Misgoded reading continued
Enter the Muslim point of view. Muslims assert that whenever the recorded “word of God” was corrupted by the
hand of man, God, in His mercy, renewed His message through a new, clarifying
revelation. In this manner the Old Testament, once corrupted, was replaced by the New
Testament, and the New Testament by the Holy Qur’an. Muslims contend that throughout
this repeating cycle of divine revelation—human corruption—clarifying revelation, the
one constant Allah did not permit to be lost in the muddle was His message of divine
unity. This creed is the keystone of true faith, and as such, Allah preserved His creed
throughout time and throughout revelation. And if this present book has not proven any
other point, it has shown that whether we speak of divine unity in the commandments of the Old Testament, in the teachings of Jesus Christ, or in the message of the Holy Qur’an,
we speak of the same eternal creed: God is One, without partner or cosharer in divinity.
Let us remember that each doctrinal element of Trinitarian creed is either based
on nonbiblical evidence, or on the manipulation and/or misunderstanding of ambiguous,
questionable or isolated New Testament verses. In every case these verses lack support
from the other books or epistles, as discussed above, and in some cases are flatly
contradicted by the recorded teachings of Jesus.
Now, we can reasonably expect God would not hide the most critical elements of
true belief, since the point of revelation is to reveal. After all, as most teachers know, the
bulk of teaching is repetition. Hence, the ingredients of true faith can be expected to have
been conveyed in clear and unambiguous terms, over and over again. With regard to the
Bible, this is precisely the case. The most repeated, consistent and verifiable teachings of
the Old and New Testaments convey the oneness of God and the mandate to obey Him,
which incidentally includes the directive to accept the final messenger and revelation.
Now, many wellread Christians will be quick to point out that the Bible ends
with a strong warning in the book of Revelation. Never mind that “Hebrews was for long
under suspicion in the West, and Revelation was usually excluded in the fourth and fifth
centuries where the school of Antioch held sway.”279 No, never mind that, but just
consider this: the last verses of the Bible (Revelation 22:1819) warn against anyone
adding or taking away from “this book”—a warning which should prompt the question,
“Ummmm, which book?” The Bible is a collection of books. That’s how it got the
name—from the Latin biblia, literally meaning “the books.” Hence “bibliography” for a list of books, “bibliophile” for a lover of books, the French biblioteque for “library”—the
list goes on and on. As F. F. Arbuthnot notes,
Another short journey takes us back to the fourteenth century,
when people began to say “The Bible.” The simple fact that we call this
collection of books “The Bible,” as if it were one book and not a
collection of books, is a very important fact—a fact that has been fruitful
of misunderstanding. We naturally think of one book as having one
author, or one directing genius….
Prior to the fourteenth century it was not called “The Bible.” It was
not thought of as one book. In Greek it was not Ton Biblion, but Ta
Biblia—the books. And prior to the fifth century these were not called
books at all, but writings—Hebrew and Christian writings. 280
We should also note that the books of the Bible are not compiled in chronological
order. The book of Revelation was not the last book written. However, strategic
placement at the end of the Bible gives this false impression. In fact, James, the First,
Second, and Third Epistles of John, the gospel of John, Jude, First and Second Timothy,
Titus, and 2 Peter are all thought to have been written between five to sixtyfive years
after the book of Revelation. 281 A difference of five seconds, much less five to sixtyfive
years, would violate the “thou shalt not add to” clause, if the above verses of Revelation
were meant to apply to the Bible as a whole. But they do not, and can not.
The oldest known New Testament manuscript, the fourthcentury Codex
Sinaiticus, contains both The Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabas—two
books which were recognized by many early Christians as books of the New
Testament. 282 However, these two books subsequently were removed and placed in the
Apocrypha. The Protestant Bible eliminated seven more books, as well as portions of
others, to include Esdras I and II, Tobit, Judith, the additions to the book of Esther, the
Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, the Prayer of
Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, the Prayer
of Manasseh, Maccabees I and II. These omissions would violate the “thou shalt not take
away” clause in each and every instance, had the teachings of Revelation applied to the
Bible as a whole.
Hence, the “book” which the last line of Revelation refers to can be none other
than itself, the book of Revelation, and the book of Revelation alone. Otherwise, the
principal violators of the warning regarding deletions and insertions are the Christian
clergy themselves, for quite a lot has both been added to and removed from the biblia, or
collection of books as a whole.
Such arguments are not foreign to Christian clergy—but largely hidden from the
lay public. Few scholars step out of the doctrines in which they are entrenched, and few
laity possess sufficient interest and motivation to wage the intellectual battle necessary to
confront Christian authorities with the baselessness (and in many cases frank falsehood)
of their beliefs. All the same, more forthright Christian sources admit some amazing
things. For example, as previously mentioned, no Christian scholar of significant worth
considers Greek to have been the original language of Jesus. Nonetheless, many speak of the “original Greek,” knowing that, in time, public imitation will follow. However, if
asked directly, most clergy are honest enough to admit that Jesus spoke Aramaic and
ancient Hebrew, but not the Koiné Greek in which the New Testament manuscripts are
recorded. 283 Reverend J. R. Dummelow of Queen’s College fame (Cambridge, England),
is just one of many who readily volunteer such information. 284
Running countercurrent to the overwhelming flow of evidence and scholarly
opinion, a small handful of fringe theologians have recently struggled to suggest that
Jesus did in fact speak Koiné Greek. There was a time when it was easier to pass off such
glib answers to a gullible public, but that time is long past. The burden of Christianity,
then, is to accept untenable tenets of faith, despite evidence which assaults every wall of
the infirm castle of Trinitarian belief, right down to the very foundation, which is to say,
the New Testament.
The challenge of Islam is to accept Moses and Jesus as human prophets (but
nothing more), to understand the infidelity of those who molded Judaism and Christianity
to their present forms, to recognize Muhammad as the final prophet predicted in both Old
and New Testaments, and to revere the revelation he transmitted. Muslims claim this
revelation is consistent with previous scripture, congruent with human nature, and in
conformity with the realities of worldly existence. They claim this revelation withstands
the highest levels of critical analysis, being Godly in content, design, and complete
perfection. They claim this revelation to be the Holy Qur’an.
283 Ehrman, Bart D. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early.
Be sure that you go to the author to get at his meaning, not to find yours. —John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies
What conclusions does the evidence given in this book suggest?
We began by proposing that the name Allah is consistent with Old and New
Testaments, as well as the Holy Qur’an, and showed that these three scriptures share the
royal plural as well. Analysis of the doctrinal differences between Christianity and Islam
reveal much of Christian canon to have been derived more from nonbiblical sources than
from the teachings of Jesus himself. Shockingly, much of Christian canon, and the
Pauline teachings from which they were derived, actually contradict Jesus’ teachings. When we search the Bible for clarification, we find both Old and New Testaments
corrupted. And if we can’t trust part of these books, which parts can we trust?
Nonetheless, we discover continuity of creed between Old and New Testaments,
and are not surprised. From a gut level, we expect God’s reality to be eternal. So when
we find both Moses and Jesus teaching of God as one God, and of a final prophet to
follow, perhaps we should pay attention.
Another critical point is that Moses, Jesus and Muhammad’s teachings are
remarkably consistent. In fact, they agree more often than not. Of course, Muhammad’s
teachings sharply conflict with Paul’s, but then again, so do those of Moses and Jesus.
And this is just one more issue with which the three prophets, and the revelations they
conveyed, concur: all three contradict Paul’s teachings!
So if we cannot trust the Old and New Testaments for spiritual guidance, why
should we trust the Holy Qur’an? And does Muhammad live up to his claim of
prophethood? These questions cannot be answered in a sentence, paragraph, or even a
chapter. They demanded a book—specifically, a sequel to this present volume—which I
titled God’ed. I invite you to read it.
* * *
Absurdity supported by power will never be able to stand
its ground against the ef orts of reason. —Joseph Priestley
Appendix – Hadith Methodology
The Qur’an commands believers to obey Allah’s messenger and follow his
example. For this reason, early Muslims preserved Muhammad’s teachings and example
in the volumes of traditions known as hadith. No detail was too small, and from that day
to this, the devout have modeled their lives after that of the prophet. From the hadith
record we not only know how often Muhammad brushed his teeth (never less than five
times a day), but in what order he brushed them (laterally, beginning on the right). We
know how he ate, drank and slept, his dress, manners and comportment, down to the
finest detail. Most importantly, we know how he lived the religion he conveyed, and from
this many social and legal precedents were established.
Not surprisingly, after his death impious “followers” attempted to modify the
religion closer to their hearts’ desires through falsifying hadith. Contrary to what we
might at first expect, this strengthened, rather than weakened, the hadith records. Just as
counterfeit money forces governments to higher standards of production and
authentication, false hadith forced the Muslims to deeper levels of hadith analysis. In the
same manner that experts can differentiate valid currency from fake, Muslim scholars can
distinguish valid hadith from those that are weak or fabricated.
The process of hadith authentication became the gold standard of historical
recordkeeping during its time, and for centuries to follow. Certainly, it remained
unrivaled in the West. To this day we don’t really know what life was like in England and
Europe at the turn of the first millennium, due to the dearth of reliable records and
verifiable information. But through the hadith records, we know the most intimate details
about Muhammad and his life in early seventhcentury Arabia.
The following is a brief overview of the exacting standards of hadith
authentication: Individual hadith are classified into one of two broad categories—Sahih
(authentic) and Daif (weak). Sahih hadith are further subdivided into four subcategories,
all of which are accepted, whereas weak hadith are subdivided into over thirty
subcategories, all of which are rejected. In order for a hadith to be accepted, the sanad
(chain of transmission) must be an unbroken chain of narrators all the way back to the
Prophet. Each narrator in this chain must have been a fair and honest person, known for a
strong memory and accurate records. The text of the hadith itself must not have any
internal defects, and must not conflict with other accepted hadith or with the Qur’an.
Each of the above requirements has a multitude of disqualifiers, totaling twentyfive
categories of disqualification. For example, a narrator would have been disqualified if
mentally imbalanced, nonMuslim (and therefore more liable to subvert the religion),
immature, an innovator, a liar (or even accused of being a liar), known to have committed
great sins or to have persisted in the commission of minor sins, or one who failed to
exemplify praiseworthy values.
Accuracy was nullified by absentmindedness, such as relating the same story on
two or more occasions using different wording, even if it did not change the meaning.
Records reconstructed after being lost in a natural disaster such as a fire are not accepted,
and a narrator whose story conflicted with a hadith of higher authentication found his
entire collection of hadith disqualified. Even simple internal defects disqualify a hadith.
For example, if a teacher relates a hadith, and explains a word without the student
understanding that the explanation is not part of the hadith, and the student subsequently
relates the hadith complete with the explanation, the student’s narration of the hadith is
disqualified. Even such a simple error as transposing two names in the chain of
transmission (and certainly losing one name in the chain) brings disqualification, even
though the body of the text remains unchanged.
Hadith are further subdivided by the sanad (chain of narration) into Mutawatir
and Ahad modes of transmission. A Mutawatir hadith is one related by a sufficiently
large number of narrators (a minimum of four, but usually ten or more) to prevent the
creation of a lie, from the beginning to the end of the chain of narrators. Why would it be
considered impossible for the narrators to have plotted a lie? For practical reasons, such
as the narrators never having known each other, having been geographically isolated
from one another, or because the narrators were all known to have possessed impeccable
characters, for any one of whom lying would have been inconsistent with the witness of
Any hadith passed down through the ages by a chain of narration less than
Mutawatir is classified as Ahad, which itself bears three subcategories. A hadith related
by a thousand reliable witnesses at each chain of the sanad of narration, with the
exception of one stage which has less than four narrators, automatically is demoted to the
Ahad class The two classifications—one by authenticity and the other by mode of
transmission—are largely complementary, for a Sahih (authentic) hadith with a
Mutawatir chain of transmission certainly deserves more respect than a Daif (weak)
hadith with an Ahad sanad. Fabricated hadith, it would seem, have little chance of
slipping through either one of these filters of authentication, but to slip past both would
border on the impossible.
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