. Salam struck the rabbi's hand, saying, "this, O prophet of God, is the verse of stoning which he refused to read to you." ............ The apostle said; "I am the first to revive the order from God and His book and to practice it." They were duly stoned and Abdullah b. Umar said, "I was among those that stoned them."
From three sources of Islam, the Quran, Hadith, and Sira, evidence has been produced that establish that Muhammad believed the Bible to be the Word of God. There is no word of corruption of these Scriptures, there is only confirmation that the Bible is God's truth.
Documented evidence has been presented showing all sources of Islam (the Quran, the Hadith, and the Sira) teach that the Bible is the Word of God. For a Muslim to deny that the truths that the Bible teaches equates to denying Muhammad's teachings. Clearly, Muhammad fully believed the Bible to be God's word.
It now remains to be established what those Scriptures were.
2 THE BIBLE IN THE HIJAZ IS BASICALLY THE SAME ONE WE HAVE TODAY
2. WHAT SCRIPTURES WERE AVAILABLE IN THE HIJAZ?
It has already been established that during Muhammad's lifetime the Jews and Christians in the Hijaz possessed Scripture that Muhammad considered to be God's word. Since Muhammad testified to its integrity, which Scriptures was he referring to? And, are those Scriptures equivalent to what we possess today? If they are not basically the same, i.e. if they do not teach the same doctrines that our Bible of today teaches, then Muhammad may be justified for his remarks.
So, what Scriptures were they and where did they come from?
Concerning the "Gospel", F. F. Bruce writes in "The Canon of Scripture" , page 124:
"Before the term "Gospel", (Greek 'evangelion) came to be given to any single one of the four gospels (or to one of the many other works of the same literary genre), it meant (1) the good news of the kingdom of God preached by Jesus, (2) the good news about Jesus preached by his followers after the first Easter and Pentecost, (3) the written record of the good news current in a particular locality, (4) the four fold gospel."
Bruce also notes (p. 129) that:
"The earliest surviving codex which still contains portions of all four gospels is "P45" in the Chester Beatty collection, from the early third century [early 200s]. It contains Acts as well as the fourfold gospel - an exceptional collocation, for in it the early textual history of the New Testament Acts was more often included in a codex with the catholic epistles.
1) The term "catholic" epistles refers to the books of James, 1, 2, 3, John, 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude. It does not have anything to do with the Catholic church. The word "Catholic" means universal or general.
2) I urge all readers to get Bruce's book and read it for themselves. The evidence he presents supporting the integrity of the New Testament is very strong. This article can only quote portions of his book.
Also important to this discussion are Paul's writings. Bruce writes on page 130:
"What is important is this: from the early second century [early 100s] onward Paul's letters circulated not singly, but as a collection."
A. HISTORICAL ANALYSIS
HISTORICAL INFORMATION ON THE DIFFERENT CANONS OF SCRIPTURE
THE CANONS OF SCRIPTURE WERE FIXED WELL BEFORE MUHAMMAD
The term "canon" means the set or collection of books that comprise a Bible. Some church groups had more books than other church groups. For example, the authenticity of the Book of Revelations was not recognized by all the early churches, so those that did not recognize it excluded it from their official canon.
Bruce Metzger writes in "The Canon of the New Testament, its Origin, Development, and Significance",  page 160:,
"By way of summary, [just after 200 A.D.], Tertullian cites all the writings of the New Testament except 2 Peter, James, and 2 and 3 John. .... Tertullian regarded the Scriptures of the Old Testament as divinely given and he attributed to the four Gospels and the apostolic Epistles an authority equal to that of the Law and the Prophets. The orally transmitted "rule of faith" and the written Scriptures were mutually appealed to, and any writing that did not conform to the rule of faith could not be accepted as Scripture."
Metzger goes on to write that there were early established lists of the canon in the West as early as the early 200's. And by the late 300s - early 400s the canon of the New Testament was fixed in the West.
The "Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible",  pages 529 - , states that the early church father Origen traveled to different countries and visited the various churches [during the early 200s]. It records:
"Origen had traveled widely - to Rome, and in Greece and Asia Minor as well as in Egypt and Palestine - and had observed both the agreements and the differences among churches of different regions in their attitude toward the several New Testament writings; he was well aware that the views of his own church were not identical with those of other churches everywhere. Without attempting to lay down a judgment of his own, he makes note of the practice of the church, classifying the books as "acknowledged" or "disputed"; besides these, there are a number which are simply "false". Among the "acknowledged" he includes the four gospels, the Pauline letters, (fourteen, including Hebrews, even though he knows that it is not by Paul and is not accepted everywhere), Acts, 1 John, 1 Peter, and Revelation. ... The books which he most rigorously excludes are the numerous un-canonical gospels, which he adjudges heretical; in this area he finds no disagreement among the churches. "The church has four gospels; the heretics have many [here he gives the titles of some of them]. Four gospels only are approved, out of which he must bring forth points of teaching under the person of our Lord and Savior .... We approve nothing else but that which the Church approves, that is, four gospels only as proper to be received". (Hom. In Luc. 1). And again he speaks of "the four gospels which alone are uncontroverted in the church of God which is spread under heaven." (Euseb. Hist. VI.xxv.4).
END OF QUOTE
What Origen found during the early 200s was the canon of the New Testament was already becoming fixed. It was later that different churches formally approved their official canons. Origen found that all of them included the four gospels and Paul's letters.
The "Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible", continues on page 530:
"In the second half of the fourth century (350 - 400) a number of bishops in different regions of the Greek church were moved to issue formal lists of the canonical books for the guidance of their people. Cyril of Jerusalem lists twenty six of our twenty seven, excluding Revelation; his contemporary Epiphanius of Constantia in Cyprus includes it with the other. Gregory of Nazianzus gives the same list as Cyril. In his thirty ninth Festal Letter, written in 367, the great Athanasius of Alexandria gives a list of the "books that are canonized and handed down to us and believed to be divine"; in this, after the books of the OT, he lists without hesitation the twenty seven books of our own New Testament canon. All of these mention all seven of the Catholic letters usually as a formally constituted group; they differ only over the acceptance of Revelation. ... At the end of the fourth century, therefore, a considerable part of the Greek church acknowledged a canon of only twenty two books. A section of the Apostolic Constitutions, however, published in Syria ca. 400, lists all 27 books except Revelation and adds to them 1 and 2 Clement."
END OF QUOTE
What the above paragraph is saying is that the basic canon in the Greek world was constituted by the four gospels, Acts, and Paul's letters. There were some differences regarding the 6 catholic letters and Revelations. This was done before 400 A.D. By 400, the canon of 27 was established.
We find a similar situation in the Eastern Syriac churches.
Bruce Metzger writes in "The Canon of the New Testament, its Origin, Development, and Significance", pages 113, 114:
"According to early traditions and legends embodied in the "Doctrine of Addai (A.D. 400), the earliest New Testament of the Syriac speaking church consisted of the Gospel, the Epistles of Paul, and the Book of Acts."
Metzger notes that the "Gospel" spoken of here is the Diatesseron.
Later, Metzger goes on to write on pages 209 on that the canon is established in the East by 367.
Bruce writes on page 215:
"The earliest New Testament in the Syriac churches comprised the four gospels (either the Diatesseron or the separated gospels), Acts, and the Pauline epistles (evidently including the Pastoral Epistles and Hebrews). From the early part of the fifth century [early 400s] the common Syriac version, the Peshitta, included the three major catholic epistles as well."
The "Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible", continues on page 531:
"The history of the canon in the Syriac speaking churches remains obscure until the beginning of the fifth century and the making of the Peshitta. Until that time, they used Tatian's Diatesseron almost exclusively in place of the four gospel collection which had so early become dominant in the Greek and Latin churches; an Old Syriac version of the four gospels, made about the end of the second century, survives in two MSS but there is no trace of its use by Syrian churchmen.
It is not known when the book of Acts and the Pauline letters were first translated into Syriac, but it must have been before the end of the third century and may even have been done in the late second century, by Tatian. At all events, it is clear that in the fourth century the Syriac canon consisted of the Diatesseron, Acts, and the Pauline letters. A curious feature is that in Syria the Pauline collection was enlarge to fifteen letters by the inclusion of the spurious Third Epistle to the Corinthians, extant only in Armenian, Coptic, and Latin versions. This canon of seventeen books is used by Ephraem, the great scholar of the church of Edessa and by his contemporary Afraates; and is given as authoritative in the Doctrine of Addai, a document composed ca. 370 at Edessa. However, a Syriac list of ca. 400 puts the four gospels in place of the Diatesseron and omits III Corinthians; this may be taken as an indication that the Syrian churches were now moving toward conformity with their Greek neighbors, probably under the influence of the school of Antioch.
The Peshitta, by far the most enduring and influential of oriental versions, was made under the direction of Bishop Rabbula of Edessa in the first quarter of the fifth century (425). It adopted the canon of Antioch: the four "separated" gospels, Acts, fourteen Pauline letters, and three Catholic letters - James, 1 Peter, and 1 John. The Syrian episcopate now made a determined and successful effort to end the use of the Diatessaron. Theodoret of Cyrrhus alone collected and destroyed more than two hundred copies of the Diatessaron in the churches under his government and replaced them with the four gospels of the Peshitta. The Diatessaron was so thoroughly suppressed that no copy of it has sever been discovered, apart from a single leaf of vellum containing a fragment of the Greek text of it.
The Christological controversies of the fifth century destroyed the unity of the Syrian church and separated it from the catholic church of the West. From Edessa eastward through Mesopotamia and Persia it became Nestorian; in the W. parts of Syria it became Monophysite. The Nestorian churches continued to hold to the original canon the Peshitta, which was the base also of the oldest Persian and Arabic versions. For the Monophysites a revision of the Peshitta was prepared in 508 at the insistence of a bishop called Philoxenus. This work was based on good Greek MSS and included the seven Catholic letters and Revelation. Thus the Syrian Monophysites, or Jacobites, as they are called, adopted the canon that had become established in the West. In 616, the Philoxenian edition was further revised by Thomas of Harkel, who retained the same canon. But these revisions never attained the authority of the Peshitta, and the Syrian churches generally have held fast to the shorter canon of twenty two books, lacking the four minor Catholic letters and Revelation.
Except for occasional oddities, no further developments took place in the canon. The Ethiopic church added eight books to the established twenty seven - a collection of decrees called the Synodus, and a series of "Clementines".
END OF QUOTE
What the above states is that throughout the Church in the world, East and West the acknowledged canons all contained the four gospels, Acts, the four large Catholic letters, Hebrews, and the Pauline letters. This all occurred by 425 A.D. This precedes Muhammad's work by almost 200 years. Muhammad was born in 570 and he began preaching his religion around 610 A.D.
NOTE: on the Diatessaron: Bruce Metzger writes in "The Canon of the New Testament, its Origin, Development, and Significance", pages 115, 116
"The Diatessaron supplies proof that all four Gospels were regarded as authoritative, otherwise it is unlikely that Tatian would have dared to combine them into one gospel account. At a time when many gospels were competing for attention, it is certainly significant that Tatian selected just these four - nor does the presence of an occasional extra-canonical phrase or clause in the fabric of the Diatessaron neutralize this consideration."
NOTE: on the Peshitta: Metzger writes (op cite) page 219:
"By the beginning of the fifth century , if not slightly earlier, the Syrian church's form of the bible, the so-called Peshitta, was formed. This represents for the New Testament an accommodation of the canon of the Syrians with that of the Greeks. Third Corinthians was rejected, and, in addition to the fourteen Pauline Epistles (including Hebrews, following Philemon), the three longer Catholic Epistles (James, 1 Peter, 1 John) were included. The four shorter Catholic Epistles and the Apocalypse [Revelations] are absent from the Peshitta Syriac version, and thus the Syrian canon of the New Testament contained but 22 writings."
NOTE on the Peshitta:
Yusef Ali, a translator of and commentator on the Quran writes:
"It is probable that the Peshitta was the version (or an Arabic form of it) used by the Christians in Arabia in the time of the prophet. The final form of the New Testament canon for the West was fixed in the fourth century A.C. (say, about 367 A.C.) by Athanasius and the Nicene creed."
By around 400 A.D., the canons of Scripture were similar throughout the Christian world. Most churches had 27 books in their New Testament. A few had less than 27, a few had more. However, they all contained the four Gospels, Acts, and Paul's letters. This is some 200 years before Muhammad was born.
So, even though there was no major center of Christianity in Mecca or nearby surrounding areas, there was a Christian presence there. These Christians possessed Scriptures with which Muhammad was familiar. And the Scriptures the Christians had were the same as the Christians to the North, South, East, or West. And, they are the same Scriptures we have today.
B. HISTORICAL INFORMATION ON THE AVAILABILITY OF SCRIPTURES IN THE ARABIAN PENINSULA
According to the Hadith there were actual Arabic translations of the New Testament that had been translated during the time of Muhammad:
From Bukhari: 4.605:
Narrated 'Aisha: The Prophet returned to Khadija while his heart was beating rapidly. She took him to Waraqa bin Naufal who was a Christian convert and used to read the Gospels in Arabic Waraqa asked (the Prophet),...
From Bukhari: 6.478:
Narrated Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet) The commencement (of the Divine Inspiration) to Allah's Apostle was in the form of true dreams in his sleep, for he never had a dream but it turned out to be true and clear as the bright daylight......Khadija then took him to Waraqa bin Naufil, the son of Khadija's paternal uncle. Waraqa had been converted to Christianity in the Pre-Islamic Period and used to write Arabic and write of the Gospel in Arabic as much as Allah wished him to write.
Muhammad had been married to Khadija for fifteen years prior to Muhammad's
death. He therefore had plenty of opportunity to visit Waraqa (with or without Khadija) for religious discussion.
Richard Bell writes in "The Origin of Islam in its Christian Environment",  page 17:
"This influence of Christianity upon Arabia came principally from three centres, viz. Syria in the Northwest, Mesopotamia in the Northeast, and Abyssinia in the West..."
P. Hitti writes in "Makers of Arab History",  page 6:
"and the realization that the Christians and Jews he [Muhammad] met had a "book" and were more progressive, more highly developed than his people. Arabia was then ringed by Christian countries. The Christians he met must have been Syrians, Copts, Abyssinians and even Christianized Arabs on the borders of Syria and Iraq. They came as merchants, slaves or visitors. The Jews must have been native Medinese and Yamanis or foreign traders and slaves."
One Muslim writer, Nabîh Aqel, in "Tarîkh al-'Arab al-Qadîm",  1983 (Third Edition), Dâr al-Fikr, Beirut, p. 305, detailed some Christian activities in the Hijaz:
"The big difference between Christianity and Judaism is that Christianity unlike Judaism didn't have any bases in Hijaz , Christianity was an external source of enlightenment echoed in Hijaz either by missionary activities form Ethiopia, Syria and Iraq or from Alheerah's Christian centres; dair Hind al-Kubra [the order of Hind al-Kubra] - Um Amro al-Mundhir [the order of Um Ammro] - Dair Hind al-Sugra [the order of Hind al-Sugra]) or from some of the scattered churches in Bahrain, al-Yamamah and Yemen."
Aqel is stating the Christian missionaries had gone through the Hijaz, preaching Christ. Certainly, they would have brought their Bibles with them.
IN MUHAMMAD'S HOME TOWN OF MECCA
Mecca was a commercial center. Caravans from various parts of the world would go there to carry out trade. The Kaba was also a famed pagan temple. People from various religions would travel there for religious reasons such as pilgrimage. Consequently, there was representation and knowledge from a variety of religions in Mecca during Muhammad's time.
J.S. Trimingham in "Christianity Among the Arabs in Pre-Islamic Times",  wrote on page 268:
"The Meccans were in contact with the Christians of Syria through commercial relations as well as with the diffused witness of the monks."
And on page 270: "The presence of Christians in Mecca is better attested, but relates mainly to non-Meccans. Christian Arab merchants operated in Mecca in association with Meccans and attended the periodical fairs. The Banyu Ghassan was represented and had an establishment situated in the neighborhood of the Kaba, a privilege granted by reason of their being hulafa or affiliates of the Qurashi clan of Banu Asad. Christians from Hira as well as Syria frequented the place. While Christian Arab tribes of the peninsula maintained representatives, like the Banu Ijl of Yamajma and Hira, whose representative Furat ibn Hayyan was halif to the qurajhshi clan of Sahm.
... among the slaves of the Meccan merchant class there were Christians. These must have been Syrians, since those transported across the Red Sea were pagan Kushites or Bantu, for the Christian Axumites, the ruling class would hardly enslave their own people. Among slaves from Syria mentioned by Ibn Ishaq was Zaid ibn Haritha, freedman and mentioned and adopted son of Muhammad. Slaves would naturally retain their attachment to Christianity since they were excluded from the cults of the ruling class."
END OF QUOTE
NOTE Zaid's was Muhammad's adopted son, and as Trimingham stated, slaves kept their attachment to their faiths. Perhaps Muhammad also learned Christian material from Zaid - his adopted son who lived with him.
On page 84 of Ibn Ishaq, we read that before Muhammad's self proclamation of prophethood the Kaba needed to be rebuilt and:
"It happened that in Mecca there was a Copt who was a carpenter...."
So, even before Muhammad's rise to power, there was a Christian presence in Mecca.
On page 86, we read that there was actually a biblical quote in the Kaba....
"Layth Abu Sulaym alleged that they found a stone in the Kaba forty years before the prophet's mission, if what they say is true, containing the inscription "He that soweth good shall reap joy; he that soweth evil shall reap sorrow; can you do evil and be rewarded with good? Nay, as grapes cannot be gathered from thorns"
Here we even have a record of a Gospel quote (Matthew 7:16) inscribed on a stone in the Kaba!
We also read about a Jew living in Mecca in Ibn Sa'd, volume 1, page 186:
"A Jew dwelt at Makkah and sold commodities..."
Therefore there was a Christians and Jewish presence in Mecca where Muhammad grew up and lived most of his life. The Christian was a Copt.
If Muhammad encountered the Coptic Scriptures, he would encounter what we basically have today.
NORTH OF MUHAMMAD
North of Muhammad lay Syria. These states were also bordered on the South by the minor Arab states of the Ghassan and Hira tribes. Bernard Lewis writes in "The Arabs in History,  page 32:
"The two states of Ghassan and Hira were both Christian, the former Monophysite, the latter Nestorian. Both had a tincture of Aramaic and Hellenistic culture....The Ghassanids resided in the neighborhood of the Yarmuk river and were recognized rather than appointed by Byzantium....Though a vassal of the Persians, it (the Hira state) drew its culture mainly from the West, from the Christian and Hellenistic civilization of Syria. At first pagan, it was converted to Nestorian Christianity brought by captives."
Bell writes on pages 18, 19:
"Within the bounds of the Roman Empire in Syria we may assume that in the course of the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries Christianity had become fairly general, and must have extended to the more or less settled Arabs who dwelt under the protection of the Roman power. ... In all these ways, from the settled land of Syria, growing ever more Christian, the knowledge of Christianity must have been continually percolation to the inhabitants of the desert."
From Ibn Ishaq, page 79, - 81 we read that when Muhammad was a boy, he traveled with his uncle Abu Talib to Syria as part of a caravan
"..... When the caravan reached Busra in Syria, there was a monk there in his cell by the name of Bahira, who was well versed in the knowledge of Christians....There he (Bahira) gained his knowledge from a book that was in the cell, so they allege, handed on from generation to generation.
From the above we see two things:
1) Muhammad conversed with a Christian who had Christian books with him. Of course he could have learned Christian teachings from Bahira.
2) These books though not in the Hijaz, existed, and the people of the caravans had opportunity to learn of Christianity from the Christians in Syria. They too would have disseminated their knowledge back in Mecca.
By Muhammad's time, the Syrian church was using the Peshitta because the Diatesseron had been destroyed and removed from use.
Consequently, if Muhammad were to have encountered Scriptures from the Syrian church, he would encounter what we basically have today.
NORTHEAST OF MUHAMMAD
To the Northeast was Mesopotamia and Persia. Persia was generally not Christian, but there were Christian communities living under Persian rule. In Mesopotamia, there was a strong Christian church.
Bell writes on page 24:
"Be we can safely say that by the end of the third century there was a flourishing Church at Edessa and that Christianity had already crossed the Tigris."
As has been already shown, the canon used by the church offshoots in Mesopotamia and Persia was equivalent to what the Syrian church used.
If Muhammad encountered the Scriptures of the Persian churches, he would encounter what we basically have today.
SOUTH OF MUHAMMAD
From "The Life of Muhammad", pages 14 - 18 the story is told how Christianity began in Najran. Najran is about 350 miles south east of Mecca. The story describes how a Christian preached in Najran, healed the sick, and performed miracles. The whole city converted to Christianity...
"The people of Najran accepted the religion of Abdullah al Thamir according to the Gospel and the law which Isa b. Maryam brought."
Later on, the story states that some 20,000 Najran Christians were killed by a king who wanted them to become Jews.
On pages 270, 271 of Ibn Ishaq, Christians from Najran visit Muhammad. Ibn Ishaq notes that they were affiliated with the Christians of Byzantium:
"A deputation from the Christians of Najran came to the apostle. There were sixty riders, fourteen of them from their nobles of whom three were in control of affairs.....
Abu Haritha occupied a position of honor among them and was a great student, so that he had an excellent knowledge of their religion, and the Christian kings of Byzantium had honored him and paid him a subsidy and gave him servants, built churches for him and lavished honors on him, because of his knowledge and zeal for their religion."......
The relevant point here is that there was a Christian city in the Saudi peninsula south of Mecca and they were affiliated with the Byzantines. Certainly there would be cultural exchanges between the cities since Mecca was a center of commerce and religions, and many people traveled to and from there. The Byzantines were primarily Greeks. Hence, it is logical to believe that they used the Greek canon of Scripture. That means they were using what we basically have today as our Bible.
If Muhammad were to encounter the Najran Scriptures, or Byzantine Scriptures, he would basically encounter what we have today.
WEST OF MUHAMMAD
To the West was Abbysinnia, now known as Ethiopia. Ethiopia was a Christian country during Muhammad's time. During the early years of Muhammad's preaching, he sent his followers there to avoid persecution from the Meccans. As has been already shown - the Ethiopian church has a canon similar to what we have today. They have added additional letters that do not conflict with other parts of the New Testament.
Concerning Abyssinia, (Ethiopia), Albert Hourani writes in "A History of the Arab Peoples",  page 10,
"One was Ethiopia, an ancient kingdom with Christianity in its Coptic form as the official religion."
And Bell writes on page 32:
"Fell further connects this with the Abyssinian legend of the nine saints by whom a revival of Christianity was brought about, and sets the date about A.D. 480. In any case, the real Christianizing of Abyssinia belongs to about this period."
If Muhammad were to encounter the Scriptures of the Ethiopian church, he would encounter what we basically have today.
NORTHWEST OF MUHAMMAD
To the Northwest was Palestine. By 600 A.D., Christianity was well established there. No additional comment is needed here.
If Muhammad were to encounter the Scriptures of the Palestinian church, he would encounter what we basically have today.
Evidence has been presented that establishes that the canon of the Scriptures was fixed well before Muhammad and that the Scriptures that Muhammad encountered are the same as those existing today. The differences between the canons were that they had a different number of books, but the books they had in common were the same. The differences between canons does not affect the fundamental, primary, intrinsic, teachings of the Bible. Muhammad encountered the Bible and he believed it to be God's word.
MUHAMMAD AND THE BIBLE - PART 3
A. QUESTIONABLE QURANIC VERSES
There are verses in the Quran that relate questions to the Scriptures. Muslims often quote them to prove corruption of the Bible. However, they do not state corruption. They all relate to how the Christians or Jews misinterpreted or misrepresented the Scripture's meaning. Again, not one word of textual corruption of those Scriptures is found. Here is a review of those verses.
Ali - 5:15
15. O People of the Book! there has come to you Our Apostle revealing to you much that ye used to hide in the Book and passing over much (that is now unnecessary): ...
Dawood - 5:15
People of the Book! Our apostle has come to reveal to you much of what you have hidden of the Scriptures,....
This verse shows that Muhammad believed the People of the Book to have valid Scriptures. They were "hiding" portions of truth. Being able to hide something means you have it in your possession. However, he stated the People of the Book were not teaching those truths they possessed. Thus, Muhammad believed their Scriptures were valid.
Ali - 6:89 - 92
89. These were the men to whom We gave the Book and authority and prophethood:
if these (their descendants) reject them behold! We shall entrust their charge to a new People who reject them not.
90. Those were the (prophets) who received Allah's guidance: copy the guidance they received; Say: "No reward for this do I ask of you: this is no less than a Message for the nations."
91. No just estimate of Allah do they make when they say: "Nothing does Allah send down to man (by way of revelation)": Say: "Who then sent down the Book which Moses brought? a light and guidance to man: but ye make it into (separate) sheets for show while ye conceal much (of its contents): therein were ye taught that which ye knew not neither ye nor your fathers." Say: "Allah (sent it down)": then leave them to plunge in vain discourse and trifling.
92. And this is a Book which We have revealed bringing blessings and confirming (the revelations) which came before it: that thou mayest warn the Mother of Cities and all around her....
Dawood - 6:89 - 92
On those men [previous prophets] We bestowed the Scriptures, wisdom, and prophethood. If these are denied by this generation, We will entrust them to others who will not deny them. Those were the men whom God guided. Follow then their guidance and say: "I demand of you no recompense for this. It is but an admonition to all mankind." They have no true notion of God's glory, those that say: "God has never revealed anything to a mortal." Say: "Who, then, revealed the Scriptures which Moses brought down, a light and a guide for mankind? You have transcribed them on scraps of paper, declaring some and suppressing much, though now you have been taught what neither your nor your fathers knew before. Say: "God"! Then leave them to amuse themselves with foolish chatter. This is a blessed Book which We have revealed, confirming what came before it, that you may warn the mother city (Mecca) and those that dwell around her...
Again Muhammad stated that the people had the Scriptures, but that they "suppressed" much. Again, Muhammad said that his Quran confirmed the previous Scriptures. Again, this was not a statement of corruption, it was a statement of suppression of existing truth in the Bible that they possessed.
Ali - 3:78
78. There is among them a section who distort the Book with their tongues; (as they read) you would think it is a part of the Book but it is no part of the Book; and they say "That is from Allah" but it is not from Allah: it is they who tell a lie against Allah and (well) they know it!
Dawood - 3:78
And there are some among them [the People of the Book] who twist their tongues when quoting the Scriptures, so that you may think that what they say is from the Scriptures, whereas it is not from the Scriptures. They say, "This is from God", whereas it is not from God. They knowingly ascribe a falsehood to God.
Again, Muhammad implicitly testified to the integrity of the Scriptures in the above passage. What Muhammad criticized is people reading the valid Scriptures, but deliberately mispronouncing the words (distorting the word with their tongues). Since the Arabs were mostly illiterate, they could not read the Scriptures, so the Jews were free to mislead the Muslims or others as to what the real Word of God actually said. Here, Muhammad admits those Scriptures were God's Word, but he states that they were being presented inaccurately.
Ali - 5:12 - 13
12. Allah did before time take a Covenant from the Children of Israel and We appointed twelve captains among them and Allah said: "I am with you: if ye (but) establish regular prayers practice regular charity believe in My apostles honor and assist them and loan to Allah a beautiful loan verily I will wipe out from you your evils and admit you to gardens with rivers flowing beneath; but if any of you after this resists faith he has truly wandered from the path of rectitude."
13. But because of their breach of their Covenant We cursed them and made their hearts grow hard: they change the words from their (right) places and forget a good part of the Message that was sent them nor wilt thou cease to find them barring a few ever bent on (new) deceits: but forgive them and overlook (their misdeeds): for Allah loves those who are kind.
Dawood - 5:12-13
God made a covenant with the Israelites and raised among them twelve chieftains. God said: "I shall be with you. If you attend to your prayers and render the alms levy; if you believe in My apostles and assist them and give God a generous loan, I shall forgive you your sins and admit you to gardens watered by running streams. But he that hereafter denies Me shall stray from the right path." But because they broke their covenant We laid on them Our curse and hardened their hearts. They have tampered with words out of their context and forgotten much of what they were enjoined. You will ever find them deceitful, except for a few of them.....
Again Muhammad testified to the integrity of the Scriptures. He insists that the Jews have tampered with the "context" of the Scriptures. That means they were existing and had truth for someone to tamper with and mis-interpret their contexts. Note that it says they forgot what they were told, it doesn't say they corrupted the texts.
Ali - 2:75- 79
75. Can you (O you men of Faith) entertain the hope that they will believe in you? Seeing that a party of them heard the word of Allah and perverted it knowingly after they understood it.
76. Behold! when they meet the men of Faith they say: "We believe" but when they meet each other in private they say: "Shall you tell them what Allah has revealed to you that they may engage you in argument about it before your Lord?" Do ye not understand (their aim)?
77. Know they not that Allah knows what they conceal and what they reveal?
78. And there are among them illiterates who know not the Book but (see therein their own) desires and they do nothing but conjecture.
79. Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands and then say: "This is from Allah" to traffic with it for a miserable price! Woe to them for what their hands do write and for the gain they make thereby.
Dawood - 2:75 - 79
Do you [the Muslims] then hope that they [the people of the Book] will believe in you, when some of them have already heard the Word of God and knowingly perverted it, although they understood its meaning? When they meet the faithful they declare: "We, too, are believers." But when alone they say to each other: "Must you preach to them what God has revealed to you? They will only dispute with you about it in your Lord's presence. Have you no sense?" There are illiterate men among them who, ignorant of the Scriptures, know of nothing but wishful fancies and vague conjecture. Woe to those that write the scriptures with their own hands and then declare: "This is from God," in order to gain some paltry end. Woeful shall be their fate, because of what their hands have written, because of that which they have gained!
Again Muhammad testifies to the integrity of the actual Scriptures of the People of the Book. However, Muhammad condemns those that fabricate scriptures to make money. Note the distinction. Muhammad does not declare that the already existing Scriptures of the people of the book are corrupt; he condemns those that make up scriptures.
Ali - 4:46, 47
46. Of the Jews there are those who displace words from their (right) places and say: "We hear and we disobey"; and "Hear what is not heard": and "Ra`ina"; with a twist of their tongues and a slander to faith. If only they had said: "We hear and we obey"; and "Do hear"; and "Do look at us": it would have been better for them and more proper; but Allah has cursed them for their unbelief; and but few of them will believe.
47. O ye people of the Book! believe in what We have (now) revealed confirming what was (already) with you ...
Dawood - 4:46, 47
Some Jews take words out of context and say, "We hear, but disobey. May you be bereft of hearing! Raina! Thus distorting the phrase with their tongues and reviling the true faith. But if they said: "We hear and obey: hear us and Unzurna", it would be better and more proper for them. God has cursed them in their unbelief. They have no faith except a few of them. You to whom the Scriptures were given! Believe in that which We have revealed, confirming your own Scriptures ...
Once again, Muhammad confirms the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians. In this passage Muhammad criticizes some Jews for taking the truthful Scripture out of context and mis-pronouncing it. There is no word here of corrupting the Scriptures.
SUMMARY OF MUSLIM OBJECTIONS
Muslims today object to the Bible because they know it contradicts the Quran. However, the Quran teaches that the Bible is God's word. Muslims base their objections upon misinterpreted Quranic verses, or differences in the Greek manuscripts. However, the differences are minor and do not affect fundamental Christian doctrine.
If a Muslim were to truly believe the Quran, he would logically come to the realization that it is a false book because it testified to the truthfulness of contradictory books.
B. EARLY MUSLIMS DID NOT CHARGE CORRUPTION
John Gilchrist writes in "The Christian Witness to the Muslim", page 301, "Even the Muslim polemicist Ali Tabari wrote a semi-official defense of Islam against the Jews and the Christians while he was at Baghdad during the reign of the Abbasid Caliph Mutawakkil (AD 847-861). He at no time charged them with corrupting their scriptures. Instead he says that the first religious book in history to name "and the first one which came into existence, is the Torah, which is in the hands of the People of the Book" (Tabari, The Book of Religion and Empire, p. 51). He goes on to say "As to the Gospel which is in the hands of the Christians, the greater part of it is the history of the Christ, His birth and His life" (op. cit.). Thus he openly acknowledged that the authentic Torah and Gospel remained in the hands of the Jews and the Christians and, in going on to speak of their contents, he outlined the contents of the Old and New Testaments respectively. His only charge against them was that they did not always understand or accept the true meaning of their teachings and often appealed to the Old and New Testaments to make his point."
Gilchrist on page 302 writes:
"Al-Ghazali, (d. 1111), wrote a treatise on the Trinity in which he quoted many passages from the Bible, without ever questioning the trustworthiness of the text. (Chapman, You Go and Do the Same, p. 53). Speaking of a leading French scholar's essay on the works of Al-Ghazzali in his annotated bibliography, Wismer says: "Massignon points out that Al-Ghazali did not accuse the Christians of altering their texts, but rather of misinterpreting them" (The Islamic Jesus, p. 165). By his time some commentators, such as the radical Ibn Hasm, had begun to argue against the authenticity of the Bible but when Al-Ghazzali himself endeavored to prove Islam against the two former religions, he never questioned the genuineness of their respective Scriptures."
Gilchrist continues on pages 302, 303:
"Even as late as the sixth century after Muhammad leading commentators still
accepted the integrity of the Old and New Testaments on the basis of the Qur'an's teaching about the former Scriptures. Fakhruddin Razi, who died in AD 1209, "besides affirming categorically that the Biblical text has not been changed, says that the narratives of the Koran concerning Biblical events are in perfect harmony with those of the Bible" (Ananikian, "Tahrif or the Alteration of the Bible According to the Moslems", The Muslim World, Vol. 14, p. 77).
About a century ago a leading maulana in India, Moulvie Safdar Ali, became a Christian and wrote a series of letters to his Muslim relatives explaining why he had abandoned Islam and become a Christian. These letters were later published in a volume titled Niaz Namah and in them he gave attention to the claims of his contemporaries that the Bible has been corrupted and changed.
He based his argument upon the Qur'an, showing (1) That the Qur'an declares the Jewish and Christian Scriptures to be the Word of God and "a Guide to Believers"; (2) Muslims are obliged to confess their faith in all the Books of the Former Scriptures; (3) These books were extant in Muhammad's time; (4) The Qur'an nowhere says these Scriptures were corrupted; (5) Passages are quoted in proof from the Qur'an and the Traditions. (Wherry, The Muslim Controversy, p. 96)"
END OF GILCHRIST QUOTE
THE TESTIMONY OF OTHER MUSLIM SCHOLARS
Muhammad 'Abduh (Egypt)
Another example of a Muslim who agrees that the Bible is not corrupted is the Egyptian scholar, Muhammad 'Abduh. In regard to alleged biblical corruption, he notes that the "charge of corruption of the Biblical texts makes no sense at all. It would not have been possible for Jews and Christians everywhere to agree on changing the text. Even if those in Arabia had done it, the difference between their book and those. (Jacques Jomier, "Jesus, The Life of the Messiah", page 216, )
C. THEN WHY THE MUSLIM CHARGE OF CORRUPTION TODAY?
The Muslims of those early days were only following the Qur'an which testifies to the authenticity of the Bible. It only accuses the Jews on a few occasions of distorting the meaning of words and of concealing truths contained in their Scripture. It was much later that Muslim writers claimed that the Qur'an teaches that the Bible itself has been corrupted.
As Muslims learned more about the true teachings of the Bible, they realized that both the Quran and the New Testament cannot be true. One had to be wrong. The differences were concrete they couldn't be passed off as mere "misunderstanding" or "misinterpreting". They also believed that Jesus spoke the Gospel. Their dilemma was how can both be true -- indeed both be the Word of God -- if they completely contradict each other on many fundamental doctrines. They were in a dilemma. Consequently, they choose to attack the integrity of today's Bible. It was easy for these so-called Muslim "scholars" to fool their fellow Muslims. Most Muslims are ignorant of the Bible, and they don't bother to analyze exactly what their Quran teaches. Instead of addressing exactly what the Quran teaches, they borrow from the work of others who have attacked the Bible's credibility and focus on bible criticisms.
Gerhard Nehls wrote in "Dear Abdallah",  page 9:
"The Bible being corrupt was first promoted by Ibn Khazem (d. 1064 A.D.) as a means of avoiding the obvious contradictions between the Bible and the Quran. Believing that the Quran could not possibly have been corrupted, he then assumed that it was the Bible that underwent textual modifications. This, he felt, must have been the case."
None the less, a quick study of the Quran shows that the Quran totally supports the integrity of the Scriptures of the People of the Book. These Scriptures are knows today as the Bible. I have asked several Muslims why they refuse to accept the testimony of the Quran to the Bible. All of their answer's reasons have been based on Quranic misinterpretations or quotes from non-Islamic sources. When confronted with what the Quran explicitly teaches on the Bible, they are unable to answer.
You do not need to be a scholar to understand what the Quran plainly and amply states: The Scriptures of the People of the Book are the Word of God.
D. MUSLIM OBJECTIONS & MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE QURAN AND THE SCRIPTURES OF THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK
Many Muslims today have a number of misunderstandings of what the Quran teaches, and of the Bible's history. I want to address some of the most common misconceptions or misunderstandings.
Muslim misconception #1
"The Quran confirms the Torah of Moses and the Gospel given to Jesus. It never mentions "plural" Gospels or the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament)".
The Quran affirms the Torah that was available at the time of Muhammad, and the Gospel in usage at that time:
Proof from the Quran, Sura 7:156-157:
"And I will write down (my mercy) for those who are righteous and give alms and who believe in our signs; who follow the apostle, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in the Torah and the Gospel THAT IS WITH THEM.
This verse states that there is a prophecy of Muhammad to be found in the Gospel [singular] available during that time. This destroys the Muslim contention that the Quran mentions the Gospel given to Jesus, not the gospels written about him, since the only Gospel in usage at the time of Muhammad were the same four-fold Gospel accounts contained within our modern-day New Testaments. Note here that Muhammad refers to the Book that the Christians had as the "GOSPEL".
Additionally the Gospel of Jesus is not a book, but the Good News that God sent His Son into the world to atone for sin and make reconciliation between God and man. Hence, Jesus is the living Gospel sent to the world. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are not four different gospels, but four different accounts of the one Gospel of God revealed in the person of Christ. The New Testament authors, writing under inspiration, give mutually complementary, not contradictory, material on the life and passion of Christ. This multiple attestation serves the purpose of fulfilling the requirement of the Mosaic Law that, "by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established." Deuteronomy 19:15
In fact, Muslims believe that God personally states to Muhammad in 32:23 that he should have no doubt that the Torah of his time is the very same Torah of Moses. This is solidified by the fact that we have copies of these books that are both prior to and contemporary with the time of Muhammad, and are basically identical to what we have today.
Muslim misconception #2.
"The Quran never alludes to the Bible, only the revelation originally given to the Prophets, i.e. Moses, David, Jesus, etc."
This is another unsubstantiated assumption. It is presumed that since the word "Bible" does not appear in the Quran, then what the Judeo - Christian communities commonly refer to as God's Word is not acceptable to the Muslims. Yet, if one were to trace the word Bible back to the Greek, one would discover that the word itself comes from the term biblia, meaning "books." Hence, in time the collection became classified as the Book due to the fact that although the Bible consisted of 66 individual writings, the author was one, the Holy Spirit, having one unifying theme: the advent of God's Messiah-Deliverer. Not surprisingly, we find the Quran mentioning the Book (Arabic- al-Kitab) of the Jews and Christians:
Proof from the Quran - Sura 2:113:
"The Jews say, `The Christians are not (founded) upon anything.' And the Christians say, `The Jews are not (founded) upon anything.' And yet THEY READ THE BOOK."
"It is not for a man to whom is given the Book and wisdom and prophecy that
he should then say to people, `Be worshippers of me in place of God.' But rather, `Be true teachers (rabbáníyín), since you TEACH the BOOK and you STUDY IT EARNESTLY."
A Muslim translator of the Quran into English - Muhammad Asad, understood the phrase "Kitab" to be the Arabic equivalent of "Bible" and translated the Arabic to mean as such:
"... And so We have cast enmity and hatred among the followers of the Bible..." S. 5:64 (Asad, The Message of the Qur'an , [Dar Al-Andaulus, Gibraltar, rpt. 1994], p. 157)
"If the followers of the Bible would but attain to [true] faith and God-consciousness, we should indeed efface their [previous] bad deeds, and indeed bring them into gardens of bliss;" S. 5:65 (Ibid.)
Therefore the Quran identifies the existence of an uncorrupted Book which both Jews and Christians study. The only Book in the hands of the Judeo - Christian community at the time was the Bible as it generally exists today. And the Arabic term used for the Bible is the very same used in the Quran, al-Kitab al-Muqaddas, the Holy Book. Hence, the Kitab referred to in the Quran is the very Kitab used by Arab Christians during and after the time of Muhammad.
Second, from the perspective of Christianity, the term from which the word "Bible" is derived is found in scripture. The term Bible stems from the Greek term "biblia" (books). The earliest extra -biblical usage of the term is found in 2 Clement 14:2 (A.D. 150): "... the books (ta biblia) and the apostles declare that the church ... has existed from the beginning." "Biblia" is the plural form of the Greek "biblion", which is itself a diminutive of "biblos".
Third, these terms are used in Scripture as designations for inspired writings:
"And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book (en to biblio touto)." John 20:30
"For it is written in the Book (biblo) of Psalms..." Acts 1:20
"Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets (en biblo ton propheton)..." Acts 7:42
"For as many as are of the works of the law are under curse; for it is written, `Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law (en to biblio tou nomou), to do them" Galatians 3:10
"For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book (tes propheteias tou bibliou): If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book (en tou biblio); and if anyone takes away words of the book of this prophecy (tou bibliou tes propheteias), God shall take away his part from the Tree of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (en to biblio touto)." Rev. 22:18-19
These verses indicate that the terms from which the word "Bible" is derived is found within sacred Christian Scripture itself. Hence, the word used for the Judeo - Christian Scripture is not something that was arbitrarily decided upon, but something derived from the inspired record.
MUHAMMAD AND THE BIBLE - PART 4
MUSLIM MISCONCEPTIONS CONTINUED
Muslim misconception #3.
"The Quran is sent down as the Criterion (al-Furqan) and a guardian over previous Scripture (muhaiminan `alaihi), indicating that its function is to expose the corruption of the former text."
The term, al-Furqan, is used in a variety of ways. For example it is used for the revelation given to Moses:
Proof from the Quran:
"And remember We gave Moses the Scripture and the Criterion (between right and wrong): there was a chance for you to be guided aright."
"In the past We granted to Moses and Aaron the Criterion (for judgment) and a light and a Message for those who would do right..."
This is a strong indication that the term Criterion does not suggest that a scripture called by this term corrects and exposes corruption to previous revelation, since there were no scriptures prior to the one given to Moses. The term Furqan also appears in Suras 2:185; 8:29,41 and 25:1: "The month of Ramadan is that in which the Quran was revealed a guidance to men and clear proofs of the guidance and the Criterion (Furqan)..." 2:185
The Quran is stated to be the clear proof of the guidance and of the Furqan, implying that the Furqan is something other than the Quran; at least in this reference.
Proof from the Quran:
"O you who believe, if you keep your duty to Allah, He will grant you a distinction (Furqan) and do away with your evils and protect you. And Allah is the Lord of mighty grace."
This passage promises Muslims that if they believe and keep duty, Allah would grant them a Furqan. This could not be the Quran since it was already being given piecemeal to the community through their prophet Muhammad. "And know that whatever you acquire in war, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, if you believe in Allah and in that which We revealed to Our servant, on the day of Discrimination (Furqan), the day on which the two parties met..."
This verse was revealed in connection to the battle of Badr, where the Muslims met the other party in war on the day of Furqan. Based on the context itself, Furqan can only mean victory, i.e. that Allah granted the Muslims victory over the much larger opposition. This suggests that the term can and often does mean more than simply a criterion used in relation to judging right and wrong. In fact, the term is used to refer to things other than the Quran, and is therefore not something unique to Islam.
The term Furqan is used as a general term to describe as a "discrimination" or warning to all nations.
Proof from the Quran:
"Blessed is He Who sent down the Discrimination (Furqan) upon His servant that
he might be a warner to the nations."
The revelation that Muhammad received is the Furqan that is to be used to warn the nations. Yet, in Sura 3:3 all the books of God were sent as a Furqan: "He has revealed to thee the Book with truth, confirming that which is before it, and He revealed the Torah and the Gospel aforetime, a guidance for the people, and He sent the Criterion (al-Furqan)..." This passage makes it clear that the Furqan cannot be referring to the Quran alone, since the two are seen as being distinct. It is precisely this distinction which has led Muslims scholars to differ on the identity of the Furqan itself, whether it is the Quran or all the revealed books of God:
OTHER COMMENTS ON THE WORD "FURQAN".
Muslim scholar Mahmoud M. Ayoub writes: "The issue that has concerned commentators in connection with this verse is the mention of the Furqan (criterion) after that of the Quran and the Torah and the Gospel. The word Furqan is generally used as one of the names of the Quran... Since the Quran is mentioned in the previous verse as a revelation preceded by the Torah and the Gospel, what is the wisdom in mentioning it again? Commentators have offered various answers to this problem." [Ayoub, The Quran and Its Interpreters, vol. II - The House of Imran;  Albany, N.Y.; State University of New York Press, 1992, p.15]
Some commentators, like al-Zamakhshari, believe it to be the entire collection of revealed books, or quite possibly the Psalms of David or the Quran itself: "If you ask what is here intended by the word Furqan, I answer, It is the entire genre of heavenly books because they are all a Criterion (Furqan) distinguishing truth from falsehood. It may also mean all the Scriptures mentioned here. It is as though God said after mentioning the three Scriptures, `and He sent down that by means of which truth may be distinguished from error,' meaning either all His Scriptures, or these three Books in particular. It may also be that God here intended a Fourth Scripture, which is the Psalms (Zabur), as He says, `and We gave David the Psalms' (Q. 17:55). It may also be that God here repeated mention of the Quran, denoting its special characteristic of being a criterion distinguishing between truth and error. This He did after mentioning it by its generic name, by way of emphasizing its greatness and manifesting its special excellence." [Ibid., p.16]
The view that Furqan refers to all three Scriptures is, according to Razi, "the view of most tafsir masters," since they "are not only a source of divine guidance, they are also divine criteria distinguishing between lawful and unlawful acts and precepts in addition to other sacred laws." [Ibid., p.17]
COMMENTS ON THE TERM "MUHAIMINAN 'ALAIHI"
It is presumed by Muslims criticizing the Bible that the Arabic phrase, "guarding it in safety", refers to the Quran's role as a quality control agent, affirming that which remains intact and exposing any tampering to the biblical text. However, when the verse is read in conjunction with the previous passages and within the verse itself, the Quran is seen as protecting and guarding uncorrupted scriptures; it says absolutely nothing about exposing textual corruption whatsoever. (cf. Sura 5:43-47,68 - Ali). In fact, the Quran came as an Arabic verification of the Bible to the Arabs who were ignorant of the contents of the Judeo - Christian Scripture:
"That which We have revealed to you of the Book is the truth, attesting to (the truth of) that which IS between his (its) hands (the Torah and Gospel)..."
"This Quran is not such as can be produced by other than God; but it is a verification of that (the Torah and Gospel) which IS between his (its) hands, and the explanation of the Book, WHEREIN THERE IS NO DOUBT, from the Lord of the worlds."
In the preceding passages the Quran is sent as a confirmation of the Book "in which there is no doubt." Not once do these verses state that the Book at the time of Muhammad had been corrupted and needed to be corrected in any way.
Furthermore, it is the Quran, not the Bible, that needs to be viewed in light of
previous Scripture for verification purposes:
"And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers."
Finally, the Quran itself states that God would make sure that the Bible would be protected from corruption:
"We have, without doubt sent down THE MESSAGE (Zhikra); And We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)." [S. 15:9 - Y. Ali]
That this includes the Holy Bible is made clear in the following citations: "And before thee We sent none but men, to whom We granted inspiration: If ye realize this not, ask of those who possess THE MESSAGE (Zhikri)." [S. 16:43 - Y. Ali]
Muslim misconception #4.
"The Torah mentioned in the Quran is not what is known as the "Old Testament" today.
In context, the word "Torah" used in Islam refers to the canon of Jewish Scripture. In both the Holy Bible and the Hadith the word is used in a generic sense to refer to the Old Testament as a whole.
Proof from the Hadith of Bukhari 3.335 and the Quran:
Narrated Ata bin Yasar:
I met Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Al-'As and asked him, "Tell me about the description of Allah's Apostle which is mentioned in Torah (i.e. Old Testament.") He replied, 'Yes. By Allah, he is described in Torah with some of the qualities attributed to him in the Quran as follows:
"O Prophet ! We have sent you as a witness (for Allah's True religion) And a giver of glad tidings (to the faithful believers), And a warner (to the unbelievers) And guardian of the illiterates. You are My slave and My messenger (i.e. Apostle). I have named you "Al-Mutawakkil" (who depends upon Allah). You are neither discourteous, harsh Nor a noisemaker in the markets And you do not do evil to those Who do evil to you, but you deal With them with forgiveness and kindness. Allah will not let him (the Prophet) Die till he makes straight the crooked people by making them say: "None has the right to be worshipped but Allah," With which will be opened blind eyes And deaf ears and enveloped
The following is from the Torah-Old Testament, Isaiah 42:1-3,6-7. "You are my servant and my messenger; I have called you the one who trusts, not harsh or rough, nor loud-voiced in the streets. He will not repulse evil with evil, but will pardon and forgive, and God will not take him till He uses him to straighten the crooked creed so that people may say there is no god but God, and he opens thereby blind eyes, deaf ears and hardened hearts."
You will not find a single reference in the Torah of Moses matching the above citation. This proves that at least in this Hadith the word "Torah" referred to more than the first five books of Moses.
AND FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT
"Jesus answered them `Has it not been written in your LAW, I said you are gods?'" John 10:34. Jesus includes Psalm 82:6 as part of the Law (i.e. Torah). "The crowd spoke up, `We have heard from the LAW that the Christ will remain forever, so how can you say, "The Son of Man must be lifted up?" Who is this Son of Man?'" John 12:34
There is no reference in the books of Moses that indicates Christ will remain forever. The only places you'll find such statements are Psalm 110:1,4 and Daniel 7:13-14. Hence, the Jews used the term "Law" (Torah) as a reference for the whole of the Hebrew Bible.
"But this is to fulfill what is written in their LAW: `They hated me without reason.'" John 15:25 Jesus alludes to Psalms 35:19 and 69:4 as part of the Law. In Romans 3:10-19 Paul alludes to Psalms 5:9, 10:7, 36:1, 14:1-3, 51:4, 53:1-3, 59:7-8, 140:3 and Ecclesiastes 7:20 as "the Law". "In the LAW it is written: `Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me,' says the Lord." 1 Corinthians 14:21. Paul includes Isaiah 28:11-12 as part of the Law. This should sufficiently demonstrate that the term Torah or Law came to be used in a broader sense referring to the entire Hebrew Bible. This is precisely what we find in the Hadith as well.
Muslim misconception #5:
The "Injil" mentioned in the Quran is not the "Gospels" found in today's New Testament.
By the start of the second century the term "Gospel" was used by the early church to refer to the fourfold Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Noted scholar, F. F. Bruce explains:
"At a very early date it appears that the four Gospels were united in one collection. They must have been brought together very soon after the writing of the Gospel according to John. This fourfold collection was known originally as `The Gospel' singular, not `The Gospels' in the plural; there was only one Gospel, narrated in four records, distinguished as `according to Matthew', `according to Mark', and so on. About A.D. 115 Ignatius, bishop, of Antioch, refers to `The Gospel' as an authoritative writing, and as he knew more than one of the four `Gospels' it may well be that by `The Gospel' sans phrase he means the fourfold collection which went by that name." (Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?  page 23).
Bruce goes on to cite another church father:
"By the time of Irenaeus, who, though, a native of Asia Minor, was bishop of
Lyons in Gaul about A.D. 180, the idea of a fourfold Gospel had become so axiomatic in the Church at large that he can refer to it as an established and recognized fact as obvious as the four cardinal points or the four winds: `For as there are four quarters of the world in which we live, and four universal winds, and as the Church is dispersed over all the earth, and the gospel is the pillar and base of the Church and the breath of life, so it is natural that it should have four pillars, breathing immortality from every quarter and kindling the life of men anew. Whence it is manifest that the Word, the architect of all things, who sits upon the cherubim and holds all things together, having been made manifested to men, have given us the gospel in fourfold form, but held together by one Spirit.'" (Ibid., p. 24)
Therefore, to a Christian living before or during the time of Muhammad the term `Gospel' meant the fourfold collection found in our present day Bibles.
Muslim misconception #6
"There are many different Bibles, so how can you say yours is the Word of God?"
There are different Bibles, that are made up of a different canon of Biblical books.
For example, there are bibles for the Protestant Church, Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Greek Orthodox Church, Coptic Church, Ethiopic Church, and Syriac Church. They contain different number of books.
However, the books that they differ on do not include anything that would change any of the doctrines of Christianity. Whether one accepts the 22 books of the Syriac Church or the 27 of the Protestant and Catholic canon, one still would get orthodoxy.
For instance, examining the contents of the 7 different canons would leave one with the following teachings:
The Deity of Jesus Christ.
The Triunity of God.
The Divine Personality of the Holy Spirit.
The Virgin Birth.
Christ's Vicarious Atonement.
Christ's Physical, Bodily Resurrection.
Christ's Ascension to Heaven.
Christ's Visible Return to Judge the Living and the Dead.
Justification by Faith.
Salvation through Grace.
The list can go on. Hence, no matter what canon one holds the teaching is the same.
Finally, this point is not the canon. The point is that our present day Bible accurately reflects the originals and the Quran agrees that the Holy Bible has remained uncorrupt.
Two variations of this Muslim objection rests upon early Christian works known as the Diatessaron and Peshitta. The Diatessaron was basically a synthesis of the four Gospels. As was already stated, the fact the Diatessaron used the four Gospels as its primary source affirms the early and universal acceptance of the canonical Gospels by friend and foe alike. Also the fact that orthodox believers used it affirms that it was orthodox in content.
The Peshitta was a Syrian Church canon. It contained most of the books our New Testament contains today. The Peshitta represents for the New Testament an accommodation of the canon of the Syrians with that of the Greeks. Third Corinthians was rejected, and, in addition to the fourteen Pauline Epistles including Hebrews, three longer Catholic Epistles - James, 1 Peter, and 1 John, were included. The four shorter Epistles 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Jude and Revelations are absent from the Peshitta Syriac version. Thus the Syriac canon of the New Testament contained but twenty-two writings. For a large part of the Syrian Church this constituted the closing of the canon, for after the Council of Ephesus (AD 431) the East Syrians separated themselves as Nestorians from the Great Church.
Even with the differences in the Peshitta canon, we still have Orthodox Christianity.
Muslim misconception #7
"There are so many variants in the Greek manuscripts, how can we know what was really written?"
There are nearly 25,000 whole or fragmentary copies of the individual books of the Bible in our possession today, with some dating back four, six, and even eight centuries before the compilation of the Quran. Due to the fact that everything was hand-copied, thousands of variants arose. Yet, textual critics, who are not necessarily Christians, have carefully examined these variants and have concluded that we have 98.33% of the original reading, with the 1.67% still remaining intact within the variants. Hence, we have virtually 100% of the original reading faithfully preserved via the manuscript copies. Further, the critics have also established the fact that none of these variants affect any major doctrine, since most of them are nothing more than misspellings, numerical discrepancies, and scribal notes which were assumed to be part of the text by later scribes.
An example of a variant is given here for further clarification:
Y*u hav won a million llars
Yo ave w*n mill dollars
You have won a * dollars
You * million dollars
A careful examination of these variants would lead us to the conclusion that the original document read, "You have won a million dollars." This exemplifies the majority of the variants found in the Bible, and clearly demonstrates that these in no way affect any tenet of faith whatsoever. The Quran itself bears witness to the fact that the Bible we have today is the uncorrupted Word of God.
Here is a quote from Bruce Metzger, the foremost scholar on the Greek manuscripts. When asked "In terms of the multiplicity of manuscripts and the time gap between the originals and our first copies how does the New Testament stack up against other well known works of antiquity?"
"Extremely well, we can have great confidence in the fidelity with which this material has come down to us, especially compared with any other ancient literary work."...."The last foundation for ant doubt that the scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed." [Quoted from "The Case for Christ", by Lee Strobel, pages 81, 82.]
When Metzger was asked "How many doctrines of the church are in jeopardy because of variants", he replied,
Muslim misconception #8
"The Quran abrogates the Bible"
Some Muslims understand and acknowledge that the Quran testifies to the integrity of the Bible. Consequently, they have to find a way to justify their rejection of Biblical teachings and still maintain a valid Quran. Thus, they proclaim that the Quran "abrogates" or cancels, the Biblical writings. These Muslims quote Sura 2:106 as proof.
"If We abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten, We will replace it by a better one, or one similar."
However, if there is abrogation it clearly has its limits, for just five verses after 2:106 the Qur'an asks Christians and Jews to `bring your proof' (2:111) from their Scriptures. This would be an irrelevant and contradictory command if it had just taught that their Scripture was abrogated. In fact, just thirty verses after 2:106 the Qur'an says that it makes `no distinction between' (2:136) itself and any of the former Scripture.
The Hadith of Bukhari, volume 6, # 489, says that 2:106 refers to abrogation within the Qur'an itself:
Narrated Ibn Abbas: Umar said, "Ubai was the best of us in the recitation (of the Qur'an) yet we leave (out) some of what he recites". Ubai says, "I have taken it from the mouth of Allah's Apostle and will not leave for anything whatever". But Allah said: "None of our revelations do we abrogate or cause to be forgotten but We substitute something better or similar" (Qur'an 2:106). (Bukhari: vol. 6, Hadith 527, p. 489; book LXI)
Therefore, the Quran abrogates itself. It does not abrogate the Bible.
The objections Muslim often raise have been addressed. Many of these objections rest more upon their recognition that the Quran contradicts the Bible, than upon what the Quran actually teaches about the authenticity of the Bible.
Muhammad believed the Scriptures of the People of the Book, to be God's word. His words recorded in the Quran testify to this. Those Scriptures existed in the hands of the Christians and Jews in the Hijaz before and during Muhammad's life. Thus, the Quran clearly teaches that the Bible is the Word of God. Since Muhammad testified to the integrity, validity, and authenticity of the Bible, I conclude that Muhammad was not a prophet of God. Muhammad's teachings are self-contradictory. God did not reveal or inspire those blatant contradictions found in the Quran. Muhammad's ignorance allowed him to make contradictory statements. However, his ignorance is no excuse, no justification, no ground, for people today to continue to follow his error.
Jesus taught that false prophets would come into the world and mislead people: Matthew 24:11 "and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people"
Muhammad was one of those false prophets and he has misled many.
 "The Life of Muhammad", by A. Guillaume, published by Oxford, London, page 268, a compilation of the "Sirat Rasulallah" by Ibn Ishaq (d.782 A. D.).
 "The Koran", translated by N. J. Dawood, published by Penguin, London.
 "The Holy Qur'an", translated by Yusef Ali, published by Amana, Beltsville, Maryland, USA.
 "The Koran", translated by A. J. Arberry, published by Oxford, London.
 "Sahih al-Bukhari", translated by M. Khan, published by Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India.
 "Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir", (Book of the Major Classes), by Ibn Sa'd (d. 852 A. D.)
 "The Quran and the Bible in the Light of Science and History, by Dr. William Campbell, published by MER. http://answering-islam.org/Campbell/
 Articles by Sam Shamoun can be found at:
 "The Christian Witness to the Muslim", by John Gilchrist, published by "Jesus to the Muslims".
 "The Canon of Scripture", by F. F. Bruce, published by Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois.
 "The Canon of the New Testament, its Origin, Development, and Significance", by Dr. Bruce Metzger, published by Clarendon.
 "Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible", published by Abingdon.
 "The Origin of Islam in its Christian Environment", by Richard Bell, published by Frank Cass & Co LTD, London.
 "Makers of Arab History", by P. Hitti, published by St. Martin's Press, NY.
 "Tarîkh al-'Arab al-Qadîm", by Nabîh Aqel, published by Dâr al-Fikr, Beirut.
 "Christianity Among the Arabs in Pre-Islamic Times", by J. S. Trimingham, published by Longman Group Limited, London.
 "The Arabs in History", by Bernard Lewis, published by Harper and Row, NY.
 "A History of the Arab Peoples", by Albert Hourani, published by
 "Jesus, The Life of the Messiah", by Jacques Jomier, published by C.L.S., Madras.
 "Dear Abdallah", by Gerhard Nehls, published by Life Challenge [Africa, SIM International].
 "The Message of the Quran", by M. Asad, published by Dar Al-Andaulus, Gibraltar,
 "The Quran and Its Interpreters" by M. Ayoub, vol. II - The House of Imran;  published by Albany, N.Y.; State University of New York Press, 1992.
 "The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?", by F. F. Bruce, published by Intervarsity Press; Downers Grove Il., rpt. 1992.
Rev A: 3/18/2000
Articles by Silas
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