By Steven B. Cowan
Both Christianity and Islam claim to be revealed religions. That is, we both claim to have been the recipients of infallible, divine revelation which marks out our respective religion as exclusively true. What is more, we both claim that what God revealed to us about himself and his will for us has been inerrantly recorded in written documents. For the Christian, the divinely inspired written document is the Bible. For the Muslim, it is the Qur’an. For each of us, the Muslim and the Christian, our holy book constitutes for us our ultimate authority for faith and practice.
But, of course, both books cannot be the Word of God. They contain contradictory messages. Both the Muslim and the Christian are agreed that God would not inspire two contradictory books. So, at most, only one of them can truly be the Word of God. The other is a fraud.
So, the question before us is: which book— the Bible or the Qur’an—is truly the Word of God? In a previous issue of Areopagus Journal, we have defended the divine inspiration of Scripture.1 I will not repeat that case here. What I will do is respond to Muslim attacks on the Bible’s inspiration and offer rebuttals to the major arguments that Muslims give for the inspiration of the Qur’an. As we will see, the Muslim arguments against the divine inspiration of the Bible are weak and unfounded. And, worse still, there is absolutely no good reason to believe that the Qur’an is the Word of God, and every reason to believe that it is a purely human book, fraudulently claiming to be divinely inspired.
Muslim Attacks on the Bible
There are at least two major tactics that Muslims use to discredit the divine inspiration of the Bible. First, they claim that the Bible that we have today is not an accurate rendition of the original writings of the biblical prophets; that the biblical text has been corrupted. Second, they claim that the Bible contains numerous contradictions.2 Let us look at these charges in order.
Has the Bible Been Corrupted?
Perhaps the most significant attack that Muslims make against the Bible is the charge of textual corruption. They claim that we no longer have the autographs of the biblical books—i.e., what the apostles and prophets actually wrote. Rather, Muslims allege that Jews and Christians, in the process of copying the Bible over the centuries, have altered and corrupted the text so that the original, inspired writings are no longer recognizable.
It is important to note that Muslims have to make this charge. There can be no doubt that the Bible as we have it today contradicts the teaching of the Qur’an at several points. The Old Testament, for example, teaches that Abraham was called upon to sacrifice his son Isaac. But, the Qur’an teaches that it was Ishmael that Abraham almost killed (see Sura 37:100-112). The New Testament teaches that Jesus died on the cross and rose again. But, the Qur’an repudiates this teaching (Sura 4:157-159). This creates a potential problem for the Muslim because the Qur’an is also quite clear that the Old Testament Torah and the New Testament Gospels are divinely inspired! Which means that if the original message of the Bible contradicts the Qur’an, the Qur’an is clearly exposed as a fraud.
Therefore, since the Muslim acknowledges that both the Torah and the Gospels are inspired books, the only way he can defend the Qur’an is to argue that these other books have been corrupted in their transmission so that their original messages (which were supposedly the same message as the Qur’an’s) is no longer recognizable. So, if we can answer this objection and show that the Bible has not been corrupted, we will have a very strong apologetic tool by which to critique Islam.
The first point to bring up is that there is some question whether the Qur’an itself actually makes this charge of textual corruption. There are, of course, some Qur’anic passages that Muslims interpret in this way. For example, Sura 3:71,78 read,
O people of the Scripture! Why confound ye truth with falsehood and knowingly conceal the truth? . . And lo! There is a party of them who distort the Scriptures with their tongues that you may think that what they say is from the Scripture, when it is not from the Scripture.
The “People of the Scriptures” is the Qur’an’s way of referring to Jews and Christians. It seems to many readers that what these texts assert is that Jews and Christians misinterpret the Bible, not that the text of the Bible itself has been corrupted. In any case, whether the Qur’an actually teaches it or not, every Muslim believes that the biblical text has been corrupted. Yet this charge simply cannot be sustained. Let me give you four reasons why this charge of biblical corruption is false.
First, a consistent reading of the Qur’an itself undermines the charge that the biblical text has been corrupted. Listen to the words of Sura 10:94:
If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed to thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book [the Bible] from before thee; the truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord.
In this text, God tells Muhammad that if he has doubts about the revelations he has received, then he should go and consult the “People of the Book”—Jews and Christians—who have been reading the Bible for many years and who can verify the accuracy of what Muhammad has been told.3 This clearly implies that the Bible in circulation in Muhammad’s day was considered to contain the Word of God, to be an accurate and reliable text of God’s revelation. At least up to that point, the Bible had not been corrupted. But, the problem for the Muslim is that the Bible in existence then is precisely the Bible in existence today!
Second, Muslims insist that the Word of God cannot be changed or altered. In fact, such a claim lies behind much of their insistence that the Qur’an has escaped the kind of corruption they accuse the Bible of having (see Sura 6:34; 10:64). But, if the Word of God cannot be corrupted, then how is it that the Bible—which they claim was the Word of God in its original form—was corrupted? Why wasn’t it preserved? Indeed, if we take seriously the claim that the Word of God cannot be corrupted, then we have to conclude that the Bible was not in fact corrupted, and that the book which errs is not the current Bible, but the Qur’an.
Third, the charge of textual corruption is inconsistent with the selective quotation that Muslims make of the Bible in order to critique Christian doctrines. As we have seen, Muslims claim that the Bible’s original text is so corrupted that we cannot have any confidence in what it tells us about God, redemptive history, Jesus’ life and teaching, etc. However, if a biblical text seems to support something which they believe, they will not hesitate to quote it with confidence. For example, texts which underscore the humanity of Jesus, such as Luke 2:52 (which tells us that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature), they will cite as authentic and use it to argue against the deity of Christ. But, the Muslim cannot have his cake and eat it too. If the biblical text has been corrupted beyond repair, then how can he know that Luke 2:52 tells us the truth rather than John 8:58 where Jesus declares, “Before Abraham was born, I am”?
Fourth, despite the claims of Muslim apologists, the science of textual criticism has established the original text of the Bible beyond any reasonable doubt. Muslims are notorious for pointing out the fact that the many ancient manuscripts that we possess of the Old and New Testaments are filled with variant readings; that in all the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts that we possess, there are different readings at various places. This indicates quite clearly that those who copied the Bible by hand made mistakes as they did so. Of course, none of this is a secret. Most Christians are well aware of these facts. We believe that the original authors—the apostles and prophets—were inspired by God to write what they wrote, but we have never claimed that those who copied the biblical books were preserved entirely from error.
Nevertheless, Muslims who point to the transmissional errors in the biblical text assert that this is proof that the biblical text is corrupted beyond repair and therefore cannot be trusted as the Word of God. However, this charge indicates an ignorance on their part concerning the nature of textual criticism and the positive results it has achieved with regard to the biblical text.
Textual criticism, as some of our readers may know, is the science of reconstructing the autographs (i.e., original texts) of ancient books. Now textual criticism is by no means an exact science. Yet, when textual critics have a plentiful supply of ancient manuscript copies, many of which are separated from the original by only a few years, they are usually able to establish the original reading of the ancient work with a virtual certainty.4 They are able to do this in part because of our ability to date ancient manuscripts. A reading that appears in a manuscript that is closer to the writing of the autograph is more likely to be authentic compared to a reading that appears only in much later manuscripts. This is how we know, for example, that the traditional ending of Mark’s Gospel (16:9-20) is not part of the inspired autograph. The ending as it appears in the KJV is absent from all of the earliest copies of Mark and does not appear in any manuscript before the fifth century A.D.
We also know the kinds of typical mistakes that copyists made and can spot their mistakes in many cases with little difficulty. For example, a tired copyist might accidentally omit a line of text when the omitted line happened to end with the same word or words as a previous or later line. This is surely what happened in Luke 14:27. Several old manuscripts omit the last phrase “cannot be my disciple,” while most manuscripts contain these words. This omission is easily explained since verse 26 ends with exactly the same words. The copyist no doubt had a slip of the eye, and thus we can be confident that the autograph contained the phrase omitted by a handful of copies.
So, textual critics, when they have lots of manuscripts by which to make comparisons of variant readings, and those manuscripts come from various places and times, are able to reconstruct the autographs of ancient texts with a high degree of confidence. So, how does the Bible measure up? Quite well as it turns out. For considerations of time and space, I will limit my remarks here to the New Testament, though similar conclusions can be reached regarding the Old Testament.
The truth of the matter is that the text of no ancient book can be authenticated more confidently than the New Testament. It is well-known that we have over 5000 manuscript copies of the Greek New Testament or parts thereof. That is much more than enough to make accurate comparisons of variant readings. And many of these copies are very close to the originals in time. By way of comparison, we may note that the next best attested ancient document, Homer’s Iliad, only has 643 surviving copies. Yet the Iliad is considered to have been transmitted through history with over 95% accuracy.
In addition, we have copies of parts of the New Testament that are dated as early as the second or third centuries, and some fragments that are as early A.D. 125, no more than a generation after the original writing. Again, comparison with the Iliad is illuminating. The earliest copy of the Iliad is dated 400 B.C., 500 years after Homer wrote it. But, again, no one seriously doubts that we have the Iliad today essentially in the form Homer composed it. Scholars agree that, with regard to the New Testament, 99% of its text is beyond a reasonable doubt. And the small percentage that might be questionable touches on no doctrinal or ethical matters. For all intents and purposes, we have what the New Testament writers actually wrote. So, the Muslim has no basis whatsoever for claiming that the biblical text is corrupted beyond repair.
Are There Contradictions in the Bible?
Like atheists, agnostics, and other biblical critics, Muslims are fond of pointing out apparent contradictions in the Bible. Yet, as with all the other critics, the “contradictions” arise because of a failure to apply either sound principles of interpretation or the laws of logic. Let me provide a couple of examples from a popular tract by the famous Muslim apologist Ahmed Deedat. Concerning the apparent discrepancy between 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1, he writes:
You will observe that the authors of the books of “Chronicles” and of “Samuel” are telling us the same story about David taking a census of the Jews. Where did David get his “inspiration” to do this novel deed? The author of 2 Samuel 24:1 says that it was the “LORD” God who MOVED (RSV: “incited”) David, but the author of 1 Chronicles 21:1 says that it was “SATAN” who PROVOKED (RSV: “incited”) David to do such a dastardly thing! How could the Almighty God have been the source of these contradictory “INSPIRATIONS?”5
Deedat is guilty of both kinds of mistakes. He violates a cardinal rule of biblical interpretation (a rule on which Muslims insist with regard to the Qur’an as well), namely, the rule that Scripture interprets Scripture. Simple comparison to biblical texts like Job 1, Daniel 4:34-35, and others, teach us the sovereignty of God over all of creation—even over Satan! The devil has no power that God does not give him, nor can he act on this earth without God’s permission. So, it is no stretch at all to extrapolate from the Chronicler’s comment that Satan incited David to take the census to Samuel’s belief that God was ultimately the source of David’s “inspiration.”
Deedat also doesn’t understand what a contradiction is. If he did, he would immediately see that there is no contradiction between these accounts. The law of non-contradiction prescribes that a statement cannot be both true and false at the same time and in the same sense. This means that if any statement P is true, then its contradiction, not-P, must be false (and vice versa). In other words, no statement that takes the form “P and not-P” can be true. Given these definitions, it is clear that 1 Chronicles and 2 Samuel do not contradict each other. There would be a contradiction if and only if the statement “God incited David” necessarily implied “Satan did not incite David.” But, as we have seen, it is possible that both God and Satan were involved in inciting David to take the census. So, “God incited David” does not imply “Satan did not incite David,” and “Satan incited David” does not imply “God did not incite David.” There simply is no contradiction here.
Another alleged contradiction that Deedat mentions is the discrepancy that exists in the genealogies of Jesus as recorded in Matthew and Luke.6 It is common knowledge that the two lists of Jesus’ ancestors do not match in every detail. But, a plausible solution to the puzzle is that Matthew records Jesus’ genealogy through Joseph, his legal father, while Luke records his actual physical descent through Mary. This solution fits well with the respective emphases and purposes of the two authors. Luke is concerned primarily with the actual physical and historical facts of the matter for his Gentile audience, while Matthew is constrained to demonstrate the legitimacy of Jesus’ claim to be the Jewish Messiah. Moreover, the actual grammar of Luke’s genealogy (Luke 3:23) would suggest that Luke does not intend to say that Heli (the first name after Joseph in Luke’s list) is Joseph’s father, but rather that he is Mary’s father.7 Similar responses may be given to all of the alleged contradictions that Muslims bring up.
A Critique of the Qur’an
We have addressed the most serious objections that Muslims have to the authority of the Bible and found them to be wanting. Now let us turn to the Qur’an. What are its credentials for being the Word of God? Muslims present several arguments for the divine inspiration of the Qur’an. In what follows, we will examine the most popular and significant of these arguments and show that they provide no compelling support for the Qur’an’s claim to be God’s Word.
The Argument from Literary Elegance
The most popular argument that Muslims give for the inspiration of the Qur’an is its supposed literary elegance. One Muslim apologist, Yusuf Ali, says, “No human composition could contain the beauty, power, and spiritual insight of the Qur’an.”8 Muhammad himself said, “This Qur’an is not such as can be produced by other than God” (Sura 10:37). In fact, the Qur’an lays down a challenge which Muslims believe has never been met: “And if you are in doubt as to what we have revealed from time to time to our servant, then produce a sura like unto it” (Sura 2:23). The challenge is for someone to produce a literary work of equal quality to the Qur’an. Supposedly, if this could be done, the Qur’an would be shown to be a merely human work. But, the Muslim is confident that it cannot be done. The argument from literary elegance may be formulated like this:
(1) The literary elegance of the Qur’an is such that it could not have been composed by a human being.
(2) Any literary work the elegance of which is such that it could not have been composed by a human being must be divinely inspired.
(3) Therefore, the Qur’an must be divinely inspired.
We can challenge both premises of this argument. Let’s start with premise (2). The premise claims that any book which is of such a high literary quality that it could not have been produced by a human being must, therefore, be the product of God. However, this premise assumes that the only possible candidates for the authorship of a work like the Qur’an are human beings and God. But, this assumption is dubious at best. Even supposing that the Qur’an possesses a literary excellence that would surpass what we would expect from any human being, it doesn’t follow that the book would be divinely inspired. We might suppose that angels or demons, or some alien race are capable of producing a great literary work that no man could produce. So, non-human authorship does not imply divine authorship.
And we might add here that even Muhammad himself entertained the possibility that someone other than God might have been the source of the Qur’an. When he first began to receive the revelations that would later become the Qur’an, he suspected that he might be possessed by a jinn (i.e., a demon).9 So, we might wonder how seriously we should take the claim that the Qur’an is so clearly superior in literary quality that only God could have produced it.
As a related note, we might also ask how we could ever know whether a book is of such superior quality that it could not have been composed by a human being. What are the criteria for recognizing this level of literary elegance? As far as I can tell, no Muslim has ever set out such criteria.
Premise (1), which claims that the Qur’an possesses this kind of literary elegance is even more doubtful. Arabic scholars, who are well-acquainted with the Arabic language, have challenged the Qur’an at this point. For example, C.G. Pfander says that “it is by no means the universal opinion of unprejudiced Arabic scholars that the literary style of the Qur’an is superior to that of all other books in the Arabic language.”10 He then cites several Arabic books that surpass the literary elegance of the Qur’an. Moreover, even Muslim scholars have pointed out numerous grammatical irregularities in the Qur’an. For example, Shi’ite scholar Ali Dashti writes:
The Quran contains sentences which are incomplete and not fully intelligible without the aid of commentaries; foreign words, unfamiliar Arabic words, and words used with other than the normal meaning; adjectives and verbs inflected without observance of the concord of gender and number; illogical and ungrammatically applied pronouns which sometimes have no referent; and predicates which in rhymed passages are often remote from the subjects. These and other such aberrations in the language have given scope to critics who deny the Quran’s eloquence. . . .To sum up, more than 100 Quranic aberrations from the normal rules and structure of Arabic have been noted.11
Dashti cites numerous examples of such literary irregularities including Sura 2:172, 177; 4:160; 9:49; 20:66; and 74:1. The conclusion to be reached in light of these facts is that the Qur’an’s literary elegance is not nearly so wonderful as the Muslims claim. And this means that this argument for the divine inspiration of the Qur’an fails.
The Argument from Muhammad’s Illiteracy
No Muslim believes that Muhammad wrote the Qur’an. Rather, he delivered the Qur’an orally, and then others wrote it down. Muslims believe that Muhammad was actually illiterate. They base this belief on Sura 7:157, which says that Muhammad was “alumni,” a term which, in this verse, is usually translated “unlettered” or “illiterate.” The question they ask, then, is: how could an illiterate person possible produce such a great literary work as the Qur’an? It defies credibility. Therefore, the Qur’an must be divinely inspired. The argument may be stated as follows:
(1) If Muhammad was illiterate, then he could not have produced the Qur’an without divine assistance.
(2) Muhammad was illiterate.
(3) Therefore, he could not have produced the Qur’an without divine assistance.
Again, both premises may be challenged. Even if he was illiterate, everyone agrees that Muhammad was a smart and capable person. It is not impossible to imagine him coming up with the ideas contained in the Qur’an. In fact, the only reason we could have to believe premise (1) of this argument is that we have already accepted the argument from literary elegance. That is, only if we believe that the Qur’an is so excellent as a work of literature that no human being could possibly have produced it would we have reason to believe that an illiterate, but highly intelligent, man could not have invented the words contained therein. But, we have already seen that the argument from literary elegance is flawed. So, since the Qur’an is a book that could have been produced by an intelligent human being (even an illiterate one), we have no reason to conclude that it is divinely inspired.
Premise (2), which claims that Muhammad is illiterate, is also questionable. For one thing, the term al umni does not necessarily mean “illiterate.” The same word is translated “heathen” or “gentile” in 62:2; 2: 73; 3:19, etc. And this translation fits the context of 7:157 perfectly well. Moreover, historical records indicate that when the Muslims were making a treaty with another tribe, Muhammad took a pen and changed a particular word that occurred in the original draft. And on his deathbed, Muhammad called for pen and ink to write a command appointing his successor, though he died before being able to do so. And don’t forget that Muhammad was from Mecca, where many people knew how to read and write, and that he was a merchant, a profession in which it would be valuable to have literary skills. These facts suggest that he was not illiterate.12
The Argument from Perfect Preservation
Muslims believe that the Qur’an, of all ancient books, has been perfectly preserved through the process of transmission (unlike the Bible, in their opinion). Sura 15:9 actually records God’s supposed promise to preserve it from corruption: “We have, without doubt, sent down the message; and we will assuredly guard it from corruption.” The Muslim argues that the perfect preservation of the Qur’an is evidence of its divine inspiration. The argument goes like this:
(1) Any book which has been perfectly preserved through centuries of copying is divinely inspired.
(2) The Qur’an has been perfectly preserved through centuries of copying.
(3) Therefore, the Qur’an is divinely inspired.
Once again, however, we can see that this argument is very weak because both premises can be called into question. First of all, premise (1) is not obviously true. Just because a book happens to be accurately copied from one generation to another is no proof of divine inspiration. All it proves is that those who did the copying were very careful.
Secondly, it is simply not the case that the Qur’an has been perfectly preserved, though this is certainly something that most Muslims will never admit. The facts behind the early transmission of the Qur’an are these:13 Muhammad recited the alleged revelations he had been given and his followers memorized them and wrote them down wherever they could—on rocks, palm leaves, people’s backs, etc. After Muhammad died, there was some concern that the Qur’an might be lost as those who had memorized it began to die as well. So, Abu Bakr, the first Caliph (A.D. 633), ordered that the bits and pieces of the Qur’an be collected, an order that was carried out during his lifetime.
There are serious questions that we can raise at this point, however. First, we may wonder whether we can be at all confident that Abu Bakr succeeded in collecting all of Muhammad’s recitations, and whether anyone can be sure that some of the pieces he collected originated with Muhammad or were invented by others! Second, there are historical records to indicate that Abu Bakr was not the only one to compile a collection of the Qur’anic verses at that time. Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali Ibn Abi Talib made his own collection and presented it to Abu Bakr. But, Abu Bakr refused to accept it. Why? The most likely answer is that it must have differed significantly from the other text he collected. But, which one truly represents the autograph of the Qur’an? 14
Even more troubling problems arise in later Muslim history. During the reign of the third Caliph, Uthman (A.D. 656), it was reported that several Muslim communities were using different versions of the Qur’an (though Muslims will say that the differences only had to do with pronunciation, vowel points, and other very minor things). Uthman then ordered that an official and uniform version of the Qur’an be made, and that all the other versions be destroyed. All the subsequent copies of the Qur’an are said to be faithful reproductions of this Uthmanic recension. Yet, it simply defies belief that the differences between the versions of the Qur’an that prompted Uthman to authorize an official Qur’an merely had to do with vowel points and pronunciation. For one thing, Muslims were killing each other over these disagreements.15 Moreover, the fact that Uthman had all other versions destroyed is ample evidence that major textual differences existed between the various manuscripts. Most probably, what Uthman did was to take one of the many versions of the Qur’an which existed in the Muslim empire, put his official stamp of approval on that one, and then destroy all the others. His choice was not based on any critical study, but was quite arbitrary.
Of course, Muslims will simply insist that none of this is true and that the Qu’ran they have today is exactly the same as the original Qur’an. But, how can they know this? Where is the original Qur’an by which they can verify this claim? The original manuscript of the Qur’an does not exist. All the Muslim has to go on for believing that current versions of the Qur’an preserve the autograph is blind faith. Unlike Christians, the Muslim cannot engage in textual criticism to verify the authenticity of the current Qur’anic versions. Why not?—because Uthman destroyed all the variant manuscripts!
Nevertheless, we know for a fact, based on study of early Muslim commentaries on the Qur’an, that there had to be at least 15 major manuscripts of the Qur’an, all of which exhibited hundreds of textual variations, and some of which were owned by companions of Muhammad—yet all of these were destroyed by Uthman. In fact, we have books by Medieval Muslim scholars that discuss variant readings in Qur’anic manuscripts that existed at the time of Uthman. There are also coins and inscriptions on ancient Muslim buildings that point to variant readings in the Qur’an.16 What is most telling is the fact that even today, Muslims do not all accept one and the same version of the Qur’an. The Sunni Muslims and the Shi’ite Muslims have different versions with many variant readings. There is ample reason, therefore, to doubt the perfect preservation of the Qur’an.
Occasionally, Muslims will argue that the Qur’an contains accurate scientific descriptions of phenomena that could not have been know naturally at the time the Qur’an was written.17 If so, they argue, this scientific information could only have come from God, therefore supporting the belief that the Qur’an is divinely inspired. In response, we may say first that even if the Qur’an did contain scientific data unknowable to Medieval peoples, this would be no proof of divine inspiration. We may easily surmise that demons could communicate accurate scientific data to Muhammad. Moreover, it is not as clear as Muslims think that the Qur’an contains such scientific information. For example, the most often cited instance of scientific information reported by the Qur’an is found in Sura 23:14, which reads:
We created man of an extraction of clay, then we set him, a drop, in a receptacle secure, then we created of the drop a clot [of blood], then we created of the clot a tissue, then we created of the tissue bones, then we garmented the bones in flesh. . .
Many Muslims believe that this text sketches the development of a human being from an embryo to an infant. However, the context would seem to indicate that the topic here is not embryonic development, but God’s original creation of mankind. In any case, it will not do as a description of embryonic development, either. Embryos do not begin as clay, and at no stage in their development are they clots of blood.
Which book has the better claim to being the Word of God: the Bible or the Qur’an? In this article, we have seen that the attacks that Muslims make against the Bible are unsuccessful. The Bible’s credentials as the Word of God remain unscathed. The Qur’an, on the other hand, has no legitimate claim to divine inspiration. None of the arguments mustered in its defense by Muslims carry any significant apologetic weight. All we really have to go on regarding the alleged divine inspiration of the Qur’an is the Muslim’s word— The Qur’an is the Word of God (and the Bible is not) because the Muslim says so. But this is a weak foundation for faith when eternal souls hang in the balance.
Steven B. Cowan is the Associate Director of the Apologetics Resource Center, and editor of Areopagus Journal.
1 See Gary Habermas, “Jesus and the Inspiration of Scripture,” Areopagus Journal 2:1 (January 2002): 11-16. Other articles in this same issue are relevant to the defense of biblical inspiration and authority.
2 There is a third tactic Muslims use as well. They will often quote liberal biblical scholars who question the historical reliability of the the Bible, appealing to their authority as an argument against the Bible’s trustworthiness. This tactic suffers from two problems. One, it ignores the responses that conservative biblical scholars have made to critical attacks on the Bible. Two, this tactic actually backfires on Muslims because the same arguments and methods used by critical scholars to undermine the Bible’s historical reliability would, if applied to the Qur’an, undermine its historical reliability, too. For more on this, see Norman Geisler and Abdul Saleeb, Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), 213-214.
3 Some Muslims question this interpretation of this Qur’anic text. They claim that it is not Muhammad who is addressed by God in this verse, but those who doubt the truth of Islam. However, not only does this interpretation go contrary to the plain meaning of the text, but it does not help the Muslim cause in any case. On either interpretation, those who have doubts about God’s revelations to Muhammad are directed to the Jewish-Christian Scriptures (assumed to be authentic) for confirmation. For further discussion see Abdiyah Akbar AbdulHaqq, Sharing Your Faith with a Muslim (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1980), 22-24.
4 For more on textual criticism, see Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, 2nd ed. (Oxford, 1968), 149-246.
5 Ahmed Deedat, Is the Bible God’s Word? (Durban, RSA: Islamic Propagation Centre International, 1980), 35.
6 Ibid., 52.
7 See my “Ten Guidelines for Dealing with Bible Difficulties,” Areopagus Journal 2:1 (January 2002): 32-35.
8 As quoted in Geisler and Saleeb, Answering Islam, 181.
9 See Ibid., 155. See also Ergun Mehmet Caner and Emir Fethi Caner, Unveiling Islam (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2002), 41-43. Muhammad’s doubts and suspicions on this issue are preserved in Islamic tradition in Haddith 1.1.3.
10 C.G. Pfander, The Mizanu’l Haqq (Villach, Austria: Light of Life, 1986), 264.
11 Ali Dashti, Twenty-three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Muhammad (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1985), 48-49.
12 See Geisler and Saleeb, Answering Islam, 190-191.
13 See Ibid., 191-194. Also see Ibn Warraq, Why I Am Not a Muslim (Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 1995), 108-115; and Steven Masood, The Bible and the Qur’an: A Question of Integrity (Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster Publishing, 2001), 17-40.
14 See Steven Masood, The Bible and the Qur’an, 29.
15 Ibid., 31.
16 Ibid., 35-37.
17 For a description and evaluation of several scientific arguments for the Qur’an, see Geisler and Saleeb, Answering Islam 185, 198-200.