The Bible has been changed is the common assertion of the Muslim but if this is true when was the Bible changed or corrupted?
Was the Bible Changed before Muhammad’s time?
The Quran’s view of the Bible
> “It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind”, (Al-‘Imran 3:3)
> “That which We have revealed to thee of the Book is the Truth, confirming what was (revealed) before it” (Fatir 35:31)
> “This Qur’an is not such as can be produced by other than Allah; on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book wherein there is no doubt from the Lord of the worlds” (Yunus 10:37)
> “Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel – for he brings down the (revelation) to thy heart by Allah’s will, a confirmation of what went before Al-Baqarah 2:97)
> “The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers” (Al-Baqarah 2:285)
> “O ye People of the Book! believe in what We have (now) revealed, confirming what was (already) with you, before” (An-Nisa’4:47)
Is it not strange that the all knowing Allah did not warn Muhammad that corruption had occurred in the scriptures? Why he did the opposite he confirmed them as being accurate, neither regarding them as corrupted or altered. It has long been acknowledged that there are only two possible conclusions to be made; either Allah confirmed the false scriptures or Allah confirmed the true scriptures, surely no one would justify the first!
Muhammad declares the trustworthiness of the scriptures
We provide below a list of verses from the Quran that teach that the Taurat and the Injil were in the hands of the People of the Book and that they were carefully studied in Muhammad‘s time. Rewards are promised to “The People of the Book” if they continue to obey its teachings and they are urged to judge Muhammad’s claims on the basis of their uncorrupted books. Why would Muslims want to claim the Bible has been corrupted before Muhammad’s times when Muhammad himself declares it’s trustworthiness?
>”And believe in what I reveal, confirming the revelation which is with you” (Al-Baqarah 2:41)
>”But the transgressors changed the word from that which had been given them; so We sent on the transgressors a plague from heaven, for that they infringed (Our command) repeatedly” (Al-Baqarah 2:59)
> “Ye People of the Book! Why do ye clothe Truth with falsehood, and conceal the Truth, while ye have knowledge?” (Al ‘Imran 3:71)
>”But the transgressors among them changed the word from that which had been given them so we sent on them a plague from heaven. For that they repeatedly transgressed” (Al-‘Araf 7:162).
> “Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel” (Al- Maidah 5:47).
> “O ye People of the Book! believe in what We have (now) revealed, confirming what was (already) with you “(4:47).
> “Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say: “This is from Allah,” to traffic with it for miserable price! Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby Al-Baqarah 2:79).
Some of these passages (e.g. 2;59; 3:71) show that the Taurat held by the Jews in those days was in an uncorrupted state. The fact that they were accused of ‘clothing the truth with falsehood‘, or traffic with it for a miserable price, or even changed the words shows that the passages were genuine. Surah 2:59 informs us that in Moses’ time, certain impious Jews changed the words (mispronounced words which God had spoken), and thereby changed it’s meaning for which they were at once punished. But even these men were never charged with corrupting the book.
When it is twice said that certain Jews in Muhammad’s time used to change the words (shift the words from their places), such a charge is never brought against the Christians. So, even if we were to admit that this expression means a physical change, it relates only to the Law and not to the Gospel.
Has the Bible been Changed since Muhammad’s Times?
The Logical Argument
The Muslim asserts that if the Bible was not changed before Muhammad’s times then changes must have been made after his life because the Quran appeals to it‘s agreement with the Bible as a proof of it‘s inspiration. Such assertions are constantly made but proofs are less often presented.
1. What possible objective would Christians or Jews have in endeavouring to corrupt their own scriptures? For the Christian a strong denouncement is made against any who would take away from God’s Word – Revelation 22:18, 19.
2. Likewise the Jews were also are commanded to avoid this sin – Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32 and Proverbs 30:5, 6. By corrupting their own scriptures yet continuing to believe in them (if that were possible), or to hand them down to their descendents as the Word of God would be deceiving and destroying truth to their own children.
3. If there were verses extracted from the text that prophesied the coming of Muhammad why didn’t they accept Muhammad as a fulfilment of scripture? Jews and Christians would then have been able to share in the spoils of the conquests as other converts did when they conquered and plundered Persia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and other countries. Surely the temptation would have been greater to insert prophecies relating to Muhammad to enable them to share in the spoils! They would also have been free from persecution and would have not been given the status of zimmis. Why should they, by striking out such prophecies (if any existed) doom themselves and their children to sufferings both here and the Hereafter?
4. The mere logistics of changing the scriptures which had already spread throughout a large part of the world is strong evidence against any alteration of scripture. It would have been impossible for collusion to have occurred and had they altered the manuscripts without collusion their alterations would have differed from one another and been readily detected. The wide areas of Europe, India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine, Arabia, Ethiopia, Egypt and the whole of North Africa had Christian and Jewish residents. In view of the friction between Christians and Jews surely either party endeavouring to change the text of the Bible would have been detected and exposed. Yet to this day the Jews have always accepted the same Hebrew Old Testament while all Christians accept the same Greek New Testament. Christianity like Islam has known its sects where persecution of one another has occurred, such groups would never conspire together to corrupt the Bible.
5. Surah 3 Al Imran:113 states that “among the People of the Book is an upright folk ……… and these are of the righteous.” Would such a group have permitted a corruption of the scripture without a protest!
6. In the early days of the spread of Islam not a few Jews and Christians embraced Islam for various reasons. Why did not these coverts produce unaltered copies of the scriptures and openly shame their former co-religionists. Yet neither in ancient times nor at present do we have a single copy showing such wholesale alterations.
The copies which we possess were copied from earlier manuscripts long before Muhammad’s time. It is from these manuscripts that we can know the Bible which was in the hands of Christians in Muhammad’s day. These manuscripts are open to inspection to this day.
The Siniatic (Codex Siniaticus) written in the middle of the fourth century about 270 years before the Hijrah of Mohammad. It contains the whole of the New Testament and a large part of the Old, and is preserved in the British Museum, London. The Alexandrian (Codex Alexandrinus) was written early in the 5th century, more than 200 years before the Hijrah. It contains the whole Bible, except a few pages that have been lost. It is in the British Museum, London. The Vatican (Codex Vaticanus) was written early in the fourth century about 200 years before the Hijrah. It contains the whole of the Bible although the latter part of the New Testament (from Hebrews 4:14) is written in a later hand. It is in the Vatican Library in Rome. Codex Ephraemi was written early in the 5th century, about 200 years before the Hijrah. It is fragmentary, and contains pages from each book of the Bible. It is kept in the National Library at Paris.
All these manuscripts are written on parchment evidence of their great age. All scholars both believers and unbelievers endorse their pedigree.
Further proof of an unchanged Bible rests in versions in languages which have long since ceased to be spoken. We only briefly list them: (The Septuagint Greek); Three Versions of the New Testament and one of the Old in Syriac; Three Coptic versions ; Two Latin Versions; The Ancient Armeaean; The Gothic; Several Aramaic versions.
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