Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"

"Source of the Qur'an VIII - Borrowing from the Bible?" - 1


This segment is the first in a series in which Dr. Badawi attempts to convince us that Muhammad did not borrow stories from the Bible in order to create the Qur'an. The Bible and Qur'an differ in many theological areas, each presenting a very different picture of God and His plan for our salvation. In spite of these differences, there are some similarities. Muhammad, as we discussed in an earlier segment, either relied on less than knowledgeable Christians, or he did not really understand the tenants and teachings of Christianity. Most of the Qur'an's stories are not from the Bible, but were borrowed by Muhammad from the apocrypha and pseudographia of the Christians and the legends of the Jews.

Host: What about the parallels between the Qur'an and the Bible, was the Qur'an influenced by the Bible?

Jamal Badawi: Many have spent time trying to find the parallels between the two books to show the influence on the Qur'an. There are a number of points which are concealed or forgotten.

1. Muhammad would have had to have been one of the greatest plagiarizers in history but this is not logical on psychological or historical grounds.

I disagree, Muhammad was a very poor plagiarizer. For example, Suras 3:46 and 19:28-34 claim that Jesus spoke from the cradle and, as a child, made clay birds which He turned into living birds. These tales did not come from the Bible (which mentions nothing of this sort). The tale of Jesus speaking in the cradle most likely came from the "Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ" - a 2nd century Arabic apocryphal fable from Egypt, while the story about the clay birds probably came from "The Gospel of Thomas the Israelite" - a well known and documented book of fables.

An excellent example of how Muhammad mixed things up is found in Sura 19:22-26 where Muhammad confounds the birth of Jesus with the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt as described in the "History of the Nativity of Mary and the Infancy of the Saviour" - another fable.

2. The similarity between 2 compositions is not sufficient proof that one was copied from the other, both could have been based on a common source.

True, however the common source cannot be the same in this case because we can trace the Qur'an's stories to apocryphal sources, while the Biblical accounts are well grounded in the context of human history.

3. There are parts of the Bible that might have remained intact and reflect the basis of what was given to the Prophets where the Qur'an is the pure word of God. If God is the source of both, the answers the question.

That does not answer the question. God cannot be the source of both because the Bible and Qur'an disagree on some very fundamental issues, they both cannot be correct. Second, what proof does Dr. Badawi present which proves that the Bible is not intact? A third issue concerns the similarities between the Qur'an and apocryphal fables. Why would God need to borrow (incorrectly in some cases) fables that few people ever believed? Or, presenting the question in a different form, why would Muhammad claim that these fables were the Word of God?

If you look at the 10 commandments, there are similar Hindu scriptures, were they copied? There is an implicit assumption that an older scripture has more validity and that is not true.

They probably were copied - by the Hindus! For information on this topic, please visit this site.

Host: It is assumed that the older is more reliable.

Jamal Badawi: Suppose we assume that two books are both preserved, the situation here is different. If the later revelation was revealed to superceded the prior one, its recency is a plus. Sura 5:48 says:

To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute;

To compare scripture we have to look at authenticity, only the Qur'an do we find clear proof and evidence that it was recorded in the lifetime of its Prophet in the original language.

What is the Qur'an's "clear proof". All we have is the circular argument that the Qur'an is true because it says that it is true. The Qur'an was not recorded, as we know it today, during the lifetime of Muhammad - it was recorded latter by Uthman. Another issue is language. Why is a document considered to be the truth because it is written in one language or another? Is the Book of Mormon true because it is written in the language of its "Prophet" Joseph Smith?

Host: If the Qur'an superceded other scripture, then is there no need to compare the Bible and the Qur'an?

Jamal Badawi: The Bible is commentary and revelation in the Bible and only God's Word in the Qur'an. I do not see problems making comparisons if the intention is to analyze issues and common problems as long as the basic differences are kept in mind.

The claim that the Qur'an is the Word of God has yet to be proven in this series.

Host: What are these differences?

Jamal Badawi: The Bible is a composite of 66 books in the Protestant version written by different authors in different periods. The Qur'an is one consistent book and all came to Muhammad, it was all written during Muhammad's lifetime. The Bible is a composite of injunctions and teachings which may have been divine mixed with commentary of later followers, the Qur'an has no commentary. The words of Muhammad are separate in the Ahadith. The Bible has some element of biography of the Prophets, Deuteronomy speaks about Moses and the four Gospels speak about Jesus. The Qur'an is not a biography about Muhammad, although there is some mention of Muhammad's life. In the Bible there are several books written after the death of the Prophets and Biblical scholars say that this causes problems. Who wrote these books? Hebrews is disputed, who wrote it Paul? These books are not in the original language so who was the translator and when was it translated? H.C. Grant discusses this. Encyclopedia Britannica said that the four Gospels had currency because they were adopted by one church or another. There is no certain knowledge of where the 4 Gospel Canon were formed, they were not the only ones. The entire Qur'an was written down from the mouth of the Prophet in Arabic. There was no human judgement involved in what was to be in the Qur'an.

First, the Qur'an was not written during the lifetime of Muhammad. Second, there are numerous missing passages in the Qur'an.

Host: What do you mean that there was no human judgement involved?

Jamal Badawi: We are told that the 4 Gospels were not the only accounts of the life of Jesus, there were many others. These were selected at Nicea in 325 A.D.. Some refer to the Gospel of St. Barnabas, there were other Gospels. Some books were accepted and rejected at various conferences. We have never heard in Islamic history of holding a meeting concerning which Suras should be in the Qur'an, there was no such problem with the Qur'an. Muslims however, should not reject the entire Bible.

There is no such problem with the Qur'an? How do you explain the textual variant between the modern Qur'an and ibn Mas'ud's Codex? Ibn Mas'ud rejected Suras 1, 113 and 114 and they were not in his Codex.

Host: So Muslims do accept some of the Bible?

Jamal Badawi: It is a part of the Muslim belief to believe in the original scriptures in their original form. The acceptance of the Muslim is qualified by its consistency with the Qur'an, the final word of the creator. Anything that is consistent with the Qur'an can be accepted. When the Qur'an speaks of these books, they are not synonymous with what we have today.

Once again, Dr. Badawi is using circular reasoning. The Qur'an is true because it says that it is true and anything which disagrees with the Qur'an must therefore be false - regardless of what reason and external evidence tells us.

Host: If this is an error, please explain.

Jamal Badawi: The Qur'an speaks about other scripture, the Tawrah, Zabur, and Injeel. A Muslim who rejects these in their original form rejects Islam. The Bible is a collection in the Old and New Testaments. Only the first 5 of the Old Testament are called the Law or Torah of Moses. The Qur'an is not talking about any of this it speaks about what was given to Moses. In Genesis there are aspects that preceded Moses and we do not know if God gave this to Moses. Exodus talks about the Jews in Egypt before Moses went to Mt. Sinai. Deuteronomy talks about Moses which could be interpretation and things written after Moses. The Injeel is not the same as the Gospels which are biographies.

If the Bible is not the Tawrah, Zabur, and Injeel, then what is? How can Dr. Badawi know the contents of a book that does not exist? How does he know that our Bible is not the same as the one mentioned in the Qur'an if he does not have the "true" Injeel?

Andrew Vargo

Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"
Answering Islam Home Page