Reading the Old Testament can be a very confusing experience for an average careful reader. Some verses strike the reader as the "Word of God." Others register as the "words of the Prophets." And most of the verses were written by historians who injected their environment and tribal feud in the stories of the Old Testament. And the serious question is how the average layman can separate the above three categories? Should the seeker of the authentic Word of God in Bible depend on himself or his preacher? Will the preacher state the facts or keep quiet? It is extremely hard to get information from the Bible if the above three categories are merged together. That is why the Islamic sources of knowledge are divided into five main separate categories:
1. The Word of God, as revealed to Prophet Muhammad, is found in The Holy Quran, which is the same Arabic text that exists everywhere in all Islamic countries, for more than fourteen centuries.
2. The words of Muhammad (Pbuh), the Prophet of God, are recorded in books called the
Hadith. There are two kinds of Hadith:
Hadith Qudsi (or Sacred Hadith) and
Prophetic Hadith. Hadith Qudsi are the sayings of Prophet Muhammad as revealed to him by Allah. Hadith Qudsi are so named because their authority is traced back to Allah but Muhammad put them in his own words. The Prophetic Hadith are the majority of Hadith and are traced back to the Prophet. There are two major accepted collections of the Hadith collected by the Islamic scholars Albukhari and Muslim. Every Hadith is recorded with the chain of people who heard it. This chain may include one person, or many persons. Based upon the trustworthiness of each reference included in the narration, the Hadith is classified as accepted, good, or weak. It is interesting to note that the Bible does not even enjoy this complex referencing system of the Hadith.
3. Interpretation of the Quran where each verse of the Quran is discussed as to why, when, and where it was revealed. The interpretation of the Quran is always accompanied with the original verses of the Quran as a precaution against misinterpretation. It should be noted that few verses in few interpretations were not correctly interpreted, and were rejected by the majority of the Islamic scholars. There must be certain qualifications to interpret the Quran. Among these qualifications are memorizing of the whole Quran by heart, knowledge of the Arabic language and its grammar, and good Islamic character.
4. Interpretation of the Hadith where each saying of the Prophet is explained as to why, when, and where it was said. The interpretation of the Hadith is always accompanied with the original saying of the Prophet as a precaution against misinterpretation.
5. Islamic history, written by historians of high integrity and knowledge, and others of lesser trustworthiness. This history extends from the life of Muhammad to the present time. The life of the Prophet is detailed from his birth to his death in many references.
As a hypothetical situation, if someone attempts to mix the Quran, sayings of the Prophet, the different interpretations, and Islamic history, in one composite text, then anyone who reads that confusing text will surely find contradictions. And if the composite text is thought to be totally inspired from God, then surely researchers will eventually find the contradictions, and question the authenticity of the whole text. This situation is what I will attempt to prove happening in the case of the Old and New Testament. This is not a personal point of view from a Muslim. It is the Biblical scholars’ works that the average Christian does not know, and the information that the Sunday classes’ preachers are not volunteering. Thank God, Muslims kept the above five kinds of books separate, hence there was no way to add any word, or even a comma for that matter, to the Quran, the authentic Word of God. This was a promise from God Himself that He will protect the Quran. And that is what happened:
Surah 15, Ayah 9 "We have without doubt, sent down the message. And We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)"
The purity of the text of the Quran through fourteen centuries is an indication of eternal care with Allah’s Truth protected through all ages. As promised by God, this Holy Truth will never suffer corruption, or any human adulteration.
The Quran as a text is undoubtedly preserved by the promise of Allah Himself. Furthermore, the recitation of the Quran, anywhere on Earth, is the same recitation as that of the Prophet. In the written Quran there are some symbols that indicate that the Prophet joined verses or break long verses in his recitation. These symbols are listed at the end of the Quran. Therefore, in reciting the Quran, Muslims use those symbols to stop where the Prophet stop, and continue where he continued. It is quite exceptional to imagine the Power of God’s promise to secure the Quran in writings as well as in readings.
Reciting the Quran is an established science in Islamic schools. The Quran is 604 pages long. During the time of the Prophet thousand of his companions memorized the whole 604 pages. In the present time millions of Muslims everywhere know the Quran by heart.
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