We all know God is real. God has given us sufficient evidence of His existence through creation. We don’t need a book to tell us that there is a Creator. Yet if we want to know anything about God, if we want to know who He is, our only option would be some sort of revelation from Him. Among the most famous writings in human history are the Quran and the Bible. Both claim to be the word of God, both claim to be a revelation from the Creator. Let’s look at some basic facts and beliefs related to each:
- A single book without multiple authors, containing 114 surahs (chapters) and 6236 ayahs (verses), arranged non-chronologically
- Compiled after the death of Muhammad by the first caliph, Abu Bakr in 633 CE
- Further standardized by the third caliph, Uthman in 653 CE (all other known copies were reportedly burned)
- Written in Arabic
- Muslims believe that the Quran was revealed to Muhammad orally by the angel Jabril, and that the words revealed are the literal words of Allah. The Quran states that the words contained in it have always existed, eternally inscribed on a tablet in heaven (Surah 85:22). Muslims believe that the words of the Quran have been perfectly preserved, to the letter, since the time of Muhammad until today
- A collection of 66 books written by 40 different authors
- Written over the course of 1500 years, from 1400 BC to 100 CE
- Written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek
- Contains different writing styles such as poetry, prophecy, historical narrative, epistles/letters, law, apocalyptic
- Christians believe the authors of the Bible were personally inspired by God, and that the original writings have been accurately preserved through history, despite minor scribal or copyist errors
Clearly there is a profound difference between these two books, both in terms of how they were written, and in terms of what people believe about them. But despite these differences, if both books are ultimately from God, we should expect perfect agreement between them.
What does the Bible say about the Quran?
Nothing. The latest writings in the Bible predate the Quran by over 500 years, so there is no mention of the Quran in the Bible.
What does the Quran say about the Bible?
Since the Quran came hundreds of years after the Bible, and references many of the same people from the Bible (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Jesus, etc), it makes sense that the Quran would include references to the Bible. In fact, the Quran makes multiple references to the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) and the Gospel (writings about Jesus):
- Surah 3:3 – He has revealed to you ‘O Prophet’ the Book in truth, confirming what came before it, as He revealed the Torah and the Gospel previously, as a guide for people
- Surah 5:47 – So let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah has revealed in it.
- Surah 5:68 – Say, ‘O Prophet,’ “O People of the Book! You have nothing to stand on unless you observe the Torah, the Gospel, and what has been revealed to you from your Lord.”
- Surah 7:157 – They are the ones who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whose description they find in their Torah and the Gospel.
- Surah 10:94 – If you ‘O Prophet’ are in doubt about ‘these stories’ that We have revealed to you, then ask those who read the Scripture before you.
From these ayahs, it is clear that Allah revealed the Torah and the Gospel as his word. Christians and Jews are instructed to judge by their own scriptures and to observe all that is written in them. Muhammad himself confirms that the Christians and Jews had their own scriptures during his lifetime, according to Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2653. Further, we know from manuscript evidence that the Bible that exists today matches the Bible from the time of Muhammad.
But this is a problem.
The Bible and the Quran teach things that contradict each other.
For example, in the Bible, Jesus predicts his death and resurrection multiple times (Matthew 16:21, Matthew 17:22-23, Matthew 20:17-19, Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22), yet the Quran says that Jesus didn’t really die (Surah 4:157).
These cannot both be true.
Perhaps the clearest statement regarding the divinity of Jesus is found in John 1:1-3, where Jesus is referred to as the Word:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
A few verses later in John 1:14, we see that the Word (Jesus) came into this world, as a man.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us
This is a clear statement in the Bible that Jesus is divine and came to earth as a man. But in Surah 5:116, Jesus denies his own deity.
Jesus is referred to as the Son of God throughout the Gospels (Luke 1:30-35, Matthew 14:32-22, Matthew 16:13-17, John 11:25-27, Mark 3:11) and God the Father calls Jesus his Son (Mark 1:11, Mark 9:3, Matthew 3:17, Luke 9:35).
Yet, the Quran says that Allah has no son in Surah 17:111
“All praise be to God, who has had no son and who has no partner in His kingdom, and who needs no protector from disgrace!”
From these contradictions alone, we can conclude that both the Bible and the Quran cannot both be the word of God. Many Muslims have recognized this fact, and have concluded that the Bible must have been corrupted.
But the Quran says no such thing.
Rather, the Quran confirms the inspiration, preservation, and the authority of the Bible. If there was corruption, we would expect to see evidence of this in the Biblical manuscripts that we have – many of which predate the Quran. But we see no such evidence of corruption in the manuscripts.
So although there is no reference in the Quran about the corruption of the Bible, and no manuscript evidence of corruption, Muslims are still forced to believe that the Bible is corrupted because it contradicts the Quran.
This presents another problem.
The Quran states that there is no changing God’s Words:
Surah 18:27 Recite what has been revealed to you from the Book of your Lord. None can change His Words, nor can you find any refuge besides Him.
Surah 6:115 The Word of your Lord has been perfected in truth and justice. None can change His Words. And He is the All-Hearing, All- Knowing.
If the Quran confirms that the Bible is God’s word (Surah 3:3, Surah 5:47, Surah 5:68) and that God’s word cannot be changed, then Muslims who believe the Bible has been corrupted must believe either one of two things:
- God couldn’t protect the Bible from corruption (meaning God is not all-powerful)
- God chose not to protect the Bible from corruption (meaning God is not trustworthy, and He allowed billions of people to be deceived and sent to hell)
Abdu Murray grew up as a Muslim in the United States. He was forced to confront this very issue regarding the Bible and the Quran. If you would like to listen to his story, you can do so below.
If you are interested in studying the differences between Christianity and Islam, this book is one of the best I have read. For a free copy of this book, click here and I will send you one as a gift.