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The Revelation of the Bible

Questioner

Ammar

Reply Date

Dec 23, 2016

Question

How was the Injeel revealed to Jesus (pbuh)? Was the revelation process completed during his lifetime? When did the Bible exist free from corruption and when did the corruption start? Thanks a lot, wa-salaam.

Consultant

Answer


Asalamu Alaikum Ammar, 

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.
Muslims must believe in all the scriptures revealed by Allah to all the prophets. This is includes al-Injeel (the Bible) revealed to Jesus Christ (Isa ibn Maryam – Jesus, son of Marry – peace be upon him-PBUH). 

We understand that all the revelations to the prophets came through Angel Jibreel (PBUH), who is called Ruuh al-quds (the Holy Spirit) in the Quran. 

Christians of today regard the Holy Spirit to be god, or rather, they hold that the Holy Spirit is one of the three persons in the One God. Whereas, Muslims believe that the Holy Spirit is Angel Gabriel, or Jibreel (PBUH). 

The revelation of the Bible was completed in Jesus’ lifetime, but was not documented then. How it was revealed to Jesus (PBUH) was not documented either. 

The topic of the corruption of the Bible involves a number of issues: First of all, consider the word “Bible” itself. The word “Bible” is derived from a Greek word “biblos”, meaning book.

This word is used for the whole scripture of Christianity, comprising the Old Testament and the New Testament. 

Also, the use of the word “Injeel” (Arabic word for Bible) is considered inaccurate. By Injeel, we mean the collection of revelations received by Jesus Christ from God. They are not available now in the form of a book. 

What we have is a collection of twenty-seven books called the New Testament. The first four books of the New Testament are called the Gospels. These are supposed to have been written by the four disciples of Jesus; namely, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. 

There are many evidences that the real authors of these four Gospels were not really the disciples chosen by Jesus Christ. Of course, the Gospels speak about the twelve disciples chosen by Jesus himself; but the names Mark and Luke do not appear among these twelve. 

Bible scholars point to evidences to prove that the other two Evangelists, Matthew and John, were also two persons different from their namesakes among the disciples. So, the opinion that the disciples of Jesus wrote the Gospels does not stand up to scrutiny. 

There is an opinion that states that the content and the language of the Gospels clearly show that they are not the word of God, and hence, they were not revelations from God.

See, for example, how the Gospel of Luke begins. Luke 1 (1- 4):

  1. Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, 
  2. Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 
  3. It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 
  4. That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

We can understand the following details from the above verses:

  • Many people had written “those things” believed to have happened in the life of Jesus Christ. 
  • Luke claims to have good understanding of “those things”, not because he was an eye witness, but because he says he received those ideas from eye witnesses and ministers of the word. 
  • Like the others who “set forth in order the declaration of those things”, he too felt like writing them down. 
  • The purpose of his writing this Gospel was so that his friend Theophilus could “know the certainty of those things” wherein he was instructed. 
  • Evidently this is the beginning of a letter addressed to Theophilus.

The foregoing clearly shows that the Gospel of Luke was certainly not a revelation or the result of inspiration. 

The real revelations of God came to Jesus, and, no doubt, he taught his disciples quoting from them. But we have no evidence to prove that Jesus dictated these word for word to be written down and kept intact.

What are called the Gospels today are considered by Muslims to be the compositions made by the four evangelists based on hearsay. And the Gospels clearly show the writers were not careful in recording the words of God as quoted by Jesus. 

Still, most Christians believe that all the Gospels–even the writings of Paul, Peter, and others included in the later books–are the Word of God. This being the case, Muslims cannot accept the whole of the present-day Bible, as the true word of God. 

What a Muslim needs to believe is that God revealed the Injeel to Isa (Jesus – PBUH); and that at least some of the ideas of the Injeel are present in the four Gospels. So, Muslims believe that the original Injeel is different from the Gospels now available. 

Thus, we have no record of the Bible existing free from corruption. But we may say that some of its teachings are preserved in the present-day Bible. 

And Allah knows best. 

Thank you again for your question and please keep in touch. 

Walaikum Asalam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

How the Quran Differs From the Bible

Brief Introduction to the Quran

The Holy Spirit in Islam and Christianity

What Would Jesus Do?




About Professor Shahul Hameed

Professor Shahul Hameed is an Islamic consultant. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.


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