Abrogation of the Bible: An Islamic point of view

Munawer Ghumman, Student Jamia Ahmadiyya UK
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Image: Yoshi Canopus via Wiki Commons

Recently, I was discussing this with a Christian friend who challenged me to prove, from the Holy Quran and other Islamic sources, that the Bible has been abrogated.Below, I shall provide a brief background on how and why the Bible has been corrupted and then after that, I shall cite evidence from three main Islamic sources: (1) the Holy Quran, (2) Sahih al-Bukhari, and (3) writings of the Promised Messiahas

Since the beginning of time, God Almighty has sent a countless number of prophets throughout the world to every nation and people. God has sent these prophets and messengers according to the spiritual needs and requirements of those respective people. Alongside this, we have also observed throughout history, that every time a prophet comes, the followers of that prophet are elevated spiritually and physically. However, after that prophet passes away, it has been shown clearly that the respective prophet’s followers, when they forget the teaching they were bestowed with, fall into a heavy state of decay and become lost in a sort of darkness.

Their falling into this darkness and state of decay is due to multiple reasons. One of them is human nature, to some extent. The second, and more critical reason, is that all of their prophets have only had a limited teaching and scope of mission. This is also why God would constantly send prophets to bring the people back towards their true Creator and not move away from the true teachings of their respective prophets.

Thus, when the world had reached a point where they were ready, physically and mentally, to have a prophet whose message was not limited and confined to the people he was sent to, God Almighty then sent the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa to the world. He was the first and only prophet to bring a spiritual law to the entire world as a whole. After the Holy Prophetsa passed away, after some time, as prophesied by the Holy Prophetsa himself, Muslims began to fall into a state of decay and began to move away from the true teachings of Islam.

Proofs from the Holy Quran

Although the Holy Quran has remained perfectly preserved and will always remain preserved, the same cannot be said for the Bible and other religious texts. I will provide material proving that the Christian doctrine and the Bible are corrupt from Islamic sources specifically.

God Almighty has referred to this corruption in upwards of seven verses of the Holy Quran. Here, I shall share four verses:

Verse 1

“O People of the Book, exceed not the limits in your religion, and say not of Allah anything but the truth. Verily, the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only a Messenger of Allah and [a fulfilment of] His word which He sent down to Mary, and a mercy from Him. So believe in Allah and His Messengers, and say not [‘They are three.’] Desist, [it will be] better for you. Verily, Allah is the only One God. Far is it from His Holiness that He should have a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And sufficient is Allah as a Guardian.” (Surah an-Nisa’, Ch.4: V.172)

Christians claim that the concept of the divinity of Christ and the trinity is what Jesusas preached; however, this concept is refuted by the Holy Quran. This verse refers specifically to the Christians and commands them not to exceed the limits of their own religion and continues to warn that they should not speak anything of God except the truth. Then, furthermore, it states that Jesusas is just a prophet of God.

Verse 2

“The Jews and the Christians say, ‘We are sons of Allah and His loved ones.’ Say, ‘Why then does He punish you for your sins? Nay, you are only human beings among those He has created.’ He forgives whom He pleases and punishes whom He pleases. And to Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and what is between them, and to Him shall be the return.” (Surah al-Ma’idah, Ch.5: V.19)

Here, God Almighty is alluding to the fact that there is no such thing as sonship of God Almighty and that the Christians and Jews who falsely assert so are doing so wrongly. Then, God also gives an argument in support of this and states that if this had been the case and they were the sons of God Almighty, then why do they commit sins and are punished for doing so?

Verse 3

With a study of Surah al-Ma’idah, Ch.5: V.73-76 and 79, we learn that the Holy Quran paints a clear picture showing that everything the Christians preach now is opposed to what Jesusas used to teach the Bani Isre’il. Furthermore, God has also put forth multiple arguments in verse 76 refuting the godship of Jesusas. (i) It points out that Jesusas was no better than other Messengers of God in any way. (ii) He enjoyed no higher status. (iii) He showed no miracles the like of which were not shown by other Prophets. In fact, the greatest miracle ascribed to him by his followers is that of the alleged raising of the dead. But the Bible ascribes similar miracles to other Prophets also (see 2 Kings 4:16-35; 13:21). (iv) Another argument mentioned by the verse against his alleged divinity is that he was born of a woman. Being born of a human being, he could not be divine. Moreover, a child is known to inherit some of the prominent traits of the physical and moral make-up of its parent. Jesusas, being born of a woman must have inherited her nature and her qualities and so he could not be God or the son of God. Being human, he was, like other human beings, subject to the natural laws of hunger and of satisfying it by taking food and he was subject also to the natural phenomena that ensue.

Verse 4

Further, in verses 117-118 of the aforementioned Surah, we read a conversation between Allah and Jesusas that shall take place on the Day of Judgement. We read, in this verse, that God Almighty asked Jesusas in regards to his teaching and whether or not he told his followers to take himself and his mother as someone to worship. Jesusas, in reply, categorically denied doing so and added that God is free from such slander.

Proofs from the Hadith

In a hadith, Hazrat Ibn Abbasra advised Muslims not to seek guidance from people who follow other religious books, like the Jews and Christians, as they, Muslims, have been bestowed with the Quran, which is the most recent and unchanged revelation from Allah. He further added that followers of other scriptures, at one point in time, altered their books and falsely claimed it was from Allah to suit their desires. He asked, “Isn’t the knowledge revealed to you sufficient to prevent you from asking them?” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Shahadat, Hadith 2685) Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-i‘tisami bi l-kitabi wa s-sunah, Hadith 7363, narrates a very similar hadith to this.

These ahadith demonstrate, explain and make it clear that there Muslism agreed that specifically the Bible and other religious scriptures have been corrupted. Hazrat Ibn Abbasra explained this in-depth and substantiated the claim that the Bible has been corrupted by Christians themselves.

Proof from the writings of the Promised Messiah

The next piece of evidence I would like to put here is the excerpt from the book of the Promised MessiahasTestimony of the Holy Quran:

“It was written that the Antichrist would claim both Prophethood and Godhead, and so it came to pass through this people. Brazen and unwarranted interpolation into the books of the Prophets on the part of the Christian clerics is, in other words, tantamount to claiming Prophethood. They have so boldly interpolated into them as if they themselves were the Prophets. They have twisted the words of the revealed books and written their commentaries to suit their purpose. Moreover, they have audaciously fabricated lies at every occasion, hiding what is present and displaying what is not present. They have so authoritatively altered the meaning of their religious books as if they received revelation and were Prophets themselves.” (Testimony of the Holy Quran, p. 30)

After reading the above-researched material, room for doubt shall no longer linger in anyone’s mind.

Concluding comments

As for those of you who quote Surah Yunus, Ch.10: V.95, whilst making false claims that the Holy Quran orders Muslims to take guidance from the Bible and the Torah and that therefore they must be true, I shall now move on to briefly disprove this notion and explain how it is completely and utterly baseless.

Firstly, the above-mentioned references are enough to dispel this notion. Secondly, nowhere in this verse does it say that we should go and turn to the Bible for guidance:

“And if thou art in doubt concerning that which We have sent down to thee, ask those who have been reading the Book before thee. Indeed the truth has come to thee from thy Lord; be not, therefore, of those who doubt.” (Surah Yunus, Ch.10: V.95)

The verse means that as for those who object, they are told that if, as they assert, this Book (i.e., the Quran) gives rise to doubts, they should enquire from those who have benefited by reading and acting upon it. They will then find how it has illuminated their hearts and raised them to the highest pinnacles of spiritual glory.

The next point to dispel this notion is that Jesusas was never given a law-bearing book from God, nor was the Bible written by him or even in his time. The Holy Quran also affirms this in Surah al-Ma’idah Ch.5: V.49, wherein it states:

“We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps”

Under this verse, the Five Volume Commentary states that this verse shows that, “like the Prophets who preceded him, Jesusas also was a follower of the Law of Moses, the Gospels being only an exposition of selected teachings of the Torah suited to those times.” (Five Volume Commentary, Surah al-Ma’idah Ch.5: V.49)

“The word انجيل occurring in the verse does not refer to the present four Gospels which were written by the followers of Jesusas long after his so-called crucifixion and which give merely an account of his life and teachings. The word refers to the actual revelation received by Jesus from God. The present Gospels do indeed contain a part of that revelation, but Divine words have become so mixed up with the sayings of Jesusas himself that in many cases it is difficult to distinguish between the two. The Gospels contain a good deal of matter which is admittedly not of Divine origin. The saying of the Holy Prophetsa, اناجيلھم صدورھم i.e. “the breasts of my Companions are like Gospels” (Lisan), sheds some light on the significance and position of the Gospels. This saying of the Prophet means that the breasts of his Companions were repositories of his life history and teachings which are indeed a great gospel. It may be inferred from this that the position of the present Gospels is analogous to that of the collections of Hadith, such as Bukhari, Muslim, etc.” (Ibid., Surah Aal-e-‘Imran, Ch.3: V.4)

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