The Quran’s Position on the Previous Books
There is a great controversy over the position the Quran holds over the previous books for those whom are Christians or Jews because of the implications it has for their theological beliefs and how they would be impacted. Here we will try to the examine what the Quran says itself of its position without injecting into it the beliefs of any one theology, including Muslim theology but, allow the Quran to speak for itself and give its message. It is not an obligation upon anyone to accept what the Quran says if you are a Christian or a Jew but if you are Muslim or you accept the Quran to be the word of Allah d then it becomes incumbent upon you, because of your testification, to accept what the Quran says in whole and not in a selective manner
أَفَتُؤْمِنُوْنَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَابِ وَ تَكْفِرُوْنَ بِبَعْضٍ
سورة البقرة 85
“Do you believe in some of the book and disbelieve in some?”
The Quran makes this statement itself that to accept a part and reject a part or, to be selective, is disbelief in all of it. There is no part acceptance so that you can take some and leave some. It is a holistic book to be taken as a whole and to leave any part of it or to modify it to fit your own beliefs is in fact a rejection of all of the book because to do so is you creating your own book and, in reality, worship of yourself.
The Quran is not in any other language other than Arabic. Allah’s d message was conveyed and transmitted in the Arabic language. It was revealed in the Arabic language as it was at the time of the prophet and any meanings of words that were acquired after this time are not to be considered meanings which the Quran calls upon to explain itself. Also, meanings of words that were in other similar languages are equally not applicable because the words used by the Arabs in Mecca were from the selected dialect for revelation.
إِنَّآ أَنزَلْنَـٰهُ قُرْءَٰنًا عَرَبِيًّۭا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ
سورة يوسف 2
“Indeed we have sent down an Arabic Quran so that you may increase in intellect”
وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَآ إِلَيْكَ قُرْءَانًا عَرَبِيًّۭا لِّتُنذِرَ أُمَّ ٱلْقُرَىٰ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهَا وَتُنذِرَ يَوْمَ ٱلْجَمْعِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ ۚ فَرِيقٌۭ فِى ٱلْجَنَّةِ وَفَرِيقٌۭ فِى ٱلسَّعِير
سورة الشوري 7
“And so We have revealed to you a Quran in Arabic, so you may warn the Mother of Cities1 and everyone around it, and warn of the Day of Gathering—about which there is no doubt a group will be in Paradise and another in the Blaze”.
وَلَقَدْ ضَرَبْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِى هَـٰذَا ٱلْقُرْءَانِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍۢ لَّعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَقُرْءَانًا عَرَبِيًّا غَيْرَ ذِى عِوَجٍۢ لَّعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ
سورة الزُمَر 27-28
“And, we have definitely given to humanity in the Quran of every example so that they reflect and an Arabic Quran without any crookedness so that they become people of taqwa.”
The above ayahs leave no doubt that the Quran is only in the Arabic language and is not in another language and therefore is to be understood with the tool of the Arabic language alone. To base understandings on a language other than Arabic is not permitted as the Quran was not revealed in that other language. This is regardless of whichever tribes or peoples accept the Quran and become Muslim. When they take the Quran, they must take it as a whole and they must study it in its language. This will have a greater effect than just the scholarship being in one language. It will also unify those that accept the Quran in the language of praise and communication and understanding. This will place a duty on those that accept the Quran to learn Arabic in order to comprehend its message for themselves.
The Torah and the Injeel
What is the Torah and what is the Injeel?
وَقَفَّيْنَا عَلَىٰٓ ءَاثَـٰرِهِم بِعِيسَى ٱبْنِ مَرْيَمَ مُصَدِّقًۭا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ ٱلتَّوْرَىٰةِ ۖ وَءَاتَيْنَـٰهُ ٱلْإِنجِيلَ فِيهِ هُدًۭى وَنُورٌۭ وَمُصَدِّقًۭا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ ٱلتَّوْرَىٰةِ وَهُدًۭى وَمَوْعِظَةًۭ لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ
سورة المائدة 46
“Then in the footsteps of the prophets, We sent Jesus, son of Mary, confirming the Torah revealed before him. And, We gave him the Injeel containing guidance and light and confirming what was revealed in the Torah—a guide and a lesson to the God-fearing.”
The Injeel was a revelation given to Isa m (Jesus) alone and according to the Quran it was not given to anyone else. So, when the Quran speaks of the Injeel it is referring to nothing else except the revelation that was given to Isa m alone in its pure state. Different sects of Christianity claim different Gospels in number of books and in variation and accuracy of writing. It would become objectively impossible for anyone to claim that the Quran is confirming their copy or version of the Gospels. If one is the genuine Injeel then by definition all the others are not. But, even if we were to isolate one copy in its original Greek then that copy would still have to explain why it is not in the language of its messenger Isa m and why are there other admitted authors of its text other than Isa m.
Just because others have used the word Injeel to describe a body of work passed down and commonly known as the Gospels it in no way means that body of work can be referred to as the Injeel being referenced by the Quran. Why? If any revelation has been altered or added to it can in no way be seen as the same thing. That revelation would have to be in its own language, meaning the language in which it was revealed. Isa m was a speaker of Aramaic and Hebrew therefore the tongue of the messenger would have been the language of the Injeel. The Torah was written in both Aramaic and Hebrew therefore it is completely plausible that the Injeel would have been revealed in either Hebrew alone or in both. A text which does not reflect that cannot be considered the Injeel as described by the Quran. Isa m was not a speaker of Greek so it would be highly unlikely that he would be given a revelation in a language he was not able to speak. It is definitely plausible that people who came after him that were educated in the Greek language would record stories and the claims of other people in the language that they used. But this body of work cannot, according to the Quranic standard, be classified as the Injeel. The primary companions of Isa m were poor and uneducated Hebrews and, even if some were educated, they would not have been educated in Greek rhetoric. And, even if one of his companions were able to understand Greek sufficient enough to write proficiently in Greek this still would not explain why the Injeel would be in a language not accessible to, virtually, all the Hebrew nation when it was intended for them.
The Injeel also contained laws by which Isa m and his followers were supposed to rule by according to the Quran.
وَلْيَحْكُمْ أَهْلُ ٱلْإِنجِيلِ بِمَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ فِيهِ ۚ وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ فَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْفَـٰسِقُونَ
سورة المائدة 47
“and let the people of the Injeel rule by what Allah has revealed in it. And those who do not judge by what Allah has revealed are open law breakers.”
The Injeel, as referred to in the Quran, contained laws which were still in force and were meant to be adhered to even at the time of the prophet as these ayahs were addressing the Children of Israel in Medina. This is in stark contrast to the body of work commonly called the Gospels today which Christians believe gives quite the opposite message. The message of the Gospels is that the laws are all fulfilled in the belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the works of the law had become null and void.
A Revelation in the Tongue of its People
In the Quranic narrative revelation is sent down in the language of its messenger.
وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِۦ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمْ ۖ فَيُضِلُّ ٱللَّهُ مَن يَشَآءُ وَيَهْدِى مَن يَشَآءُ ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْحَكِيمُ
سورة إبراهيم 4
“We have not sent a messenger except in the language of his people to clarify for them. Then Allah leaves whoever He wills to stray and guides whoever He wills. And He is the Almighty, All-Wise.”
The Quran states here expressly that Allah d does not send a messenger except in the language of his people. This would mean that the messenger would have to be able to speak in the tongue of the people whom were receiving the message. The messenger has to speak the language fluently of the people because he would need to be able to speak and convey the message to his people so that they will understand the message to the level of complete clarity. If the messenger was not able to understand their tongue or the subtleties of the language there may possibly be a situation where things could be misunderstood or not conveyed with sufficient affect.
The Injeel, according to the Quran, was meant for the Children of Israel and these were the people intended to receive the message. As discussed above, the language of the Children of Israel was, at that time, Aramaic and Hebrew. Aramaic was the lingua franca of the Levant and would have been spoken by the Children of Israel at the time of Isa m. The Torah was revealed in Hebrew and Aramaic to the Children of Israel so it would be logical that another revelation to them would also be revealed in the same way in keeping with the continuous revelation they received prior to the Injeel. It would be completely against the historical precedent set by the Torah and the Zaboor, as well as all the other books received, to have its last revelation in a language foreign to its people. Greek is not the language of the Hebrew people nor was it the language of Isa m. It is also not a cognate language such as Arabic or Syriac would be to Hebrew. Therefore, it would seem highly incongruous to have a revelation in Greek given specifically to the Hebrew people a language they didn’t speak nor used as a nation. It is rather much more plausible that the Injeel was revealed, just like all the other books to the Children of Israel, in Hebrew and or, Aramaic.
The Quran’s Function as the Muhaymin over the Previous Books
The Quran itself makes the claim that it functions as a muhaymin over the previous books. What is a muhaymin and what does it mean to be a muhaymin.
The word muhaymin is derived from the Arabic Semitic root همن which is described as having two base meanings according to the Arabic lexicons. The first of those is to be a witness watching over a thing and the second is to secure and keep that thing being watched safe.
شَاهِد و آمِن
If we look in the Quran to see how the Quran uses the word Shahid we can get a better understanding of how Allah d intended for that word to be understood.
قَالَ هِىَ رَٰوَدَتْنِى عَن نَّفْسِى ۚ وَشَهِدَ شَاهِدٌۭ مِّنْ أَهْلِهَآ إِن كَانَ قَمِيصُهُۥ قُدَّ مِن قُبُلٍۢ فَصَدَقَتْ وَهُوَ مِنَ ٱلْكَـٰذِبِينَ
سورة يوسف 26
“Joseph responded, “It was she who tried to seduce me.” And a witness from her own family testified: “If his shirt is torn from the front, then she has told the truth and he is a liar.”
This is a very clear example of how the word shahid is used. In this ayah the Prophet Yusuf n is describing the relative of his mistress as being a shahid over the incident that took place between his mistress and himself. In the ayah shahid is not used in a purely ceremonial sense but active. The relative was the judge of the truth over the incident. He was not blindly confirming but would examine the facts and the claims and then on that basis, and with his criteria, would then decide who was telling the truth.
A shahid is someone or something that tests a thing and confirms its truth or falsehood depending on the facts that it presents. It does not simply grant a thing a clean bill of health just because it or others choose to claim it is truth. Its claims must be tested as well as its message and when it meets the criteria of the shahid then, and only then, will it be declared true or false. This then confirms that the shahid must be truthful itself and contain within itself the truth and a true criterion, if not, then how could it be a shahid. A shahid would also be in the best position to confirm or deny whether something or someone was indeed what it claimed to be in regards to that which it was supposed to be a witness over. Thus, if another came to represent that it was the very thing that was witnessed over but was in fact not that thing, it would also be able to judge whether that thing or person was indeed genuine, as the claimant would also have to meet the same standard as the genuine thing or person.
The other function of the muhaymin is that of keeping something safe and secure. How would a muhaymin keep safe something that it does not have physical control over? The muhaymin in the form of a book or a person would not keep something safe by locking that thing up and not allowing others to touch or steal it. A muhaymin in regards a book or anything that contains information would do so by identifying its information as true, uncorrupted and unchanged in anyway. It would act as a criterion so that, if any changes or corruption had crept in, it could be identified and either eliminated or, if that was not possible, then to declare that something could no longer claim authentically that it was a genuine copy of that information or message.
The Quran uses the word muhaymin in order to convey that it is both witness and protector rather than just one of those things but both contained in one place. It claims it is a witness deciding whether something is true or genuine and also a protector meaning that it is a genuine copy of the message of the information contained in the original Injeel.
It’s a logical conclusion that the criterion and protector over the other books would also be in a position of priority over its charges. If this was not the case then any corruptions or alterations that appeared in the previous books or in their messages would then be equal to the criterion itself, because it would be assumed that the altered book is also true and therefore you would have two versions of the truth, one being a false truth, competing against the truth. The criterion must always have the last word because it is the one that decides whether the others are true or not. Does the Quran declare that it is the criterion and does it claim to be a criterion over the previous books?
نَزَّلَ عَلَيْكَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ بِٱلْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًۭا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَأَنزَلَ ٱلتَّوْرَىٰةَ وَٱلْإِنجِيلَمِن قَبْلُ هُدًۭى لِّلنَّاسِ وَأَنزَلَ ٱلْفُرْقَانَ ۗ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ بِـَٔايَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌۭ شَدِيدٌۭ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَزِيزٌۭ ذُو ٱنتِقَامٍ
سورة آل عمران 3-4
“He has revealed to you the Book in truth, confirming what came before it, as He revealed the Torah and the Injeel previously, as a guide for people, and revealed the Criterion ˹to distinguish between right and wrong˺. Surely those who reject Allah’s revelations will suffer a severe torment. For Allah is Almighty, capable of punishment.”
In the above ayah the Quran confirms that it is indeed a criterion and it operates as a criteria over the previous books, the Torah and Injeel. We should also take note that the Quran is described in this ayah as the Book (al kitab) while the other books are mentioned by name so there is no doubt that when the Book is mentioned along with the others it is referring to the Quran. The Quran always gives priority to itself over the other books and this is demonstrated in a few places within the Quran even though the other books come before the Quran chronologically they are always mentioned after the Quran. But the Injeel is mentioned after the Torah demonstrating it came before but also that it is the criteria and in preference to the Injeel.
إِذْ قَالَ ٱللَّهُ يَـٰعِيسَى ٱبْنَ مَرْيَمَ ٱذْكُرْ نِعْمَتِى عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَىٰ وَٰلِدَتِكَ إِذْ أَيَّدتُّكَ بِرُوحِ ٱلْقُدُسِ تُكَلِّمُ ٱلنَّاسَ فِى ٱلْمَهْدِ وَكَهْلًۭا ۖ وَإِذْ عَلَّمْتُكَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ وَٱلْحِكْمَةَ وَٱلتَّوْرَىٰةَ وَٱلْإِنجِيلَ ۖ وَإِذْ تَخْلُقُ مِنَ ٱلطِّينِ كَهَيْـَٔةِ ٱلطَّيْرِ بِإِذْنِى فَتَنفُخُ فِيهَا فَتَكُونُ طَيْرًۢا بِإِذْنِى ۖ وَتُبْرِئُ ٱلْأَكْمَهَ وَٱلْأَبْرَصَ بِإِذْنِى ۖ وَإِذْ تُخْرِجُ ٱلْمَوْتَىٰ بِإِذْنِى ۖ وَإِذْ كَفَفْتُ بَنِىٓ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ عَنكَ إِذْ جِئْتَهُم بِٱلْبَيِّنَـٰتِ فَقَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ مِنْهُمْ إِنْ هَـٰذَآ إِلَّا سِحْرٌۭ مُّبِينٌۭ
سورة المائدة 110
“Allah will say, “O Jesus, son of Mary! Remember My favour upon you and your mother: how I supported you with the holy spirit so you spoke to people in infancy and adulthood. How I taught the Book, the wisdom, the Torah, and the Injeel. How you moulded a bird from clay—by My permission—and breathed into it and it became a ˹real˺ bird—by My permission. How you healed the blind and the lepers—by My Will. How you brought the dead to life—by My Will. How I prevented the Children of Israel from harming you when you came to them with clear proofs and the disbelievers among them said, “This is nothing but pure magic.”
وَيُعَلِّمُهُ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ وَٱلْحِكْمَةَ وَٱلتَّوْرَىٰةَ وَٱلْإِنجِيلَ
سورة آلِ عمران 48
“And Allah will teach him the Book and the Wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel”
The Torah is also described as the criterion in the Quran but the Injeel is not described as a criterion over anything. Here the Torah occupies a greater position than the Injeel and it is a criterion over it even though it comes before it. Therefore, if there was anything someone was claiming was a part of the Injeel’s message and text that went against the Torah it would be self-eliminating from being the Injeel or being from the Injeel.
وَإِذْ ءَاتَيْنَا مُوسَى ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ وَٱلْفُرْقَانَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ
“And when We gave Moses the Scripture and the standard ˹to distinguish between right and wrong˺ that perhaps you would be ˹rightly˺ guided.”
The issue of the muhaymin is usually one of contention and controversy as to its meaning and application over the previous books in regards those whom are Christian or Jewish. It shouldn’t be, as they do not accept that the Quran is a revealed book and therefore it should be of no consequence to them, they in fact reject the entire book.
The central issue is the identification of the Injeel and what the name refers to. The Quran is very specific in its identification of the book it identifies as the Injeel. It states very clearly that it was only revealed to Isa m and no one else which would exclude any text or, so called, revelation given to others that would be added to it. If anything was added to the authentic Injeel the new body of text would cease to be the authentic revelation but something wholly different. The Quran also makes clear that the Injeel contained laws that were supposed to be adhered to and applied by those that followed Isa m. It is clear that the book and text that the Quran refers to as the Injeel was a distinct text that was completed prior to Isa’s d ascension from this world. The Injeel was not to be added to by another author and no indication is given in the Quran that it was to be added to by another.
The body of work presently known as the New Testament or the Gospels which was collated by the early Christian Church is its own body of work and this article does not make any criticism of it but, this article does wish to state, what amounts to an irresistible conclusion, that the two bodies of work are wholly different. The New Testament as it exists today has different authors, has different versions depending on the sect of Christianity, different wordings and lengths and differing numbers of books. The New Testament was recorded and passed down in Greek and not in Hebrew or Aramaic and no original copy exists. It would therefore be conceptually impossible to claim that the Injeel, as described in the Quran, and the New Testament, as it exists today, are the same. But, that is not to say they will not have some things in common by way of concepts or information.
When the Quran makes the claim that it confirms the Injeel and the Torah it does so referring to them in their original state as revealed and not altered or changed nor corrupted. It is in that state that the Quran makes the claim to be a witness and protector. Those who make the claim that the Injeel referred to in the Quran and the New Testament are one and the same have an insurmountable task of reconciling historical and factual differences between them. Therefore, before anyone can claim the Quran confirms the body of work today called the New Testament, they have to demonstrate that all the different versions or any version conforms to the Quranic description. If indeed one is not able to reconcile those differences then the Quran then has acted in its capacity as muhaymin and by the Quranic standard declares that the New Testament to be other than the Injeel. Therefore, the New Testament cannot be the intended beneficiary of the confirmation given by the Quran. It would be intellectually without foundation and integrity to assert that it is.
This article was not intended in any way to make criticism of the body of work called the New Testament or to imply that it should not be held as a religious text for those whom believe it is to be taken as a sacred religious text. The purpose of this study was only to examine if the New testament and the Injeel can be identified as exactly the same document according to the identification and description given in the Quran. This piece does not attempt to denigrate, in any way, the message of the New Testament nor make any claim concerning its position within Christianity nor its composition. This work only examines the documents and their description in order to understand their factual realities.
The conclusion this work arrives at is that the New Testament and the Injeel, according to the Quran, are wholly different works and that the confirmation and validation given in the Quran cannot be taken to be doing so to the works and collection of the New Testament.
 According to Paul’s writings in Galatians 3
There is no evidence that exists from the body of work called the New Testament in any version that claims that Jesus delegated or indicated that his revelation would come through another person. There are definitely claims of others that Jesus’ message and revelation would be transmitted through themselves.