Tom Wallace

Manuscript Evidence

Yesterday we looked at the  proof of the accuracy of the Old Testament manuscripts. Today we will start by looking at the New Testament manuscripts.

There were no professional scribes. If you were a Christian that traveled, for example, from Ephesus to Philippi, you would probably take with you a copy of the letter written to the church at Ephesus. While you were there you would probably make a copy of the letter Paul wrote to the Philippian church to bring back to Ephesus.

We have thousands of such manuscripts. The number differences between these many manuscripts is so minute that we can be sure we know what was originally written. Most of the differences are what we would call today “typos.”

There are some verses that are missing from one manuscript to another, but it is very evident. You can tell which family a given manuscript comes from by these errors. When you look at the manuscripts as a whole, you will find that more than 95% of them are in agreement. On the other hand, when you look at the Qur’an there is no such evidence.

The unbelieving academics have been trying to find errors in the Bible for centuries. They have subjected the Bible to all kinds of tests to try and prove that it is not what it claims to be. The Bible has passed every test.

Manuscript Evidence For The Qur’an

No one has done the same to the Qur’an until very recently. Now that the Qur’an has come to the West claiming to be superior to the Bible it is being tested by the same standard. Just as Christianity has been forced to prove the validity of its Scriptures, Islam is being forced to prove the validity of the Qur’an.

Muslims have never been allowed to ask questions about the Qur’an, but now the questions are being asked. This is a big problem for those who support the Qur’an.

Muslims claim they have two of the original manuscripts in existence today. When I say manuscript, I mean a hand written document. They didn’t have printing presses or typewriters back then. These manuscripts would be in Arabic. One of them is in Istanbul, Turkey, and the other is in Uzbekistan.

These two copies differ from each other. If these were the originals they would have been penned 20 years after Muhammad’s death. We need to remember that Muhammad did not write the Qur’an down. It was to be memorized. There were special men who memorized the Qur’an and during a battle 40 of them were killed. Uthman, the caliph of the time, was afraid they would loose the Qur’an so he ordered that it be written down. You can find this in the Sunna. At the time there were already 7 oral versions of the Qur’an. They had to decide which were correct and they decided to go with the Quraish version because it was the tribe of Muhammad. In other words, they didn’t know which version was right so what we have today is just based upon the opinion of men. There was no inspiration from God in the formation of the written Qur’an.

When they finished, they burned all material that differed from the official version. I thought that it was a great sin to burn the Qur’an. When you ask a Muslim if it is permissible to destroy any part of the Qur’an they nearly have a heart attack. When you tell them that one of their caliphs burned all of the parts of the Qur’an that didn’t agree with the Quraish version, it surprises them. This information is irrefutable. It is what their own sources say happened.

There are other problems with these two manuscripts. It is claimed that they are from the Arabian Peninsula about 20 years after the death of Muhammad. The historical manuscript evidence does not back this up. If it had been written at that time, it would have been in the Nabataean script. The written form of the Arabic language was in development at that time. Many of the people from that area could not read or write, they were nomadic tribes which passed on their history through oral traditions in the same manner as the American Indians. The first book ever written in Arabia was the Qur’an.

At the time they claimed these manuscripts were written there were no vowels in the written language. If these were what they claimed to be, they would be without vowels, but they have vowels. They are written in the Kufic script, which does not even come from Arabia. The Kufic script comes from modern day Iraq, Persia, and Mesopotamia. To be written in this script, these manuscripts would have had to have been written some 150 years after Muhammad and Uthman instead of only 20 years.

Science is not backing up the claim of Muslims on this issue. There is nothing that can be dated to the time of Muhammad, or even the time of those who knew him. There is nothing that can prove the story of Uthman’s having the Qur’an written down. The texts that they claim to be originals are not of the right dialect, region, or time frame.

Mistakes in the Content of the Qur’an

If the Qur’an is really God’s book, it will not have any mistakes. One of the most famous errors are what are called the Satanic Verses. There is one passage in the Qur’an where Muhammad speaks of 3 gods. Remember, Muhammad said there was only one god, and it was Allah. The Quraish tribe, Muhammad’s tribe, had 3 favorite gods. There was Allah, the moon god. There were also 3 female gods and a passage in the Qur’an, Surah 53:19-20, mentions these 3 gods. His companions challenged him on the subject and he responded in essence, “The Devil made me do it.” He said the Devil deceived him.

How did this happen if God was overseeing his word? If the Devil deceived Muhammad here, how do we know that he didn’t deceive him elsewhere? Maybe even everywhere?

The more you look at the Qur’an, the more it falls apart.

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