Bible vs. Qur'an
The Bible and the Qur'an provide the scriptural basis for two of the largest religions in the world, Christianity and Islam, respectively. The Qur'an assumes a continuance from the biblical text, claiming Muhammad as the final authoritative prophet enabling the straight path that Christians and Jews have perverted.
Schools of Thought
There are a number of similarities and key differences between the Bible and Qur'an. Proceeding under a historical mindset when dealing with specifically historical claims, as opposed to theological, Christians determine the biblical record superior if both texts speak on the same event in history. There are several views regarding the historical and theological content of the Bible and Qur'an, which are;
- The Bible is true, the Qur'an is false when contradicting biblical history and/or theology,
- The Qur'an is true, the Bible is false when it contradicts the Qur'an,
- The Bible and Qur'an are complementary and only reflect separate cultures thus displaying cultural differences not contradiction, and
- Both the Bible and Qur'an are false and contain no substantial records of any history or theology.
The Bible and Qur'an should be read under a historical critical exegesis. A fundamental tenet is that authority be granted to the earlier manuscripts when texts contain information on the same event or period of time in history. Thus (1) is the proper school of thought when comparing the Bible and Qur'an in history. The text with the earliest manuscripts, and therefore smallest gap between autographs and manuscript copies, should take precedence, being closer to the actual event chronologically. By way of careful exegesis (2) may be discounted if both the Bible and Qur'an show a surface consistency of a particular historical claim. View (3) cannot be sustained because there are not only opposing and contradictory theological elements, but historical claims as well. The last critical view of the Bible and Qur'an (4), is unsubstantiated as modern scholarship today categorizes the Old Testament and New Testament under literary genres of historical narrative and ancient biography.
The Qur'an being 500 years after the New Testament recounts significant biblical histories. Although it differs in many details well-known biblical characters such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and John the Baptist are mentioned in the Qur'an as prophets of Islam, but ultimately not able to coherently articulate the full revelation of Allah. There still remains almost parallel accounts of the biblical histories of creation, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the Flood of Noah. Due to this creationism finds consistency not only in theological models derived from the text, but also its use of the natural sciences and skepticism upon Darwinian naturalism.
The Qur'an implies a previous revelation, which most Quran'ic commentators determine was the Bible (Torah specifically regarding Jews) in several places. There is also mention of the Psalms and Gospels.
|“||Qur'an 2:97. 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...||”|
|“||Qur'an 4:163. We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms.||”|
|“||Qur'an 5:44. 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. 45. 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. 46. 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. 47. 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. 48. To thee 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;||”|
|“||Surah 10:94. 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.||”|
The Qur'an is significantly different than the Torah, Psalms, and Gospels in many respects. One particularly important difference between the Qur'an and Bible is found in Sura 4:157-158:
|“||Qur'an 4:157. That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:- 158. Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise;-||”|
This of course directly contradicts the four Gospel accounts, which all declare that Jesus was crucified and resurrected. The Qur'an also holds in 37:102 that Ishmael, rather than Isaac, was the son which Abraham was commanded to sacrifice to test his faith. The Qur'an also contains many major differences from the Bible in its creation account. Through his vision, Muhammad wrote many things that do not measure up to the Bible. In particular he contradicts three fundamental doctrines of Christianity. These three Christian fundamentals are; salvation and how to achieve it, who Jesus really is, and the birth of Jesus. We will lay out what the Bible says and what the Qur’an says on those topics, citing several passages from each book but taking the Bible as true.
Salvation and faith
According to the Bible, salvation is obtained only through faith in Jesus Christ, the son of God. God has prepared good works for us to walk in through faith, salvation cannot be obtained by our own righteousness or good works. It is through grace that faith in Christ produces righteous acts.
9For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 1Thessalonians 5:9-10 (NASB)
12"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 (NASB)
8But what does it say? "THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART"--that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. Romans 10:8-10 (NASB)
6For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. Isaiah 64:6 (NASB)
15"We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; 16nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. Galatians 2:15-16 (NASB)
The Qur'an however says that through faith in Allah and good works only shall you enter paradise, or achieve salvation.
|“||Qur'an 4:57. But those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, We shall soon admit to Gardens, with rivers flowing beneath,- their eternal home: Therein shall they have companions pure and holy: We shall admit them to shades, cool and ever deepening.||”|
|“||Qur'an 65:10. Allah has prepared for them a severe Punishment (in the Hereafter). Therefore fear Allah, O ye men of understanding - who have believed!- for Allah hath indeed sent down to you a Message,-||”|
Nature of God
Allah is the Arabic word for God and being 1 of the 99 other names for the Islamic god, Allah is the most precious. It is the name of God’s presence. In Islam there is only one God, and Muhammad is the last messenger that fully revealed the will of god. The Bible throughout fully supports the idea of the Holy Trinity, God revealed as three persons, yet one God; the Father (God), the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit (who lives in the believer's heart).
4For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. 5Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1John 5:4-5 (NASB)
Nature of Jesus
The second topic is who Jesus is, the Christian stance is that He is fully divine and fully human. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the Son of God and born of a virgin. He would bear the sins of this world to save mankind in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and a substantial part of the Trinity.
30"I and the Father are one." John 10:30 (NASB)
30The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31"And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end." The Qur'an says that Jesus is no more than a servant to Allah and the Trinity is not to be talked about, since Allah is one God. 34Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" 35The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. 36"And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37"For nothing will be impossible with God." Luke 1:30-37 (NASB)
10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12"This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." 15When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." 16So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. luke 2:10-16 (NASB)
The Qur'an states that Jesus is a baby who spoke to declare that He was a prophet sent from Allah not the Son of God. It almost describes it as not appropriate for Allah to father a prophet such as Jesus. The Qur'an teaches falsehoods about Jesus stating that He is no more than a prophet from Allah. Jesus becomes no more than Muhammad, which is merely of human nature that Allah used to display a message. Muslims account for differences between the Qur'an and Bible (both of which are considered divine by Muslims) by employing a traditional liberal theology stance of criticism under Islamic thinking. Effectively stating that the Christian and Jewish texts have been corrupted and changed over time. Muslims believe that the earlier Scriptures were inerrant in their original form, but become somewhat corrupted. Muslims believe that the earlier Scriptures bear witness to the truth of the Qur'an (as evidenced by the above verses), and that the seventh century Qur'an text corrects and completes the corrupted earlier revelations of the Old and New Testaments.
|“||Qur'an 43:59. He was no more than a servant: We granted Our favour to him, and We made him an example to the Children of Israel. 60. And if it were Our Will, We could make angels from amongst you, succeeding each other on the earth. 61. And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way. 62. Let not the Evil One hinder you: for he is to you an enemy avowed.||”|
|“||Qur'an 4:171. O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His apostles. Say not "Trinity" : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah. Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.||”|
|“||Qur'an 19:27. At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: "O Mary! truly an amazing thing hast thou brought! 28. "O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!" 29. But she pointed to the babe. They said: "How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?" 30. He said: "I am indeed a servant of Allah. He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet; 31. "And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; 32. "(He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable; 33. "So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)"! 34. Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute. 35. It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, "Be", and it is.||”|
Same Revelation To A Different Culture
Many see the Qur'an as a revelation of the same God to a different people, and believe that the inconsistencies and differences between the two pale in comparison to their similarities. They believe that while Christians, Jews, and Muslims obviously have many substantive differences, our shared struggle against atheism, secularism, and paganism is a much more pressing issue. They see Muhammed as analogous to Moses, bringing the law to a pagan people, and see the duty of Christians as bringing the message of Grace and Christ, which completes and corrects the message of the Qur'an.
In support of their position, they point to Jesus's words in Mark, which states;
38John said to Him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us." 39But Jesus said, "Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. 40"For he who is not against us is for us. Mark 9:38-40 (NASB)
|“||Qur'an 2:62. Those with Faith, those who are Jews, and the Christians and Sabaeans, all who have Faith in Allah and the Last Day and act rightly, will have their reward with their Lord. They will feel no fear and will know no sorrow.||”|
|“||Qur'an 3:64. Say, 'People of the Book! come to a proposition which is the same for us and you - that we should worship none but Allah and not associate any partners with Him and not take one another as lords besides Allah.' If they turn away, say, 'Bear witness that we are Muslims.'||”|
|“||Surat al-Ma'ida: 5:5. Today all good things have been made permissible for you. And the food of those given the Book is also halal for you and your food is halal for them. So are chaste women from among the muminun and chaste women of those given the Book before you, once you have given them their dowries in marriage, not in fornication or taking them as lovers. But as for anyone who rejects faith, his actions will come to nothing and in the akhira he will be among the losers.||”|
|“||Surah Al 'Imran; 3:199. Among the people of the Book there are some who have iman in Allah and in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down to them, and who are humble before Allah. They do not sell Allah's Signs for a paltry price. Such people will have their reward with their Lord. And Allah is swift at reckoning.||”|
|“||Surat an-Nahl; 16:125. Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition, and argue with them in the kindest way. Your Lord knows best who is misguided from His way. And He knows best who are guided.||”|
|“||Surat al-Ma'ida; 5:82...You will find the people most affectionate to those who have iman are those who say, 'We are Christians.' That is because some of them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant.||”|
|“||Surat al-'Ankabut; 29:46. Only argue with the People of the Book in the kindest way - except in the case of those of them who do wrong - saying, 'We have iman in what has been sent down to us and what was sent down to you. Our God and your God are one and we submit to Him.'||”|
|“||Surah Al 'Imran: 3:113-115...There is a community among the People of the Book who are upright. They recite Allah's Signs throughout the night, and they prostrate. They have iman in Allah and the Last Day, and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and compete in doing good. They are among the salihun. You will not be denied the reward for any good thing you do. Allah knows those who have taqwa.||”|
Religion References (Bible vs. Qur'an)
- All About Religion
- Handbook of Today's Religions by Josh McDowell
Pro Bible References (Bible vs. Qur'an)
- Christian Apologetics Research Ministry - Islam
- Christian Answers - Islam
- Answers in Genesis - Koran vs. Bible
Pro Qur'an References (Bible vs. Qur'an)