Excerpt taken from "Anatomy of the Qur'an", pages 93-112

Copyright © 2007 by G.J.O. Moshay. Reproduced by permission.


Final Authority: Bible or Qur’an?

We have read several books written by Muslims undermining the authority of the Bible as the Word of God. On the other hand, Muslims are always morbidly afraid of any non-Muslim commenting on the Qur’an.

Countless books have been written ABOUT the Bible, either by believers of the Book or by its enemies. In the providence of God, the printing press with movable type was invented at a time when there was a critical need for the circulation of the scriptures to counter heresies and spread the gospel. It reserves the honor of being the first book to come off that press. Despite all attempts by kings of the earth and many religious leaders to destroy the Book, pervert its message, or prevent its distribution, it remains the best seller of all ages.

As a lost sinner, I wondered at its probe into my sinful nature. As a believer now, I rejoice at the peace, comfort and assurance of salvation I have in it. As a student, I marvel at the sublimity of the Book, its historicity, its scientific base, and the authority of its tone. In it I see the only hope for a world leading itself to destruction.

It is impossible to fully know the world history or understand the events in the international scene today without knowing the Bible. Its prophetic authority makes it more relevant than tomorrow’s newspapers. The Bible will continue to baffle the ignorant “learned” heathen until they humble themselves at the feet of the Lord to discover the truth and the life in the Word.

Having rejected the Word of life, man runs about in delusion and depravity of mind seeking help in yoga, horoscopes and all kinds of New Age religions, even though he pretends he does not believe in the supernatural.

The Bible was written by more than forty different writers from all walks of life — kings (David), princes (Moses), priests (Ezekiel, Jeremiah), prophets, politicians and scholars (Ezra, Isaiah, Daniel, Paul, etc.), soldiers (Joshua), fishermen (Peter, John), herdsmen (Amos), civil servants (Matthew), etc.

Most of these people lived many years apart, most never having met each other. Yet the thematic harmony of the whole Book runs from Genesis through Revelation. The writers wrote the same message, yet not one wrote the same way or the same thing. One book finds its complement in the other until there is a consummation of all things in the book of Revelation. Even the Tree of Life forfeited in Genesis is regained in Revelation.

We regard it as a book guarded by one Intelligent Mind, the Mind of the Spirit of a faithful and consistent God. Most of those who accused the Bible of being unscientific and contradictory have begun to swallow their words as they are discovering their own intellectual emptiness (despite their academic titles) and their ignorance of the diction and interpretation of the Scripture. Only the uninformed still talk of a lack in scientific basis or historical fact in the Bible.

The Bible was written by several people and yet has a consistent theme. The Qur’an, on the other hand, was supposedly written by one man, or as Muslims want us to believe, was written in heaven by Allah, yet it surprises us with so many serious categorical contradictions.

It is necessary to dig up one or two such contradictions here to aid our understanding of who might be speaking in the book.

Remember, many Muslims say Muhammad was illiterate. The Qur’an describes him as “al-nabi al-ummi,” (the unlearned or unlettered prophet.)[1] Although some scholars have disputed the meaning of this verse, and the modern translators of the Qur’an in European languages try to avoid this meaning,[2] such a claim and interpretation by Muslims in Islamic lands is necessary to validate the assertion that the Qur’an was not written by Muhammad but came down hot from heaven and was given to the man. And since it is directly from heaven, it is therefore free from human instrumentality.

The cosmogonical and cosmological[3] data in the Qur’an is in a flux. According to Sura 54:50, the whole Creation was done in the twinkle of an eye. That is, when God spoke his Word of creation, the whole universe came into existence immediately in a split second, that is, in less than one day. Yet Sura 41:9 says the world was created in two days. Verse 10 of the same sura says it took four days. Verse 12 says “seven heavens” were created in two days. But then Suras 7:54; 10:3; and 32:4 say the Creation was done in six days. Presumably by the time he received the “six-day creation” revelation, Muhammad had already heard of the true Biblical account in Genesis. He probably forgot to withdraw and destroy the former written “revelations.”

So during the compilation of the Qur’an after his death, everything was bound together by his followers. Sura 32:5 also says a day is actually “a thousand years of your reckoning,” thereby compounding our confusion. In Sura 70:4, we read that a day with Allah is not 1,000 years as we have read in Sura 32, but 50,000 years!

We will examine more of these contradictions in the next chapter. Here, however, we need to take one or two more. These have to do with statements about Christianity. It is interesting to note that with all the animosity towards everything Christian, there are still places in the Qur’an with some revealing truths. Allah is quoted, for instance, as saying that the followers of Jesus Christ shall be exalted above all others until the Day of resurrection (Sura 3:55). [4] Again, the Qur’an talks of the Bible as the “guide for the wise.”[5] It confirms Jesus’ virgin birth, and that He was the Word of God, and the Spirit of God who put on the flesh of man, etc. One of such verses says:

“And the woman that kept her virginity, we breathed into her Our Spirit, and we made her and her Son, a sign for all mankind.”[6]

If such basic truths are in the Qur’an and were revealed by Allah, why then do many Christians not regard the book as a holy book of God? Our answer is that because there are categorical denials of all these truths in the same book, and we believe that a holy book should be consistent, especially when it comes to matters affecting the salvation of man.

For another example, Allah is quoted as saying to Jesus:

“Surely, I will allow you (or cause you to DIE), and raise thee to Myself...”[7]

Again, in Sura 19:33, Jesus is quoted as saying:

“And the peace of God was on me on the day that I was born; and it shall be on me on the day that I would DIE, and the day I would be raised up to life.” (emphasis mine.)

Compare this with Sura 19:15, where the same thing is said of John the Baptist. They know John died.

However, in an attempt to explain away the crucifixion of Jesus, Muhammad says later that Jesus did not die, and was not nailed on the cross. Rather, “it only seemeth so in their eyes.”[8]

Here is a person whom Muslims say was illiterate telling us that an event that happened over five hundred years before he was born “only seemeth so.”

How could the historical event of the crucifixion of Jesus be denied? There are only two possibilities. I think Muhammad believed Jesus was too powerful to have been killed by wicked people. He regarded Jesus as a great prophet who raised the dead, opened the eyes of the blind, and healed the sick. How could such a person have fallen ‘helplessly into the hands of His enemies, and been abandoned by God?’ That was probably his thinking.

It may also be that Muhammad deliberately denied the death and resurrection of Jesus because it would have serious implications on his other messages. Moreover, it would have proven that Jesus had power over death and therefore was qualified to be the Saviour.

Most Islamic scholars don’t know what to believe in the Qur’an concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yusuf Ali is confused, but he is honest in his reasoning on the issue:

“Christ was not crucified (IV: 157). But those who believe that he never died should ponder over this verse, (that is Verse 33 of Sura 19).”[9]

Here, Ali implies that Jesus died, but was not crucified. He did not explain. How, where did Jesus die? What happened to Him at the end of His ministry on earth? He did not explain because the Qur’an is ambiguous about it. The issue is therefore left to the fertile imaginations of different Muslim sects.

In a bid to explain these conflicting verses and to deliberately ignore the need for a shedding of blood to save mankind, different Muslim sects have developed different ideas. The Ahmadiyyah sect, holding on the theory of Venturini, says Jesus only fainted on the cross or at most was only half dead, and that He regained His consciousness while in the grave and then ran away secretly to India where He lived and died a normal death at a good old age.

This is the view held by the popular South African Muslim pamphleteer, Ahmed Deedat, in some of his pamphlets titled Resurrection or Resuscitation?, Crucifixion or Crucifiction?, etc.[10]

Some other commentators brought in the idea of machine-god (deux-ex-machina), which is a dramatic device whereby a supernatural intervention is introduced to avert an inevitable but unnecessary tragedy at the end of a play. According to the Muslims who hold this view, God circumvented the crucifixion of Jesus by miraculously removing Him from the cross to heaven in the twinkle of an eye and replacing Him with someone God made to look exactly like Jesus, and who was eventually crucified in His stead.

Who was this substitute? Opinions also differ on this. The popular consensus is Judas Iscariot. Therefore, it wasn’t Jesus the soldiers crucified: “It only seemeth so in their eyes.”

This “catching away” theory was formulated by Muslims in the Middle Ages and is clearly entrenched in Chapter 112, verses 13-17 of the so-called gospel of Barnabas, written at that time by a former Roman Catholic turned Muslim.

This book is popular and highly venerated among Muslims as a good weapon for opposing Christian teachings about Jesus. It is therefore not surprising that Muslims publish this book (especially in Pakistan) and circulate it only in their midst. This fake gospel quotes Jesus as saying to Barnabas:

“Know therefore Barnabas, that for this I have to be wary. One of my disciples will betray me for thirty pieces of silver. Furthermore, I am sure that he who betray me will be killed in my name, because God will lift me up from the earth and change the appearance of the one who betrays me so that everyone will think him to be me. And when he dies a very awful death, I will remain in that shame a long time in the world. But when Muhammad, the holy apostle of God, comes, this disgrace will be removed from me.[11]

It is strange that intelligent Muslims would leave the true story of the Gospel of Christ in the Bible and cling to such a crude forgery. This book even has excerpts from the poem of Dante!

Our Muslim friends need to understand that the cross of Christ is not a tragedy. It is a victory over the devil and sin. The devil himself knows this. He can never forget what happened early on that resurrection morning. During this period, Jesus:

“…having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them…”[12]

The cross was God’s formula of “life through death.” Jesus did not come to establish a worship system. He did not come to give a law but to give His love. His law was love.

He came primarily to die, and there was no need for Him to escape it.[13] If God did not want Jesus to be killed, there would have been no need to “steal” Him away. All He would have had to have done was send down a few angels to destroy the soldiers and allow Jesus to continue His ministry there in Jerusalem.[14] “Stealing Jesus” away would mean showing God’s helplessness and defeat by terminating the ministry of Christ prematurely.

Some want us to believe that Jesus was a nice gentleman who preached love and peace, then events got out of hand and he fell helplessly into the hands of an angry mob.

That is not true. Jesus went to the cross willingly. He was in absolute control of every event in His life, including the timing! Even on the night of His arrest when Judas, who was to identify Him, was still delaying going to the chief priests for the deal, the Lord had to hasten him: “That thou doest, do quickly.”[15] That is, “What you are about to do, do it quickly. Don’t waste my time.” This shows that His arrest had to take place that particular night unfailingly, according to His strict timetable. It also shows that there was a will in Him to die, and it was never rescinded.

If Muslims maintain that Jesus never died but was taken up to heaven alive, then they must admit these logical conclusions: Jesus is still alive today just as He was on earth, for we cannot imagine Him dying in heaven. Secondly, the claim of Muslims that Muhammad is the successor of Jesus is null and void if Jesus has not died (and never will).

Some other Muslim exegetes say the Qur’an verses are rather predictions of Jesus’ death when He returns to the earth.[16] If that is the case, then we would say that until Jesus returns, nobody can succeed Him.

The person Muslims say Muhammad was succeeding is still alive. But Muhammad himself is dead. If it was the physical absence of Jesus on earth that made Muhammad a “natural successor,” what happens now that Muhammad is no longer here? Who owns the throne?

The fact is that the throne has never been vacant because the King is still alive. Even genuine prophets of the real God have come and gone forever. The Bible says death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, He is able to save all those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them:

“And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered (allowed) to continue by reason of death: But this man (Jesus), because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore, he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”[17]

He intercedes for us. On the other hand, Muslims have to pray and intercede for Muhammad for peace. Any time they mention his name, a Muslim must say, “May the peace of Allah be upon him.” Christians do not pray for Jesus. He is more than our prayers. We don’t say “peace be upon him.” He is our peace. He said, “My peace I give unto you...”[18] Yes, He has peace to offer. In fact, when Muslims call His name, they say, ‘He upon whom peace rests’. Sura 19:33 says peace was upon Jesus from the very day He was born.

Where is Muhammad today? If he is in paradise, should he not be in peace? If so, why should we pray for peace for him? If he is not in peace, can our prayers help him? Should we pray for our prophet? Should not he pray for us? These are questions I ask Muslims to think about.

Jesus died and was resurrected on the third day. He ascended into heaven. From there he will descend physically to rule and judge the earth. Muslim leaders really hate the idea of the resurrection of Jesus. That is why it has become necessary for them to deny His death first. It is amazing how much effort they have put into twisting the translation of these verses to hide the meaning.

In Sura 3:55, Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall translated the expression rendered “I will cause you to die” as “I am gathering thee…” Going to the original Arabic Qur’an, the expression here is Inni muta-waf-feeka. Sincere Arabs must ask themselves why Pickthall translated this as “gathering.” Dr. Anis Shorrosh said:

“As an Arab, I have never known of any other meaning than death for this expression, within or without the Qur’an”[19]

We can understand the reason for Pickthall’s translation. The Australian Anti-Communist Crusader, Dr Fred Swartz, has observed that:

“No matter how clear the evidence is, people can always find an interpretation that will allow them to cling to what they want to believe.”

The fact is that the doctrine of the cross and the consequent resurrection is offensive to Muslims and they must explain it away.

Commenting on Sura 3:59, Yusuf Ali says:

“Jesus was as dust just as Adam was or humanity is.”[20]

Ali only echoes what the Qur’an says in that verse. Christians take this view as blasphemous because we know Jesus is divine. God indeed cursed Adam and humanity to return to dust from which man was created:

“…for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” [21]

Adam died and his body returned to the dust after decaying. All humanity is under this curse of putrefaction. Even if a dead body is mummified, the fact that a body has no life makes it no more important than the dust. The body is no longer a “he” but an “it,” and no less an “it” than the dust! So what if cremated? It is even worse to turn to ashes than to dust!

Even though Muhammad said he was an ordinary man, and though Muslims claim they do not worship him, it is evident the man has been exalted to the level of deity. That is why Muslims often talk of “blaspheming our prophet.” They do not realize that they commit the Islamic unforgivable sin of shirk by regarding Muhammad as one who can be blasphemed. Only God is divine, and therefore the only One that can be blasphemed! Jesus, as the Son of God, can be blasphemed, and the Holy Spirit of God can be blasphemed because they are God.[22] Many Muslims have done this consistently through their writings and preaching which are taken from the Qur’an itself. As an ordinary human being like us all, Muhammad was also under this curse of dust-to-dust put on mankind as said above. The dust and the dry bones in his grave in Medina today are proof of this.

Where is the body of Jesus, whom Muslims believe was “as dust just as Adam or humanity”? Where is that dust? Even though many Muslims deny that Jesus died or was resurrected, they all agree, according to their Qur’an, that Christ was taken up to heaven, body, soul and spirit. Since He cannot die up there, they must conclude that He is still alive today in regal glory, waiting for His second coming. It necessarily follows that He is “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever!”[23]

Now if the body of Jesus defied the curse put on humanity, does this not raise Him above humanity? It is, indeed, because Jesus was human, yet above humanity, that He is qualified to be the Saviour of the world.

A story has it that when Muhammad died, his people thought that having proclaimed himself “the Seal of the Prophets,” and therefore the greatest, he would at least rise up, probably on the third day and ascend to heaven bodily as Jesus did. For this reason, they refused to dig his grave deep; neither did they bury the remains in a closed coffin, because they wanted to make it easier for him to come out of the grave.

But Death and the Grave held him and have never released him. If that story is true, we do not think Muslims should be disappointed that the remains of their prophet decayed and became dust. Allah never promised Muhammad would resurrect like Jesus; so why should they feel disappointed?

However, everything that Muhammad did, and the things that were done to him by his disciples, as recorded in the Traditions, must be copied as examples to follow. So even today, Muslims do not dig the ground deep to bury their dead; neither do they normally bury in a coffin. And they must bury the dead within twenty four hours. Many of them, though, do not know how these traditions began.

False messiahs may rise and make bogus claims about themselves. But death always comes and deals its blow to them and they are consumed in the earth. The Eternal King of kings, some sixty years after His resurrection and Ascension, spoke to John:

“I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”[24]

Muslims need to understand that the cross of Jesus was necessary. “The wages of sin is DEATH”[25] and because Jesus was carrying the sin of the whole world at the moment He was on the cross, He had to DIE! By that, God made “His soul an offering for sin…”[26] But to give His believers victory over sin, as well as over Satan, demons and the second death, Jesus had to rise from the dead. Many enemies of the gospel today deny these facts, but none have been able to refute them. All their “proofs” only prove how uninformed they are concerning these historical events.

About fifty days after the death and resurrection of Christ, Peter stood in the midst of several thousand Jews in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost and spoke about what Christ’s death and the resurrection had done for mankind. No single listener rose to say that Jesus was not crucified. They all knew that this was the talk of the town.

Muhammad was born over 500 years later to say that Jesus Christ did not die, and that it was Allah who told him so.

As Christians, we reject the Qur’an because it denies history—history recorded not only by Christians but by many secular writers who lived during the time of the early Christians. They could have denied the Christians’ claims if they were untrue. Yes, the Qur’an has certain truths, but many intelligent people reject the book as divine because they know that a half-truth is more dangerous than a blatant lie.

The devil is a liar and the inspirer of all lies. Jesus said that when Satan lies, he is not doing anything strange, but:

“When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”[27]

It must be realized, however, that Satan is not just a liar but a deceiver! And to be an excellent deceiver, he knows he has to add one or two facts into a bundle of lies. That is how he deceives many people today in false religions and cults. They use some statements in the Bible to establish their cults and destroy themselves.

Therefore, the fact that there are a few biblically true statements in the Qur’an does not make the book the Word of God. It is a classic diabolical deception. As Tennyson the poet wrote:

“A lie that’s a half-truth

is the wickedest lie of all,

For a lie that’s all a lie

can be met with and fought outright

But a lie that is a half-truth

is a harder matter to fight.”

On the other hand, the presence of some of these facts in the Qur’an serves as a testimony against all Muslims who reject the gospel of Jesus Christ. We thank God that some of these bits of truths have led some Muslims to inquire more of Christ in the Bible and they have thereby found Him as He really is.[28]

In his book, Buddha, Muhammad and Christ, Dr. Marcus Dodds observes that Muhammad’s book can never be taken by serious-minded people as a reliable authority on the gospel of Jesus or as a history book on the heroes of the Bible:

“His (Muhammad’s) knowledge of Christianity is so meager and confused, that it is difficult to understand how even the most illiterate and mystified sectary fed on apocryphal gospels could have conveyed to him such notions of the gospel. Of the great enlightening history of Israel, as a history, he knows nothing and has merely caught up some childish tales from the Talmud and some garbled legends of the Hebrew patriarchs and great men.”[29]

In his own evaluation of the Qur’an, Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), in his controversial work, On Heroes and Hero Worship, complains that the Qur’an is nothing but “a wearisome, long-winded entanglement; most crude and recondite; insupportable stupidity, in short.”

Someone may ask: if this be so, why then do millions of people, including respectable and learned men, believe in the Qur’an as a holy book of God, and why are many ready to kill or be killed in order to defend it?

There are many reasons for this. Naturally, man prefers a religion that is in consonance with his wicked nature. He prefers a religion that appeals to the worst in him, approves of charms and violence, and makes him feel truly pious.

Moreover, there is an inherent power in repetition. For example, when an obvious lie is repeated over and over, it eventually becomes convincing and believable. That is the psychology of advertising. The Russian psychologist, Pavlov, knew this, and his theory became the basis for the science of brainwashing effectively used by the Communist world.

It is a system being explored very well in Islam, and it works. A Muslim has been made to repeat certain things so often that it has become impossible to imagine the error of such statements. And he is ready to arrest, jail or even slay people to defend these “truths.”

The power of repetition has been used to make even non-Muslims accept the claim that the Qur’an is elegant, wonderful and non-comparable and that Islam is a religion of peace. Careful students have refused to be carried away by such cheap appraisals.

We have also discovered that a person can teach anything and get some followers, especially if he is consistent. That is why every philosopher, cultist, and terrorist will always have disciples, no matter how strict his terms may be.

Above all these is the fact that all lies are spiritual. This is because Satan, the father of all lies, is a spirit. That is why it takes spiritual warfare to fight a lie. In the words of Thackeray, one would adduce concerning people’s veneration of some of these “holy books” that:

“A lie once set going, having the breath of life breathed into it by the father of lying, and ordered to run its diabolical little course, lives with a prodigious vitality.”[30]

Yes, a lie may continue to live but the deceived victims have the will-power to get themselves out of it. This is made easier by the power of the gospel of Christ. If this book succeeds in getting the reader out of a popular deception, it has achieved its sole purpose.

“A lie should be trampled upon and extinguished wherever found. I am for fumigating the atmosphere, where I suspect falsehood, like pestilence, breathes around me.” - Thomas Carlyle.

[1] Sura 7:158

[2] The present Dutch translation of the Qur’an made by the Ahmadiyya sect renders this expression as “the pure Prophet.”

[3] That is, beliefs about the creation and development of the universe.

[4] It is interesting that Dr. Al-Hilali and Muhsin Khan had to insert 47 personal words into this verse in order to pervert the clear meaning!

[5] Sura 5:48 (Ali); 5:44 (Al-Hilali)

[6] Sura 21:91 (Al-Hilali et. al. perverted this verse by their insertions).

[7] Sura 3:55

[8] Sura 4:157-158

[9] Commentary No. 2485.

[10] John Gilchrist has written replies to Deedat’s pamphlets. Contact: Jesus to the Muslims, 4b Bright Street, Benoni, 1500 South Africa. Or see his answers online at: www.answering-islam.org/gilchrist.

[11] Chapter 112:13-17

[12] Colossians 2:15

[13] Matthew 16:21

[14] Jesus Himself hinted at this possibility in Matthew 26:53.

[15] John 13:27

[16] Sura 3:55 and 19:33

[17] Hebrews 7:23-25

[18] John 14:27

[19] Shorrosh, A., Islam Revealed: A Christian Arab’s View of Islam, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1989) p. 97.

[20] Yusuf Ali, Qur’an: Text, Translation and Commentary, Commentary No. 398.

[21] Genesis 3:19

[22] Acts 5:3-4, John 14:7; John 20:28

[23] Hebrew 13:8

[24] Revelation 1:18

[25] Romans 6:23

[26] Isaiah 53:10, 6-12; 2 Corinthians 5:21

[27] John 8:44

[28] You may ask for the author’s How We Found Jesus: 20 Ex-Muslims Testify. (firelineinternational@yahoo.co.uk).

[29Buddha, Muhammad and Christ, Dr Marcus Dodds, pp. 13-14.

[30] From “On a Hundred Years Hence” in Roundabout Papers, by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863).