Response to Samuel Green on the topic "COMPARING THE BIBLE AND THE QUR'AN"
By Ahmed Eldin (former Greek Christian)
Indeed Christian Missionaries have run out of arguments against Islam and reproduce their old refuted arguments. An example of this reproduction is the update of Answering Islam team. In the specific update Samuel Green wrote a short article about the comparison of the Quran and the Bible. In a nutshell he tried to persuade the reader that the Bible is superior from the Quran because the Bible contains the chronology of the stories, and all the teachings that a Christian needs in one book. On the contrary he argued, the Quran does not have this privilege of the Bible because the Quran needs the Sunnah to be explained, in other words you need several other books to comprehend the Islamic beliefs and teachings. This is true, but does that make the Quran inferior to the Bible or superior? Below you will find out how Samuel Green actually proved the perfect classification and superiority that the Quran has and that exists in Islam which a Bible follower can only dream about.
The Bible and the Qur'an are often compared to each other when Christians and Muslims are discussing issues. They are typically compared in the following ways:
Preservation of text
Formation of canon
Teaching about Jesus, women, warfare, etc.
This type of comparison is something that I myself have done. However it is actually inaccurate and misleading to compare the Bible to the Qur'an. There are two reasons for this.
He believes that is inaccurate and misleading, but however he had followed the same method. What can you say? No comments!
Samuel Green said
Reason 1. The Context of the Bible and Qur'an
The Qur'an revolves and evolves around Muhammad's life. Muhammad recited the words of the Qur'an in response to various situations in his life, but what these situations were is not recorded in the Qur'an. That is, the Qur'an does not provide its own context or chronology. Knowing the correct context and chronology is essential to understand the Qur'an. But to know this context and chronology you must go outside of the Qur'an to the Islamic traditions - books like the Hadith or Sira literature. These books provide the context for the Qur'an. The Islamic scholar Habib Ur Rahman Azami clearly states the Qur'an's dependence upon the Hadith and Sira.
(I)t is almost impossible to understand or explain the meaning of a large number of Qur'anic verses if the Traditions are rejected as useless and inauthentic. (Habib Ur Rahman Azami, The Sunnah in Islam, 1995, pp. 29-31.)
The Noble Quran has a clear message, and that is to worship the only One and true God - Allah. It narrates some circumstances that the Prophet Muhammad faced but there are not many. In a book of God the only thing that matters is the teachings and the belief system, not stories of the type "in the beginning God created," or "once upon a time" because this is irrelevant, and besides that, a chronological order shows that it comes from a human being and not from God, God never reveals a book as a man reveals it to the society.
So the exact chronology of the Quran and its commentary (which is by the Prophet Muhammad) was written in another volume, because simply we can't have the word of God and the word of a Prophet in a same cover, a mistake that the bible compilers did( below we will see some examples). But the most amazing fact is that the word of God (the Quran) teaches the believer to follow the Prophet and obey him, in other word to consult the books of the ahadith:
- O you who believe! Obey Allβh and obey the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allβh and His Messenger (SAW), if you believe in Allβh and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.
((And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger). Mujahid and several others among the Salaf said that the Ayah means, "(Refer) to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger.'' This is a command from Allah that whatever areas the people dispute about, whether major or minor areas of the religion, they are required to refer to the Qur'an and Sunnah for judgment concerning these disputes. In another Ayah, Allah said,
(And in whatsoever you differ, the decision thereof is with Allah). Therefore, whatever the Book and Sunnah decide and testify to the truth of, then it, is the plain truth. What is beyond truth, save falsehood This is why Allah said, u
So as you can see The Quran basically tells to the believers to refer to those books that contain the authentic detailed teachings of the prophet Muhammad.
Samuel Green said
The Bible, however, is very different. It provides all of its own context and chronology. Its revelation begins with creation and tells the story right through to the new creation, the age of the resurrection. When the Bible gives various commands or announces the gospel it does so within a context that it itself has revealed. Thus, to understand the Bible you only need the Bible. The Bible is self-sufficient. Therefore to compare the Bible to the Qur'an alone is misleading and inaccurate.
Shieh Ahmed Deedat addressed the above supposed "advantage" of the Bible as following:
"THREE GRADES OF EVIDENCE
We Muslims have no hesitation in acknowledging that in the Bible, there are three different kinds of witnessing recognizable without any need of specialized training. These are:
1. You will be able to recognize in the Bible what may be described as "The Word of God."
2. You will also be able to discern what can be described as the "Words of a Prophet of God."
3. And you will most readily observe that the bulk of the Bible is the records of eye witnessess or ear witnesses, or people writing from hearsay. As such they are the "Words of a Historian"
You do not have to hunt for examples of these different types of evidences in the Bible. The following quotations will make the position crystal clear:
The FIRST Type:
(a) I will raise them up a prophet . . . and I will put my words in ... and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him." (Deuteronomy 18:18)
(b) I even, I am the Lord, and besideme there is no saviour." (Isaiah 43:11)
(c) "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the end of the earth: for I am God, and there is non else." (Isaiah 45:22)
Note the first person pronoun singular (highlighted in green) in the above references, and without any difficulty you will agree that the statements seem to have the sound of being GOD'S WORD.
The SECOND Type:
(a) "Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani? . . ." (Matthew 27:46)
(b) "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord:" (Mark )
(c) "And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God." (Mark ).
Even a child will be able to affirm that: Jesus "cried" Jesus "answered" and Jesus "said" are the words of the one to whom they are attributed, i.e. the WORDS OF A PROPHET OF GOD.
The THIRD Type:
"And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he, (JESUS) came, if haply he (JESUS) might find anything thereon: and when he (JESUS) came to it, (Jesus) found nothing but leaves . . ." (Mark )
The bulk of the Bible is a witnessing of this THIRD kind. These are the words of a third person. Note the underlined pronouns. They are not the Words of God or of His prophet, but the WORDS OF A HISTORIAN.
For the Muslim it is quite easy to distinguish the above types of evidence, because he also has them in his own faith. But of the followers of the different religions, he is the most fortunate in this that his various records are contained in separate Books!
ONE: The first kind ? THE WORD OF GOD ? is found in a Book called The Holy Qur'an.
TWO: The second kind ? THE WORDS OF THE PROPHET OF GOD, (Muhummed, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) are recorded in the Books of Tradition called The Hadith.
THREE: Evidence of the third kind abounds in different volume of Islamic history, written by some of high integrity and learning, and others of lesser trustworthiness, but the Muslim advisedly keeps his Books in separate volumes!
The Muslim keeps the above three types of evidence Jealously apart, in their proper gradations of authority. He never equates them. On the other hand, the "Holy Bible" contains a motley type of literature, which composes the embarrassing kind, the sordid, and the obscene ? all under the same cover ? A Christian is forced to concede equal spiritual import and authority to all, and is thus unfortunate in this regard."(Source: Ahmed Deedat, "Is the Bible Gods word» page 4-6)
Now what Green believes that his Bible has this advantage, actually is a disadvantage. Also Green must realize that the Bible is not one book, but contains 66 different books (for Protestants) and 73 (for Catholics) so it is just a compilation. Easily Muslims can put Quran,hadith,Sira all together in one volume and claim one book, however as Shieh Ahmed Deedat explains we have different volumes in order the reader to know what he actually reads. In the Bible the reader is forced to accept the historian as the word of God, also the word of a Prophet as word of God, totally chaos.
Samuel Green said
The Qur'an does not contain most of the basic practices or many of the beliefs of Islam.
(T)he obligatory injunction to establish Salah (regular, formal worship) was revealed in the Qur'an as were some of the elements of Salah (like Qiyam, Ruku`, Sujud and Qira'ah). But the actual manner of offering Salah and the order in which the various acts connected with it were to be performed, were not described in the Qur'an. ... Similarly the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) was prescribed as a religious duty in the Qur'an but its method and formalities were not defined. The Prophet showed the correct way by performing the Hajj himself. (Habib Ur Rahman Azami, pp. 10-11.)
The Sunnah (the example of Muhammad) is the crucial complement to the Koran; so much so, that there are in fact isolated instances where, in fact, the Sunnah appears to prevail over the Koran as, for example, when the Koran refers to three daily prayers (24:58 and 11:116), but the Sunnah sets five. On the other hand, there are cases from the earliest days of Islam of universal practices which appear to contradict express Sunnah. Moreover, the Koran does not make explicit all of its commands; not even all those which are fundamental. Thus it enjoins prayer, but not how it is to be performed: the form of canonical prayer (salah) is based entirely on Sunnah. (Cyril Glassé, "Sunnah", The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, 1989, pp. 381-382.)
Islamic Shariah is complete only with recourse to both the Qur'an and the Sunnah. (Habib Ur Rahman Azami, p. 5.)
How, when and what to pray, what to do on Hajj, circumcision, in fact many of the essential Islamic practices and beliefs come from the Hadith and Sira and not the Qur'an. But again, this is not the case with the Bible. The Bible has everything a Christian needs.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV.)
The Bible contains all things necessary for belief and practice. Therefore to compare the Bible to the Qur'an alone is misleading and inaccurate.
The Quran contains all the teachings and the beliefs of Islam and the Sunnah elaborates more. We have the Book (Quran) and the Teacher (Prophet Muhammad). The quotation (Habib Ur Rahman Azami, pp. 10-11) that Green posted actually support the Quranic order for Prayer and then Sunnah comes to describe us how. Also Quran orders that we must follow the Prophet because of these additional elaborations.
The quotation ((Cyril Glassé, "Sunnah", The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, 1989, pp. 381-382.) state that the Sunnah appear to prevail over the Quran, something that is totally untrue, Quran and Sunnah goes together and never the one prevails the other. The quote of course is not an authentic Islamic one, but a general encyclopaedia for Islam. For example to back up the statement that the Sunnah prevail the Quran state two verses from the Quran(24:58 and 11:116) which allegedly the Quran states 3 daily prayers where the Sunnah state 5. Of course if Green made the effort to open the Quran and browse these verses he would immediately realized that these verses have nothing to do about the prayers.
Green also quoted "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV.)
Now I am asking Green, when it says "ALL Scripture" means also the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, John and the letters of Paul? Of course not because these writings were not available at the time of Paul so this verse is for the Old Testament and not for the New Testament. " All Scripture" does not refer to the present Bible.
Samuel Green said
1. Islamic leaders who compare the Bible to the Qur'an should be honest and stop deceiving people. They need to say that the Qur'an is inadequate on its own. Instead of comparing the Qur'an to the Bible they need to compare all of the essential Islamic books to the Bible. If you see an Islamic leader being dishonest like this then have the courage to point out their error.
2. Christians need be careful not to be deceived into thinking that comparing the Bible to the Qur'an is legitimate. It is not. Christianity is founded on the Bible but Islam is not founded on the Qur'an but on the Qur'an and the traditions. If a Muslim asks you to compare books then insist on an honest comparison which includes the Hadith and Sira.
3. If you are not a Christian or a Muslim then realise that the Qur'an and Bible are not basically the same. The Qur'an does not provide any context for what it says or have the essential practices of Islam. These come from other books. The Bible however has everything for Christian belief and practice.
4. When we invite you to become a Christian we are only asking you to accept one book.
1. I wonder where the Islamic leaders did such a thing. They know that when they speak for Islam they speak from the both sources of it, Quran and Sunnah, I have never met any Muslim that avoids mentioning both these sources. Green is totally ignorant.
2. Again where this missionary experienced such a thing? You Christians claim that the Bible is the word of God and we Muslims say that Quran is the word of God, thus the comparison also will be fair even without mentioning the hadith, but Muslims do not do that, it is a must to go back also to authentic Sunnah, so Green must wake up and see the reality that exists.
3. The Quran provides to the human being only with the necessary context of who is God, what human being must do to gain salvation, rituals etc. Quran does not contain unnecessary stories; on the contrary the Bible is full of irrelevant and unnecessary issues and mixes the supposed word of God with that of the men and historians and then tries to enforce it to you as the very word of God.
4. When you invite to someone to become a Christian you enforce him to read 66 books where Islam has only one book as the word of God and this is the Quran.