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Offline Peaceful

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The Lost Injeel
« on: November 25, 2012, 01:39:53 PM »
Salam Brother Joseph,
I was recently reading your article on the Injeel.
''The Quran clearly confirms the existence of the Injeel that the contemporaries of the Prophet had with them at the time of his ministry.''

If the Christians of the 7th century definitely had some portions of the Injeel, then we must also have those today, because Biblical scholars have more access to archaic documents than Christians of old. Almost all ancient Christian documents cite Jesus referring to God as Abba - 'Father' and himself as His 'son'. Some portions of the Gospels even say he claimed divinity. You will note that almost every instance Jesus refers to himself as the 'son' in the Gospels, he refers to himself as 'servant' in the Quran(Compare Infancy Gospel of Thomas to Quran's infancy story). Some of the Gospels clearly make Jesus contradict the Quran(Eye for an eye).

What can an objective student to do with these overwhelming occurrences that could not have possibly been 'late interpolation' or forgeries, as the Quran seems to imply(or suggest that the Christians were deviating)? Why does Prophet Muhammad even need to reveal this new revelation if the Injeel was never corrupted, as it is widespread throughout the world today?

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: The Lost Injeel
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2012, 10:07:11 AM »
Dear Peaceful,

Peace to you.

This is a very good question. Thanks for asking.

What is seldom appreciated is the Quran's role with the previous scriptures from a purely 'Quranic' perspective. It is clear that something was being read by the People of the Book 'contemporaneous' and 'coexistent' with the Prophetic ministry which the Quran recognised. This has been discussed in article [1] below as has the nature of the Injeel from a Quranic perspective [2].

You are correct to insinuate that given the advancements in Biblical scholarship that we would have a very good idea today of what was being read at the time of the revelation of the Quran. This is not withstanding the fact that there would have also been a lot of traditions which were in situ as mainstay beliefs in certain communities of the People of the Book.

It is also well appreciated in Biblical scholarship that at times certain Gospels / Books of the NT were given more emphasis in different churches. Therefore, what the Quran addressed were 'beliefs and doctrines' of the time of the ministry that the Prophet came into contact with in 7th century Arabia which may not have always been 'scriptural' but also partly held in traditions and general theology.

'Abba' (father) appears three times in the New Testament (NT) - Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6. It is an Aramaic word. It appears from the NT that Prophet Jesus referred to His Creator as 'father' but probably not in the human biological father sense, but most likely in the sense of his expressive closeness with God. 

Whether this was a phrase developed as part of a theological bias by early Christians and then later taken down by scribes whilst writing the earliest documents of the NT cannot be proved. It is to be noted however, that the earliest NT books were not written until decades after the death of Prophet Jesus by Greek speaking Christians.

However, I find no proof that this was a later 'insertion' into the NT text as to my knowledge, the old manuscripts retain the word 'Abba' followed by a Greek transliteration (Pater - Father) which informs the readership what it means.

Furthermore, 'Sons' and 'Sons of God' is a phrase which is common in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and it can be argued that the phrase doesn't necessarily carry the connotation that Christian theology at times asserts. Even the term 'Begotten Son' as a rendition of the Greek word 'monogenes' is also argued against as is often asserted in Christian theology. You will no doubt find a plethora of scholarship in this area too.

It is interesting to note that the Quran doesn't necessarily deny the Biblical narratives, but at times challenges the general interpretation of them as they have been carried into ‘popular belief’. It also argues against certain theological precepts which are 'read' into scripture.

005:015
"O People of the Book, surely there has come to you our Messenger, making clear to you much of what you used to conceal (Arabic: tukh'funa) of the scripture and overlooking / forgiving much (Arabic: wa-ya'fu an kathiran). Surely has come to you from God a light and a clear book"
 
The Arabic word 'tukh'funa' comes from the root KHA-FA-YA which carries the meaning of what is unapparent / has become imperceptible / has become dim to the sight / or suppressed, or obscured to the mind. It also carries the meaning of something which has become 'concealed'.
 
Therefore, the Quran within context of its Arabic usage clearly recognised that certain aspects of the previous scriptures had become gradually concealed and deemed it fit to expound on some of them. It was also not the intention of the Quran to deal with each and every narrative of the Bible hence the term 'wa-yafu an kathiran' (forgive, pardon, pass over, relinquish or remit a whole or part or indeed pardon much).

Therefore, the Quran also acted as a 'guard' over the previous scriptures to confirm (musaddiqan) aspects of the previous scriptures that it deemed necessary to expound upon and to determine what is true and false of its interpretation.

005.048 (part)
“ To thee We revealed the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that is between the hands (coexistent Torah and Bible), and guarding it by determining what is true and false (Arabic: wa-muhayminan)..."

As with the Quran, it is not the text which gives rise to erroneous interpretations but the theology that is 'often read' into the scriptures. This is as true for the Bible as it is true for the Quran.

005.077
"Say: "O people of the Book! do not exceed in your religion the bounds (of what is proper), trespassing beyond the truth, nor follow the vain desires of people who went wrong in times gone by, who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the even way."

I hope this helps, God willing.

Regards,
Joseph.

[1] 'BETWEEN HIS HANDS' OR 'BEFORE IT' (MA BAYNA YADAYHI)
http://quransmessage.com/articles/between%20hands%20or%20before%20it%20FM3.htm

[2] WHAT IS THE INJEEL?
http://quransmessage.com/articles/injeel%20FM3.htm
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Peaceful

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Re: The Lost Injeel
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2012, 11:56:56 AM »
Thank you for replying.  :)
You state that Jesus could have referred to Jesus as Abba, which I agree with.
I know that 'son' (ibn) and even 'begotten' (walad) are used as both figuratively and literally, in the Holy Bible. But the Quran seems to state that both of these methods of 'affection' are wrong when applied to God. What confuses me is throughout the Psalms, Prophets, and of course, the New Testament, people are reffered to as 'sons of God'. Even the Dead Sea Scrolls have these words in Hebrew. How could people have been wrong about the 'son' thing from even before Christ(pbuh).

The Quran denies, and even threatens, those who claim Jesus is:
ibn - 5:18, 9:30
walad - 4:171, 19:35, 19:88, 19:91, 19:92
in the light of Allah. Therefore, how can it be misinterpretation on the part of the Jews and Christians? Also, do you believe any of the Old Testament was changed, if so, how much of it?

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: The Lost Injeel
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2012, 01:55:50 AM »
Dear Peaceful,

May peace be with you.

In my humble opinion, I feel it is not necessarily the 'figurative' interpretation per se of 'walad' (child) that is denied by the Quran but the inference of a ‘special status’ that it comes loaded with.

However, what is denied outright by the Quran is the 'literal' interpretation of this term when it is understood to mean son as in the ‘begotten’ sense which I feel is qualified by verse 6:101.

006.101
"The Originator of the Heavens and the Earth! How can He have a child (walad), when there is for Him no consort / companion (sahibatun), and He created all things and is Aware of all things?"

If one notes the dialogue in verse 5:18 below and whence the Jews and Christians claim they are the children of God (abnau), qualified by their alleged special status as His beloved (wa-ahibbauhu), they are not rebuked outright for mentioning it 'literally'. It is the implication of the figurative interpretation that is rebuked by the verse.

005.018
“The Jews and Christians say: We are God's children and His loved ones. Say: Why does He then chastise you for your sins? Nay, you are but mortals from among those He created. He forgives whom He wills, and chastises whom He will. God's is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them and to Him is the final return.”

This is confirmed by God's response which whilst accepting what is implied by the figurative claim (a special status), focuses on rebutting the assertion by questioning how could they occupy such a special status if God punishes them for their sins? In the end it is for God to forgive whom He wills (yaghfiru liman yashau) and only He knows who is assigned special status. 

Otherwise, one could argue for the expectation of a clear rebuke as encountered in the response in verse 6:101 above (i.e. How can He have a child / children, when there is for Him no consort / partner?").

In verse 9:30 what is rebuked is the literal interpretation of the term 'ibn'. This kind of literal interpretation is also rebuked in verses such as 4:171, 19:35, 19:88, 19:91-92 that you have kindly quoted.

Indeed, the Quran steers clear of such attribution altogether. It never uses such terms to describe the relationship of His goodly servants (abd) with Him and as seen in verse 5:18, the Quran does seem to tacitly 'discourage' even the use of such interpretative language by the phrase ‘bal, antum basharun mimman khalaqa’ (Nay, you are mortals from among those He created).

With regards, your final question, the Quran clearly recognises some distortion (yuharrifuna - 2:75) including contextual distortion (4:46; 5:41) from the People of the Book along with written intentional manipulation (2:79). As to how much was actually changed, this I leave within the general capture of the following Quranic verse and in particular the phrase, 'wa-ya'fu an kathiran'.

005:015
"O People of the Book, surely there has come to you our Messenger, making clear to you much of what you used to conceal (Arabic: tukh'funa) of the scripture and overlooking / forgiving much (Arabic: wa-ya'fu an kathiran). Surely has come to you from God a light and a clear book"

This phrase implies some narratives which the Quran deems unnecessary to expound upon for a host of reasons which it doesn't elucidate. The Quran expounds on areas it deems fit and positions itself as a lens from which to view the Biblical narratives as a criterion to judge what is right from it and what is wrong from it (furqan).

From my academic perspective, scholarship clearly proves changes in Biblical scriptures over a period of time and the accretion by man for a host of reasons. The OT aside, even the NT has unwarranted accretions which are clearly a result of theological juxtoposition. The Comma Johanneum is one clear example from the NT [1]

However, the Quran recognised what was being read at the time of the Prophetic ministry [2] and dealt with the understanding of the Jews and Christians (both scriptural and traditional) at the time. There is much that the Quran confirms from the Biblical text both explicitly and implicitly. With regards other narratives, only God knows best.

I hope that helps, God willing.
Joseph.


REFERENCES:

[1] THE BIBLE DOES NOT TEACH THE 'TRINITY'
http://quransmessage.com/articles/trinity%20FM3.htm
[2] 'BETWEEN HIS HANDS' OR 'BEFORE IT' (MA BAYNA YADAYHI)
http://quransmessage.com/articles/between%20hands%20or%20before%20it%20FM3.htm
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Peaceful

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Re: The Lost Injeel
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2012, 06:04:15 PM »
You've answered some of my questions. Are you trying to say that when the term 'son of God' was permissible at one point in history? Also, on the 'special status' point, isn't it true that Jesus is the only Sinless human (Zakkiyya) which is why he is Al-Masih, and most of the Prophets were Israelites. Why does the Quran suddenly make the claim that referring to men as the 'son' is wrong, if the prophets clearly did so.

On the topic of biblical alteration, why would Allah allow this to happen? How could the Word of God be lost by the hands of a few Rabbis??

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: The Lost Injeel
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2012, 11:55:42 PM »
Dear Peaceful,

Peace be with you.

Please see my responses to your questions below.


Quote
You've answered some of my questions. Are you trying to say that when the term 'son of God' was permissible at one point in history?

The fact that such phrases were in use at some point in history is also attested by Jewish literature which predates the Quran. The Quran dealt with its literal and figurative interpretations. I feel that is as far as can be convincingly ascertained.


Quote
Also, on the 'special status' point, isn't it true that Jesus is the only Sinless human (Zakkiyya) which is why he is Al-Masih, and most of the Prophets were Israelites.

Prophet Jesus as Sinless

Prophet Jesus is mentioned in verse 19.19 as a 'zakiy' which does not unequivocally mean 'sinless'. From its root, it also carries the nuance of someone who is pure in heart, righteous, one who intends to purify, keep clean. Ancient sources in lexicons record it to also mean someone 'growing, increasing, in goodness and righteousness, or purified by nature or such as shall in the future become purified'.

018.074
"Then they both proceeded until they met a boy, then he killed him. He (Moses) said: "Have you killed a soul 'zakkiyyatan' (pure / innocent / righteous / blameless) who had slain none? Truly you have done an evil / foul thing!"

It is also useful to remember that Prophet Yayha is also attested to be 'zakatan' in the Quran (19:13).


Prophets as Israelites

The Quran does not provide a comprehensive list of all the Prophets / Messengers in the Quran (4:164, 40:78). A number (but not all) of the Prophets mentioned in the Quran were indeed Israelites.


Quote
Why does the Quran suddenly make the claim that referring to men as the 'son' is wrong, if the prophets clearly did so.

As shared in my response above, I feel it is not necessarily the 'figurative' interpretation per se of 'walad' (child) that is denied by the Quran but the inference of a ‘special status’ that it comes loaded with. However, what is denied outright by the Quran is the 'literal' interpretation of this term when it is understood to mean son as in the ‘begotten’ sense which I feel is qualified by verse 6:101.

I feel it can be argued that as the Quran superseded in time any transgressed theology of readers of the previous scriptures, that it sought to address any incorrect interpretations and tacitly discourage the use of the term.


Quote
On the topic of biblical alteration, why would Allah allow this to happen? How could the Word of God be lost by the hands of a few Rabbis??

At best, I can only but humbly surmise. However, I do feel that it highlights the fact that even when a scripture is protected (i.e. Quran), dark forces have the capacity to invent false corpuses as a source of religious law and conflate it with the 'protected' source yielding the same effective result as a scripture that is not protected.

In the end, both sources have to be examined to ascertain its truth. 

Also, I would respectfully contest the notion that the 'Word of God' was lost in the Biblical narratives. It is often the theology that is 'read into' the scriptures which causes false theology and not necessarily the scriptures itself. In the end, only God knows best.

I hope that helps, God willing.
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Peaceful

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Re: The Lost Injeel
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2012, 11:20:47 AM »
"018.074
"Then they both proceeded until they met a boy, then he killed him. He (Moses) said: "Have you killed a soul 'zakkiyyatan' (pure / innocent / righteous / blameless) who had slain none? Truly you have done an evil / foul thing!"
-It is also useful to remember that Prophet Yayha is also attested to be 'zakatan' in the Quran (19:13)."

I'm definitely going to use that in my debate with Christians!

On the point of the alteration of His Word: The Bible, as the Quran, also claims it is unchanged.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8).
If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came; and the Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35).
Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." (Luke 24:44).


There are early manuscripts (obviously, the Bible has more discrepancies) that are very different in details, when compared to the standard Egyptian-Arabic Quran of today. How can an objective person then decide what is God's 'unchanged' word, even if it is an oral tradition, which is less credible than tangible written accounts???

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: The Lost Injeel
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2012, 05:09:22 PM »
Topic Split

Title: Manuscripts
Link: http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=667.0
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Peaceful

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Re: The Lost Injeel
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2013, 09:59:47 AM »
Salam Brother Joseph. Sorry to get back on this topic. But I thought this might interest you.
I noticed you said previously, that the Injil was a physical scroll/book available during the Prophet's ministry.
Well I did some digging and I was surprised by what I found.

My hypothesis is that the 'Injil' is actually the Syriac Peshitta:

1. The word 'Injil' itself is not Arabic. It is a transliteration of the Greek ''Evangelon."
"In this recension the Gospel according to Matthew has the title Evangelion da-Mepharreshe. It means "the Gospel of the Separated," and points to the existence of single Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, in a Syriac translation, in contradistinction to Tatian's Harmony"
This proves that this Book had the same name in Greek, Syriac and Arabic.

2.  The Canonized Peshitta was completed just a century prior to Prophet Muhammad's birth.
"The Old Testament of the Peshitta was translated into Syriac from the Hebrew, probably in the 2nd century AD. The New Testament of the Peshitta, which originally excluded certain disputed books (2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation), had become the standard by the early 5th century."

3. The Qur'ans stories, parables, analogies, etc. are references to the Peshitta.
"One thing is certain, that the earliest New Testament of the Syriac church lacked not only the Antilegomena – 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude, and the Apocalypse – but the whole of the Catholic Epistles. These were at a later date translated and received into the Syriac Canon of the New Testament, but the quotations of the early Syrian Fathers take no notice of these New Testament books.
From the 5th century, however, the Peshitta containing both Old Testament and New Testament has been used in its present form only as the national version of the Syriac Scriptures."


Proof:
a. The Quran tells us the biography of Jesus by referencing the 4 Gospels and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. Is it no wonder that Peter, Paul and the rest of the early Christians mentioned in Acts, as well as the Epistles, are unequivocally missing from the Quran? It also makes sense because, as you've proven yourself, their is no evidence of Jesus' resurrection/killing Dajjal whatsoever in the Syriac Peshitta. These are only found in the later books present in the modern New Testament. This could be one of Allah's way of showing us that he knew what parts of the NT were false and conjecture, and what parts were truth.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: The Lost Injeel
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2013, 09:48:26 PM »
Dear Peaceful,

May peace be with you.

Thanks for sharing this. The Syriac vulgate is indeed an interesting corpus.

In my humble view, your investigations are in the right direction. I have always maintained in my circle of discussions that whilst it is accepted that different Gospels were at times read in different churches, any research to corroborate the Quran's testimony must concentrate on establishing what was 'actually' being read by the People of the Book in the locale and time of the Prophetic ministry. This is key to understanding what beliefs the Quran primarily addressed.

003:093
"...Say: "So bring the Torah and recite it if you are truthful"
 

005.068
"Say: "O People of the Book! you have no ground to stand upon unless you firmly stand by (Arabic: Tuqimu) the Torah, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord." It is the revelation that comes to you from thy Lord, that increases in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. But do not grieve over disbelieving people"

Regards,
Joseph.


RELATED ARTICLES:
 
[1] PEOPLE OF THE BOOK (JEWS & CHRISTIANS)
http://quransmessage.com/articles/people%20of%20the%20book%20FM3.htm
[2] 'BETWEEN HIS HANDS' OR 'BEFORE IT' (MA BAYNA YADAYHI)
http://quransmessage.com/articles/between%20hands%20or%20before%20it%20FM3.htm
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell