Correspondence: A Study of the Bible
by Muhammad Manzur Ilahi
The Light (Pakistan), 16th August 1922 Issue (Vol. 1, No. 17, pp. 3–4)
I have shown in my previous articles [see here and here] that the Holy Quran nowhere testifies the authenticity of the “Old and the New Testaments” at present in the hands of Jews and Christians, but it everywhere refers to the revelations of Moses and Isa [Jesus] by the names of Taurat and the Injil.
The Taurat does not signify the Old Testament because the latter is the name of the whole collection of the books of the Israelite prophets, in the same manner the Injil does not signify the New Testament.
According to the Holy Quran, no prophet to whom any book was revealed appeared among the Israelites after the death of Isa, son of Mary, who, being the last of the Israelite prophets, was granted a revelation called the Injil. Not only are the Acts, the Epistles, and the Book of Revelation not recognised by the Holy Quran as parts of the Injil, but it does not even recognise the Gospels according to Matthew, Luke, Mark and John, as the Injil which was revealed to Isa, son of Mary, though the current Gospels might contain fragments of the original teachings. This view of the Gospel as taken by the Holy Quran is now admitted to be correct as all criticism points out to some original of the synoptics which is now entirely lost. The Holy Quran nowhere suggests that the original Injil, the revelation of Isa, existed at the time of the Holy Prophet [pbuh].
In this article, I am going to examine the genuineness, authenticity, and credibility of the books of the New Testament. The four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles are the historical portions of the New Testament, the rest being entirely doctrinal, the books of the four evangelists, purported to be a record of the sayings and doings of Jesus Christ, the founder of the Christian religion. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the reputed authors.
Matthew and John are said to have been the disciples of Jesus Christ, but there is no proof that they wrote the books which bear their names. Of Mark and Luke, it is not even pretended that they were disciples, nor is it known who they were. Consequently, their accounts of the actions and sayings of Jesus Christ must have been collected from others records, for these men did not propose to write by inspiration. This was invented and ascribed to them in latter times. Thus, I have only Matthew and John to attest the truth of these wonderful events, even if they did write the books ascribed to them, which is extremely doubtful.
- The first subject presented to us in Matthew is the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Luke gives another genealogy of the same person, which is quite different both in the names given and in the number of the generation.
- Next, Matthew informs us that after Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with a child by the Holy Ghost. And how is this found out? By an angel, it is said, appearing to Joseph in a dream.
- Matthew says that Joseph, having found Mary with a child before marriage, wanted to put her away privately, until the angel set him right in the matter. The story would have been a little more seemly if the angel had appeared to him when awake, instead of when asleep. Dreams are an exceedingly suspicious kind of evidence, and however satisfactory to Joseph and his historian Matthew, would be rejected as proof of the simplest event at the present day.
- After this, Matthew tells us that when Jesus was born in Bethlehem (2:2), wise men from the East came to worship him. Neither of the other three evangelists mention this circumstance, though Luke, who is very particular in his narrative, says they were shepherds from the neighbourhood (Luke, 2:8, 18).
- Matthew tells us they were led by a star; Luke says they were directed by an angel. Mark and John seem to know nothing about this event.
- Matthew says that Herod, being mocked by the wise men (2:16), destroyed all the young “children in Bethlehem and the coasts thereof, from two years old and under.” Luke never mentions this horrible massacre; neither does Mark or John; and Josephus, who relates all Herod’s transactions, and was no friend of the latter, is silent on this important point.
- From the time that Jesus was presented in the temple, until he was baptised by John, when nearly thirty years of age, we hear of him only once (Luke, 2:42) when he was about twelve years old, going up with his parents to Jerusalem to the Passover, and staying behind to dispute with some doctors. It is only after his baptism that he makes his regular appearance before the public, and his first adventure is with the devil in the wilderness. The devil is represented making a regular attack upon Jesus, first commanding him, in a kind of bitter reproach, if he was the son of God to make stones into bread (Matthew, 4:3); second, putting him on a pinnacle of the temple (Matthew, 4:5) and bidding him [to] cast himself down; and third, taking him up to an exceedingly high mountain and showing him all the kingdoms of the earth and the glory of them in a moment of time, a passage quite inaccurate and showing the extreme ignorance of the writer respecting the figure of the globe.
If we examine the Evangelists with care, we find a contradiction in almost everything they relate. For instance:
- Matthew [4:18] and Mark [1:16] tell us that Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, and Simon [also known as] Peter and Andrew were in their ships fishing when he called them. But Luke says (5:3) he was sitting in their ship and teaching the people on the land, and the fishermen were out washing their nets.
- Matthew [4:20] and Mark [1:18] inform that when Jesus called them they immediately left their nets and followed him, but according to Luke’s story, it does not appear that he calls them at all; they followed him in consequence of a great draught of fishes which were taken by his directions after his sermon was over.
- Matthew relates (8:5) that when Jesus entered into Capernaum, a Centurion came to him beseeching him to come and heal his servant. But according to Luke (7:3, 7) the Centurion only sent for him to come, but would not go himself, because he did not think himself worthy.
This is a brief examination of the New Testament showing some of the internal differences of this book, which is sufficient to destroy the authenticity of any book, and especially one which is supposed to be the word of God.
I will deal with some more internal inconsistencies of the Bible at another time.
Mohamed [Muhammad] Manzur Ilahi