An answer to the book "What did Jesus really say?"
This book should be used as a companion to the book it is an answer to.
Allow me to make a few statements to start with.
In reviewing any publication, it is important that the reliability and integrity of the author is scrutinized. If the author is under suspicion, so is his publication. Please understand me, I will not try to prove the esteemed author a crook, since I believe that he wrote his book in honesty and in the belief that he was doing it for the glory of God.
Unfortunately, good intententions are not enough, since we are dealing here with the question of Truth, that could lead to the salvation or damnation of many people who read it.
There was a mother whose baby became ill with diarrhoea, and doing the culturally correct thing, she took him to a traditional healer. Unfortunately the traditional healer told the mother not to give the baby any water, since he was loosing it through his bowel anyway. The baby dehydrated, and by the time the mother reached the hospital, it was too late. Although the intention of the traditional healer was very good, his prescription killed the patient, because of his lack of ability.
Let us now examine the ability of the author:
One of his first statements is:
In the Qur'an, we are told that the Gospel of Jesus (pbuh) underwent a series of major alterations after his departure until six hundred years later the changes to this gospel had become so severe as to necessitate God's intervention. This is when the final message of God for all time, the message of Islam was sent down upon Muhammad (pbuh). This book attempts to study this claim in as much detail as humanly possible within my limited abilities in order to test the truthfulness of this assertion.
The truthfullness of "this assertion" cannot be tested since the Quran does not claim that the Bible was altered. "This assertion" simply does not exist in the Qur'an and we observe that the author did not give any reference for his confident assertion.
What does the Qur'an really teach about the Bible?
"We did indeed aforetime Give the Book to Moses: Be not then in doubt Of its reaching (thee): And we made it A guide to the Children Of Israel." -- Sura 32:23
TAKE NOTE: Be not in doubt of its, (i.e. the Bible) reaching thee - (i.e. the Muslims of Mohammed's time). The Qur'an states unequivocally that the Taurat reached the Muslims of Mohammed's time. Surely if it was corrupted, there would have been a warning against it, not an endorsement of it?
"And before thee also The apostles We sent Were but men, to whom We granted inspiration: if ye Realise this not, ask of those Who possess the Message." -- Sura 16:43
NOTE: The message is very clear: they had to ask those who posessed it. If it was corrupted, there would have been a warning. This is another endorsement.
"If thou wert in doubt As to what We have revealed Unto thee, then ask those Who have been reading The Book from before thee: The Truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord: So be in no wise Of those in doubt.
Nor be of those who reject The Signs of God, Or thou shalt be of those Who perish." -- Sura 10:94 and 95
These verses from the Qur'an admonished and asked Muhammad and every Muslim since, to accept and trust that the scriptures revealed before Muhammad's time - that is the Bible and not to doubt them.
Sura 5 verses 47 to 50:
47 It was We who revealed The Law (to Moses): therein Was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged The Jews, by the Prophets Who bowed (as in Islam) To God's Will, by the Rabbis And the Doctors of Law: For to them was entrusted The protection of God's Book, And they were witnesses thereto: Therefore fear not men, But fear Me, and sell not My Signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge By (the light of) what God Hath revealed, they are (No better than) Unbelievers.
48 We ordained therein for them: "Life for life, eye for eye, Nose for nose, ear for ear, Tooth for tooth, and wounds Equal for equal." But if Any one remits the retaliation By way of charity, it is An act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to judge By (the light of) what God Hath revealed, they are (No better than) wrong-doers.
49 And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son Of Mary, confirming The Law that had come Before him: We sent him The Gospel: therein Was guidance and light, And confirmation of the Law That had come before him: A guidance and an admonition To those who fear God.
50 Let the People of the Gospel Judge by what God hath revealed Therein. If any do fail To judge by (the light of) What God hath revealed, They are (no better than) Those who rebel."
The context of these ayats is as follows: Non-Muslims came to Mohammed for judgement in their disputes. The Qur'an orders them to be their own judges, and to use their own scriptures (the Bible) as the basis for judgement. Would the Qur'an order this if it was corrupted? Again we see a Qur'anic endorsement of the integrity of the Bible At the time of Mohammed, instead of a warning.
The fact is: Nowhere does the Qur'an even so much as hint that the Bible has undergone changes, in fact, it states that the Qur'an should be tested against it. The Qur'an does say that the Jews of that time lied about the message of their book, but it NEVER questions the integrity of the book itself.
We see that the author, already in his preface, displays his ignorance of the scriptures. What makes this worse is the fact that he is ignorant about the contents of the Qur'an. How can we accept anything this man says about the Bible if he does not even know his own book?
Let us now have a look at his scientific method:
(This next quote is from the chapter on the "Goal of this book", the table entry under "The Bible")
"Muslims are told that the previous scriptures were tampered with by mankind and the Bible should only be accepted in as far as it is confirmed by the Qur'an. It is to be treated with respect, however any statements which clearly oppose those of the Qur'an are to be rejected as the work of mankind."
This statement would make any scholar cringe, since it professes the worst kind of bias. It may seem to Muslims a very pious and worthy thing to say, but it defeates the whole purpose of the book which is to establish the truth about the Bible. How can one study two contradicting scriptures to find which one contains the truth if from the outset the one scripture is made the standard which the other scripture is judged by? He has decided beforehand which parts of the Bible are acceptable and which parts not. The unacceptable parts are not judged by his evidence, but by his bias. The "evidence" is only produced after sentence has already been passed.
This is in contradiction with what the Qur'an teaches, since the Qur'an also teaches that the Bible should be the standard to judge the Qur'an by, and not only the other way round:
"If thou wert in doubt As to what We have revealed Unto thee, then ask those Who have been reading The Book from before thee: The Truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord: So be in no wise Of those in doubt." -- Sura 10:94
In plain English: "If you have any doubts about the Qur'an, compare it with the Bible."
We see that from the outset his criterium for judgement is not his "evidence", but the Qur'an. Why should we accept the evidence of the Qur'an? The only proof that the Qur'an is the word of God is the word of Mohammed. The Bible was written over a period of thousands of years, by more than forty authors, AND THEY ALL TAUGHT THE SAME MESSAGE. Then came Mohammed, and because his message contradicts the message of the previous prophets, we are told, based on the witness of ONE MAN, that the previous scriptures, accepted as the word of God for centuries, were corrupted.
The Taurat says:
"One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established." -- Deuteronomy 19:15
The author says that Paul, and others after him, willingly corrupted the word of God. Yet the only witness he considers before he passes judgement is that of Mohammed. According to the principles in God's word (the Taurat), the case should be thrown out of court.
We will see in the rest of the book that the rest of the author's "evidence " (which he calls upon AFTER he has already passed judgement) is based on false interpretations of history and of the scriptures, and often false facts. The reason for this is his bais: he panelbeats history and scriptures to fit in the mold of the Qur'an.
Stay with us, this study will prove to be an adventure!
1. At these links you will find more in depth studies on the
Qur'anic statements regarding the Bible:
A Qur'anic Truth Unveiled and What the Qur'an says about the Bible.
The Rebuttal to "What Did Jesus Really Say?"
Answering Islam Home Page