The Preservation of God’s Word

 

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The Completed Religion

Kornelius Kuku Palete Masiku wants Muslims to produce verses from the Quran that prove God will preserve the Quran just as YHWH said he would preserve His word in the Bible. Who promises to preserve the words of the Bible? Who promises to preserve the words of the Quran? Is the Word of the Bible complete? Is the Word of the Quran complete?

Allah says in Quran 5:3

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا ۚ

This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.

During the Prophet ﷺ of Islam’s last farewell sermon at Arafat, he said,

“No doubt, your blood and your properties are sacred to one another like the sanctity of this day of yours (the Great Day), In this month of yours (Dul Hijja), In this town of yours (Makkah), till the day you meet your Lord. No doubt! haven’t I conveyed Allah’s message to you?”

They said, “Yes.”

He said, “O Allah! Be my witness.”

So, It Is Incumbent upon those who are present to convey it to those who are absent because the informed one might comprehend it better than the present audience, who will convey it to him. (Sahih Bukhari)

The End of Times

Let us now address Matthew 24:35, which Kornelius holds up as proof that the Gospels preserve the words of Jesus perfectly. The context of the statement in that verse is Jesus’s prophecy of his second coming. In Matthew 24:32-36, Jesus says:

Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its branches become tender and sprout leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.

What is near? The second coming of Jesus.

Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Indeed, his words never will pass away, especially as they will be expanded upon

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the son, but only the Father.

Jesus confesses his ignorance of the day of his second coming, and the end of days. However, he tells some of the signs.

Matthew 24:24-30

For false Messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible…

Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the son of man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.

What does Islam say about the End in connection with Jesus?

A Sign of The End

First of all, Allah says in the Quran that Jesus will be the sign of the end.

وَلَمَّا ضُرِبَ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ مَثَلًا إِذَا قَوْمُكَ مِنْهُ يَصِدُّونَ…

إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا عَبْدٌ أَنْعَمْنَا عَلَيْهِ وَجَعَلْنَاهُ مَثَلًا لِّبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَلَوْ نَشَاءُ لَجَعَلْنَا مِنكُم مَّلَائِكَةً فِي الْأَرْضِ يَخْلُفُونَ وَإِنَّهُ لَعِلْمٌ لِّلسَّاعَةِ فَلَا تَمْتَرُنَّ بِهَا وَاتَّبِعُونِ ۚ هَٰذَا صِرَاطٌ مُّسْتَقِيمٌ.

43:57  And when the son of Mary was presented as an example, immediately your people laughed aloud…

43:59-61 Verily, he [Jesus] was not but a servant upon whom We bestowed favor, and We made him an example for the Children of Israel. And if We willed, We could have made [instead] of you angels succeeding [one another] on the earth. And indeed, he [Jesus] will be a Sign [that you know] of the Hour [being nigh]. So, be not in doubt of it, and follow Me. This is a straight path.

He also says something that may also refer to his second coming and its associated events in Quran, 27.82:

“And when the Word is fulfilled against them (the unjust), We shall produce from the earth a Beast to (face) them: it will speak to them.”

Knowledge of The Hour

Concerning knowledge of the hour, Allah says in Quran 31

“Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone).”

The Messenger ﷺ of Allah confirmed this in a conversation he had with a shadowless man in front of his companions whom he later said was the Angel Gabriel Angel Gabriel come to teach them their religion. The man asked,

And when will the hour come?”

The Messenger of Allah replied, “The one being asked does not know more than the one asking.”

In the continuation of the hadiyth, the Messenger ﷺ of Allah described a number of signs of the end.

The man (the Angel Gabriel) then said, “Tell me about its signs.”

He answered, ‘The slave-girl shall give birth to her master, and you will see the barefooted, scantily-clothed, destitute shepherds (of black camels start boasting and) competing in constructing lofty buildings. (And the Hour is one of five things which nobody knows except Allah). The Prophet then recited: “Verily, with Allah is the knowledge of the Hour.” (Muslim & Bukhari)

In another hadiyth, the Messenger ﷺ of Allah is reported to have prophesied of the beast:

‘The first of the immediate signs (of the Hour) to appear will be the rising of the sun from the west and the appearance of the Beast before the people in the forenoon. Whichever of these events happens first, the other will follow immediately.’ (Saheeh Muslim).

And quite a few of the celestial and earthly tribulations.

 “The Hour will not come until you see ten signs: the smoke; the False Messiah; the Beast; the sun rising from the West; the descent of Jesus son of Mary; the Gog and Magog; and three tremors – one in the East, one in the West, and one in Arabia, at the end of which fire will burst forth from the direction of Aden and drive people to the place of their final assembly.” (Ahmed)

He ﷺ also prophesied Jesus’s descent upon the wings of angels,

“Allah will send down the Messiah son of Mary. He will descend to the east Damascus, near the white tower, dressed in the two yellow garments, with his hands resting on the arms of two angels.” (Muslim)

Many other signs were prophesied by Jesus in the Gospels and by Muhammad ﷺ in authentic hadiyths., but what we see coincident here is the peculiar behavior of the heavens, the coming of the false Messiah descending on the wings of angels and his appearance being the sign of the hour.

The Spirit of Truth

Muhammed ﷺ confirms the words of Jesus about the second coming. He also confirmed much of what Jesus did and said, including being lifted up into the heavens alive to Allah. This chimes with what Jesus prophesied about Muhammed’s coming and his message. He said in John 16:12-15,

I still have much to tell you, but you cannot yet bear to hear it.

However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and he will declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you. Everything that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said that the Spirit will take from what is Mine and disclose it to you.

The “Spirit of Truth” refers to the Paraclete (Comforter, Advocate), mentioned earlier in this chapter and the two previous ones.

Two things are of note, here.

  1. The words of Jesus are NOT complete (You cannot hear it now).
  2. But will be completed by the “Spirit of Truth” whom “the Father” will send down (John 14:16 & 26).
  3. For an explanation of what Jesus means by “The Spirit” will “take from mine” to disclose to them is that “what belongs to the Father is mine,”, one need look no further that John 14:24 & 31

“The word that you hear (from me) is not my own, but it is from the Father Who sent me…” and “I do exactly what the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.”

In other words, when the “Spirit of Truth” speaks not on his own, but only what he hears (from God), and declares what is to come, he will only be doing what Jesus himself does/did.

The Unaltered Word in the Scriptures

Kornelius wanted proof that the Quran said YHWH would guard the scripture (Quran) claiming that He said he would in the Bible. Shall we check who it is that guards the words of God according to the Bible? Who guards the actual words of the Gospel, Torah and other books. Is it fallible human beings? Or God?

Jeremiah said to the Jewish elders who twisted words to glorify themselves,

“How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of Yahweh is with us’ when, behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it (the law of Yahweh) into a lie?”

In the Quran, Jesus says,

وَمُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَلِأُحِلَّ لَكُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي حُرِّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ ۚ

“And [I have come] confirming what was before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you.” (3:50)

Because

كُلُّ الطَّعَامِ كَانَ حِلًّا لِّبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ إِلَّا مَا حَرَّمَ إِسْرَائِيلُ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن تُنَزَّلَ التَّوْرَاةُ ۗ َ

“All food was lawful to the Children of Israel except what Israel had made unlawful to himself before the Torah was revealed.” (3:93)

I think not God, according to these passages. What fallible men?

Witnesses from The New Testament

The end of the John’s Gospel reports,

“This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who has written them down. And we know that his testimony is true. There are many more things that Jesus did. If all of them were written down, I suppose not even the world itself would have space for the books that would be written. (21:24-5)

I see that he did not write everything down, and that it is the testimony of the writer, not a guarantee from God or his Prophet, Jesus. Is there anywhere in the Bible promising the verses are preserved? What about the end of the Bible, the Book of Revelation 22:18-20?

I testify to everyone who hears the words of prophecy in this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen.

Come, Lord Jesus!The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

Well, John the Divine added to it, did he not, with that final prayer. He writes that the one who testifies is, by intimation of the prayer, “Lord Jesus.” But wait, the beginning of the Revelation starts,

“This is the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show His servants what must soon come to pass. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw.”

So, it is the written testimony of John the Divine from an angel from God as was revealed to Jesus, the Messiah, some years after he was raised to God.

However, John reiterates that this is the word of God and (also) the testimony of Jesus Christ. Then he begins,

“Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and obey what is written in it, because the time is near.

John, to the seven churches in the province of Asia:”

So, again, this is the word of a man, John the Divine, claiming a prophecy from Jesus through and angel.

I think Paul made a similar claim in Galatians 1:11-12 and elsewhere:

“For I certify to you, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not devised by man. 12I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”

One of the first things he says about that revelation, in 1 Corinthians 15 (the other place he claims to have “seen Jesus Messiah” after “the resurrection”) in verses 24-28 is:

As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ the first fruits; then at His coming, those who belong to Him.

Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power. For he must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet…

For “God has put everything under His feet.” Now when it says that everything has been put under him, this clearly does not include the One Who put everything under him.

And when all things have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will be made subject to Him Who put all things under him, so that God may be all in all.

So, in these verses, Paul says that Jesus will be made subject to God at the end. He cannot, therefore, be the King of the Kingdom of God. The One Who rules is God Himself.

It seems, again, that The Revelation does not guarantee the four Gospels, for it is what John the Divine writes long after Jesus has gone, and it is in conflict with Paul’s account of The End. Besides, it claims no alteration only for itself, the letter written to the Churches of Asia, not of the Gospels, Acts and other Letters or the Old Testament.

Reliable Versus Unreliable Keepers

The Quran, which is from God, however, does guarantee the revelation that He gave to Muhammed ﷺ just like Jesus guaranteed the true word he preached would remain unaltered in Matthew 24.

So how is the Word of God guaranteed? The Quran has something to say on this subject. In Surah 85:21-22, Allah says,

بَلْ هُوَ قُرْآنٌ مَّجِيدٌ فِي لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوظٍ.

But this is an honored Quran [inscribed] in a Preserved Tabled. 

In Surah 56:77-80, Allah says,

إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ فِي كِتَابٍ مَّكْنُونٍ كَرِيمٌ لَّا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ تَنزِيلٌ مِّن رَّبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ.

Indeed, it is a Noble Quran in a well-protected Register; none touch it except the purified: A revelation from the Lord of the worlds.

And in Surah 15:8, Allah says,

مَا نُنَزِّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةَ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَمَا كَانُوا إِذًا مُّنظَرِينَ  إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ.

We do not send down the angels except with truth; and the disbelievers would not then be reprieved. Indeed, it is We who sent down the Reminder and, indeed, We will be its guardian.

We see here that Allah does not guarantee that every word written down by men and written in the physical book will always be accurately transcribed. Scribes make mistakes. But He guarantees the Quran is preserved in His Tablet and that He will guard its remembrance (on Earth). So, any mistakes that are made in its writing or recital will be corrected spotted and corrected, and if anything is lost, it will be found.

Moses also expressed the idea that the Torah is preserved. In Deuteronomy 31:26 he says to the Levites,

 “Take this book of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may remain there as a witness against you.”

The physical book he had written down was left to the Israelites in a safe physical place as a witness against their desire to thwart it. It is a witness to the original Law, which indeed is called the Furqan, which is preserved with God. Yet God does not guarantee the preservation of the Law with the people (and indeed the ark of the covenant was lost and never found again at the second exile). Moses knew his people. He accused them,

“For I know your rebellion and your stubbornness; behold, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against the LORD; how much more, then, after my death?”

Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to witness against them.

If the heavens and the earth can be called s a witness against the Israelites, the preservation is somewhere in the heaven and the earth, right?

For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands.”

Far from guaranteeing the Torah will be kept pristine by the Israelites, Moses guarantees they will somehow corrupt it, and its truth will only be revealed as a witness against their fidelity in keeping it after it is so corrupted the people were led completely astray.

Then Moses spoke in the hearing of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until they were complete.

The challenge is answered. Indeed, Allah guarantees the preservation of His revelation (to Muhammed ﷺ) but does not guarantee that the Israelites will keep their Law pristine.

Muhayminaan – Dominant Measuring Tool for Allah’s Decree

Jesus does guarantee the Law will never change in the Gospels and elsewhere, and he prophecies that a prophet after him will teach the whole truth and bring the former scriptures back into line. He says,

وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًا ۚ لَّا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ ۚ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

And the word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can alter His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing. (6:115)

The Verse in which Jesus reminds us of Deuteronomy 31 is Quran 5:44

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا التَّوْرَاةَ فِيهَا هُدًى وَنُورٌ ۚ يَحْكُمُ بِهَا النَّبِيُّونَ الَّذِينَ أَسْلَمُوا لِلَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالرَّبَّانِيُّونَ وَالْأَحْبَارُ بِمَا اسْتُحْفِظُوا مِن كِتَابِ اللَّهِ وَكَانُوا عَلَيْهِ شُهَدَاءَ ۚ فَلَا تَخْشَوُا النَّاسَ وَاخْشَوْنِ وَلَا تَشْتَرُوا بِآيَاتِي ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۚ وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ.

Indeed, We sent down the Torah, in which was guidance and light. The prophets who submitted [to Allah] judged by it for the Jews, as did the rabbis and scholars by that with which they were entrusted of the Scripture of Allah, and they were witnesses thereto. So do not fear the people but fear Me, and do not exchange My verses for a small price. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are the disbelievers.

And Allah promises a return to His true message is in Quran 5:48 through referring to the revelation given to His messenger ﷺ.

وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَٰكِن لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ.

And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and dominant criterion over it. So, judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so, race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.

The dominance Allah gives what He revealed to Mohammed ﷺ is how Christians and Jews should measure the degree of Truth there is in what came down to them.

So, where is the Word of God preserved most reliably? Judge for yourself.

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