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Handling Muslim Objections, Part 4: “The Quran Supersedes the Bible”


Muslims believe that the Quran is Allah’s final revelation to humankind and that it replaces the Bible. To back this up, Islam makes many incredible claims about the Quran today. They say that it existed eternally in heaven, but it was sent down to one man, Muhammad, in 610 to 632 A.D. and completed by the Muslim leader, Caliph Uthman, in 652 A.D. Moreover, Muslims claim that the Quran was perfectly preserved since then, and it has had no human interference in its transmission during the last 1400 years to the present day. However, scholars such as Daniel Brubaker, who study the Quran’s myriads of textual variants, are refuting this claim.


By contrast, dozens of men (kings, priests, prophets, fishermen, and more) wrote the Bible over many centuries, and yet it is remarkably consistent and accurate. It is rooted in actual places, time, people, and events that archaeology and other sources have confirmed. God inspired all of its writers, and the entire Bible reveals His promise to crush Satan and bless all nations through Jesus Christ, as prophesied in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15, 12:3).


Due to the abundance of ancient biblical manuscripts, one can readily identify locations in some manuscripts that deviate from the original. The few remaining uncertainties, however, do not affect any major doctrine of the Christian faith. The oldest New Testament manuscripts were written within a few years of the events it describes and often by eyewitnesses.


So, what do we see when we look at the historical evidence to support Islam’s claims about the creation and preservation of the Quran? Until the ninth century, many Muslim scholars had been denying for hundreds of years the idea that the Quran has existed eternally in heaven. It was only when the Asharites, an Islamic faction, came to power that they made this idea of an eternal Quran an official doctrine in Islam.


As to its preservation, Islamic tradition claims that the Muslim leader Caliph Uthman made copies of his version of the Quran and sent them to be used as the official Quran in the major cities of his empire. However, not a single one of Uthman’s Qurans or even one of the many copies that would have been made of them has ever been found to support this story. In fact, there is not even one single complete Quran that has ever been found within a century after the time of Muhammad![1] By contrast, we still have complete manuscripts of the entire Bible that were written centuries earlier than the Quran.


Moreover, Muslim’s claims that the Quran has been perfectly preserved and transmitted up to the present day contradict what early Muslim scholars said! Islamic tradition tells us that parts of the Quran were lost, disappeared, forgotten, cancelled, missing, overlooked, changed, modified, and substituted![2] In fact, one Islamic tradition says, “Let none of you say, ‘I have got the whole of the Quran.’ How does he know what all of it is? Much of the Quran has gone. Let him say instead, ‘I have got what has survived.’”[3] Today there are over thirty Arabic versions of the Quran (not translations) containing thousands of differences, and different ones are accepted and rejected in different parts of the world.


Unlike the Quran, Christian claims for the creation and preservation of the Bible are supported by factual evidence and the historical record, and archaeology has repeatedly confirmed what the Bible says. Also, evidence for the divine authority of the Bible can be seen in the hundreds of true prophecies that it contains, which have either been fulfilled or are in the process of being fulfilled, and to which the Quran cannot compare.


As we see, the Quran does not supersede the Bible in creation, preservation, or content, nor does it fulfill its promises or add anything to biblical revelation. In fact, it contradicts the divinely inspired biblical message of salvation and eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.


The Bible is the true “Word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Jesus prayed to the Father for His followers, saying, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). Moreover, Jesus himself is also the living Word of God and says, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).


The many miracles Jesus performed provide evidence for His divine authority, which even His enemies could not deny, and which the Quran itself mentions. It is only from the Bible that Muslims can know the treasures of eternal life in Christ, and as He said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). It is our sincere hope that the Holy Spirit will open the eyes and hearts of our Muslim friends to accept the true Word of God in order that they might be saved.

 


[1] Special thanks to Jay Smith, Daniel Janosik, and the Master of Arts in Polemics and Apologetic to Islam program at Veritas International University for much of the teaching in this blog.

[2] See Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif p. 23, as-Suyuti, Al-Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur’an, p. 524, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2:2286, p. 501, Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 5:416, p. 288, Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 8:817, p. 539, Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif p. 11, Muwatta Imam Malik, p. 64, Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif p. 117, Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, Book 61, Number 527.

[3] See Jalal al Din `Abdul Rahman b. Abi Bakr al Suyuti, al-Itqan fi `ulum al-Qur'an, Halabi, Cairo, 1935/1354, Vol. 2, p. 25.

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