What is the Muslim view of the Bible?
The attitude of Muslims toward the Bible is enigmatic, to say the least.
On the one hand, the Qur'an speaks very highly of the "Taurah" (Torah),
the "Zabur" (Psalms) and the "Injil" (Gospel) as Scriptures revealed to
Moses, David and Jesus respectively. It calls them "Books of God," describing
them as a "sign," a "light," a "guidance," or a "mercy," and exhorts Muslims
to read and live by them. Muslims therefore profess to believe in "all
the Prophets and all the Scriptures." At the same time, however, they
dismiss the Bible as being invalid and untrustworthy. Muslims explain
this inconsistency by charging that the present Bible is not the same
as the Scriptures referred to in the Qur'an; they claim that the text
has become so "corrupted" that the original Scriptures must be considered
How can Muslims make such claims in the face of all the evidence to the
contrary? To begin with, they will usually claim that the Qur'an itself
states that the Bible has been corrupted. There are indeed a few passages
which accuse the Jews of Medina in Muhammad's day of "corrupting" their
Scriptures, although Muslim commentators themselves are not agreed as
to what is meant by this. Many earlier commentators held that all that
is meant is that they misquoted, not alterated, the text. In any case,
one may safely say that these verses are not the real reason for the claim.
Nor is it that Muslims have studied the manuscript evidence for the text
of the Old and New Testaments, or the principles of "textual criticism,"
and found proof of textual corruption.
The real reason Muslims reject the Bible is that the Qur'an leads them
to expect a "Scripture" very different than what they actually find. To
give one example, the Muslim expects the Gospel to be, much like the Qur'an,
a book revealed to Jesus, not a book about His life. Committed as they
are to the Truth of the Qur'an, the only explanation they will accept
for this discrepancy is that the Biblical text must be corrupted. Despite
overwhelming evidence showing that the Bible has not been changed, few
Muslims are willing to admit it.
How is the Christian to respond to such an attitude? In such circumstances,
it is easy to become exasperated and say too much. Read, ponder memorize
and follow the advice of 2 Timothy 2:24-26. Continue to affirm the Truth.
Keep in mind that, given the Qur'an's understanding of the Scriptures,
it would have shattering implications for the Muslim's faith in it if
he were to admit to the Bible's authenticity. There are excellent inexpensive
booklets to help you. I recommend "The Holy Book of God: An Introduction"
by David Shenk.
Arab World Ministries
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