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Friday, April 29, 2011

The Gospels that are extant nowadays were written after the time of ‘Eesa (peace be upon him) and have been tampered with a great deal

The Gospels that are extant nowadays were written after the time of ‘Eesa (peace be upon him) and have been tampered with a great deal
It is well known among us Muslims that Allaah revealed the Gospel (Injeel) to ‘Eesa (peace be upon him), but when I studied some things about Christianity, they told me that the Gospel was not brought by the Messiah, rather it was written by the disciples of the Messiah after the crucifixion (or after Allaah raised him up to Him, as it says in the Qur’aan). How can we reconcile between the two views?.


Praise be to Allaah.


There is no contradiction between the two views such that we
would need to ask how they can be reconciled. Rather the reason why the
questioner is confused is that he is mixing up two things that we must
believe in and that are both true, praise be to Allaah. 

The first issue is the Gospel that was revealed from the Lord
of the Worlds to the Prophet of Allaah ‘Eesa (peace be upon him). Belief
that Allaah revealed a Book to His Prophet ‘Eesa and that the name of this
book was the Gospel (Injeel), are basic principles of faith that we must
believe in. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“The Messenger (Muhammad) believes in what has been sent
down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in
Allaah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. (They say,) ‘We make no
distinction between one another of His Messengers’ — and they say, ‘We hear,
and we obey. (We seek) Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return
(of all)’”

[al-Baqarah 2:285] 

The Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Jibreel, when he asked him
about faith, as mentioned in the well-known hadeeth: “Faith means to believe
in Allaah, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day, and to
believe in His divine will and decree, both good and bad.” (Agreed upon). 

Disbelieving in that or doubting it is misguidance and kufr
or disbelief in Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“O you who believe! Believe in Allaah, and His Messenger
(Muhammad), and the Book (the Qur’aan) which He has sent down to His
Messenger, and the Scripture which He sent down to those before (him); and
whosoever disbelieves in Allaah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, and
the Last Day, then indeed he has strayed far away.

137. Verily, those who believe, then disbelieve, then
believe (again), and (again) disbelieve, and go on increasing in disbelief;
Allaah will not forgive them, nor guide them on the (right) way”

[al-Nisa’ 4:136-137] 

“Verily, those who disbelieve in Allaah and His Messengers
and wish to make distinction between Allaah and His Messengers (by believing
in Allaah and disbelieving in His Messengers) saying, “We believe in some
but reject others,” and wish to adopt a way in between.

151. They are in truth disbelievers. And We have prepared
for the disbelievers a humiliating torment”

[al-Nisa’ 4:150-151]

second issue is the Gospel or, more precisely, the Gospels that the
Christians have today. Although one of the basic principles of our faith is
to believe in the Gospel that was revealed to ‘Eesa, we also believe that
there is no longer any book that remained as it was revealed by Allaah,
neither the Gospel nor anything else, apart from the Qur’aan. Even the
Christians themselves do not believe that the books that they have before
them were revealed in that form from God, nor do they claim that the Messiah
wrote the Gospel or at least that it was written during his lifetime. Imam
Ibn Hazm (may Allaah have mercy on him) says in al-Fasl fi’l-Milal

do not need to try hard to prove that the Gospels and all the books of the
Christians did not come from God or from the Messiah (peace be upon him), as
we needed to do with regard to the Torah and the books attributed to the
Prophets that the Jews have, because the Jews claim that the Torah that they
have was revealed from God to Moosa, so we needed to establish proof that
this claim of theirs is false. With regard to the Christians, they have
taken care of the issue themselves, because they do not believe that the
Gospels were revealed from God to the Messiah, or that the Messiah brought
them, rather all of them from first to last, peasants and kings, Nestorians,
Jacobites, Maronites and Orthodox are all agreed that there are four
historical accounts written by four known men at different times. The first
of them is the account written by Matthew the Levite who was a disciple of
the Messiah, nine years after the Messiah was taken up into heaven. He wrote
it in Hebrew in Judaea in Palestine, and it filled approximately
twenty-eight pages in a medium-sized script. The next account was written by
Mark, a disciple of Simon ben Yuna, who was called Peter, twenty-two years
after the Messiah was taken up into heaven. He wrote it in Greek in Antioch
in the land of the Byzantines. They say that the Simon mentioned is the one
who wrote it, then he erased his name from the beginning of it and
attributed it to his disciple Mark. It filled twenty-four pages written in a
medium-sized script. This Simon was a disciple of the Messiah. The third
account written was that of Luke, a physician of Antioch who was also a
disciple of Simon Peter. He wrote it in Greek after Mark had written his
account, and is similar in length to the Gospel of Matthew. The fourth
account was written by John the son of Zebedee, another disciple of the
Messiah, sixty-odd years after the Messiah has been taken up into heaven. He
wrote it in Greek, and it filled twenty-four pages in a medium-sized script.
End quote. 


Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in al-Jawaab al-Saheeh (3:21): 

regard to the Gospels that the Christians have, there are four Gospels,
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are agreed that Luke and Mark did not see
the Messiah, rather he was seen by Matthew and John. These four accounts
which they call the Gospel, and they call each one of them a Gospel, were
written by these men after the Messiah had been taken up into heaven. They
did not say that they are the word of God or that the Messiah conveyed them
from God, rather they narrated some of the words of the Messiah and some of
his deeds and miracles. End quote. 


Moreover, these books which were written after the time of the Messiah did
not remain in their original form. The original versions were lost long ago.
Ibn Hazm said: 

regard to the Christians, there is no dispute among them or anyone else that
only one hundred and twenty men believed in the Messiah during his lifetime…
and all of those who believed in him concealed themselves and were afraid
during his lifetime and afterwards; they called people to his religion in
secret and none of them disclosed himself or practised his religion openly,
because any of them who was caught was executed. 

continued in this manner, not showing themselves at all, and they had no
place where they were safe for three hundred years after the Messiah was
taken up into heaven. 


During this time, the Gospel that had been revealed from Allaah disappeared,
apart from a few verses which Allaah preserved as proof against them and as
a rebuke to them, as we have mentioned. Then when the Emperor Constantine
became a Christian, then the Christians prevailed and started to practise
their religion openly and assemble in safety. 

If a
religion is like this, with its followers practicing it in secret and living
in constant fear of the sword, it is impossible for things to be transmitted
soundly via a continuous chain of narrators and its followers cannot protect
it or prevent it from being distorted. 

quote. Al-Fasl, 2/4-5. 

addition to this huge disruption in the chain of transmission of their
books, which lasted for two centuries, these books did not remain in the
languages in which they were originally written, rather they were
translated, more than once, by people whose level of knowledge and honesty
is unknown. The contradictions in these books and their shortcomings are
among the strongest evidence that they have been distorted and that they are
not the Gospel (Injeel) that Allaah revealed to His slave and Messenger
‘Eesa (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Allaah indeed spoke
the truth when He said (interpretation of the meaning): 


“Had it been from other than Allaah, they would surely, have found therein
many a contradiction”

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