Where is the Injeel
This article is in response to my debate with Christians.
Muslims believe in the original revealed words given to Moses and Jesus (pbut). The books are Torah and Injeel among others. These books no longer are in their pristine form. They have been tampered with. Here I want to answer some on the questions asked by the Christians.
WHAT IS INJEEL?
Muslims believe in the original words of Jesus (as) as inspired by God. This is referred to as Injeel. Prophets receive knowledge from God in forms of guidance, commands or historical narratives. Jesus (as) was a Prophet and he received revelation. Quran confirms, in Surah 5:46, that he received guidance, instructions and light. So there is no question that Jesus (as) did indeed get inspiration from God.
Christians often ask where is the evidence of this Injeel. There is no physical evidence of it. But does lack of evidence, mean that it did not exist? This is fallacy in reasoning. Just because no one today has seen evidence of the Injeel, this does not mean that it did not exist at all. Jesus (as) received the word of God and he transmitted them orally. It was not written down. People at the time during the ministry of Jesus were in the impression that the end of time was very near, so they did not think to preserve the revealed words on to documents for future generations. They preached and waited for the end of time. They were expecting it.
SO THEN WHAT HAPPENED TO INJEEL?
Most of the Gospels which we have now are not gospel truths. They are mostly heresy – written accounts of eyewitness. The author themselves were not eyewitnesses. There are many evidences that the real authors of the Gospels were not really the disciples chosen by Jesus (as). Of course the Gospels speak about the twelve disciples chosen by Jesus (as) himself; but the names Mark and Luke do not appear among these twelve. Why not? Bible scholars also have evidences to prove that the other two Matthew and John were also two persons different from their names says who they were. So the opinion that the disciples of Jesus (as) wrote the Gospels is suspicious to say the least. Most of the accounts are letters written to people or its about the life of Jesus (as).
The first point to realize is that Quran talks about the revealed Word Injeel given to Jesus – to Jesus – not to Paul, not to Mark, Luke, John, or Mathew … no, but to Jesus. (Surah 19:30-33) So Injeel is the divine revelation given to Jesus (as). Its interesting to note the similarity between the time of Jesus and Mohammed (pbut). Early on in the teaching of Jesus, the church spread the good news orally and did not have it in written form. So there was no “Bible” in the time of Jesus (as) and the only reason that they started collecting the teachings and writing down was because: “First the Apostles started to die off. And second, the Lord’s return was evidently not going to happen within the first few decades of the church’s existence” as they had imagined. (“Reinventing Jesus” Pg.26)
R.V.G Tasker, Professor of New Testament Exegesis at the University of London says that; “There were at least thirty-five years of Christian teaching and Christian missionary activity before the believers were in possession of the written records of Christ’s life and teaching, which we know as the four Gospels” ( Tasker R.V.G. “The Nature and Purpose of the Gospels” Pg.9) But the gospel (good news) was being preached : Jesus went into Galilee and proclaimed the Gospel of God. He said, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the gospel!” (Mark 1:14-15). End of time is nigh – that is what was being preached.
Where are those teachings? We have neither the Gospel of Jesus nor Gospel of God with us. Do we have any book that was written while Jesus (as) was among the people? It was only after Jesus (as) left the earthly abode that Paul started talking about “other” false gospel.
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” (Gal 1:6-9)
Interestingly, Jesus (as) refers to the teachings as “gospel of God” in Mark 1:14-15 quoted above, while Paul refers to it as “my message”. “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power” ( 1 Cor 2:4) Paul makes it seem like its his own message which in a way indicates a difference to the original message. Yes the new message could well be Paul’s own personal ones.
Sadly much of Injeel – the Gospel of God, is forgotten or changed. So we do not have Injeel in its original form. We cannot reconstruct Injeel since Jesus didn’t leave a original copy of it for us today. Much of the Bible was written between 95 to 240 CE. The Torah was sent to Moses, and the Injeel was sent to Jesus, (pbut) and not to the disciples. Allah (swt) did not say He will protect Injeel so its not preserved. Protecting the Injeel was the man’s job but instead of protecting it, man tampered with it. But Allah (swt) had said He will protect the Quran : ( 2:97) “To thee (Muhammad) We sent the scripture(Quran) in truth confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety”.
IS GOD WEAK, DID HE LIE? WHY DID HE NOT PROTECT HIS WORDS?
Why did God allow His precious Words to be corrupted? Is He weak or did He lie? God did not lie, He is not weak but He is the Wise Almighty and its us, humans, who are the weak ones. In fact one cannot blame God, The Originator of Messages, for allowing His words to be corrupted. Such blame ONLY falls on men – men who are weak enough to distort Words to manipulate the masses for power, to control the people, for monetary gain through power ..etc. This kind of mentality may work in general materialistic world but it will not work in this unique case, because God, has already replaced the human abused and tampered product with far SUPERIOR product – the Final Revelation – The Quran, which, by the way is another testament of God’s existence and that He not only can save and protect His Word – have the final say, if you will – but He also gave mankind a chance to correct himself and follow His True Word to be saved. He is the Most Beneficent and Most Merciful. Man lied to himself by thinking that he can play with God’s Words, that he can trick the people for his own benefit. Its his own weakness that led to his own destruction.
How did man fail to protect his Books? He failed by falling short of its commands, by deviating, by believing in lies …etc. When the Jews lost God’s grace and they began to sin against truth they failed. How? By misusing Scripture itself, by either taking words out of their right meaning, or applying them to things for which they were never meant; in this way they conveniently forgot a part of the Message and purpose of Allah (swt); they invented new deceits to support the old ones. They substituted similar sounding words…etc
Surah 5:41 says “O Apostle! let not those grieve thee, who race each other into unbelief: (whether it be) among those who say “We believe” with their lips but whose hearts have no faith; or it be among the Jews,- men who will listen to any lie,- will listen even to others who have never so much as come to thee. They change the words from their (right) times and places: they say, ‘If ye are given this, take it, but if not, beware!’ If any one’s trial is intended by God, thou hast no authority in the least for him against God. For such – it is not God’s will to purify their hearts. For them there is disgrace in this world, and in the Hereafter a heavy punishment.”
When Jesus (as) returns, he will not judge by the Bible (which he never saw, anyway) because those are not words revealed to him but changed, edited, modified, deleted, added to. He will judge by the Quran which confirms the Injeel – confirms gospel of God!
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.658 Narrated by Abu Huraira Allah’s Messenger (saws) said “How will you be when the son of Mary ( Jesus (a.s.)) descends amongst you and he will judge people by the Law of the Quran and not by the law of Gospel?”
Are any of the Gospels told or narrated or written by Jesus (as) himself? My Christian friends say that even though Bible has changed, the core message is the same. I ask you, what is the point of having only the core when the body is missing? Are you to only have the core and leave the rest out? Is that enough? What if you are missing some important parts? Don’t we want to know the whole true message.
The current Gospels are supposed to be “inspired” by Jesus(as) and God. They claim to have been written about the Gospel of Jesus(as). Considering what the Quran says in, 2:77-79, I don’t think it needs further explanation. The Bible is an account of the events and actions of Jesus – not completely the inspired word. The Injeel was the inspired Word of God. Injeel is basically not available in it pristine form.
CAN GOD’S WORD BE CORRUPTED?
Its true that the original Words of God CANNOT be tampered with. Allah (swt) has the first copy. One cannot corrupt the original Mushaf of the Kitab Preserved Tablet which is with Allah (swt). However what can be distorted is whatever is dictated from the Preserved Tablet into copy on earth. And who can distort it is only men who have strayed, who have lost his faith and have come to love the world more that the essence of our purpose in being here. And God only allowed it to happen as a test.
Moses (as) had predicted the corruption of God’s Words that would happen after his death: “For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn away from the way I have commanded you”. (Deut 31:25-29). The Book of Jeremiah which came approximately 826 years after, did indeed confirm this corruption: “How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us’? But, behold, the false pen of the scribes has made it into a lie.” (Jeremiah 8:8)
According to Islam, Allah (swt) in Surah 2:174, says He will put fire into there bellies on Judgement Day for trying to distort the message. Why did He say that? Because He knows that it has happened and he knew it was going on during the ministry of Muhammad (pbuh) as we will see in the hadith below. He gave the people of the Book as a test and they simply blew it! Bible and its followers agree that it has been changed. The NIV has over 30 verses removed from it. David Wood, a Christian Apologist, admits that the last 12 verses of Marks Gospel is unauthentic.
Various Bibles are in circulations now:
Protestants with 66
Catholics with 73
Greek Orthodox with 78 books
Ethiopian Church with 83 books to complete it Canon.
Each group claims there complete Canon is the correct while others contain extra unauthentic Gnostic Books
Bart Erhman, scholar of New Testament, tells us even the terms Mathew, Mark, Luke and John are not found in the earliest ancient manuscripts. These titles were added later. Therefore the four Gospels we have today are not written by the four supposed disciples of Jesus. The four Synoptic Gospels do not even claim they are written by those disciples of Jesus. Paul was fearing disciples of Jesus turning to a different Gospel. This is an indication that even at that time, there were different gospels. (Or was it the original Injeel, he was afraid people would turn to?)
Allah (swt) says in Surah 5:13: “But on account of their breaking their covenant We cursed them, and made their hearts hard; they altered the words from their places. And they neglected a portion of what they were reminded of; and you shall observe treachery in them excepting a few of them. So pardon them and turn away; surely Allah loves those who do good.”
The Quran came as the final message which Allah (swt) has promised to personally guard the Quran from corruption.
Surah 15:9 – “We have without a doubt, send down the Message and We will assuredly guard it”.
Surah 75:17 – “It is upon Us to collect and compile it (i.e., the Quran) and to promulgate it”.
THEN WHY DOES QURAN ENDORSE TORAH & BIBLE ?
Christian missionaries love quoting Surah 10:94 that Muslims are commanded to judge by the Gospel. The Quran and Prophet (pbuh) clearly refute this claim that the Prophet (pbuh) referred to their books and asked Muslims to read them. So why Quran asks Jews and Christians to be judged by their book if they are corrupted?
The answer to this only becomes clear if we understand the context. Christians fail to identify and understand how the Quran uses the terms ‘Torah’ and ‘Gospel’ in the Quran. The Quran mostly speaks about the original revelations sent to Moses and Jesus (pbut). How do we know this? Well, Allah (swt) makes it very clear that He is referring to the revealed book PRIOR to the Quran, revealed to the nations of Moses and Jesus (pbut):
Surah 46:12 – “Prior to this, the book of Moses was the guide and mercy. This book, (the Quran) is in the Arabic language and it confirms and validates (the book of Moses)”.
Ibn Kathir says in his commentary to such verese:
“This means that before the Quran, there was the Book of Musa, the Torah. (A guidance and a mercy) This means that Allah, the Exalted, revealed it to that Ummah as a leader for them and a guide for them to follow, as a mercy from Allah upon them. Therefore, whoever believed in it with true faith, then it would lead him to believe in the Quran as well”.
The Quran came as final revelation to all mankind, to correct the changes that man made to the Word of God. Quran says that it confirms the message. How? It confirms by affirming the real revealed Words and correcting those parts that are changed.
Surah 5:68 – “Say: ‘O People of the Book! ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and ALL the revelation that has come to you from your Lord.’ It is the revelation that cometh to thee from thy Lord, that increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. But sorrow thou not over (these) people without Faith”.
Surah 5:43 – “How come they (come) unto thee (Muhammad) for judgment when they have the Torah, wherein Allah hath delivered judgment (for them)?”
Reading this without knowing the context gives the reader the impression that Allah (swt) is asking the Jews to follow the Torah even though Quran says it is corrupted. The story behind this verse is that the Jews of Madinah approached the Prophet (pbuh) to pass a judgement on a Jewish adulterer. In their book, an adulterer is to be stoned but they hid this from the Prophet and asked him how he would judge the guilty. The Prophet (pbuh) replied that they should judge this man according to their own Law.It so happened that a companion of the Prophet (pbuh), Abdullah ibn Salam, who was familiar with the scriptures pointed out the verse and exposed the Jews’ deception. Then the Prophet (pbuh) had that man stoned according to the law in the Torah.
Surah 5:43 was revealed to criticize the Jews who came to the Prophet (pbuh) asking for judgement. It is not informing the reader of the Quran that the Jews have the uncorrupted scripture even thought the punishment is the same in both books. Ibn Kathir comments: “Allah then chastises the Jews for their false ideas and deviant desires to abandon what they believe is true in their Book, and which they claim is their eternal Law that they are always commanded to adhere to. Yet, they do not adhere to the Torah, but they prefer other laws over it, although they believe that these other laws are not correct and do not apply to them”.
In another case of punishment for two adulterers,we find that Prophet asked the most knowledgeable men of the Jews: “What punishment do you find in the Torah regarding these two?” They said, “In the Torah, we find that if four men testify that they saw his male organ in her womb, similar to when the eyeliner is inserted inside the eyeliner container; in this case they are stoned.” When the Prophet asked them why they did not carry on with the sentence, they said that they hated killing. (Sunan Abu Dawud, hadith no.4452).
The interesting point to note here is that in Old Testament, adulterers are to be killed (Lev 20:10). But nowhere do we find anything about four witnesses or any eyeliner (which Islamic rule demands). This shows some distortion in the Torah in this section happening at the time of the Prophet (pbuh).
Regarding the Bible:
Surah 5:47 – “Let the People of the Injeel judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are evil-livers”.
This verse is very clear, Allah (swt) is obviously saying, let the Christians be judged by that which has been REVEALED to them by Allah (swt) – that which is truth. But whosoever judge by anything else (by man made rules) they are evil! Allah (swt) commands the Christians to judge by the revealed judgement, not by the New Testament which is a collection of books written by a wide variety of authors. In this case, Christians are unable to judge by these Books except through the Quran because the Quran was sent down affirming its original message and is a protector over it, as mentioned in Surah 5:48 “And We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, verifying what is before it of the Book and a guardian over it, therefore judge between them by what Allah has revealed…”
It becomes clear also now that the Jews and the Christians in the time of the Prophet (pbuh) are to be judged from their books which agrees with the law in Quran. Ibn Kathir quotes well known Quranic commentator Ibn Jarir Al Tabari as saying, “Ibn Jarir said, ‘The Quran is trustworthy over the Books that preceded it. Therefore, whatever in these previous Books conforms to the Quran is true, and whatever disagrees with the Quran is false’.”
Narrated Abu Huraira: “The people of the Book used to read the Torah in Hebrew and then explain it in Arabic to the Muslims. Allah’s Apostle said (to the Muslims).’Do not believe the people of the Book, nor disbelieve them, but say, ‘We believe in Allah and whatever is REVEALED to us, and whatever is REVEALED to you.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 92, Number 460).
The hadith is saying that as long as the Torah agrees with the Quran, it is to be believed however if the Torah doesn’t agree with the Quran then it is not to be believed. And we believe only in the original revealed Words. Imam al-Tabari relates from the eminent Jurist Ibn Juraij (80-150 AH/699-767 CE) that if the people of the book quote something from their Bible that disagrees with the Qur’an then we reject it but if it agrees with the Qur’an then we accept it. Imam al- Bahgawi has similar views. (Tafsir Al Baghawi, 1/65)
So where is the Injeel? The Injeel can only come alive again today when Christians both preach the message of Jesus (as) and live out God’s love towards all mankind. This is the Injeel revealed by the Bible and it reveals a loving, gracious, merciful, just and wise God. Jesus (as) taught about love, about loving enemies and turning the other cheek … etc. However, Christians, for much of history, have a particularly poor track record of loving Muslims. Could this failure to live out the Injeel be the reason why Muslims have not yet been able to recognize the fading Injeel in the Bible?
I find it interesting that Allah (swt) has indeed preserved and protected parts of Torah and Injeel that are relevant and which coincides with the Quran. People of the Book might say that the Prophet (pbuh) copied these messages from the previous books. Well, you can say not copied but confirmed! How is it then, that errors from the Bible are not copied into the Quran?
As far as we can see, the Injeel is not with us now. Discoveries of ancient manuscripts do testify to the changes in the text and expose the truth. New discoveries may continue to reveal more of the truth. Some discoveries are even hidden from the public. So who knows what is really out there? Personally, I feel truth will prevail so gradually truth will be known. In sha Allah.