Friday, March 31, 2006

A Muslim’s Pocket Guide to Christianity

From chapter 3 of A Muslim’s Pocket Guide to Christianity, by Malcolm Steer, published by Christian Focus 2005

The Qur’an frequently refers to the Holy books of the Jews and Christians and calls such people the ‘People of the Book’. Muslims view the Qur’an and Islam as a continuation and fulfilment of previous revelations and therefore regard all previous prophets and holy books as proclaiming essentially the same message as the Qur’an. However, differences do exist and many believe that the differences have been caused by changes and corruptions introduced by Christians and Jews into the Bible during the course of history. Is it also asserted on the basis of the Qur’an that the Scriptures previous to the Qur’an have been abrogated by the Qur’an.

However, in actual fact the Qur’an does not teach that the previous Scriptures given to Jews and Christians are textually unreliable or have been abrogated. The Qur’an supports the existence, availability, integrity and universal significance of these Scriptures. It encourages all to believe these Scriptures and even confirms them (Sura 5:43-52, 70-72). In fact, if Muhammad himself is in doubt, the Qur’an tells him to appeal to Jews and Christians and to their Scriptures (Sura 10:95)

A multitude of ancient manuscripts of the Bible in its original languages and in translations abundantly testify to the preservation and integrity of the biblical text. Even if a group of unbelievers had wanted later on to make changes to the Bible, it would have been an impossible task in view of the number of copies of Greek and Hebrew Scriptures available and the way that these had been scattered throughout the world. Total suppression of these Greek and Hebrew Scriptures world have been impossible.
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