Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Has the New Testament been changed?

A short overview

So, (…) it is often said by Muslims that the Bible has been changed, but when could it have been changed in relation to the writing of the Qur'an? It cannot have been after the Qur'an was written since we have New Testament manuscripts pre-dating the Qur'an as I have already said. Equally, it cannot have been changed before the Qur'an was written because otherwise the Qur'an would say so. Interestingly the Qur'an does not say that the Bible has been changed at any point. In fact, to the contrary, the Qur'an encourages its readers to compare its own teaching with the Old and New Testaments of the Bible in order to confirm the truth of the message. This makes sense when we understand that the New Testament was not translated into Arabic until after the Qur'an was written. Therefore there was no opportunity for Muslims to realise that there was any clash between the teaching of the two books. This explains why Muhammad used to refer to the Bible for guidance (Sura 5:43, 46 and 6:34 and 10:64).

Most importantly how could God have allowed the Bible to be changed when Jesus himself said that 'Scripture cannot be broken' (John 10:35). Why would anyone have dared to try and change it when faced with the truth of the warnings of the consequences of doing so in the Bible itself. It is significant that the early Muslim commentators Bukhari (Al-Razi) were all agreed that the Bible could not be changed since it was God's Word and several centuries passed before Muslims claimed that it had been changed.

Surely if the Qur'an was indeed written by God, as Muslims claim, it would record the plain fact that the Qur'an and New Testament disagree. Instead - the Qur'an affirms the Bible.


We must also realize that the Uthmani version of the Qur’an is actually a revision of earlier texts. Besides the version of the Qur’an, which was collected and collated on the suggestion of Abu Bakr and Umar by Zaid b.Thabith, there existed a number of other texts, compiled by men even better equipped than Zaid, like Abdallah b. Mas'ud, Ubay b.Ka'b and Abu Moosa. The revision of the Qur’an was ordered by Uthman, because the various Qur’an collections competed with each other. After the Uthmani revision was completed, all previous versions were burned. It surely is significant that even the copy compiled by Zaid, which at that time was in the possession of Muhammad’s widow Hafsa, was destroyed (by Marwan ibn-al-Hakam, Governor of Medinah) (al-Bukhari vol. VI, pp. 477-479, Chapter LXI (3), no. 509; Mishkatul Masabih vol. 3, page 664; Masahif by Ibn Abi Dawood, pp. 24,25; and ibn Asakir, no. 445).



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