THE SACRED SCRIPTURES OF ABRAHAMIC FAITHS
By Aftab Ahmad Khan
The guidance is an important constituent of the process of creation, trial, justice and reward. God guides the humanity through different means. Firstly; Much earlier than the creation of humanity, God first created all the spirits of humanity, which testified Him to be their Lord, this was the 1st Covenant, then they were put to sleep. He brings the humankind into this world in succession, each at appointed time, spirit is breathed in to him, true nature (hanefa fitr’ah) part of human conscious (the 1st Covenant) is part of human consciousness. This is the reason that even some of African tribes cut off from the civilized world worship One God without images. However majority of human, under the influence of Satan, are caught in the webs of customs, superstitions, selfish desires, and false teachings, thus getting deflected from the true nature. Man is endowed with instincts, forms and faculties exactly suited to what is expected of him. Through these faculties and instincts man can know about existence of God by observing His signs, thus reverting to the true nature. Finally He gives guidance, through His messengers and scriptures, so that the people should have no excuse to plead against Allah for lack of guidance. The messengers convey the message, people are not coerced, they use their intellect for reason and exercise their will, such that may reach the higher destiny of man. Finally; the reward for those who made right choice and punishment for those who fell pray to evil.
God sent messengers to every community, some are mentioned by name in Bible and Qur’an. The message of all the massagers sent to different nations at different times had been same, to worship One God and follow His guidance for success in this life and hereafter. The messengers were required to convey the message only, they were not required to force the people: “Obey Allah and obey His messenger; but if ye turn away, then the duty of Our messenger is only to convey (the message) plainly.”(Qur’an;64:12). Among them Prophet Abraham, peace be upon him (flourished around1800 B.C) the great patriarch asserted the strict monotheism, God chose him as a leader of the mankind after success in trials, which was conditional to His obedience and not applicable to the evil doers among his progeny. His son Ishmael and Isaac were granted prophethood. After Abraham God continuously appointed messengers like Ishmael, Isaac his son Jacob (also known as Israel and his decedents as Israelites or Children of Israel), Joseph, Moses, Elisha, David, Solomon up to Prophet Jesus (peace be upon them all) being the last among Israelites.
The sacred writings of religions, comprising a large portion of the religious literature of the world. The sacred scriptures containing the message of guidance are available to the people after the messengers are gone. Allah says: “He has spelled out His revelations for people who want to understand.”(Qur’an;10:5). Scriptures vary in form, volume, age, and degree of sacredness. Nearly all scriptures were originally oral and were passed down as memorized texts through several generations before being put in writing except Qur’an, the sacred scripture of Islam, which beside being memorized was also written down at the time of revelation. Qur’an, the latest scripture mentions Torah, Zabur (Psalms) and Injeel (Gospel) by name, the scriptures revealed to Prophet Moses, David and Jesus Christ (peace be upon them all) respectively, however this does not preclude existence of other scriptures, like the one to Abraham (peace be upon him), now extinct. Allah says: “We have sent thee (O’ Muhammad) inspiration as We sent it to Noah and the prophets after him; We sent inspiration to Abraham Ishmael Isaac Jacob and the Tribes to Jesus Job Jonah Aaron and Solomon and to David We gave the Psalms. Of some Messengers We have already told thee the story; of others We have not; and to Moses Allah spoke direct.”(Qur’an;4:163-164). None of the present books of the Bible have reached through the manuscript of its author. The available manuscripts date from several centuries after the original books were written. The books of New Testament lack conformity, there are more than 5000 manuscripts, written during different periods by different authors mostly unknown. Hence the Muslims, while believing in all the previous prophets and ‘original scriptures’ adhere to Qur’an, the final preserved revelations available for the guidance of humanity which abrogated all the previous scriptures.
Testament of Abraham:
Qur’an mentions that the law of righteousness and godliness is not a new law, the spiritual truths have been renewed and reiterated again and again in the previous scriptures from Abraham to Moses: “And This is In the Books of the earliest (Revelation),The Books of Abraham and Moses.”(Qur’an;87:18-19); “Or has he not been notified about what was in the books of Moses and of Abraham who always kept his word:”(Qur’an;53:36-37). There is a book in Greek, which has been translated by Mr. G.H. Box, called the ‘Testament of Abraham’ (published by the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, London, 1927). It seems to be a Greek translation of a Hebrew original. The Greek Text was probably written in the second Christian century, in Egypt, but in its present form it probably goes back only to the 9th or 10th Century. It was popular among the Christians. Perhaps the Jewish Midrash also refers to a ‘Testament of Abraham’.
The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is the scripture of Judaism; the Bible (Old and New Testaments together) is the scripture of Christianity. Word ‘Bible’, is derived from Greek biblos ("book") can be compared with byblos ("Papyrus": The writing material of ancient times and also the plant from which it was derived). In the fifth century after Christ, name ‘Bible’ began to be given to the entire collection of sacred books, the "Library of Divine Revelation." The name Bible was adopted by Wickliffe, and came gradually into use in the English language. Interestingly the word ‘Bible’ does not exist in the text of Bible. The order as well as the number of books differs between the Jewish Bible, the Protestant and Roman Catholic versions of the Bible. The sixty-six different books of the Bible were composed by many different writers, in three different languages, under different circumstances; writers of almost every social rank, statesmen and peasants, kings, herdsmen, fishermen, priests, tax-gatherers, tentmakers; educated and uneducated, Jews and Gentiles; most of them unknown to each other, and writing at various periods during the long period spread over 1600 years. No original manuscripts exist. There is probably not one book which survives in anything like its original form. There are hundreds of differences between the oldest manuscripts of any one book. These differences indicate that numerous additions and alterations were made to the originals by various copyists and editors. The earliest extant Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures from the original Hebrew is known as Septuagint. Presumably this translation was made for the use of the Jewish community in Egypt when Greek was the lingua franca. The Pentateuch was translated near the middle of the 3rd century BC; the rest of the Hebrew scriptures were translated in the 2nd century BC. The name Septuagint was derived from a legend that 72 translators worked on the project. Its influence was far-reaching. The Septuagint rather than the original Hebrew Bible was the main basis for the Old Latin, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Georgian, Slavonic, and some Arabic translations of the Bible.
The Bible comprise of Old Testament and New Testament. The word, ‘Testament’ comes fro the Latin ‘testamentum’, translating the Greek ‘diatheke’, the word chosen by Septuagint to translate the Hebrew word, ‘berith’, which strictly speaking means ‘Covenant’ or the covenant between human beings and God’. The Jewish Bible, which include the Hebrew scripture, the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa, forming the covenant between God and the Jewish people that is the foundation and Bible of Judaism while for the Christians it constitute the Old Testament. The New Testament comprising the Gospels, Acts, Pauline and other Epistles, and the Book of Revelation, together viewed by Christians as forming the record of the new dispensation belonging to the Church. The authenticity, accuracy and originality of presently available Torah, Psalm, Gospel and other books as revealed scriptures is doubtful, which is also evident from the long history and complex process of compilation, transmission, revisions, translations and canonization.
The Old Testament, containing thirty-nine books, and the New Testament, contains twenty-seven books. There is a break of 400 years between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The sixty-six books of Bible which include 39 books of Old Testaments and 27 books of New Testaments were chosen, after a bit of haggling, by the Catholic Council of Carthage in 397 C.E; almost four hundred years after the time of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). The Bible of Protestants consists of total 66 books and the Bible of Catholic has 73 books. The literature of the Bible, has played a special role in the history and culture of the Western & Christian world.
Torah is often restricted to signify the first five books of the Old Testament, also called the ‘Law’ or the ‘Pentateuch’. These are the books traditionally ascribed to Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), the recipient of the original revelation from God on Mount Sinai. Jewish, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant canons all agree on their order as: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The written Torah, in the restricted sense of the Pentateuch, is preserved in all Jewish synagogues on handwritten parchment scrolls that reside inside the ark of the Law. They are removed and returned to their place with special reverence. Readings from the Torah (Pentateuch) form an important part of Jewish liturgical services. The term Torah is also used to designate the entire Hebrew Bible. Since for some Jews the laws and customs passed down through oral traditions are part and parcel of God's revelation to Moses and constitute the "Oral Torah," Torah is also understood to include both the Oral Law and the Written Law. Rabbinic commentaries on and interpretations of both Oral and Written Law have been viewed by some as extensions of sacred oral tradition, thus broadening still further the meaning of Torah to designate the entire body of Jewish laws.
Torah comprise of those commandments and instructions raveled to Moses starting with his appointment of Messengers-ship till his death, spread over forty years. Allah says: “We gave Moses the Holy Book (Torah) and the criterion of right and wrong so that you might be rightly guided”( Qur’an;2:53). It include the Ten Commandments given by God on the stone tablets, while Moses got the remaining commandments written, twelve copies were prepared and handed over to each of the twelve tribes. One copy was given in the protective custody to the Levite, which is called Torah. This was intact in the form of Book till the first destruction of Jerusalem (586 B.C). The Levite’s copy of Torah along with stone tablets was kept in the box of covenant. It was so much ignored that during repairs of Temple the Hilki'ah, the chief priest found it and presented to king. It is due to this apathy that few copies of Torah lying in the Temple were lost for ever, during destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. After a captivity of many years, this restoration was begun (536 B.C.), Ezra (Prophet Uzair, peace be upon him) with the help of other notables arranged the entire history of Children of Israel which is now available in the form of first seventeen books of Old Testament.
In the broadest sense Torah (Taurat) is claimed to be the substance of divine revelation to Israel, the Jewish people: God's revealed teaching or guidance for mankind. The actual Torah revealed to Moses is scattered in the books, which can be identified to begin with the phrases, where ever the writer writes; “the God said to Moses” or” Moses said, the Lord your Lord says” and ends with other events. Wherever the author gets in to his explanations and exegesis, it becomes difficult for normal reader to distinguish the Torah from the exegesis. However the experts of ‘revealed scriptures’ can distinguish the divine revelations with some accuracy. Qur’an considers these scattered phrases as Torah and verifies them. If these scattered phrases are compiled and compared with Qur’an, it may be found that apart from some differences in parts, there is no difference in their basic teachings. Allah says: “And, verily, (the essence of) this (revelation, i.e. Qur’an) is indeed found in the ancient books of divine wisdom (as well) (Qur’an;26:196,link 2:42, 61:6); “(O Children of Israel) Believe in My revelations, which are confirming your scriptures; do not be the first one to deny My revelations, and do not sell them for a petty price, fear Me and Me alone”( Qur’an;2:41). Hence it becomes evident that the original source of both the books is the same. Allah says: “We have sent thee inspiration as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him; We sent inspiration to Abraham Ishmael Isaac Jacob and the Tribes to Jesus Job Jonah Aaron and Solomon and to David We gave the Psalms.”(Qura’n;4:163).
Psalms:The book of Psalms in the Bible, is widely known for the sacred song or poems. When the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek (the Septuagint), in the original Hebrew text the book had no name, it was titled Psalterion, referring to a stringed instrument that would accompany such songs. The collection contains much devotional poetry of a high order. Its 150 psalms, ranging in subject from songs of joyous faith and thanksgiving to songs of bitter protest and lamentation, rank among the immortal poems of all time. They have had a profound influence on the liturgies of Judaism and Christianity. Their dating and authorship are highly problematic. The distinction of King and Prophet David (peace be upon him) was the Zabur (Psalms), some of which are still extant. Though their present form is different from the original and they do undoubtedly also include Psalms not written by David.
Talmud: Apart from Hebrew’s Bible, Talmud (in Hebrew: Study, or Learning) is the intellectual work, it comprise the scholarly interpretations, systematic amplification and analysis of passages of the Mishna (Oldest authoritative collection of Jewish oral law, supplementing the written laws in the Hebrew Scriptures), the Gemara (commentary on Mishna), and other Oral Law, including the Tosefta (supplements to the Mishna, compiled around 300 C.E). The Talmud is, first and foremost, a legal compilation, although it deals with the matters of almost all areas of human interest. Two types of Talmuds exist, which have been produced by two different groups of Jewish scholars: the Babylonian Talmud (600 C.E) and the Palestinian Talmud (400 C.E). The Babylonian Talmud is more extensive and thus more highly esteemed. Both Talmuds formulate their own hermeneutics to convey their theological system by defining the Torah and by demonstrating its perfection and comprehensive character. The Talmud remains a text of central importance, particularly in Orthodox Judaism. Intensive modern Talmudic scholarship is pursued in Israel and the U.S.The religious study of the Torah in search of the God who makes himself known in that work is called ‘Talmud Torah’. It focuses on learning God's message for contemporary times through inquiry into the books of Hebrew scripture or those that record the original oral Torah of Sinai, the Mishna, Midrash (large collection of writings that examine the Hebrew Bible in the light of oral tradition), and Talmuds. Talmud Torah is also the name given to an elementary school under Jewish auspices that places special emphasis on religious education.
The New Testament is the second, later, and smaller of the two major divisions of the Christian Bible, and the portion that is canonical (authoritative) only to Christianity. It recounts the life and ministry of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and interprets their meaning for the early church, focusing especially on the new covenant created between God and the followers of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). Like the Old Testament it contains a variety of writing, there are 27 books in the New Testament: four Gospels, or stories of the life and teachings of Christ; the Acts of the Apostles, a historical narrative of the first years of the Christian church; 21 epistles, or letters of advice and instruction to early Christians; and the Book of Revelation, a description of the coming apocalypse: “I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”(Revelations;18-19). Most books were written in the later 1st century AD, though none can be dated precisely. Only two authors are known for certain: Paul, credited with 13 epistles (some make it 14); and Luke, writer of the third gospel and the Book of Acts. Attributions of other authors range from highly likely (for the other three gospels) to completely unknown (for the Epistle to the Hebrews). These documents circulated among the early churches and were used as preaching and teaching sources.
Saint Paul; (10-67 C.E), the alleged author of most of books of New Testament was the early Christian missionary and theologian, known as the Apostle to the Gentiles. His original name was Saul, born as a Jew in Tarsus, Asia Minor. Like many of the Jews there he inherited Roman citizenship, probably granted by the Romans as a reward for mercenary service in the previous century. He used his Jewish name, Saul, within the Jewish community and his Roman surname, Paul, when speaking to Greeks. He was trained as a rabbi but earned his living as a tentmaker. He never met Prophet Jesus while in Jerusalem. A zealous Pharisee, (the ancient Jewish sect that emphasized strict interpretation and observance of the Mosaic law in both its oral and written form) he enthusiastically participated in the persecution and killing of the early Christians. When one of them, Stephen, was stoned to death, the murderers "laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul"(Acts;7:58). Later he converted to Christianity claiming to have experienced a vision of Prophet Jesus, while on the road to Damascus. Three years later he met St. Peter and James and was henceforth became to be known as the 13th Apostle. From his base in Antioch, he traveled widely, preaching to the Gentiles (non Jews). By asserting that non-Jewish disciples of Christ did not have to observe Jewish law, he helped to establish Christianity as a separate religion rather than a Jewish sect. On a journey to Jerusalem, he aroused such hostility among the Jews that a mob gathered, and he was arrested and imprisoned for two years. The circumstances of his death are unknown. Paul's ministry and religious views are known largely from his letters, or epistles, collected in the New Testament, which are the first Christian theological writing and the source of much Christian doctrine. Paul, all but totally obliterated the teachings of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) based upon the authority of his alleged "visions". Paul’s teachings were based more upon his personal philosophy and beliefs than any attempt to cite words or actions of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) himself (e.g. Galatians 2). His followers slaughtered all Christians who would not forsake the teachings of the apostles for his teachings and he was later made the "majority author" of the New Testament (14 out of 27 books) and countless authentic gospels were burned and labeled apocrypha by his followers. It can be seen that the current religion of "Christianity" is based more on the doctrines and writings of Paul than anything else. The Gospels which are popularly believed to have been written first, were in actuality written long after the writings of Paul. It was due to Paul more than anyone else that Christianity became a world religion.
The Gospels :
The word ‘gospel’ is derived from the Anglo-Saxon term ‘god-spell’, meaning ‘good story’, a rendering of the Latin ‘evangelium’ and the Greek ‘euangelion’ (Arabic; Injil), meaning ‘good news’ or "good telling". The 73 or 66 books of New Testament, include four Gospels. The Gospel, is any of four biblical narratives covering the life, the person, death (according to Christian belief) and the teachings of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), as he was remembered by the Christian community. Traditionally their authorship (highly speculative) is attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (the four evangelists), they are placed at the beginning of the New Testament and make up about half the total text. Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) conveyed orally to the people what God had originally revealed to him. His disciples, too, propagated it among the people by the spoken words in such a manner that they presented an admixture of their Prophet's life-story and the verses revealed to Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). None of this material was put into writing during the lifetime of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) or even in the period immediately following him. It fell to the lot of the Christians whose vernacular was Greek to transform the oral traditions into writing. It must be borne in mind that Christ's native tongue was Syriac or Aramaic and his disciples, too, spoke the same language. Most Greek-speaking authors heard these traditions in the Aramaic vernacular and committed them to writing in Greek. The oral traditions have been put into writing from Aramaic to Greek from 50-70 C.E.
Ever since the period of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), there have been people who tried to follow the message preached by Prophet Jesus i.e. To worship one God, adhere to the basic teachings of Moses and follow the law (Torah). They considered Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) as a human, Messenger of God, not God. These groups survived in good numbers up to 4th Century, after Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) till the Trinitarians got upper hand by winning over Emperor Constantine of Roman Empire in early 4th century C.E. The Council of Nicea (Iznik-Turkey) in 325 C.E, besides declaring these groups illegal, selected four Gospels out of a minimum of three hundred available and the rest, including the Gospel of Barnabas (most authentic), were ordered utterly destroyed. However amazingly some copies of Gospel of Barnabas survived, one recently discovered from a cave in Oloderay, a village of Turkey. A copy is also reported to have been found at the Vatican’s library. It has been prohibited by the church, because it is against the doctrine of Christianity (in contradiction to the teachings of Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him) and the unambiguous prophecies mentioned in his Gospel regarding the advent of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). All Gospels written in Hebrew were also ordered to be destroyed. Council of Laodicea (364 C.E) added six books as believable, later in 397 C.E another conference at Carthage, added six more Books. Three more conferences were held after this in Trullo, Florence and Trent (1545-63 C.E). They confirmed the decision of the Council of Carthage and included nearly all the previously doubtful books in the list of acknowledged books. The status of these books remained unchanged until the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. The Protestants repudiated the decisions of the councils and declared that there are only 66 truly "inspired" books of God, and not 73 as claimed by the Catholics. If it is blasphemy to take even a word from the Bible, who is blaspheming? Those who added these seven books from the very beginning, or those who expunged them.
Since the late 18th century the first three gospels (Matthew, Mark & Luke) have been called the Synoptic Gospels, because the texts, set side by side, show a similar treatment of the life of Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him). The four New Testament Gospels compiled as a single narrative by Tatian about 150 C.E is called Diatessaron. It was the standard Gospel text in the Syrian Middle East until about 400 C.E, when it was replaced by the four separated Gospels. Quotations from the Diatessaron appear in ancient Syriac literature, but no ancient Syriac manuscript now exists. A 3rd-century Greek papyrus fragment was discovered in 1933 at Doura-Europus, northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. Whether the original writing was done in Greek or Syriac is unknown. There are also manuscripts in Arabian and Persian and translations into European languages made during the Middle Ages.
The Christian scholars, with extensive research are uncovering extensive evidence that these Gospels were not even written by their claimed authors. Bultmann, Rudolf (1884-1976), a German Protestant theologian and New Testament scholar carried out the analysis of the Gospels in ‘History of the Synoptic Tradition’(1921). He also examined the New Testament using historical criticism to demythologize it. He held that Christian faith should focus less on the historical Jesus and more on the transcendent Christ. John Biddle (1615-62 C.E), an English theologian was involved in English translation of Bible from Greek. His knowledge of the Greek text of the New Testament convinced him that the doctrine of the Trinity was not of scriptural origin, he published his Unitarian convictions in Twelve Arguments Drawn out of Scripture . . . (1647 C.E). He was repeatedly imprisoned and persecuted. Even the Popes themselves would sometimes recognize the falsehood about the dual nature of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and the fact that it was a later fabrication. One of these popes, Honorius I (Pope from 625 to 638 C.E), was officially cursed due to similar views forty eight years after his death by the Synod (council) which was held in Istanbul in 680 C.E.
The first English version of the Scriptures made by direct translation from the original Hebrew and Greek, and the first to be printed, was the work of William Tyndale(1490-1536 C.E). He was of the view that the Bible alone should determine the practices and doctrines of the church and that every believer should be able to read the Bible in his own language. Fearing as an effort to undermine their monopoly and deceit, the church authorities in England prevented him from translating the Bible, he went to Germany. His New Testament translation was completed and printed in 1525, which was ordered to be burnt. He was finally betrayed into the hands of his enemies, and in October 1536, was publicly executed and burned at the stake. Yet Tyndale's work became the foundation of subsequent English translations, beginning with the King James Version of 1611. Ever since the Bible has been translated in almost all the languages of the world. Yet the King James Version has grave defects. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the development of Biblical studies and the discovery of many manuscripts more ancient than those upon which the King James Version was based, made it manifest that these defects are so many and so serious as to call for revision of the English translation. The task was undertaken, by authority of the Church of England, in 1870. The English Revised Version of the Bible was published in 1881-1885; and the American Standard Version, its variant embodying the preferences of the American scholars associated in the works was published in 1901. Thirty-two scholars have served as members of the Committee charged with making the revision, and they have secured the review and counsel of an Advisory Board of fifty representatives of the co-operating denominations. If in the judgment of the Committee the meaning of a passage is quite uncertain or obscure, either because of corruption in the text or because of the inadequacy of present knowledge of the language, that fact is indicated by a note. It should not be assumed, however, that the Committee was entirely sure or unanimous concerning every rendering not so indicated. The Revised Standard Version Bible Committee is a continuing body, holding its meetings at regular intervals. It has become both ecumenical and international, with Protestant and Catholic active members, who come from Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.There are over forty different major versions of Bible, suitable to the doctrine of different followers, one claiming to be batter and more accurate than other. The main versions are: The King James (Authorized) Version, The English Revised Version, The American Standard Version, The Revised Standard Version, Jewish Versions, The New English Bible and The Catholic Versions. Encyclopedia Britannica, mentions that; There is no reliable evidence of any pre-Islamic Arabic translation of Bible. Only when large Jewish and Christian communities found themselves under Muslim rule after the Arab conquests of the 7th century did the need for an Arabic vernacular Scripture arise. The first and most important was that of Sa'adia ben Joseph (892-942 C.E), made directly from Hebrew and written in Hebrew script, which became the standard version for all Jews in Muslim countries.
According to Islamic traditions, Injeel(Gospel) is the name given to those revealed discourses and sayings of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) during the last two and half or three years as prophet of God for the Israelites. There is no authentic information available about their recording and compilation before his accession. The Gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John are not actually Gospels but Gospel (Injeel) is the sayings and discourses of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) recorded in these books in uncorrupted form. The only method to distinguish them from other narratives, comments and exegesis is that wherever the author writes, “Jesus said…” or “Jesus taught..” may help to extract part of Gospel i.e. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”(Matthew;22:37); “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. . . . Whoever thenrelaxes one of the least of these Commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven;” (Gospel-Mathew;5:17-20). Qur’an calls the original revelations (now almost extinct, distorted) of God to Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) as Injeel (Qur’an;5:46). Hence some parts of original Injeel (Gospel) may be retrieved through critical comparison of selected sayings of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) matching with the narratives in Qur’an on similar subject.
Inconsistencies, Violence and Obscenities:
Despite all the revisions, the Bible is still full of contradictions, violence, obscenities and interpolations; many volumes are required to explain them; only few are mentioned here; First; the doctrinal aspects: God dwells in light (1Timothy;6:16); God dwells in darkness (1Kings;8:12, Pslams;18:11).God is all powerful (Jeremiah;32:27,17, Mathew;19:26); God is not all powerful (Judges;1:19). God is not author of evil (Psalms;19:7-8, Deuteronomy;32:4); God is the author of evil (Ezekiel;20:25, Lamentations; 3:38, Jeremiah;18:11, Amos;3:6). God is peaceful (Romns;15:33, 1Corrintihans;14:33), God is warlike (Exodus;15:3, Isaiah;51:15). God cannot lie (Numbers;23:19, Hebrews;6:18), God lies (Jeremiah;4:10, 2 Thessalonians;2:11, 1Kings;22:23, Ezekiel;14:9). Heaven, no man hath ascended (John;3:13) contradicted by 2Kings;2:11, Elijah ascended, and Genesis;5:24 Enoch ascended. Judas (treacherous disciple of Jesus) hanged himself (Mathew;27:5), he did not hang himself but died other way (Acts;1:18). Mission of Jesus was to implement the Law of Moses (Mathew;5:17-19), Law superseded by Christian dispensations (Luke;16:16, Ephesians;2:15, Romans;7:6). Man is Not justified by faith alone (James;2:21,24, Romans;2:13), man is justified by faith alone (Romans;3:20, Galatians;2:16, 3:11-12). Jesus lost "None" of his disciples (John;18:9) contradicted by, he lost only "One" (John;17:12). All are sinners (2Chronicles;6:36) contradicted by: "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin" (1John;3:9).
Secondly; the Biblical narrative of Creation is unscientific, replete with contradictions: On the first day, God created light, then separated light and darkness (Genisis;1:3-5) where as the sun (which separates night and day) wasn't created until the fourth day (Genisis;1:14-19); trees were created before man was created.(Genesis;1:11-12,26-27), Man was created before trees were created.(Genesis;2:4-9); birds were created before man was created.(Genesis;1:20-21, 26-27), man was created before birds were created.(Genesis;2:7, 19). God was pleased with his creation (Genesis;1:31), God was not pleased with his creation (Genesis;6:5-6).
Thirdly; Contradictions in the history and statistics, which are glaring: The story of flood at Genesis 6-9 contradicts with Genesis 7:2-3. The "Lord" tempted David (2Samuel;24:1) or "Satan provoked David (IChronicles;21:1), David’s fight with Goliath differs with one an other (1Samuel;17:56, 16:18-23 & 16:18-19). The number 700 or 7000? "Horsemen" or "Footmen"?(2 Samuel;10:18) viz (1Chronicles;19:18). Solomon had 2000 baths or 3000 baths?(1Kings;7-26 viz 2Chronicles;4:5). Solomon had 4000 stalls of horses or 40000? (2Chronicles;9:25 viz 1Kings;4:26). Did Saul enquire of the Lord or didn't he? (1Samuels;28:6 viz 1Chronicles;10:13-14).
Bible does not mince words for the violent, ruthless and indiscriminate wars of extermination: "Now therefore Kill every male among the little ones, and Kill every woman (female) that hath known man by lying (having sex) with him. "But keep Alive for yourselves all the Girls and all the women who are Virgins."(Numbers;31:17-18); “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”(1Samel;15:3); “slay utterly the old man, the young man and the virgin, and little children and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark: and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the old men that were before the house.”(Ezakhel;9:6); “and thirty-two thousand persons in all, women who had not known man by lying with him.”(Numbers; 31:35). “But in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes,(Deuteronomy;20:16); 'And they Utterly Destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep, and Ass, with the edge of the sword"(Joshua;6:21);"He (Joshua) let None remain alive." (Joshua;10:28). “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm;149:6-9).
In the New Testament the Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) says: “But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them before me.”(Luke;19:27); “Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”(Mathew;10:34), “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and what do I desire, if it is already kindled?” (Luke;12:49),“Do you think that I have come to give peace in the earth? I tell you, no, but rather division.”(Luke;12:51); “And, behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his Sword, and struck a servant of the high priests, and cut off his ear.”(Mathew;26:51). Saint. Paul, in commending the worthy fruits of Faith, mentions the warriors of the Old Testament as his ideals: “And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets -- who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.” (Hebrews; 11: 32-34). The monkish morality of the Gospels in their present form has never been followed by any self-respecting Christian in the history. The Crusades (1095-1291 C.E), Spanish inquisition against Muslims, Jews and Church inquisitions against different Christian sects on the pretext of heresy resulted in the death and destruction of millions.
There are many obscene and blasphemous narratives in the Bible, some of the obscene narratives in Bible can not be narrated here due to the vulgarity; hence only references are mentioned: Judges;19;16:30, Genesis;9:20-27, 19:30-38, Genisis;19:8, Ezekiel; 23:1-4, 4:12-15, Isaiah;20:2-4, 2 Samuel; 6:20, 11:4, 11:6-25; 1Kings;11:4-7 & 11:9-11. Due to the contradictions, inaccuracies, interpolations, violence and obscenities one may then only accept the Bible as a faulty, inaccurate conglomeration of pseudo-historical and religious records that various chronicles have collated under the illusion of divine inspiration, which can not be taken as the authentic word of God to form basis of doctrines for a sound faith.
The corruption and non adherence to the Old and New Testaments by Jews and Christians respectively forms the basis of their replacement with the Final Testament. Allah says: “God accepted a Covenant from the Children of Israel and appointed twelve chieftains from among them and said: "I am with you; if you establish Prayers (Salah) pay Alms (Zakah), believe in My Messengers, support them and give a generous loan to Allah (spend in charity), I will certainly forgive you your sins and admit you to gardens beneath which the rivers flow. However, if any one of you, after this, violates this Covenant, he will indeed go astray from the Right Way. Even after that, they broke their covenant; as a result, We laid on them Our curse and hardened their hearts. They tempered with words out of their context and neglected much of what they were enjoined. You will always find most of them deceitful except for a few of them. Yet forgive them and overlook their misdeeds. Allah loves those who are kind to others. Likewise We also made a Covenant with those who call themselves Christians, but they too have neglected much of what they were enjoined. As a result, We stirred among them enmity and hatred, which will last till the Day of Resurrection and soon God will inform them all of what they have done. O followers of Bible (People of the Book i.e. the Jews and Christians)! Now Our Messenger (Muhammad) has come to you to reveal much of what you have concealed from the Holy Books and to pass over much which is no longer necessary. There has come to you from God a new Light and a clear Book (Qur’an), with which God will guide to the ways of peace all those who seek His good pleasure and bring them out of the depth of darkness into the light of His grace and guide them to the Right Way.” (Qur’an;5:12-15).
Qur’an- The Last and Final Testament:
Qur’an(Recitation), the sacred scripture of Islam, the infallible word of God, a perfect transcription of an eternal tablet preserved in Heaven and revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) during his 23 years of his apostolic mission (610-632 C.E) for the guidance of humanity (Qur’an;12:104, 25:1, 38:87, 68:52, 81:27, 73:19). Allah says: “Blessed is the One Who has revealed Al-Furqan (the criterion to distinguish right from wrong: The Qur’an) to His servant, that he may be a Warner to the worlds”(Qur’an;25:1); “O Prophet, surely We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, for the instruction of Mankind. He who follows the Right Way shall follow it for his own good; and he who goes astray shall do so at his own peril. You are not set up as a guardian over them.”(Qur’an;39:41); “This is nothing but a reminder and a plain Qur’an to warn those who are alive (in heart) and to establish the charge against the disbelievers (on the Day of Judgment)” (Qur’an; 36:69-70). Qur’an is simple and straight message of God (Qur’an;69:40-3,6.153, 18:1-3). It is part of articles of faith of a Muslims to believe in all the previous messengers of God and the scriptures; in the original form in which they were revealed upon them. Allah says: “ (Qur’an is a guide for those) who believe in this Revelation (The Qur’an) which is sent to you (O Muhammad) and the Revelations which were sent before you (Torah, Psalms, Gospel...) and firmly believe in the Hereafter.”(Qur’an;2:4).
The revelations received by the earlier messengers, some available in the form of books in Bible (Torah, Psalms, Gospel etc) were meant for specific people for specific time, besides not being in the original revealed form, their authenticity can not be established due to variant versions. Allah says: “He has revealed to you this Book (Qur’an) with the Truth, confirming whatever there still remains of the scripture which preceded it, as He revealed the Torah and Gospel, aforetime as a guidance unto mankind, and it is He who has bestowed (upon man) the standard by which to discern the true from the false. Behold, as for those who are bent on denying God’s messages- grievous suffering awaits them: for God is almighty, an avenger of evil.”(Qur’an;3:3-4); "Truth has come and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood by its nature is bound to perish.”(Qur’an;17:81). Allah says: “And, verily, (the essence of ) this (revelation, i.e. Qur’an) is indeed found in the ancient books of divine wisdom (as well) (Qur’an;26:196,link 2:42, 61:6) Qur’an was foretold in Bible, Deutronomy;18:15 &18. Hence to discern the true from the false the previous scriptures have been abrogated and replaced with the final revelation.(Qur’an; 2:106-107, 16:101, 5:48).
The Qur’an, consists of 114 chapters (sūrahs) of varying length, revealed in Arabic language. The Qur’an, comprising 6236 verses (ayah) is unrivalled in its recording and preservation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) not only orally passed the Qur’an to the people of Arabia, he also made elaborate arrangements to ensure that it’s contents are preserved. The companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) participated in this preservation process in large numbers, through writing and memorizing the text and safely transferring to the next generation. The Qur’an is not like the writings of the New Testament.
Aftab Ahmad Khan MBA,MA,LADSC(USA)
Aftab Ahmad Khan MBA,MA,LADSC(USA)
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