Islamic view of the Bible

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The Quran mentions the Torah ("Tawrat"), the Zabur ("Psalms") and the Injil ("Gospel") as being revealed by God to the prophets Moses, David and Jesus respectively in the same way the Quran was revealed to Muhammad, the final prophet and messenger of God according to Muslims.

Traditionally, many Muslim religious authorities view these books (i.e the Bible, or parts of it) as having been altered and interpolated over time, while maintaining that the Quran remains as the final, unchanged and preserved word of God.


The term "Bible" is not found in the Quran; instead the Quran refers to specific books of the Bible, including Torah (tawrat), Psalms (zabur) and Gospel (injeel).[1] The Quran also refers to suhuf, meaning scrolls, along with the term al-Kitāb (Quran 3:23). Al-Kitāb means "the book" and is found 97 times in the Quran.[1]


References to the Bible, in the modern sense, are often fragmentary, since Muslims do not refer to the biblical canon of Chalcedonian churches. First references to the biblical canon can be found since the 9th century onwards, in Muslim writings. Ibn Qutaybah (d. 889) included a translation of Gen 1-3. Imam al-Qasim ibn Ibrahim (860) included a large portion of the Book of Matthew in his Refutation of Christians.[2] Most Christians Muslims encountered in early years have been Nestorians, Melkites and Jacobites. Ubayy ibn Ka'b, a Jewish convert, referred to a story of the Torah which is absent in today's canon.[3]

Torah (Tawrah)

The Quran mentions the word Tawrah (Torah) eighteen times, and confirms that it was the word of God. However, some Muslims also believe that there were additions and subtractions in the Torah, according to their interpretation of a verse of the Quran which, although does not mention the word Torah, says: "Woe to those who write the book with their own hands in exchange for a small amount of money, woe to them by what their hands have written and Woe to them from what they were doing". However, another early quranic exegete called Tabari referred to the Jewish Torah in his words as "the Torah that they possess today".[4]

Psalms (Zabur)

Surah An-Nisa 4:163 of the Quran states: "and to David We gave the Zabur". Therefore, Islam affirms that the Zabur attributed to David, in which is called the Book of Psalms were inspired by God. The Quran mentions the word Zabur three times (Quran 17:55; 21:105).

Gospel (Injil)

When the Quran speaks of the Gospel, Muslims believe it refers to a single volume book called "The Gospel of Jesus": supposedly an original divine revelation to Jesus Christ. It's on this belief that Muslim scholars reject the canonical Gospels which they assume not to be the original teachings of Jesus and which they claim has been corrupted over time. Some scholars have suggested that the original Gospel may be the Gospel of Barnabas.[5]

Muhammad in the Bible

Deuteronomy 18:18

And the LORD said unto me: 'They have well said that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.'

— Deuteronomy 18:17–18 (Hebrew Bible)

Deuteronomy 18:18 has often been considered as a prophecy of the coming of Muhammad by Muslim scholars.[6] Al-Samawal al-Maghribi, a medieval Jewish mathematician who converted to Islam, pointed to Deuteronomy 18:18 in his book Confutation of the Jews as a prophecy fulfilled by the appearance of Muhammad.[7] Samawal argued in his book that since the children of Esau are described in Deuteronomy 2:4–6 and Numbers 20:14 as the brethren of the children of Israel, the children of Ishmael can also be described the same way.[8] Some Muslim writers, like Muhammad Ali and Fethullah Gülen, have interpreted several verses in the Quran as implying that Muhammad was alluded to in Deuteronomy 18:18, including Quran 46:10 and 73:15.[9][10]

Christians interpret Deuteronomy 18:18 as referring to a future member of the community of Israel who re-enacts the function of Moses, serving as a mediator for the covenant between Yahweh and the Israelites. Walter Brueggemann writes that "The primary requirement for the prophet, like the king in 17:15, is that he or she must be a member of Israel, thoroughly situated in the traditions and claims of the Yahwistic covenant."[11] The Gospels of Matthew and John both present Jesus as being the "prophet like Moses" from Deuteronomy 18[12] and Acts 3:15-23 says that Jesus is the one Moses was talking about in Deuteronomy 18:18.


And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

— John 14:16–17 (NRSV)

Many Muslim scholars have argued that the Greek words paraklytos (comforter) and periklutos (famous/illustrious) were used interchangeably, and therefore, these verses constitute Jesus prophesying the coming of Muhammad.[13]

The Paraclete, or Advocate, is mentioned five times in the Gospel of John (John 14:16-17; John 14:26; John 15:26-27; John 16:7-11; John 16:13-17). The Advocate, called the "Spirit of truth", is considered to be the Holy Spirit; a replacement for Jesus into the world after Jesus leaves.[citation needed] John says that the world cannot receive the Spirit, although the Spirit abides with and in the disciples (14:17). The Spirit will convict the world of sin (16:8-9) and glorify Jesus (16:13-14).[14]

Biblical people in Islam

Some of the people revered or mentioned in both the Quran and the Bible include: Aaron, Abel, Abraham, Adam, Cain, David, the disciples of Jesus, Elias, Elisha, Enoch, Eve, Ezra, Goliath, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Jesus, John the Baptist, Jonah, Joseph, Lot, Mary, Moses, Noah, the Pharaohs of Egypt, Samuel, Saul, Solomon, and Zachariah.[15]

See also


  1. ^ a b Jane Dammen McAuliffe. "Bible". Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an. 1. p. 228.
  2. ^ Eric Ziolkowski A Handbook of Biblical Reception in Jewish, European Christian, and Islamic Folklores Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 21.08.2017 isbn 9783110286724 p. 311
  3. ^ Joel L. Kraemer Israel Oriental Studies, Band 13 BRILL, 01.07.1993 ISBN 9789004099012 p. 122
  4. ^ Camilla Adang. Muslim Writers on Judaism and the Hebrew Bible: From Ibn Rabban to Ibn Hazm. BRILL, 1996. ISBN 978-9-004-10034-3. page 231.
  5. ^ Oliver Leaman The Qur'an: An Encyclopedia Taylor & Francis 2006 ISBN 978-0-415-32639-1 page 298
  6. ^ McAuliffe, Jane Dammen. "Connecting Moses and Muhammad" in Books and Written Culture of the Islamic World: Studies Presented to Claude Gilliot on the Occasion of his 75th Birthday (Brill 2014): 335.
  7. ^ al-Maghribi, Al-Samawal; Confutation of the Jews (in Arabic). Syria: Dar Al Qalam, 1989, 75
  8. ^ al-Maghribi, Al-Samawal; Confutation of the Jews (in Arabic). Syria: Dar Al Qalam, 1989, 77
  9. ^ Muhammad Ali and Zahid Aziz, English Translation of the Holy Quran: With Explanatory Notes, Revised 2010 edition, 627, 732
  10. ^ Gülen, Fethullah. The messenger of God Muhammad: An analysis of the Prophet's life. Tughra Books, 2000, 11. Link[dead link]
  11. ^ Brueggemann, Walter. Deuteronomy. Abingdon Press, 2001, 192-197
  12. ^ Barton, John, and John Muddiman, eds. The Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford University Press, 2007, 866, 963.
  13. ^ Zepp, Ira G. A Muslim Primer: Beginner's Guide to Islam. Vol. 1. University of Arkansas Press, 2000, 50-51
  14. ^ Barton, John, and John Muddiman, eds. The Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford University Press, 2007, 987-990
  15. ^ The Koran, N. J. Dawood, Penguin Classics, London, 1999 Index ISBN 0-14-044558-7.