24 December 2013

Bible and Qur’an: What's the Difference?




“WHAT ARE THE MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE BIBLE AND QUR’AN?”




THE CHRISTIANS REGARD the Bible as their Sacred Scriptures, where the words of God are written. For true Christians, the Bible is the sole basis of their faith. Muslims also regard Qur’an as their Sacred Scriptures,  where the words of God are written. So, what the differences between the two books?


PHYSICAL DIFFERENCES

The Bible is a library (a collection) of sixty-six (66) books. Written in a span of 1,500 years (Genesis, the first book, was written about 1447-1407 BC, and Revelation, the last book, was written about 90-95 AD). The Bible is written by more than forty (40) inspired writers.

Qur’an is a single book. It is comparable in length with the New Testament. The “standard Qur’an” was done by a single man.

Take note that if you going to read the whole Bible, you can see that it seems it was written by a single writer in particular period or time because of its unity. Remarkable for the Bible is not a single book but a collection of 66 books, written by 40 men in a span of 1,500 years. If there is a unity in Qur’an, what’s remarkable about that for it was done by a single man in a particular time or period?


ON DIVINE INSPIRATION

The Christians firmly believe that the Bible is divinely inspired. The Muslims also claim that Qur’an is divinely inspired. “Divine inspiration” means that the one who wrote was truly inspired by God as prophet or apostle.

The Bible is divinely inspired for the those who wrote the books are the inspired prophets and apostles themselves. The first five books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) are written by the inspired prophet Himself, Prophet Moses. The Book of Joshua was written by Joshua, The books of Samuel written by the prophets Nathan and Gad, the Book of Isaiah written by Isaiah, and so on.

Contrary to popular belief, it was not Muhammad who wrote Qur’an, and he never wrote anything. The book called “Qur’an” never existed during his lifetime. That Qur’an was written during the lifetime of Muhammad was only a claim of Muslims today, but their hadith and sahih don’t agree with it. Let us first quote the admission of modern Muslims. In a book entitled, “Islam in Focus” this is what they admitted

“…he consulted (Abu Bakr) the leading authorities and then entrusted Zayd Ibn Thabit, Muhammad’s Chief Scribe of Revelations, to compile a standard and complete copy of the Book...” (Islam in Focus, p. 219)

This book authored and published by Muslims admitted that the “standard Qur’an” was done by Zayd Ibn Thabit who Abu Bakr commissioned to do so. Abu Bakr was the “first caliph” (he succeeded Muhammad). Thus, Qur’an was done after the death of Muhammad. But did Zayd only “collected” and “compiled” those already written during the lifetime of Muhammad? This is what Sahih Al-Bhukari admitted (Sahih Al-Bhukari, together with Sahih Al-Muslim, these two are considered by many Muslims as semi-canonical books, these are collections of Hadith or Islamic traditions):

“Accordingly, I sought out the Qur’an: I gather it together from leafless palm-branches and thin white stones and men’s breasts.” (Sahih Al-Bhukari, Book 66, Hadith 8)

According to the testimony of Zayd himself, when he was requested by Abu Bakr to search out the various Qur’an and gather it together, he responded “I sought out the Qur’an: I gather it together from leafless palm-branches and thin white stones and men’s breasts.”

Remember that the “Qur’an” they were referring was not the “book” called Qur’an, but “Qur’an” that recited by Muhammad as “divine revelations” revealed to him. He seek out those “ur’an” and what he found were those in “leafless palm-branches, thin white stones and men’s breasts.” Divine revelation of God written in “leafless palm-branches and thin white stones”? Are these reliable and credible? Actually great numbers came from “men’s breasts” as we will see later.

Now, let us first see why the sudden move of collecting the “Qur’an” that resulted in having a “standard written Qur’an”? This is what the Islamic traditions tell us:

“Abu Bakr sent someone to call me when Yamama people were killed. Umar was there with him. Abu Bakr said: ‘On the day of Yamama, Umar came to me and said that the reciters of the Qur’an were killed. He was afraid that others might be killed elsewhere. This indicates the loss of much of the Qur’an. He suggested that I command that the Qur’an be compiled.’ I asked Umar: ‘How would you do something that the Prophet of Allah did not do?’ Umar kept telling me to think about it until Allah made my heart cheerful. I took on Umar’s perspective. Abu Bakr said to me: ‘We do not doubt that you are a wise young man. You  used to write down the revelation for the Prophet of Allah. So trace the Qur’an and compile it.’ I said: ‘By Allah, if they had chosen me to move the mountain from its place, it would have been easier than compiling the Qur’an. I argued: ‘How would you do something the Prophet of Allah did not do?’ He replied: ‘By Allah, this is good!’ Therefore, I continued compiling it from palm branched, thin stones, and the chests of men....The leaves (suhuf) were with Abu Bakr until he died; then they were handed down to Umar, then to Hafsah, Umar’s daughter.” (Sahih Al-Bhukari, Book 66, Hadith 8)
  
حَدَّثَنَا مُوسَى بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، عَنْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ بْنِ سَعْدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ شِهَابٍ، عَنْ عُبَيْدِ بْنِ السَّبَّاقِ، أَنَّ زَيْدَ بْنَ ثَابِتٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ أَرْسَلَ إِلَىَّ أَبُو بَكْرٍ مَقْتَلَ أَهْلِ الْيَمَامَةِ فَإِذَا عُمَرُ بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ عِنْدَهُ قَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ إِنَّ عُمَرَ أَتَانِي فَقَالَ إِنَّ الْقَتْلَ قَدِ اسْتَحَرَّ يَوْمَ الْيَمَامَةِ بِقُرَّاءِ الْقُرْآنِ وَإِنِّي أَخْشَى أَنْ يَسْتَحِرَّ الْقَتْلُ بِالْقُرَّاءِ بِالْمَوَاطِنِ، فَيَذْهَبَ كَثِيرٌ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ وَإِنِّي أَرَى أَنْ تَأْمُرَ بِجَمْعِ الْقُرْآنِ‏.‏ قُلْتُ لِعُمَرَ كَيْفَ تَفْعَلُ شَيْئًا لَمْ يَفْعَلْهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ عُمَرُ هَذَا وَاللَّهِ خَيْرٌ‏.‏ فَلَمْ يَزَلْ عُمَرُ يُرَاجِعُنِي حَتَّى شَرَحَ اللَّهُ صَدْرِي لِذَلِكَ، وَرَأَيْتُ فِي ذَلِكَ الَّذِي رَأَى عُمَرُ‏.‏ قَالَ زَيْدٌ قَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ إِنَّكَ رَجُلٌ شَابٌّ عَاقِلٌ لاَ نَتَّهِمُكَ، وَقَدْ كُنْتَ تَكْتُبُ الْوَحْىَ لِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَتَتَبَّعِ الْقُرْآنَ فَاجْمَعْهُ فَوَاللَّهِ لَوْ كَلَّفُونِي نَقْلَ جَبَلٍ مِنَ الْجِبَالِ مَا كَانَ أَثْقَلَ عَلَىَّ مِمَّا أَمَرَنِي مِنْ جَمْعِ الْقُرْآنِ قُلْتُ كَيْفَ تَفْعَلُونَ شَيْئًا لَمْ يَفْعَلْهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ هُوَ وَاللَّهِ خَيْرٌ فَلَمْ يَزَلْ أَبُو بَكْرٍ يُرَاجِعُنِي حَتَّى شَرَحَ اللَّهُ صَدْرِي لِلَّذِي شَرَحَ لَهُ صَدْرَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ فَتَتَبَّعْتُ الْقُرْآنَ أَجْمَعُهُ مِنَ الْعُسُبِ وَاللِّخَافِ وَصُدُورِ الرِّجَالِ حَتَّى وَجَدْتُ آخِرَ سُورَةِ التَّوْبَةِ مَعَ أَبِي خُزَيْمَةَ الأَنْصَارِيِّ لَمْ أَجِدْهَا مَعَ أَحَدٍ غَيْرَهُ ‏{‏لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ‏}‏ حَتَّى خَاتِمَةِ بَرَاءَةَ، فَكَانَتِ الصُّحُفُ عِنْدَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ حَتَّى تَوَفَّاهُ اللَّهُ ثُمَّ عِنْدَ عُمَرَ حَيَاتَهُ ثُمَّ عِنْدَ حَفْصَةَ بِنْتِ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ‏.‏
    
Let us be reminded that the “Qur’an” compiled by Zayd were not “written Qur’an.” The book “Qur’an” were not written or it does not exist during the lifetime of Muhammad. If there are “revelations” of Muhammad that were put in writing during his lifetime, very few, a small fraction. Great numbers were found in “men’s breast” or “memorized” only in their hearts by Muhammad’s companions and followers. As a proof, when Abu Bakr commanded Umar to tell Zayd the task of compiling the “Qur’an”, he replied “How would you do something that the Prophet of Allah did not do?

When Abu Bakr said to Zayd that “We do not doubt that you are a wise young man. You  used to write down the revelation for the Prophet of Allah. So trace the Qur’an and compile it.” Zayd answered, “By Allah, if they had chosen me to move the mountain from its place, it would have been easier than compiling the Qur’an…How would you do something the Prophet of Allah did not do?” Take note that if Zayd have been written all or many of the “revelations” recited by Muhammad during the latter’s lifetime, he would not say such words, “if they had chosen me to move the mountain from its place, it would have been easier than compiling the Qur’an.” Zayd again said, “How would you do something the Prophet of Allah did not do?” This only proves that “Qur’an was not written and compiled during the lifetime of Muhammad.” The book called "Qur'an" does not exist during the lifetime of Muhammad. The Qur’an was put in writing after Muhammad’s death by a young man commissioned by Abu Bakr, named Zayd Ibn Thabit.

Why did Abu Bakr commissioned Zayd to make the book that is now called Qur’an? During the Battle of Yamama many Muslims were killed. Abu Bakr said, “‘On the day of Yamama, Umar came to me and said that the reciters of the Qur’an were killed. He was afraid that others might be killed elsewhere. This indicates the loss of much of the Qur’an.” This proves (1) many “revelations” recited to them by Muhammad were not put in writing during his lifetime but only memorized by his followers, and (2) and not all recited by Muhammad were included in the book made by Zayd (thus refuting the alleged “perfect preservation" of Muhammad’s revelations or of Qur’an).

Although the Lord Jesus Christ did not wrote any book in the Bible, however, the writers of the New Testament books were apostles and ministers of the Gospel, like Apostle John, Apostle Paul and Apostle Peter. Was Zayd Ibn Thabit “an apostle of Allah”? Apostle Paul said, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.” (II Corinthians 5:20, NKJV) Can Zayd Ibn Thabit say the same for Muhammad?

Therefore, if the books of the Bible were written by the prophets and the apostles themselves, the Qur’an was not written by the prophet of Islam, not written by Muhammad himself, but only by a young man commissioned by Abu Bakr when Muhammad was already dead. So, the books of the Bible claimed “divine inspiration” because the writers of the book were the divine prophets and apostles themselves. How about Qur’an? How can it claim “divine inspiration” if it is not written by Muhammad himself but by a young man commissioned by Abu Bakr? Was Zayd himself an inspired prophet or apostle of Allah?

Truly, there are great differences between the Bible and Qur’an. The basis of the Bible’s divine inspiration is greater than the basis (if they have) of the Qur’an’s divine inspiration.

There are still many great differences between the Qur’an and the Bible, but these are enough for now, and these are enough to show that the Bible rises over and above the Qur'an.





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