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Handling Muslim Objections, Part 1: “The Bible Has Been Corrupted”

Muslims have a lot of mistaken ideas about the Christian faith. In a series of weekly blogs this month, we will look at some of their most common objections so that you can help your Muslim friends to know the truth. In the coming weeks, we will cover Muslim claims that:

  • Christians worship three gods

  • Jesus did not die on the cross

  • The Quran supersedes the Bible

  • Islam replaces Christianity.

The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 3:15 to always be “ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, but with gentleness and respect.”

A common objection to what you may try to share with Muslims from the Scriptures is their claim that the Bible has been corrupted. Muslims are largely unaware, however, that Islam never made such accusations until many centuries after the time of Muhammad! In fact, the Quran itself always speaks very highly of the Torah (Tawrat) and the Gospel (Injil).[1] It even declares that Christians are to be judged by what is written in them, thus acknowledging that the Bible remained a trustworthy guide at the time that the Quran was written (Surah 5:47).

Muslims may be confused by a few verses in the Quran speaking about unscrupulous people who twist the interpretation of the Bible in their teaching and writing.[2] However, it does not suggest that the Bible itself has been lost or corrupted. This is no different than what the Bible itself warned about in Titus 1:10-11, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, and Revelation 22:18-19.

Accusations of the Bible’s corruption were first seriously promoted by Ibn Hazm in eleventh century Spain when public dialogues made it clear that the Bible plainly contradicts the Quran. Before this time, Muslims wrote extensively for centuries about the Bible without accusing it of being falsified. The fifteenth century Muslim writer, Al-Biqai, felt that only a small part was corrupted, just as Islamic jurist al-Shafi and even ibn Hazm himself had done, but characterized those who completely rejected the Bible as being arrogant and belligerent. Even the famously strict Islamic cleric ibn Taymiyyah never claimed that the Bible itself was corrupted although he repeatedly accused Christians of altering the meaning of their Scriptures.

The renowned Muslim philosopher and physician Ibn Sina (Avicenna), who lived during the time of ibn Hazm, even wrote of the impossibility of the Bible being falsified. He noted that the Bible had been quickly dispersed amidst political persecution among different nations living far away from each other and having very different cultures. It also was accurately preserved among both Christian and Jewish communities who were hostile toward each other.

Accusations of biblical falsification in more recent times often stem from the Islamic scholar Mawlana Kairanwi who lived in the mid-1800s. However, his objections were answered long ago through archaeology and the discovery of hundreds of Bible manuscripts predating Islam, including the Dead Sea Scrolls. And yet, these outdated claims against the Bible are often still cited by Muslims today. 

Ironically, although the alleged conditions often imagined by Muslims for the Bible to have been universally altered by some powerful Christian king never existed, that is exactly what Islam claims about the preservation of its own Quran! The leading Islamic authority al-Bukhari says that the Muslim leader Caliph Uthman issued official copies of his own version of the Quran to the major Islamic cities of his day and then ordered the destruction of all earlier versions of the Quran (Sahih Bukhari Volume 6, Book 61, Hadith Number 509-510). So, it is easy to see why Muslims might mistakenly think the way that they often do about the Bible.

The simple fact is that we still have complete manuscripts of the entire Bible that were written centuries before the time of Muhammad, when, as we saw, the Quran acknowledged that the Bible remained a trustworthy guide (Surah 5:47). Decisively, these early manuscripts agree with the Bibles we have today, thus disproving Islamic claims of the Bible’s corruption! By the providence of God, the Bible is by far the best-preserved ancient book in history. There are thousands of manuscripts, in whole or in part, dating back in some cases close to the time of the original writing.[3] The Bible remains a reliable guide for all, including our Muslim friends whom we dearly wish to see with Christ in eternity!

[1] The Quran mentions the Torah and the Gospel in only 10 passages and always speaks highly of them: Surah 3:3-4, 3:45-48, 3:65, 5:46-47, 5:66-68, 5:110, 7:157, 9:111, 48:29 and 57:27.

[2] Places where the Quran mentions unscrupulous people twisting the interpretation of the Bible are at Surah 2:79, 3:78, 4:46 and 5:13-15.

[3] An excellent new book for a deeper look into why Islam needs to claim that the Bible has been corrupted is titled Whatever Happened to Christianity by Fred Farrokh and is available on Amazon.

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