The bible is just a bunch of fairy tales and made-up stories. It was written by men, not God. The quran, on the other hand, was written by a prophet who had direct contact with God. Both were written in beautiful language and contain timeless wisdom for people to discover.”
The Quran and the Bible are both considered holy texts by their respective religions, but they have very different origins and purposes. The Quran was written by God’s messenger, Muhammad, in the 7th century CE. It is viewed as God’s final revelation to humanity through Muhammad. The Quran was memorized and then written down after it was revealed. The Bible was written over a period of 1500 years by many authors who were inspired by God’s spirit. The Bible is viewed as the final word of God on earth for Christians, and contains the Old Testament (which includes the Torah) and New Testament (which includes the four Gospels).
There are also differences in their content: The Quran is primarily concerned with how Muslims should live their lives (the “core” of Islam), whereas Christianity has historically focused more on Jesus’ death and resurrection as well as his teachings about God’s grace and mercy toward humanity (the “core” of Christianity).
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The Quran vs the Bible
Do You Know These 7 Differences Between the Bible and Quran?
While nearly every religion has a text which it considers sacred, not every sacred text is equal in nature, composition, transmission, and use. Nabeel Qureshi reveals this in No God but One: Allah or Jesus?, his investigation of the evidence for Islam and Christianity.
In the book’s thought-provoking, revealing comparison between the Quran and the Bible, Qureshi exposes seven important differences between these texts. “Both scriptures are considered holy to their people, certainly, but their uses are different, their histories are different, and indeed, their very natures are understood differently” (104).
1) The Quran Is the Jewel of Islam
In 2011, the burning of a Quran by a Florida pastor incited violence, even though a few years prior the US Government incinerated a cache of Bibles in Afghanistan without incident. Why the different responses? Qureshi says,
The answer lies, at least partly, in the fact that the Quran has a different place in the hearts and minds of Muslims than the Bible does in the hearts and minds of Christians… The traditional Muslim reverence for the Quran is almost inestimable. (104, 105)
2) The Quran Is Viewed as the Eternal Word of Allah
The reason why a Quran’s destruction may incite violence, in part, is that Muslims understand the Quran’s very nature different from how Christians understand the Bible. As Qureshi explains, “[The Quran] is the closest thing to God incarnate [within Islam]… Its place in Islamic theology is that of Jesus in Christian theology” (269). This is a significant difference between the two religions, for Christians believe the Bible was inspired by God within history; the Bible is not eternal as Jesus is eternal.
3) The Quran Is Understood as God’s Literal Words
“Since Muslims believe the Quran is an eternal expression of Allah, they do not think that the Quran was written by men in any sense. It is the very speech of Allah, inscribed on a heavenly tablet, from which it was read by Gabriel and dictated to Muhammad” (106). Rather than this word being inspired in the Christian sense, Muslims believe the Quran to be revealed:
Allah revealed it piecemeal to Muhammad, dictating it through the angel Gabriel. Muhammad had nothing to do with shaping the text; he only relayed it. (106)
4) The Quran Is One Genre
The literary genres within the Bible and Quran reveal some stark differences. We know the Bible is diverse in its literary genres, in part, because God inspired specific men to write using their own experiences and perspectives under difference circumstances. Not so the Quran:
It contains essentially one genre: Allah speaking to Muhammad. Although there are significant exceptions…the Quran more or less reads in the same manner throughout its text. (108)
5) The Quran’s Compilation Was Fluid
Given the nature of Arabic during Muhammad’s life, the Quran was not written but orally known, and by memory. Muhammad would recite the same verse multiple ways, and so would his followers. He would also cancel previous texts through so-called abrogation: Muhammad “would tell his followers that certain portions of the Quran he had relayed before were no longer to be recited as part of the Quran.” (110) Therefore, if Muhammad needed part of the text to go away, he would replace it with another and tell his followers to stop reciting the earlier text and forget it. The Bible never underwent this sort of abrogation.
6) The Quran’s Textual Transmission Is Problematic
Did you know that “today’s Quran, which was not put together by one of the teachers Muhammad named, is but one of multiple Quranic canons, the one that received official approval by the caliphate and became the standard text when the rest were burned”? (285–286) That’s right, the first burning of the Quran was actually ordered by Caliph Uthman, who recalled all the variant manuscripts, destroyed them by fire, and issued an official, standardized version according to his reading. Qureshi’s judgment is important:
The Quran’s textual transmission is pockmarked by human artifice and intervention, and none of the other arguments for the Quran’s inspiration bear the weight of scrutiny. (286-287)
7) The Quran Is the Why of Islam
Perhaps the most critical difference between the Quran and the Bible, writes Qureshi, is that the Quran is “the basis of why Muslims believe in Islam” (112). The Quran is Islam’s why in part because of its purported literary excellence, numerous prophecies, scientific knowledge, mathematical marvels, and perfect preservation.
“Unlike the Quran, the primary use of the Bible is to serve as the basis of what Christians believe, not why they believe.” (112) Qureshi reminds us that Christians believe what we believe because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection; that’s our why.
BIBLE VS. QURAN: WHERE IS THE TRUTH?
Should Muslims take seriously the inspired words of the Holy Bible? Should you?
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the
truth, and the life. No one comes to
the Father except through Me’”
“And We sent… Jesus, the son of Mary,
confirming that which came before him
in the Torah: We gave Him the Gospel”
True Christians recognize the Holy Bible as God’s inerrant word, perfect as given to His people. Nominal Christians have waged crusades and committed terrible atrocities in its name—sometimes fighting against other nominal Christians, and sometimes fighting against those who revere other books as holy—committing acts of violence the God of the Bible condemns as sin.
One book revered as holy by more than 1.6 billion people alive today claims that it—not the Bible—is the final, perfect and infallible source of divine revelation. That book, the Quran, has also been used over the centuries to try to justify violent acts that the Bible and true Christians also rightly recognize as sin.
Muslims and Christians alike need to understand what the Bible says about itself. And Muslims in particular might be surprised by what the Quran actually says about the Bible.
THE RELIGION BEHIND THE QURAN
Islam is the second-largest world religion. It has its greatest concentration of believers in the Middle East and North Africa, where more than 93 percent of the 340 million-plus population is Muslim. The largest numbers of Muslims, however, are outside the Middle East, with more than a billion in South and Southeast Asia, where they make up about 25 percent of the population. Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, with more than 200 million adherents. Saudi Arabia, home of the religion, has just 25 million.
Muhammad, whom Muslims consider to be the final prophet of God, reported his first revelation in 610ad—a revelation he said came from the archangel Gabriel—and he continued to report revelations over the last two decades of his life. These revelations were codified after his death into the document now known as the Quran.
The two main branches of Islam today are the Sunni and the Shi’a, who trace their different lineages to a succession dispute among Muhammad’s first followers. Shi’ite Muslims look to Muhammad’s son-in-law and cousin Ali as the religion’s first rightful caliph (religious head of state), while Sunni Muslims accept the authority of the first three rulers who led the community after Muhammad’s death: Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman. The two branches also differ in their jurisprudence, relying on different hadith (“sayings” of Muhammad and his companions) compiled in the tenth century ad to establish precedent in religious disputes.
Although Muslims acknowledge many distinguishing names for God, based on different divine attributes, the primary name they use is Allah—a word known to Arabs in pre-Islamic times, as we see from the name of Muhammad’s father, Abd-Allah, meaning “servant of God.” The Quran consists of 114 chapters, or Surah, each supposedly revealed by Allah through an angel, but only written toward the end of Muhammad’s lifetime and shortly afterward (the last text was supposedly written during the caliphate of Umar).
Several hundred years before Muhammad, the 22 Hebrew books of the Old Testament (split into 39 in Christian editions) and the 27 Greek-language books of the New Testament had been codified—canonized—as the Christian Bible. Muhammad, traveling across the Middle East with his uncle, a trader, would inevitably have been exposed to many individuals professing belief in the Bible, with its clear message of one sovereign God a stark contrast to the many gods worshiped by the various Arabian tribes.
Whether Shi’a, Sunni or other, all Muslims revere Allah as God, Muhammad as Allah’s messenger and the Quran as Allah’s perfect message. In fact, despite a number of passages written in an old Arabic practically unintelligible to modern speakers, Muslim scholars consider the Quran perfect and incorruptible—indeed, most Muslims consider it pre-existent and uncreated, as eternal as Allah.
How does the Quran call for the spread of Islam? It allows Muslims to convert or kill unbelievers (Surah 9:5; 47:4). Today, Muslims hold differing opinions about the Quran’s 41 references to jihad—an Arabic word that can be rendered into English as “struggle” or “battle.” Some interpret jihad as primarily an internal and spiritual process, while others take it as a command to wage literal physical war against nonbelievers. In the first decades of Islam, Muslims indeed waged war widely in the name of their faith. Consider the Zoroastrian community of Persia, which had flourished for more than a thousand years before Muhammad. Beginning around 635ad, Muslim armies increasingly encroached on Persia, and within a generation or two most Zoroastrians had either converted to Islam or had fled to India. A similar pattern would occur elsewhere across the Middle East and North Africa, until the reach of Islam eventually extended as far north as the gates of Vienna and as far west as Spain.
Interestingly, it is namely “the people of the Book”—Jews and Christians who do not accept the Quran—who are to be subjugated and if necessary killed. Muslims are instructed to “fight those of the People of the Book who do not [truly] believe in God [Allah] and the Last Day… until they pay the tax and agree to submit…” (Surah 9:29–30). This is in stark contrast to the Bible’s command to Christians, who are forbidden from violence or even hatred (Matthew 5:39–44). Christians are to love their enemies (Luke 6:35) and display the fruits of the Spirit in their lives (Galatians 5:22–23). Christians understand that Jesus’ kingdom is not yet of this world (John 18:36), are to proclaim the Good News of Christ’s return (Mark 16:15, Matthew 24:14), and are to await His return when He will reign as King of kings (Revelation 19:11–16).
THE INSPIRED SCRIPTURE DEBATE
The Bible teaches that God spoke His inspired Scripture through divinely chosen men moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:19–21)—that it is theopneustos, or “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16), true (John 17:17) and the basis for all doctrine (Matthew 4:4). The inspired canon of Scripture concludes with the sobering warning that the Bible is not to be added to or taken from (Revelation 22:18–19). It is not to be contradicted by some “further revelation” that would revise or supersede its commands.
How do Muslims deal with this? Some Muslims contend that the Bible was originally trustworthy, but that it had become corrupted at some point. This is simply a false and easily disprovable claim. Many Bible manuscripts date back to hundreds of years before Muhammad’s time. Furthermore, these manuscripts were well known in Muhammad’s day, and many of those same manuscripts remain to modern times. For example, the beautifully preserved Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus (both ca. 340–350ad), the Chester Beatty Papyri (ca. 250ad), smaller fragments such as the John Ryland Fragment (ca. 117–138), the Bodmer Papyri, and hundreds of other copies of the New Testament which date from before the time of Muhammad survive today and attest to the inerrancy of Scripture.
These many documents, in addition to the Dead Sea Scrolls, testify to the preservation and codification of Scripture well before Muhammad’s day. They also present Muslims with a dilemma. If the claimed corruption occurred before the time of Muhammad, then why does the Quran refer to the Bible as the word of God and insist it is to be followed (Surah 2:40–42, 75, 3:3, 71, 93, 98–99; 5:68; 6:91; 10:37, 94; 21:7; 29:45; 35:31; 46:11)? Why does the Quran instruct that Christians were to find the truth in the New Testament of Muhammad’s day (Surah 10:94)? Additionally, if the New Testament is the word of God (as proclaimed in Surah 5:46, 67, 71), and if Jesus was a prophet of God (as Surah 4:171 and elsewhere assert), then Jesus’ words in the Bible should be believed and obeyed. The Quran itself points to the legitimacy of the Bible that God gave to Israel (Surah 2:40–42)! Furthermore, the Quran teaches that the word of God cannot be changed, and that it must be believed and obeyed (Surah 2:136; 4:136; 6:34; 10:34; 29:46).
The Bible asserts that it—and no other text—is God’s word, recorded and codified by “holy men” (2 Peter 1:21) under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And, as has been noted, the Bible has been faithfully preserved through the centuries. Two of hundreds of examples of the preservation of the Bible are the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus. These beautiful and complete Bibles are available to view in museums today. These are two of the oldest surviving complete Bibles, assembled ca. 340ad, more than three centuries before the Quran. Their texts, translated, read nearly identically to any modern NKJV or KJV Bible that may be purchased today. Consider that the Codex Sinaiticus, written before the time of Muhammad and surviving on parchment for more than 1,670 years, contains the same text from the book of Revelation, noted above, which can be translated as plainly as what you will find in your NKJV today: “I testify to everyone that hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If any one add to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book, and if anyone take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life, and from the holy city, which things are written in this book” (22:18–19).
Where modern accretions have crept into later translations of the Bible, these are well known, such as the famous “Johannine comma” in 1 John 5:7, used to falsely present God as a “Trinity.” Yes, God has preserved the ancient texts that let us know the truth of His inspired word. The Bible has not been corrupted; rather, its original text has been preserved accurately through the centuries. Christians have faith in the veracity of these words and have faith in the hope of the resurrection and in the “tree of life and the holy city.” The Bible, the word of God, contains these words of life (cf. John 6:63). These words are true, trustworthy, final, perfect and infallible. No other Scripture is needed, nor has been given.
SALVATION AVAILABLE TO ALL
The need for salvation, and the hope of life after death, are core themes in both the Quran and the Bible. Yet the two books are incompatible in their understandings of Jesus Christ. The Quran teaches that Jesus was neither God nor the Son of God but was simply a prophet. This is such an important Islamic tenet that the assertion that God “begets not” (taken from Surah 112:3) was inscribed on the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem toward the end of the seventh century ad. While the Quran points to Jesus as sent from God, the Christian Bible is unique in presenting salvation as coming through God who became flesh.
Muhammad pointed his followers to many biblical prophecies of Jesus’ coming. Surah 3:38–48 tells of angels informing Zechariah the priest (the father of John the Baptist) about Jesus’ imminent birth. The Quran records that upon his visiting the virgin Mary, Zechariah tells her the unborn baby is sent by God and even states that He would be “the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, who will be held in honour in this world and in the next” (3:45). Interestingly, although the Quran rejects that Jesus was the Son of God—(Surah 19:35), the Quran does teach Jesus’ resurrection—that Jesus said He would be “raised to life again” (Surah 19:33–34).
In the Christian Bible, by contrast, Jesus proclaimed that He was “the way, the truth and the life” and that “no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Furthermore, the Bible condemns the notion of salvation through any other than Jesus Christ: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Indeed, the Bible—known to Muhammad and praised in the Quran—consistently points to Jesus Christ as the hope for salvation. Job expressed his hope of being resurrected to “see God” when his Redeemer would stand “at last on the earth” (cf. Job 19:25–26). Jesus proclaimed that He would spend three days and three nights in the tomb, just as Jonah had spent three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish (Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:39–40). Christ appeared to multitudes after His death and resurrection (Mark 16; Luke 24:36–51; Acts 1:3). The Apostles Peter and Paul proclaimed that Jesus Christ was indeed resurrected from the dead (Acts 2:22–24; 1 Corinthians 15:1–8).
Furthermore, the Bible teaches that “the Word was God,” that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” that Jesus Christ was the Word and that grace and truth came through Him (John 1:1–18). The Christian Bible declares that Jesus was the God of the Old Testament—the “Rock” whom Israel followed in the wilderness, who spoke the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai (1 Corinthians 10:4). The Bible makes plain that the Word came in the flesh, born of a virgin, and any who “do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” are labeled “a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 John 7). John records that rejection of the Word made flesh was a deceit “already in the world” even during his time (1 John 4:3).
The Quran promises “the fire of hell as a permanent home” for those who reject Islam (Surah 9:68), even while acknowledging that Jesus was sent by God, and as such was to be believed and obeyed. And Christ’s clear message—recorded in the same canonized Bible praised by Muhammad and the Quran—is that He alone, as the Son of God and the Messiah, is the only hope for all of humanity to receive salvation and eternal life. Yes, through Christ, salvation is available to all peoples who accept His message and obey Him (Galatians 3:28–29)!
CHRISTIANS HAVE A SAVIOR!
No mere prophet, Jesus was the Christ, fulfilling all things written in the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Him (Luke 24:44–46). This understanding comes through the Christian Bible (v. 45), which explains that He suffered and was resurrected from the dead (v. 46), so that “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations” (v. 47).
The Quran teaches the fear of Allah, who will send sinners to the fire of hell. Yet it offers no Savior whose atonement can do what sinning human beings cannot do for themselves. Those who obey the God of the Christian Bible, however, are profoundly thankful that God sent His Son to take away the sins of the world (1 John 2:2), that Jesus Christ died for our sins, that He was then resurrected and then ascended back to His Father in Heaven until He would “come again” (John 14:3)! We can be thankful that He will come again, and that a time will then come when all will be able to come to this knowledge, and ultimately every knee will bow to Christ (Philippians 2:9–10)!
how many books of the bible are in the quran
The term “Bible” is not found in the Quran; instead the Quran refers to specific books of the Bible, including Torah (tawrat), Psalms (zabur) and Gospel (injeel). The Quran also refers to suhuf, meaning scrolls, along with the term al-Kitāb (Quran 3:23). Al-Kitāb means “the book” and is found 97 times in the Quran.
What are the 5 holy books?
GURU GRANTH SAHIB (sikhism)
How many holy books are mentioned in Quran?
Allah (s.w.t) sent down five holy books as stated in the Qur’an: The Scrolls/Suhuf of Abraham/Ibrahim (a.s). The Torah/Taurat of Moses/Musa (a.s). The Zabur/Psalm of David/Dawud (a.s).