One common missionary argument these days is to argue that the Quran affirms the authenticity, and authority of the Bible. They claim that Muslims should not attack the Bible's authority nor authenticity, because to do so would be acting against the Quran which supposedly affirms the present day Bible held by the Christians and Jews.
One such missionary who often argues this point is none other than Sam Shamoun of Answering-Islam. He has written a wide variety of articles discussing this topic, that the Quran completely affirms the Bible's authenticity and authority.
In this rebuttal we shall refute many of his claims which he has propagated in his articles concerning this topic. For those interested in his articles they can access his false and twisted articles and info to which I am about to refute here:
We will not be refuting his articles and info in sequential order, or in a synchronized order, we will refute his article in random parts.
With all that said we can now proceed to refute his distortions, his comments will be in green followed by my responses in black.
The following material is a compilation of evidences from the Quran which Christians can use to prove that the first Muslims believed that Holy Bible is the inspired and preserved Word of God. The first Muslims clearly did not believe that the text of Holy Scriptures was unreliable, but actually appealed to the biblical text for verification purposes.
Let us quote one early Muslim for Sam Shamoun and see what this early Muslim had to say concerning the Bible:
Ibn 'Abbas said, "Why do you ask the people of the scripture about anything while your Book (Quran) which has been revealed to Allah's Apostle is newer and the latest? You read it pure, undistorted and unchanged, and Allah has told you that the people of the scripture (Jews and Christians) changed their scripture and distorted it, and wrote the scripture with their own hands and said, 'It is from Allah,' to sell it for a little gain. Does not the knowledge which has come to you prevent you from asking them about anything? No, by Allah, we have never seen any man from them asking you regarding what has been revealed to you!"
Here we see one of the early Muslims and companions of the prophet namely Ibn Abbas calling the Bible corrupt! So how can Shamoun appeal to early Muslims when we see here that early Muslims such as Ibn Abbas condemning the Bible as being a book that has been tampered with!
Furthermore here is what the blessed prophet Muhammad said concerning Ibn Abbas:
He was born in Mecca three years before Muhammad fled to Madinah (619 A.D.) and was about 13 years old when Muhammad died.
Ibn Abbas grew up as a Muslim and had a good relationship with his cousin Muhammad the prophet of Islam. He memorized a great number of hadiths at that time.
One of the stories told about him states that Muhammad prayed for him: "Allah, give him wisdom, and teach him the interpretation (of the Qur'an)." Then Muhammad looked at him and said: "You are a good Qur'an interpreter."
After Muhammad's death he was considered one of the highest authorities in interpretation of the Qur'an and narration of correct hadiths. He has been called Baher ("sea"), because of his wide knowledge about Islam, and was also called Heber al-Ummah ("the scholar of the Ummah"). (http://answeringislam.net/Index/index.html)
So we can already see distortions being committed by Sam Shamoun, he claims he wants to appeal to the early Muslims to back his claim up, yet we see an early Muslim contradicting Shamoun's claims! Not only that, the early Muslim we are quoting namely Ibn Abbas, is regarded as one of the most Knowledgeable Muslims!
Shamoun goes on to quote Ibn Kathir's tafsir for surah 3:78, before quoting Shamoun let us quote what this passage says:
003.078 YUSUFALI: There is among them a section who distort the Book with their tongues: (As they read) you would think it is a part of the Book, but it is no part of the Book; and they say, "That is from Allah," but it is not from Allah: It is they who tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it!
As you can see the Quran tells us that a people of the book distort the Bible with their tongues, such as making things up, things which are not to be found in the Book. Shamoun goes on to quote Ibn Kathir's tafsir for this verse he writes:
Ibn Kathir's comments on S. 3:78 are also pertinent to this very issue:
Mujahid. Ash-Sha'bi, Al-Hassan, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi' bin Anas said that,
<who distort the Book with their tongues.>
means, "They alter (Allah's Words)."
Al-Bukhari reported that Ibn 'Abbas said that the Ayah means they alter and add although none among Allah's creation CAN REMOVE THE WORDS OF ALLAH FROM HIS BOOKS, THEY ALTER AND DISTORT THEIR APPARENT MEANINGS. Wahb bin Munabbih said, "The Tawrah and Injil REMAIN AS ALLAH REVEALED THEM, AND NO LETTER IN THEM WAS REMOVED. However, the people misguide others by addition and false interpretation, relying on books that they wrote themselves." Then,
<they say: "This is from Allah," but it is not from Allah;>
As for Allah's books, THEY ARE STILL PRESERVED AND CANNOT BE CHANGED." Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this statement ... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Abridged, Volume 2, Parts 3, 4 & 5, Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, verse 147, abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First Edition: March 2000], p. 196; bold and capital emphasis ours)
This is confirmed by Imam Al-Bukhari. In Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitaab Al-Tawheed, Baab Qawlu Allah Ta'ala, "Bal Huwa Qur'aanun Majeed, fi lawhin Mahfooth" (i.e. in Sahih al-Bukhari, Book "The Oneness of God", the Chapter on Surat Al-Borooj (no. 85), Verses 21, 22 saying, "Nay this is a Glorious Qur'an, (Inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved.") we find in a footnote between 9.642 and 643:
"They corrupt the word" means "they alter or change its meaning." Yet no one is able to change even a single word from any Book of God.The meaning is that they interpret the word wrongly. [... and he continues to speak about how the Qur'an is preserved ...] (Source: http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Bible/ibnabbas.html)
Before exposing Shamoun for conveniently leaving the most crucial information out, let us first expose him using the parts he does quote, since the parts he quotes don't help him out neither, for instance he quotes:
Wahb bin Munabbih said, "The Tawrah and Injil REMAIN AS ALLAH REVEALED THEM, AND NO LETTER IN THEM WAS REMOVED. However, the people misguide others by addition and false interpretation, relying on books that they wrote themselves
Notice that although Munabbih affirms that the Torah and Gospel remain as Allah revealed them, he still goes on to say that the Christians and Jews miss-interpret these 2 books, and go on to make books up which they wrote with their own hands! This is exactly what we Muslims believe, we believe in the true Torah, and the true Gospel and we believe that no one can ever corrupt the true originals. However what they can do is misinterpret the true books, and after this they can go on to write fake books and then claim that the fake books they wrote with their hands are from Allah and are the Gospel and Torah, and this is exactly what Munabih is saying!
In fact we Muslims believe the Torah was given to Moses, and the Gospel was given to Jesus, for instance the Quran says:
005.046 YUSUFALI: 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.
Notice the Quran says that a Gospel was given to Jesus, so we know from the Quran that Jesus had a Gospel with him, in fact the Bible even testifies to this:
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23)
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark )
And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where. (Luke 9:6)
So as you can see, Jesus was given a Gospel, however so WHERE IS THIS GOSPEL TODAY? What we have today is not a Gospel but GospelS, we do not have the Gospel of Jesus, rather we have the Gospel of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John! Hence the Christians have invented their own books with their hands and claim that these books that were written by men such as Mark and Matthew are from God! Yet we know they are not from God, and we know they are a corrupted distorted version of the true Gospel which was the Gospel of Jesus. The four Gospels we have today were written after Jesus, which were based on many false interpretations and guess-work, which was then written down in ink, and then many claimed that these Gospels were from God.
I challenge Shamoun to show me where the Quran says we revealed 4 Gospels, specifically the Gospel of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John. He will NEVER be able to meet this challenge; all he will find in the Quran is the affirmation of the GOSPEL OF JESUS which we don't have today.
Now let us also make it clear, that we Muslims believe that the original Torah which was given to Moses, and the original Gospel which was given to Jesus can never be corrupted or changed, by that I mean that these 2 original books could never be tampered with, however so what evil people could do instead was to fabricate false interpretations, and after fabricating false interpretations they could go on to write their own false books and then claim they are from God which is what they have done, and this is clearly shown and proven today through the 4 Gospels. The original text given by God to his 2 prophets of Moses and Jesus can never be tampered with, however so the reason why they have been lost is because people hid them, and people began making their own false interpretations up, and began making their own false books up, and they did not take good care of the originals, hence from all this the 2 originals get lost and all we are left with are corrupt books based on corrupt interpretations.
Now having said all that, let us expose Shamoun for not properly quoting the tafsir, we shall quote the tafsir again only this time we will add the part Shamoun conveniently left out:
Allah states that some Jews, may Allah's curses descend on them, distort Allah's Words with their tongues, change them from their appropriate places, and alter their intended meanings. They do this to deceive the ignorant people by making it appear that their words are in the Book of Allah. They attribute their own lies to Allah, even though they know that they have lied and invented falsehood. Therefore, Allah said,
(and they speak a lie against Allah while they know it.)
Mujahid, Ash-Sha`bi, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that,
[íóáúæõæäó ÃóáúÓöäóÊóåõã ÈöÇáúßöÊóÜÈö]
(who distort the Book with their tongues,) means, "They alter them (Allah's Words).''
Al-Bukhari reported that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah means they alter and add although none among Allah's creation can remove the Words of Allah from His Books, they alter and distort their apparent meanings. Wahb bin Munabbih said, "The Tawrah and the Injil remain as Allah revealed them, and no letter in them was removed. However, the people misguide others by addition and false interpretation, relying on books that they wrote themselves. Then,
(they say: "This is from Allah,'' but it is not from Allah;)
As for Allah's Books, they are still preserved and cannot be changed.'' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this statement. However, if Wahb meant the books that are currently in the hands of the People of the Book, then we should state that there is no doubt that they altered, distorted, added to and deleted from them. For instance, the Arabic versions of these books contain tremendous error, many additions and deletions and enormous misinterpretation. Those who rendered these translations have incorrect comprehension in most, rather, all of these translations. If Wahb meant the Books of Allah that He has with Him, then indeed, these Books are preserved and were never changed.
Notice the tafsir goes on to say that the PRESENT DAY Gospels and Torah held by the Jews and Christians are corrupt, tampered with, have many deletions and additions! Shamoun conveniently left this point out!
Hence we Muslims believe in the true Torah and Gospel, the Torah given to Moses, and the Gospel given to Jesus. We believe that over-time these 2 original texts became lost, and what arose from this was a corrupt version of these 2 texts, a corrupted version which was based on false interpretation of men, men whom later wrote down these false interpretations as true words from God. (I.e. Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John)
Shamoun then goes on to write:
"But (now), when the Truth has come to them from Ourselves, they say, 'Why are not (Signs) sent to him, like those which were sent to Moses?" Do they not then reject (the Signs) which were formerly sent to Moses? They say: 'TWO KINDS OF SORCERY, EACH ASSISTING THE OTHER!' And they say: 'For us, we reject all (such things)!' Say: 'Then bring ye a Book from Allah, which is a better guide THAN EITHER OF THEM, that I may follow it! (Do), if ye are truthful!'" S. 28:48-49
Here, Muhammad defends the Book of Moses and the Quran. Ibn Kathir states:
<Two kinds of magic, each helping the other!>
?Ali bin Abi Talhah and Al-?Awfi reported that Ibn ?Abbas said that this refers to THE TAWRAH and the Qur?an, because Allah says next ...
<Say: "Then bring a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than these two that I may follow it.">
Allah often mentions the Tawrah and the Qur?an together, as in the Ayat ...
<Say: "Who then sent down the Book which Musa brought, a light and a guidance to mankind ..."> until ...
<And this is a blessed Book which We have sent down.> (6:91-92)
And at the end of the same Surah, Allah says ...
<Then, We gave Musa the Book, to complete (Our favor) upon those who would do right> (6:154) ...
<And this is a blessed Book which We have sent down, so follow it and have Taqwa of Allah, that you may receive mercy> (6:155).
(Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Volume 7 (Surat An-Nur to Surat Al-Ahzab, Verse 50), Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, First Edition, August 2000, p. 418; bold and capital emphasis ours)
How does this prove the Torah is not corrupt? To begin with the context of the verse is addressing stubborn disbelievers who keep asking for signs from the prophet Muhammad, the disbelievers ask for signs that were given to Moses. The Quran rebukes them since the disbelievers also disbelieved in the signs of Moses, hence their request was futile. After exposing the pagans double standards concerning their futile requests, the Quran challenges them to bring a book better than itself, and that of the Torah, the reason why the Quran challenges them to bring a book or guidance better than the Torah is because the disbelievers also disbelieved in the truthful revelations sent to Muhammad and Moses, they claimed their miracles were sorcery and magic, and they claimed their books they were given were of the same nature.
Hence the Quran challenges them to bring a book better than the Quran, and a book better than the revelation which was given to Moses. Once again the verse is referring to the un-corrupted and un-tampered Torah because it mentions the book given to Moses, and the present day Torah we have today, and in Muhammad's time was not the Torah of Moses since it contained many words and additions which were made after Moses by other people!
Secondly, even if the verse was referring to the Torah available in that time then the statement is still correct, because the Torah which we still have today does preach a lot of truth, it still has the 10 commandments, and it still has the main message and core doctrine of Islam, which is that thou shall worship one God, hence the Torah still has a lot of beneficial and truthful information. So even the corrupted and un-original Torah is better than the guidance and belief of the pagans, because the pagans believed in many gods, and the Torah we still have is against this, and in fact calls for the death of such pagans and idolaters, and it calls people to monotheism and to worship the one and true God.
So from whatever angle you look at it, this verse still does not prove Shamoun's case, all it proves is his distortions and what they call ?cherry-picking'. He quotes one verse with some tafsir while ignoring the Quranic context and hadiths and tafsir as a whole, as they say selective citation.
Shamoun goes on to quote some more passages:
This Qur'an is not such as can be produced by other than God; but it is a verification of that WHICH IS BETWEEN HIS (ITS) HANDS, and the explanation OF THE BOOK, wherein there is no doubt, from the Lord of the worlds." S. 10:37
Shamoun believes this verse proves the Torah is preserved, yet it does not, all it says is that the Quran is a verification and confirmation of the Torah, even today present day Muslims say that the Quran is indeed a confirmation of the present day Bibles and Torah we have, even with their corruption, because at the end of the day these books do contain a lot of truthful information that is not corrupted or wrong. A lot of truth has been preserved in these books we have today which we call the Torah and Gospel, such as the names of prophets, some of what they preached, and specific rulings on certain crimes and so on.
Ibn Kathir writes this concerning this verse:
(but it is a confirmation of (the revelation) which was before it,) Such as previous revelations and Books. The Qur'an confirms these books and is a witness to them. It shows the changes, perversions and corruption that have taken place within these Books.
What the Quran confirms of the present day Bible we accept, what it does not, then we reject, this is what Allah means when he says the Quran confirms and verifies the Bible, the Quran confirms that which is true, and rejects that which is false. All Shamoun is doing is exposing his ignorance, he goes on to quote many such similar passages which we will not need to address since the response and answer is the same.
This shall end part 1 (A) of our rebuttal to Sam Shamoun.