Today we are going to talk a closer look at the Qur’an, and what we are going to find doesn’t look good for it. Islam has never had to put their Qur’an to the test of critical examination. Now that Islam has come into western universities and has presented itself as superior to all other religions people are starting to look at their scriptures more closely.
Muslims claim that our Bible has been corrupted and the Qur’an is true and pure. They have never offered any proof for this claim. They have never had to back up this claim because they have only had to defend their claim in Muslim countries.
In America and in Europe the Bible has been attacked repeatedly by “scholars” who have done their best to discredit it. This has been done to the point of creating another “science” called Textual Criticism. The Bible has withstood all of the efforts to discredit it. The more they have searched, the more the archaeologists have dug, the more evidence that is found, the more the Bible has been validated.
One of the greatest discoveries was the 1948 discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls contain copies of books of the Old Testament that are 1,000 years older than those used to translate our Old Testament. They show that over this long space of time our Scriptures have not changed. They are still the same today as they were when these copies were made in 200-250 BC.
We have found over 6,000 ancient manuscripts of the New Testament. It is true that there are variants in these manuscripts but there are families that can be identified. The largest family, which contains more than 95% of all of these manuscripts, has minor variations like spelling errors. They all read the same in this family. There are other families, less then 5% of all of the evidence, which are obviously corrupted. It is easy to see God’s hand of protection and preservation on our Bibles.
Textual criticism has tried to discredit our Scriptures. What it has done is validate the manuscripts of the Textus Receptus from which our King James Bible was translated. In spite of all the efforts to discredit or disprove our Bible, it has stood the test and been proven to be accurate.
Now that the Muslims have come to the west their Qur’an has come under the same examination process as our Bible.
Claim that they still have the Uthman Qur’ans which was supposedly given 20 years after Muhammad died in AD 652. Prior to this the Qur’an was kept by oral tradition where men memorized it. They will even admit that there were seven versions of the Qur’an floating around before it was ever written down.
Uthman gave rules concerning the writing down of the Qur’an which dealt with how to handle the disagreements between the different traditions. They were not to follow the scribe of Muhammad, they were to follow the Quraish version because that was Muhammad’s language. Let’s assume they got it right.
Under Uthman in the middle to late seventh century four Qur’ans were written. They were sent to different places, Damascus, Mecca, etc. Their claim for purity of the Qur’an rests upon these texts.
The problem is that they can’t show us one of the Uthman Qur’ans. The earliest Qur’an ever found dates about 150 years after Uthman. The Qur’anic record has 150 year hole in it. We don’t know what the Uthman Qur’an said.
Earliest Qur’ans that have been found are the Samarquand and the Topkapi manuscripts. They are written in the Sufic script which was developed 150 years after Muhammad at best. The Uthmanic Qur’ans would have been written in Nabataean Script. These scripts had no diacritical marks or vowels. It was written as a Consonantal language.
We need to understand the the Arabic language writing was just being formed in Muhammad’s day. There were no books in Arabia and the first book ever known to be written in this language is the Qur’an.
The Samarquand is located in Hast Imam library, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and is in the control of the Russians. The other manuscript is kept in the Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul, Turkey. The Topkapi manuscript is more complete than the Samarquand. It is only missing a couple of leaves. The Samarquand has many more parts missing.
These manuscripts date to the 8th or 9th centuries. This raises the question, how do we know that we have a Qur’an that goes back to Uthman? Remember, this is where Muslims claim we find the true Qur’an. They call Ulthman’s Qur’an the perfect book and they can’t produce one manuscript supporting it.
Although we don’t have the original autographs of our Scriptures, we do have large numbers manuscripts that exist from very ancient times, some are dated well within the lives of the Apostles. The most recent find is a portion of the book of Mark that is dated around 65 AD.
Another problem with the Qur’an is that Muhammad plagiarised from other religious writings. He quoted from the Bible and this is a fair thing for him to do because claims that his revelation is a continuation of the revelation God gave to Moses, Abraham, David, etc. He does commit plagiarism when he uses religious writings of other religions that were written before his day. He borrows from the religious myths of his day.
We have what we call the Canon of the Scriptures that are received by all Christians. There are also other writings that were never accepted as part of Scripture. They were rejected by most Christians. One example of these is called the Apocrypha. They are included in the Catholic Bible and considered authoritative. Although they were never considered as scripture by Bible believing Christians, they were originally printed in the King James Bible for reference purposes just as we have non-scriptural things like notes and concordances printed in our Bibles today.
There were also other “gospels” written by heretical groups like the Ebionites. This group rejected the writings of Paul and lived under the Old Testament law. The Uncle of Muhammad’s first wife was an Ebionite priest. It is easy to see the influence this group may have had on Muhammad.
Muhammad borrowed heavily from the Gospel of Barnabas. This “gospel” was rejected by Christians but accepted by the Ebionites. Let me give you and example. The Qur’an says that Jesus did not die on the cross. Islam teaches that Jesus’ image was placed upon another and he was taken by Allah to heaven.
The Qur’an says:
“And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the apostle of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure. Nay! Allah took him up to Himself; and Allah is Mighty, Wise.”
The Gospel of Barnabas was written by an Ebionite and it says:
“Truly I say that the voice, the face, and the person of Judas were so like to Jesus, that his disciples and believers entirely believed that he was Jesus; wherefore some departed from the doctrine of Jesus, believing that Jesus had been a false prophet, and that by art magic he had done the miracles which he did: for Jesus had said that he should not die till near the end of the world; for that at that time he should be taken away from the world.” (Barnabas 217:14)
You can see where Muhammad got his idea on this subject.
Another example of Muhammad plagiarizing from other works is where the Apocrypha tell of Jesus, as a child, making clay birds come to life.
“When God shall say, O Jesus! son of Mary! remember My favour upon thee, and upon thy mother; when I strengthened thee with the Holy Spirit that thou shouldest speak unto men in the cradle and when grown up. …. when thou didst create of clay as it were the figure of a bird by my permission, and didst breathe thereon, and it became a bird by my permission.”
Source: The Gospel of Thomas the Israelite.
Jesus clapping his hands at the sparrows cried aloud to them ‘Go off.’ So they clucking flew away
Another example is the Night Journey where Allah takes him on a spiritual journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and from Jerusalem to Heaven.
Surah 17 describes a literal bodily journey by night upon the back of a fabulous steed, not merely to the further temple (the temple of Jerusalem), but to heaven itself, where the Prophet ascended from story to story, until he reached the very presence of God and learned many of the secrets of heaven. This story come from a Persian myth found in the “Arta’ Viraf Namak” which was written some four hundred years before his time.
Even the Houris, the virgins the Qur’an talks about in Surah 15:46-76 come from Persian myths. Every reader of the Qur’an is familiar with the pictures of the sensual paradise found here, and of the Houris with large black eyes who recline upon luxurious couches waiting the embraces of the faithful.
As you can see, the Qur’an is a conglomeration of stories and myths of Muhammad’s days. He used them to invent a religion that fit his idea of what a religion should be. It is full of inconsistencies, distortions, and historical errors.