The Bible Versus The Qur’an

Tom Wallace

As Christians we believe that God’s Word is inerrant and infallible. We believe that God gave His revelation to man and that He has preserved it pure until this day.

The Qur’an gives Muslims little to put their faith in. There is no promise of salvation and no answers to their questions. If we want to see Muslims get saved, we must get them to see the consistency of the Bible and that Jesus is the living Word of God.

Fortress of Faith is not only a ministry of exposing Islam; it is also a ministry of reaching Muslims with the Gospel. When we compare the Bible with the Qur’an we find that the credibility of the Bible far exceeds the credibility of the Qur’an.

The Qur’an does not pass muster when it claims to be given by Allah as his word. There are 1.7 billion people in this world who are told to put their faith and trust in the Qur’an. It does not pass muster when it is compared to the Bible. The evidence for the Bible being the Word of God is overwhelming, but the evidence supporting the Qur’an’s claim is slim at best.

The Source of Muhammad’s Revelation

As we examine this issue we believe it will not only strengthen Christians, but will help them reach out to Muslims. There are missionaries who are involved in “bridge-building” between Muslims and Christians and who teach there is a common word between the Qur’an and the Bible. When we look at the contradictions and lack of witness for the Qur’an, we find that there is nothing common between them. The truth is, they are contradictory.

Both the Old and New Testaments were given through multiple people: Moses, the prophets, the apostles, etc. It was not concocted by one person. It was given over a period of time, and was given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:21)
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2 Timothy 3:16)

How many people received, or even witnessed, the revelation of the Qur’an? There is only one, Muhammad. Muslims are, by faith, to take this one man’s word. It is like comparing a full orchestra with a string section, a base section, a brass section, etc. playing in magnificent harmony (the Bible) with a one string guitar that is out of tune (the Qur’an).

The Bible is very detailed. It gives places, times, names, etc. so we can check out what it says. Some 40 men were used of God to record His Word. He used them over hundreds of years and yet the message fits together without any contradictions. The harmony of the Bible is one of its most remarkable features. The Qur’an, on the other hand, is a jumble of disassociated thoughts and contradictions.

It is our hope that you will see that the Bible, in its entirety, is the Holy Word of God. You will see that only God could have put it together.

The central figure of the Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, is the Lord Jesus Christ. There are over 300 Messianic prophecies from the Old Testament which are fulfilled in one Person. That Person is the Lord Jesus Christ. The probabilities of these 300 prophecies being fulfilled in one person approaches impossibility. Only God could have known these things in advance.

In the Qur’an the central figure is really Muhammad. He is the only person who received the “revelation” from Allah. There is little in the Qur’an that can prove it to be from God. There is no real prophetic fulfillment we can refer to. It is mostly just saying that Muhammad is Allah’s prophet, and we are to obey him or die.

Muhammad claimed that he routinely visited a cave for meditation and this is where the revelations began. He claimed that these revelations were given to him by the angel Gabriel. The following is from “The Narration from Aisha.” She was his wife, and was recounting the story that Muhammad had told her.

He [Muhammad} used to go in seclusion to the cave of Hira, where he used to worship Allah alone continuously for many days and nights. … The angel came to him in it and asked him to read, the Prophet replied, I do not know how to read. The angel caught me forcefully and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and asked me again to read. And I replied, I do not know how to read, whereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and asked me to read, but again I replied, I do not know how to read, or maybe, what shall I read. Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me and released me and said read in the name of your lord who has created all that exists, has created man from a clot.

This was the initial encounter that Muhammad had with the angel. Apparently the angel didn’t know Muhammad couldn’t read.

Is there any example in the Bible where an angel showed up and nearly killed one of the prophets while trying to give him revelation? Of course there is not. There are times when an angel appeared and the men were afraid, but the angel always sought to calm them and assure them there was no danger. I think it would be a natural thing to be afraid if an angel suddenly showed up in front of you.

In the biography of Muhammad, which is considered part of the Islamic scriptures, he is quoted as saying:

Never shall the Quraish say of me poet or possessed. I shall go to the top of the mountain and cast myself off and find rest

Muhammad actually planned to commit suicide rather than be thought to be demon possessed. He said to his wife:

I see light and I hear sound, and I fear I am mad.

These encounters made him think he was going crazy.

There is controversy and contradiction within the Qur’an: and Muslim scholars have come up with various excuses. In the Bible there is no contradiction even though it was penned over hundreds of years by some 40 different writers. The point is that if one of the writers went astray, there are other writers that kept everything in check.

Think about all of this. Muhammad was not merely the only witness for the Qur’an, he was so confused when he received the revelation he wanted to commit suicide. He actually thought he was visited by a demon. Maybe he should have stuck with his first instinct.

Contradictions in The Qur’an

It is important to remember that the only source of Islam is Muhammad. No one else can validate what he said, and no one else received any revelation from Allah. The Bible, on the other hand, was given through different people over a long period of time. There are some 400 years between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament.

The Qur’an contradicts itself on how it was given. Here are two different verses out of the Qur’an that claim it was given all at once:

Surah 2:185 – Ramadan is the month in which we sent down the Qur’an to be a guide to mankind.
Surah 44:1-7 – By the manifest book [the Qur’an], we sent it down on a blessed night in the month of Ramadan.

These two verses very clearly teach that the Qur’an was given all at once in the month of Ramadan. This poses a major problem because Muhammad claims that he got different revelation when he was in Mecca from what he received some 10 years later in Medina. Surah 102 says the older verses were abrogated (superseded) by the later verses.

Surah 17:105-106 says:

We sent down the Qur’an in truth, and in truth it is descended. We sent thee but to give glad tidings to sinners. It is a Qur’an which we have divided into parts in order that thou might site it to men at intervals. We have revealed it by stages.
Surah 24:32 – And those who disbelieve say, why is not the Qur’an revealed to him all at once? Thus that we may strengthen your hearts thereby, and we have revealed it to you gradually in stages.

The Qur’an says that it was given to Muhammad during the month of Ramadan in one night. Other verses say it was given in stages over time. It is hard to believe that all four of these verses are true.

There is nothing that clarifies this problem in the Qur’an or the Sunna. Today there are Muslim scholars who try to explain it away by saying that Allah gave revelation from the higher heaven to the lower heaven. They say it was revealed in one night from the higher heaven to the lower heaven. It was held in the lower heaven, and the angel gave it to Muhammad gradually over time. There is nothing in the Islamic scriptures to support this idea.

When we have such a great contradiction, it leads us to believe that it is all false. This is the only reasonable conclusion because surely Allah would know how he revealed his word. If he can’t get this right, how can we trust him for anything else? Muhammad, himself, supported the fact that it was given in pieces.

Concerning the changing of Allah’s precepts by abrogation, the change was quite great. They went from the peaceful verses of Mecca to the verses of the sword from Medina. They went from, “there is no compulsion in religion,” to there is compulsion by the sword. The later verses say that Muhammad must subdue all the unbelievers by force if necessary.

The contradictions in the Qur’an are a major flaw. They can only lead to one conclusion: the revelations received by Muhammad were not from God. When we remember that Muhammad thought he was demon possessed, it strengthens this conclusion.

Manuscript Evidence for The Bible

It is amazing how God preserved the Bible over thousands of years. Although we don’t have the original autographs of the Bible, we do have more than 5,000 ancient manuscripts containing portions of the Bible. This includes both the Old Testament and the New Testament. More than 95% of these manuscripts are in agreement. The manuscripts fall into several families with some variations. In the Old Testament there were professional scribes charged with the copying of the Scriptures. They were exceptionally careful in the handling of God’s Word. For example, when they came to the name of God they would take a bath to cleanse themselves and take a new pen before writing it down. They were so afraid of profaning God’s name that they would use substitutes.

The Dead Sea Scrolls prove the accuracy of the copying process by the Jewish scribes. The Essenes fled into the area of the Dead Sea. It happens that this area had a perfect climate for preserving the ancient manuscripts. They sealed the scrolls in clay jars for their preservation.

They were discovered by a shepherd boy who threw a stone into a cave and heard something break. The hill sides in the area are full of caves. These ancient copies of the Old Testament were the same as those from which our King James Bible were translated even though they were nearly 1,000 years older.

There are some verses that are missing from one manuscript to another, but it is very evident that something is missing. 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

The Qur’an was not subjected to the same scrutiny 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. This is proving to be 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. Remember, they didn’t have printing presses or typewriters back then. These manuscripts are 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 what they claim to be 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 lose the Qur’an so he ordered that it be written down. You can find this in the Sunna. At the time there were already seven oral versions of the Qur’an. They had to decide which were correct. 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.

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 and most 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 manuscripts 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, not twenty years.

Science does not back 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 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 is what is called the Satanic Verses. There is one passage in the Qur’an where Muhammad speaks of three gods. Remember, Muhammad said there was only one god, and it was Allah. The Quraish tribe, Muhammad’s tribe, had three favorite gods other than Allah. Allah was the moon god; but there were also three female gods. A passage in the Qur’an, Surah 53:19-20, mentions these three 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, 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. This is why we must get Muslims to doubt the reliability of the Qur’an and show them the reliability of the Bible. When we get Muslims into the Bible, we see many of them come to Christ.

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