A:The Old Testament of the current bible comprises a number of books that the Jews believe were inspired by Almighty Allah to Nabi Moosa (alayhis-salaam) and his followers, while the New Testament contains books that Christians believe were inspired to Nabi Eesa (alayhis-salaam) and his followers. The two collections of books were written thousands of years apart. The Old Testament came first, and then thousands of years later the New Testament was written. However, later on both these collections were compiled in one format.
The above is the viewpoint held by Jews and Christians respectively. We Muslims do not maintain this belief or view, and we have historical facts to back this up. Allah Ta’ala referred to the OId Testament as Taurah, and this was the original book that was revealed to Nabi Moosa alayhis-salaam on Tablets that came directly from Jannat. (Al-Quran 7:145) The Taurah was written down in the time of Nabi Moosa Aalyhis-salaam, but after his demise there began a continuous process of deletions, omission, interpolations, and adulterations. Some books that were not revealed to Nabi Moosa (AS) were added to what the Jews dubbed as the Old Testament and they claimed these books were the result of ‘divine inspiration’ to its authors. Some books contained mere historical facts. The same can be said about the New Testament and its Gospels. Here too, latter Christians added books that just contained historical data to this collection and claimed these were inspired works.
And Allah Ta’ala knows best.
HISTORY OF THE GOSPELS
WHEN WERE THE GOSPELS WRITTEN: CHRISTIANITY’S BROKEN LINK
The Gospel of Luke
The Encyclopedia Britannica, citing Christian sources, dates this Gospel back to round about 63 AD to 70 AD. The New American Bible (page 1019) says it was written after the persecution of Nero that began in 64 AD, whilst some conservative Christians claim Luke’s Gospel was compiled before 60 AD.
What is clear from these sources is that the Gospel of Luke was written at least 60 years after Jesus departed this world. It is also clear that Luke could never have been an eyewitness to even a single event recorded in his Gospel. Luke is also the author of the Acts of the Apostles, another book of the New Testament.
Encyclopedia Britannica states that the writer of Matthew is probably anonymous, and was written some time after 70 AD. This timeline is corroborated by The New American Bible, page 965.
The Gospel of Mark
We again quote the New American Bible: Following the suggestion of Clement of Alexandria and Origen, the majority of modern scholars consider the Gospel to have been written in Rome. The date of the composition is c 70 A.D.
The Gospel of John
The New American Bible states that final editing of the Gospel and arrangement in its present form probably dates between A.D. 90 and 100
22Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me!
24It is me whp testifies (not ‘this is the disciple which testifieth) of these things, and wrote these things: and my testimony is true (not “we know that his testimony is true”).
The answer to the above question is simply that these verse were written by someone other than John the disciple. The corroborating references supplied above also prove that the Gospel according to john was written decades after Jesus’s life.
It is abundantly clear from the above that the Christians do not have a shred of evidence linking up the Gospels to any eyewitness. There is no chain of transmission that goes back right to the time these events took place. In stark contrast to this, the books of Islam like Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Tirmizhi, and a host of others that portray and chronicle the detailed life of Muhammad, have irrefutable chains of transmission for every single act or statement of the Holy Messenger Muhammad. These chains of transmission have been meticulously recorded and preserved over the centuries and provide undeniable proof of Muhammad’s Life and Mission. The cornerstone of Christian belief, Christ’s crucifixion, is widely accepted by Christendom without a single eyewitness. It can thus be safely concluded that the entire edifice of Christianity is based on hearsay. The case for Christ’s “death by crucifixion” must then be thrown out, for hearsay evidence is not admissible.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY
Muslims were called Muslim since the inception of man, in The Holy Quran, and in the time of The Holy Prophet Muhammad. Thus the identity of the followers of Muhammad was established and is embedded in history. They were historically known as Muslims. The word ‘Muslim’ means one who has submitted or surrendered to Almighty God, and is derived from the word ‘Islam’ which means to submit or to surrender. Our Religion and our identity, are therefore, in total harmony.
Prepared by: Mufti Siraj Desai