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IZHARUL HAQ READING CONTINUED

November 28, 2018 Book Reading Events 0

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Varied Opinions on the Truth of Some Books of the Bible

  • The Book of Job

The above statement clearly confirms our previous claims. Paley’s remark
that there is great controversy among the Christian scholars with regard to the
authenticity of the book of Job, is, in fact, a reference to a great dispute among
the scholars in this regard. Jewish scholars such as Semler, Michaelis, Leclerc
and Stock said Job was a pseudonym and that such a man never really existed
and that his book is nothing but a collection of false and unreal stories. On the
other hand Calmet and Vantil claimed that Job was a real person who lived at
that time.
Those who recognise him as a real person place him in various historical
periods. There are seven different opinions:
(1) Some scholars claim that he was a contemporary of the Prophet Moses.
(2) Some others put him in the period of Judges 153 after the death of
Joshua.
(3) Some People argue that he lived in the time of Ahasuerus or Ardashir,
the Kings of Persia.
(4) Another opinion puts him in the period prior to the visit of Abraham to
Canaan.

(5) Some hold him to have lived at the time of Jacob.
(6) Others claim him to have been a contemporary of Solomon.
(7) Some scholars said that he lived in the time of King Nebuchadnezzar.
Horne said that all these opinions showed weakness.
Similarly there are differing opinions concerning Job’s place of birth, “Ghota
154” There are three opinions, with regard to the geographical location of this
place. Burckhardt, Spanheim, Calmet and others believe that it was a place in
the Arabian peninsula. Michaelis and Ilgen155 place it near Damascus. Lowth,
Magee, Hales and Chodac said “Ghota” was the second name of Adom.
The same differences exist with regard to the author. There are varied
opinions about him. He was a Jew; he was Job; he was Solomon; he was Isaiah;
or he was an unknown person who was a contemporary of King Mansar.
According to some ancient writers the book was written by Moses in the
Hebrew language. Origen claims that it was translated from Syrian to Greek.
Similar disagreement is found about the last portion of the book. We discussed
this earlier.
All this is sufficient proof that their claim for the authenticity of their books
is not based on reports from authentic sources. They can nowhere show a
sequence of reporters going back to the author of even a single verse of their
books. Most of their claims are founded simply on surmises and false
deductions. Theodore, the fifth century priest, condemned this book. Ward, on
the other hand, reported the following remark of Luther, the founding leader of
the Protestant faith who said:
This book is merely a fable.
In view of the above statements this book cannot be considered as inspired.

  • The Book of Esther 

We have shown that the book of Esther remained rejected and disapproved
of until the year 354. Even the name of its author is not definitely known.
Melito and Athanasius also disapproved of it, while Amphilochius expressed
suspicions about its authenticity.

  • The Song of Solomon

The condition of the Song of Solomon is no different to that of the Book of
Job. Theodore, the priest, equally condemned and rejected this book while
Simon and Leclerc have denied its authenticity. Wettstein and other later writers
said that it was a vile song and should therefore be discarded from the sacred
books. Semler said that there is a definite indication that this book is a fiction.
Ward quoted Castellio suggesting that its exclusion from the sacred books is
necessary.
If the witness of Christ and his Apostles implied proof of the authenticity of
each and every part of the Old Testament, the above serious differences would
not have existed among ancient and modern writers. In view of the above, Pale’s
statement produced above is the most factual and final. Besides, we have
already pointed out that Judaeo-Christian scholars are agreed on the fact that
Ezra made mistakes in the First Book of Chronicles, and this book, too, is one
of those for which Christ, in their opinion, gave witness. So even if they reject
the findings of Paley what can they say about these mistakes of Ezra?

The Fourth Answer

If we assume for a moment that the testimony of Christ and his Apostles was
enough to prove the authenticity of each and every part of these books, it does
not make any difference for, as we have already proved, these books were
changed and distorted after the time of the Christ and his Apostles. Among the
ancient Christians, Justin, Augustine and Chrysostom held the same opinion and
all the Catholic and the Protestant scholars like Sylbergius, Grabe, Whitaker,
Leclerc and Watson clearly admitted that these books were changed by the Jews
after the time of the Apostles. All this has been sufficiently proved in earlier
pages of this book. The question is whether the distorted versions of these texts,
to which they admitted, were present at the time of Christ and his Apostles or
not? The fact is that their authenticity in both cases remains unproved and
doubtful and this is what we claim to have demonstrated.
As for their argument that Christ would have accused the Jews for inserting
distortions in the texts had they been involved in it, we must remind them that
the ancient Christians, themselves, used to change the texts of the sacred books,
and we may add that many of the present distortions were made in their own
period and the Apostles used to blame them in vain for it. Apart from this
historical evidence, it was not, at all, necessary for Christ to accuse them, as we
have seen earlier that Christ and his Apostles blamed neither Samaritans nor the
Jews for making distortions in their versions. What we mean to say is that the
Hebrew and Samaritan versions are so seriously different from each other that
one of them must be distorted. Had it been necessary for Christ to distribute
blame, he must have blamed one or the other of the two groups. This difference between the two versions has been a point of controversy among the groups of
scholars. Dr. Kennicott and his followers favour the Samaritans while most
Protestants support the Jews.
We do not find any evidence that Christ or his Apostles have ever cast blame
on either group. Christ did not say anything in this regard even when a
Samaritan woman asked a question specifically about this matter. He remained
silent on this occasion. His silence provides support, if not proof, for the
Samaritan version. Dr. Kennicott based his argument on Christ’s silence and
favoured the Samaritan version.

The Third Contention

It is often contended that the Jews and the Christians were as truthful and
honest as the Muslims claim to be. Being honest they cannot be accused of
having distorted their text. The imbecility of this contention must be quite
evident to the readers in the presence of what they have so far read in earlier
pages, with regard to admissions made by ancient and modem writers to the
effect that the sacred books have certainly been changed. Especially when they
are religiously allowed to alter and change certain passages in the name of
propagating the truth.

The Fourth Contention

In order to remove the blame of distortion from their books they often claim
that “the copies and versions of the sacred books were so such circulated in both
the East and the West that it was as impossible to change them.” This contention
also is as laughable as the third one. Because, in the presence of unambiguous
admissions of distortions by the Judaeo-Christian scholars, this contention is of
no help to them.
The Judaeo-Christian books can never be compared to the Holy Qur`an as
far as their history and authenticity is concerned. This is because the biblical
books were in such a state before the invention of printing that they could easily
be tampered with. Their popularity was not to the extent that could prevent
distortion. We have already seen how the heretics of the East and the Jews
manipulated the text of the Latin translation which was the best known in both
the East and the West. Admissions of both Catholics and Protestants to this
effect have already been cited. On other hand, the Holy Qur’an, right from the
time of its revelation, has been known to, and acted upon by, thousands of
people in every age. In addition to its preservation in book form it has been kept
preserved in the hearts of thousands of people throughout the ages.
The Holy Qur’an was not, even for a single day, in a state that any change in
it would physically have been possible, the preservation of the whole of the
Holy Qur’an by memorising it is still practiced throughout the Islamic world.

There are always thousands of people present in Qur’anic schools who have
memorised all of the Holy Qur’an along with its complete intonations as
practiced by the Holy Prophet himself. Any one can verify this fact for himself.
For example, there are one thousand ‘Huffaz’ 156 present in the university of al-
Azhar in Cairo alone. There is no village and town in Egypt where Huffaz are
not found.
There is, however, no tradition of memorising the sacred books in the
Judaeo-Christian world. There are only rare examples of this practice. The
Christian population of the world is larger than the Muslim population and they
are financially in a better position but in spite of this we have never heard of any
hafiz of the Old or the New Testament. There is only the Prophet Ezra who was
supposed to have memorised the Pentateuch. It is the miracle of the Holy
Qur’an that even today there are many hundred thousand people who treasure
the Holy Qur’an in their hearts. This ever-living miracle of the Holy Qur’an can
be seen any where in the Islamic world.
As proof of this there is an account of an English officer who visited a
Qur’anic School in Saharanpur in India and saw the children busy learning the
Holy Qur’an by heart. The officer asked the teacher what book it was.
Discovering that it was the Holy Qur’an, he asked how many of those children
had memorised the Holy Qur’an completely. The teacher pointed to a few of
them. The officer asked one of them to come forward and held the Holy Qur’an
himself and asked him to recite from various places. The student recited the
portions exactly as was written with all its intonations. He was very astonished
at this and remarked that he was witness to the fact that no other book of the
world could claim the status of being as original and authentic as the Holy
Qur’an for a child of twelve or thirteen year of age was able to write it down
without making a mistake.

 

 

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