Friday, December 28, 2012

Identifying a Divine Book (The Quran) from an adulterated one (The Bible)


Below is a checklist as a guidance to verify how and what are the criteria to justify whether the Book is genuinely divine without corruption as compared to an adulterated one.

1.The Holy Books of God must be inspired and written by pious people.

It is stated and sustained in the Quran that the Book was inspired to only one man, Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). It was through the Angel Gabriel that he received the oral inspiration which he memorized and put in a book form.

The Inspirations the Prophet received revealed through Gabriel is stated in the following verses of the Quran:

Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel-for he brings down the (revelation) to thy heart by Allah's will, a confirmation of what went before and guidance and glad tidings for those who believe. (Surah 2:97)

And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful. Verily this is a Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds: With it came down the spirit of Faith and Truth - To thy heart and mind, that thou mayest admonish in the perspicuous Arabic tongue. (Surah 26:191-195)

And the inspiration is then written in the form of a book even during the time of the Prophet Muhammad:

And they say: "Tales of the ancients, which he has caused to be written: and they are dictated before him morning and evening." (Surah 25:5)

By no means (should it be so)! For it is indeed a Message of instruction: Therefore let whoso will, keep it in remembrance. (It is) in Books held (greatly) in honor, Exalted (in dignity), kept pure and holy, (Written) by the hands of scribes- Honorable and Pious and Just. (Surah 80:11-16)

As to thee, the Qur'an is bestowed upon thee from the presence of one who is wise and all-knowing. (Surah 27:6)

Allah has revealed (from time to time) the most beautiful Message in the form of a Book, consistent with itself, (yet) repeating (its teaching in various aspects): the skins of those who fear their Lord tremble thereat; then their skins and their hearts do soften to the celebration of Allah's praises. Such is the guidance of Allah: He guides therewith whom He pleases, but such as Allah leaves to stray, can have none to guide. (Surah 39:23)
The Message must be genuine and there is guaranty that no alteration is permitted in its original form. The Quran has this confirmation:

If thou bring them not a revelation, they say: "Why hast thou not got it together?" Say: "I but follow what is revealed to me from my Lord: this is (nothing but) lights from your Lord, and guidance, and mercy, for any who have faith." (Surah 7:203)

That this is verily the word of an honored apostle; It is not the word of a poet: little it is ye believe! Nor is it the word of a soothsayer: little admonition it is ye receive. (This is) a Message sent down from the Lord of the Worlds.  And if the apostle were to invent any sayings in Our name, We should certainly seize him by his right hand, And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: Nor could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath).But verily this is a Message for the God fearing. And We certainly know that there are amongst you those that reject (it). But truly (Revelation) is a cause of sorrow for the Unbelievers. But verily it is truth of assured certainty. (Surah 69:40-51)

However the Bible gave a different narration on the origin of the book or books of its divination. It is claimed by the Christians that the Bible was inspired to many people and was written by human authors on a series of books that witnessed to God’s revelation of Himself through history. This cognition is taken from the Bible from the following verses as stated:  

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: (Hebrews 1:1-3)

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:15-20)

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,  If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)  Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel. (Ephesians 3:1-6)

2.The criterion that the Holy Books must be without crookedness

A divine book must demonstrate the evidence of integrity in fineness of words and stories that it is suitable to be read basically all category groups of people and it must be free of deviousness. It is stated in the Quran this will not happen:

Praise be to Allah, Who hath sent to His Servant the Book, and hath allowed therein no crookedness: (He hath made it) straight (and clear) in order that He may warn (the godless) of a terrible punishment from Him, and that He may give glad tidings to the believers who work righteous deeds, that they shall have a goodly Reward. (Surah 18:1-2)

(It is) a Qur'an in Arabic, without any crookedness (therein): in order that they may guard against evil. (Surah 39:28)

The word of thy Lord doth find its fulfillment in truth and in justice: None can change His words: for He is the one who heareth and knoweth all. (Surah 6:115)

"And Allah by His words doth prove and establish His truth, however much the sinners may hate it!" (Surah 10:82)

We do relate unto thee the most beautiful of stories, in that We reveal to thee this (portion of the) Qur'an: before this, thou too was among those who knew it not. (Surah 12:3)

Thus do We relate to thee some stories of what happened before: for We have sent thee a Message from Our own Presence. (Surah 20:99)

This fineness of words can then be compared how the statement on prostitution is being put into words in the Quran as compared to the Bible:

Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah gives them means out of His grace. And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if ye know any good in them: yea, give them something yourselves out of the means which Allah has given to you. But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that ye may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if anyone compels them, yet, after such compulsion, is Allah, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to them), (Surah 24:33)

On the contrary in the Bible there are examples of not only filthiness of words used but the message is in conflict and incriminate the true moral character of the prophets of God who represents Him in this world. The following is an example of the Prophet Lut:

And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.  And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yester night with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.
(Genesis 19:33-35)

And in another example, it is unimaginable to acknowledge that this is what God says about prostitution in a divine Book as nearly the whole of Chapter 16 of the Book of Ezekiel is about prostitution and it is very unusual for a religious book to be so. Some examples are stated in verses 36 and 37:

Thus saith the Lord God; Because thy filthiness was poured out, and thy nakedness discovered through thy whoredoms with thy lovers, and with all the idols of thy abominations, and by the blood of thy children, which thou didst give unto them; Behold, therefore I will gather all thy lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure, and all them that thou hast loved, with all them that thou hast hated; I will even gather them roundabout against thee, and will discover thy nakedness unto them, that they may see all thy nakedness.

3.The messages of the Holy Books must be preserved

There are many ways a message can be preserved and one of it is that the book is to be preserved in its original language and the Quran is still preserved in the original Arabic language and has not been altered since and it is memorized by many Muslims all over the world:

(It is) a Qur'an in Arabic, without any crookedness (therein): in order that they may guard against Evil. (Surah 39:28)

We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption). (Surah 15:9)

Move not thy tongue concerning the (Qur'an) to make haste therewith. It is for Us to collect it and to promulgate it: But when We have promulgated it, follow thou its recital (as promulgated): Nay more, it is for Us to explain it (and make it clear): (Surah 75:16-19)

The revelation of this Book is from Allah, the Exalted in Power, full of Wisdom. Verily it is We Who have revealed the Book to thee in Truth: so serve Allah, offering Him sincere devotion. (Surah 39:1-2)

Thus have We revealed it to be a judgment of authority in Arabic. Wert thou to follow their (vain) desires after the knowledge which hath reached thee, then wouldst thou find neither protector nor defender against Allah. (Surah 13:37)

That We might make it a Message unto you, and that ears (that should hear the tale and) retain its memory should bear its (lessons) in remembrance.
(Surah 69:12)

By degrees shall We teach thee to declare (the Message), so thou shalt not forget, except as Allah wills: For He knoweth what is manifest and what is hidden. (Surah 87:6-7)

However it is not easy to find the Bible with the original texts as it can be found with the English translation of the Quran side by side with the Arabic text. The Old Testament was written for the most part in Hebrew, a few sections were written in Aramaic. The whole of the Old Testament was translated into Greek about 200 years before Christ (known as the Septuagint). The Septuagint was used by Christian missionaries among Greek speaking pagans. The whole of the New Testament was written in Greek and as long as Greek remained the dominant language the Bible then was referred in that language. Now English is the dominant language and the reference of the Bible is made in this language. 

Among the English speaking Protestant Christians the most influential translation is the Authorized King James Version completed in 1611. And from this version it is translated to many other languages of the world, meaning the Bible would not have maintained its original message as the original meaning in the original language of the Bible have shifted many times from Hebrew to Latin, then to Greek and in the modern era, to English.
According to King James Version in each of the books’ synopsis out of 39 books in the Old Testament 10 of the books were written by unknown authors – the books are Judges, Ruth, 1and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Esther and Job. While the New Testament with 27 books according to the synopsis in the Book of Hebrews it is stated that the author is uncertain. It can be concluded that it is impossible to reconcile the truth when the source is with doubtful origin.

4. The Holy Books must be consistent in itself and without contradiction

The Quran is consistent with no contradiction and if a close study of the message is undertaken there is no conflicting content whatsoever and in the message God even call a challenge to strengthen this status:

Allah has revealed (from time to time) the most beautiful Message in the form of a Book, consistent with itself, (yet) repeating (its teaching in various aspects): the skins of those who fear their Lord tremble thereat; then their skins and their hearts do soften to the celebration of Allah's praises. Such is the guidance of Allah: He guides there with whom He pleases, but such as Allah leaves to stray, can have none to guide. (Surah 39:23)

Do they not consider the Qur'an (with care)? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy. (Surah 4:82)

Or they may say, "He forged it," Say, "Bring ye then ten chapters forged, like unto it, and call (to your aid) whomsoever ye can, other than Allah! If ye speak the truth! "If then they (your false gods) answer not your (call), know ye that this revelation is sent down (replete) with the knowledge of Allah, and that there is no god but He! Will ye even then submit (to Islam)?" (Surah 11:13-14)

The description of the attributes of God in a divine book should not cause any doubt or to be questionable especially in term of His Strength which the Quran describes:

We created the heavens and the earth and all between them in Six Days, nor did any sense of weariness touch Us. (Surah 50:38)

Allah! There is no god but He, the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him or sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth.
(Surah 2:255)

Another attribute is that God is not the source of evil but only good and so He did not command as an example, Abraham to slaughter his son. Abraham misinterpreted his dream that God command him to slaughter his son. Instead when he was about to perform it God commanded him to replace with an animal sacrifice. God only command to do good, evil comes from the Devil or human’s dark soul:

Whatever good, (O man!) happens to thee, is from Allah; but whatever evil happens to thee, is from thy (own) soul. and We have sent thee as a messenger to (instruct) mankind. And enough is Allah for a witness. (Surah 4:79)

When they do aught that is shameful, they say: "We found our fathers doing so"; and "Allah commanded us thus": Say: "Nay, Allah never commands what is shameful: do ye say of Allah what ye know not?" (Surah 7:28)

One of the important aspect in a divine book is God surely have a name and it is through the name that we are to call on Him and this is important to be stated in a divine book:

Say: "Call upon Allah (The God), or call upon Rahman (Most Gracious): by whatever name ye call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names….(Surah 17:110)

Blessed be the name of thy Lord, full of Majesty, Bounty and Honor.
(Surah 55:78)

However there are many questions and uncertainties that can be labeled at the Bible as a divine book free from contradiction and manipulation. Some examples are listed below:

With many books in the Bible and with many authors there are bound to be contradictions:

The examples stated in the Bible from various books in the number of horses belonging to Solomon and the correct age of Jehoichin.

And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. (2Chonicles 9:25)

And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen. (I Kings 4:26)

Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. (2 Chronicles 36:9)

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. (2 Kings 24:8)

The portrayal of God as the Almighty in the Bible has its restraint as described:

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. (Genesis 2:2)

This limitation invites inquisitive and curious mind wondering what did God do when he rested? Doze a few hours? Lying down on the beach? Had a day dreaming?

Why did God in the Bible command Abraham to slaughter his son? Was not killing children a pagan ritual?

And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (Genesis 22:2)

How about Jesus? The only “Begotten Son” being sacrificed for the sins of human kind?

And it appears that God in the Bible is shy to announce His names there are not many that Christians or Jews can call upon the names of God as compared to that of His names in the Quran. One example quoted in the Bible is stated below:

Thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: (Exodus 34:14)

Have any Christians called on God by the above name in their prayer?

The Jews are reported even in worst situation as far as God’s name is concerned. Since the Middle Ages the name of God had become so sacred that it was never uttered. Even in classical times, as early as the Second Temple period only the high priest could pronounce the name of God and only once a year in prayer of the Day of Atonement. Once the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D, no Jew ever uttered the name again. From that time to this the devout have avoided this word in the text of their Bible reading “Adonai” (The Lord) when they come to the word YHWH. Many orthodox go a step further, refusing even to say “Adonai” and substituting “ha-Shem” (Or The Name) instead.

This is where the Quran expose and make reform the errors of previous people that His servants must call upon Him by His Names as He declared of His Names are all good and shun names which is invented as stated:

The most beautiful names belong to Allah: so call on him by them; but shun such men as use profanity in his names: for what they do, they will soon be requited. (Surah 7:180)

5.The Holy Books must be described in detail and complete for the salvation of mankind

The Quran is a book of salvation and any who reads it, believe in it and make it into practice will have his salvation. It is God who confirmed that the Quran is very detail and is a complete book for salvation from the following verses:

There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, or a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end. (Surah 6:38)

There is no necessity or need of other books to support the Quran as it is sent down complete and in detail for the human kind:

For We had certainly sent unto them a Book, based on knowledge, which We explained in detail, a guide and a mercy to all who believe. (Surah 7:52)

Say: "Shall I seek for judge other than Allah? - when He it is Who hath sent unto you the Book, explained in detail." They know full well, to whom We have given the Book that it hath been sent down from thy Lord in truth. Never be then of those who doubt. (Surah 6:114)

On the other hand, the Christian in particular the Catholic point of view on completeness of the Bible is based on their belief that God does continue to reveal himself to the world in the period after the Bible, although not in the form of biblical inspiration. He reveals himself in the Church through the Councils, through what Catholics called the “magisterium” or “teaching authority of the Popes and Bishops” and through the lives of our people. They believed all these priests are inspired by God! In the Catholic faith this has been called “Tradition.” It embraces all that long rich history of the Church when God’s Spirit was, in accord with Jesus’ promise, guiding them to all truth. The verse that they referred to is stated below: 

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (John 16:13)

Nevertheless it is worth mentioning that the Quran acknowledge the divinity of the scriptures of the people of the Book – the books of the Jews and the Christians provided they make their books as the guiding principles in their lives in this world but ultimately the Quran is the guardian over those scriptures in disclosing the truth about God and salvation in this world and the hereafter and this is clearly stated below:

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 Allah's will, by the rabbis and the doctors of law: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah'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 Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) Unbelievers.  We ordained therein for them: "Life for life, eye for eye, nose or 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 Allah hath revealed, they are (No better than) wrong-doers. (Surah 5:44-45)

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 Allah. (Surah 5:46)

Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel. (Surah 5:47)

To thee (Muhammad) We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute. And this (He commands): Judge thou between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, but beware of them lest they beguile thee from any of that (teaching) which Allah hath sent down to thee. And if they turn away, be assured that for some of their crime it is Allah's purpose to punish them. And truly most men are rebellious. (Surah 5:48-49)