Question about Islam

I grew up as a Muslim and was always told that The Koran is actually an extension of The Bible. That is, Muslims believe that The Bible was originally correct in everything it said and therefore didn’t conflict with The Koran ( which came out approximately 600 years later ), until it was corrupted by man. Muslims believe that when God revealed The Koran to the prophet Mohamad, that he would not allow his word to be corrupted again. The part I don’t understand is that written history goes back about 5000 years. Certainly there would be written records of what Christians believed and how they lived around the world 2000 years ago. If it wasn’t like what Muslims believe, shouldn’t that be proof to muslims that The Bible was written just like (or at least pretty close ) to as it is written today?

Well, the idea is that Jesus taught the truth, but since the Christian gospels weren’t written down after he died, those people who wrote the gospels wrote down corrupted versions of his teaching…like that Jesus was G-d and he was resurrected.

Good explanation Amazing, but if God knows all, then he knew his word would get corrupted. Why would he let that happen?

Well, it’s something you probably should ask a Muslim, but as far as I know, the difference is, with all the other prophets, G-d didn’t directly tell them what to say, but with Muhammed, G-d was just sick of the whole thing and said, "Look, I’ll (through the angel Gabriel) dictate My word to you. Recite it to everybody, and tell them to write it down.

Of course, Muslims aren’t the only ones to believe that the word of G-d gets corrupted. Christianity, for example, says that Jews misinterpret what the Bible says, which is why Jews don’t believe that Jesus is the messiah. Judaism says, for example, that non-monotheists had been given instructions by G-d to worship Him, but they turned away from it, and instead worship false gods.

Here’s an interesting link which seems to separate Islam from Judeo-Christianity in the Old Testament.

There’s a lot more discussion in the link itself, but in a nutshell it explains the Islamic belief that Ishmael was the son Abraham was called to sacrifice, not Isaac.

Speaking as to the corruption of the Word, I was under the impression that the Koran was written by Mohammed in Arabic, directly dictated by G-d, and so any “translation” of the Koran into other languages cannot help but to be imperfect, and thus corrupted. I can thus understand a (possible) view that other religions’ holy books which do not share such a provenance could be seen as intrinsically, if only slightly, skewed.


As far as the Incorruptible Word of God goes, I was taught in Catholic School that the Evangelists and the authors of the Old Testament were directly inspired by God, and that the Word was correctly transmitted thereafter. But then I learned that there existed notable versions of the Bible with interesting errors (such as the “Sin Bible”, in which the “not” was left out of the commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery”), so that blew that idea out of the water. If you pick up a good Bible commentary you can read all about textual differences between various early manuscripts. Certainly there is quite a bit of difference between the various “respectable” translations of the Bible today. In the main, though, I haven’t heard anything to substatiate the idea that any of the Bible text, New or Old testament, has been significantly altered – old manuscripts, when they turn up, seem to be pretty faithful to the existing versions, aside from minor differences. I haven’t heard anything about the Koran in this regard.
What is an issue is omission of texts. There are a lot of texts that were eliminated from the Bible because they seemed spurious or questionable. There are a lot of these texts, and we know that an awful lot more once existed and are now lost. Look in Elaine Pagels’ book, or The Nag Hammadi Library, or M.J. Smith’s The Secret Gospel, or The Lost Books of the Bible, or any of a number of other books on the subject.

The Koran was assembled from individual suras that were collected together, and even the order varies from edition to edition. There was, I believe, a grand meeting to establish the canonical text (just as in Christianity), but there exist rejected sections to the Koran as well – look up the “Satanic Verses”, and the trouble Salman Rushdie got into when he wrote his surreal novel of the same name.