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Is The Gospel of Barnabas Real?

29 June, 2017
Q I know that the Gospel of Barnabas validates a lot of the claims we Muslims make about Isa and the prophecy of Muhammad (PBUH). But do Muslim scholars believe this Gospel is a valid source?


Asalamu Alaikum,

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Dr. Shabir Ally addresses this question in the video below:


Safiyyah Ally: Dr. Shabir Ally, here’s a question about the Gospel of Barnabas. Someone’s asking what’s your view of the Gospel, which gives credence to the Islamic position on Jesus (peace be upon him), and the origins of Christianity. Is it a real account of Jesus’s life written by a real disciple? Or should we take it with a grain of salt?

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Dr. Shabir Ally: Well, many Muslims became interested in this Gospel of Barnabas because it depicts the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as being foretold by Jesus. Jesus says, “after me will come one, and his name will be Muhammad”.

And the other issue is that it, the Gospel of Barnabas, depicts the crucifixion event in a way in which many of the Muslim commentaries on the Quran depicted that event, in that somebody else was changed to look like Jesus.

And that someone else was put on the cross, while the persecutors of Jesus thought that they killed Jesus. But, in fact, they crucified somebody else.

And so, for Muslims, were very interested in the Gospel of Barnabas for these two reasons. However, I hesitate to use it as an authentic account because the way in which Muslims authenticate matters is by having a chain of authorities to relate a historical event.

And the chain of authorities in the case of the Gospel of Barnabas is missing because, for many hundreds of years, this Gospel was not seen anywhere, and then suddenly turned up in the middle ages.

So, because of that break in continuity, we can only know that there used to be a Gospel of Barnabas at one time, which became banned. And then it was missing for many hundreds of years. And then suddenly a copy turns up somewhere.

Is this a real copy of the original Gospel of Barnabas? Or is this something new that somebody else composed in the name of Barnabas, one of the early Christians?

One cannot say for sure, and because of this, I hesitate to use it as an authentic account of the life of Jesus (on whom be peace).

I hope this helps answer your question. Please keep in touch.

Walaikum Asalam.

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