Chris Chrisman / Aug 09, 2008

Muslims in the 21st Century will be surprised to learn  that the Bible is needed to understand their religion and that the Bible was repeatedly commended to Muslims when the Quran was handed down in the 7th Century.  These are two secrets that Islamic countries have labored to hide from its citizens.


Before developing this thesis, however, it is necessary to understand the current situation.  The world’s center of Islamic observance is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, if for no other reason than its being the destination for the Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islamic practice.  Bibles may not be openly brought into the kingdom, and they may not be displayed in public. (See note 1 at the end of the essay)  Many predominately Muslim countries also restrict the importation of Bibles and routinely confiscate them. (Note 2)   The stated reason for these actions is that today’s Bible is not the “Scriptures” mentioned in the Quran but a forgery.  This opinion was expressed in March of this year by Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gadaffi during celebrations in Uganda marking the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.  He said, “The Bible we have now is not the one that was revealed to Issa [Jesus] and the Old Testament is not the one that was revealed to Musa [Moses]. Muhammad is mentioned in both (original versions), but the Torah and Bible we have now, there is no mention of him. It means that it (Bible) has been forged. We believe in the Bible as well as the Torah."(Note 3)  The claim that Muhammad is mentioned in the Torah and the Bible is found in Surah 7:157.


This view is further elaborated by Muhammad Asad in The Message of the Quran, “It is to be borne in mind that the Gospel frequently mentioned in the Quran is not identical with what is known today as the Four Gospels, but refers to an original, since lost, revelation  bestowed upon Jesus and known to his contemporaries under its Greek name of Evangelion (“Good Tiding”), on which the Arabicized form Injil is based. It was probably the source from which the Synoptic Gospels derived much of their material and some of the teachings attributed to Jesus.”(Note 4)


Rather than debate the above quotations, it is more practical to consider the situation in Mecca and Medina during the time the Quran was handed down. The area was populated with Jews as well as Christians, many of whom had been there since the Diaspora during Roman times.  In the Fourth Century, Emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity, and he commissioned the production of 50 Bibles in Egypt between 330 and 350 A.D.  One of these complete copies of the Bible was later preserved at St. Catherine’s Monastery near the foot of Mount Sinai in Egypt, just 450 miles from Medina.  This Bible,  portions of which are now at the British Museum, the Leipzig University Library, the Russian National Library, and also at St. Catherine’s Monastery, is a respected historical source for most modern translations of the Bible. (Note 5)  So there is documentary evidence that the Bible that was in use in the Middle East was no different for 300 years before and for 1,400 thousand years after the revelation of the Quran.  While it is possible that forgeries were in circulation during that time, there were enough authentic versions of the Bible circulating that forgeries would be quickly identified and condemned.


One of the Quran’s principal justifications for a new, Arabic scripture is found in Surah 6:155:


 And now We have revealed this Book truly blessed. Observe it and keep from evil, so that you may find mercy and not say: “The Scriptures were revealed only to two communities [i.e., the Jews and Christians] before us; we have no knowledge of what they read” or “Had the Scriptures been revealed to us we would have been better guided than they.”  


In other words, the Arabs of the 7th Century could not understand the languages of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, so a new Book overcame that problem but, according to the Quran, did not contradict the previous revealed scriptures.  Today, most Muslims do not speak Arabic as their native language, so even the Quran has been translated into English, Indonesian, Tamil, and other languages to accommodate the needs of a world-wide ummah.  Likewise, the Bible has been translated into every major language group in the world, and copies in the local tongue are often distributed free of charge by local Christian churches and organizations like the Gideons International where permitted.


This same Bible continues to be necessary for Islam for the following reasons, which will be developed below:

1) Many of the verses of the Quran cannot be understood without deriving the context from their original source in the Bible; 2) There are 20 prophets or characters common to both the Bible and the Quran, but few details about their lives are provided in the Quran; 3) There are over 120 positive references to the Bible Scriptures in the Quran and the Bible is the authority underscoring many statements made in the Quran; and  4) Muslims are instructed in Surah  4:135 to believe in both the Quran and the previously revealed Scriptures in order to be rightly guided.


Context for Quran and Muslim Customs Comes From the Bible


The Quran is replete with Biblical allusions which would not be comprehensible if readers did not refer to the Bible.  For example the title subject of the Surah 2, The Cow, comes from a Mosaic command for the people to sacrifice a cow. (Surah 2:67).  What is the purpose of the sacrifice?  The Quran does not tell us.  Is this a “garlanded offering” made in conjunction with the Hajj, per Surah 5:2?  Is it a sacrifice to God similar to the ram Abraham sacrificed instead of Ishmael,  per Surah  37:107?   Only by referring to the Bible, Deuteronomy 21, Verses 1 – 9, can one understand that this sacrifice is the legal requirement in a situation where someone is murdered and the perpetrator is unknown. The elders of the nearest town must demonstrate their innocence by washing their hands over the slaughtered cow’s neck and thereby cleanse the community of guilt for the murder.


The story of Job being tested by Satan is an enduring saga of man’s steadfastness to God, even under adversity.  The narrative covers 42 chapters in the Bible – some 27 pages in a typical Bible, but it is reduced to “Satan has afflicted me with sorrow and misfortune” (Surah 38:41) in the Quran.  One can only appreciate the great extent of the adversity – economic, family, health, social, and emotional – by reading the Biblical account.  


Another more controversial example has to do with Mary, the mother of Jesus.  The Quran describes her as the “sister of Aaron” in Surah 19:27.  Since Aaron was Moses’ brother, that statement, taken literally, would be evidence of a 1,500 year error in the historical timeline of Mary.  However, the Bible provides a counter-argument in Luke 1:5 that the expression “sister of Aaron” may be similar to the Biblical expression “daughter of Aaron,” meaning that she was of the priestly family lineage. Here, referring to the Bible may actually help absolve the Quran of a serious error.


Some important Islamic customs are explained not by the Quran, but rather by the Bible.  For example, why do Muslims circumcise males at puberty rather than when they are newborn, as in the case of Christians and Jews?  While there is no mention of circumcision in the Quran, the Bible provides the origin of this practice for Muslims, and traces it back to Abraham.  Genesis 17:23-25 says, “On that very day Abraham took his son, Ishmael, and every male in his householdh, including those born there and those he had bought. Then he circumcised them, cutting off their foreskins just as God had told him. Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, and Ishmael, his son, was thirteen.”


While most Quranic scholars are assumed to have a copy of the Bible close at hand, the information contained in it would also help the Muslims in general  to better understand the historical context of the Quran as well as their own customs.  


Some Information on Quran’s Prophets is Found Only in Bible


There are twenty Biblical characters identified as prophets in the Quran (Aaron, Abraham, Adam, David, Elijah, Elisha, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Jesus, Jethro, Job, John the Baptist, Jonah, Lot, Moses, Noah, Solomon, and Zachariah).  When historians write about a particular subject, they try to cover the questions of  Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How.   The table generated below contains the information from the Bible as well as from the Quran, if it is provided there.  By necessity, the information is highly condensed. As can be seen, information which is provided in the Bible does not appear in the Quran for more than half of the boxes.  Note that the WHEN data was developed by Archbishop Usher in 1650 using genealogies in the Bible, the ages of people in the Bible when they had children, and actual historical events confirmed by secular historians.  While that information is by no means precise, it provides a relative timeline which is useful for understanding the chronology of Biblical events.  The WHEN questions cannot be answered by the Quran because there are very few historical reference points in the Quran, and even the Surahs are ordered by length rather than any reference to a historical timeline. 


                     Prophets Common to the Bible and the Quran



(Times cited)


WHAT was his message in the Quran?

WHY was he mentioned in the Bible?

WHEN did it occur?

WHERE did this happen? 

HOW was message delivered?



Elijah (Elias) the Tishbite

God is superior

To Baal

King Ahab sinned against God and worshipped idols

910 BC

Gilead (Jordan) and Sinai

God spoke to him in a gentle whisper, and Elijah wrapped himself in a cloak



Elijah (Ilyas)








Elisha son of Shaphat

Performed many miracles to prove

God’s power, including one after he died

King Joram continued to lead Israel into

sin and would not stop

900 BC

Jericho, Bethel, Samaria, and Shunem (Solem)

Trance brought on by harp music allowed God to speak through him



Elisha (Al-Yasa)








Jonah son of Amittai

Repent or be destroyed

People were wicked

780-740 BC


Walked through the city













          Others in the Bible Who are Called Prophets in the Quran



(Times cited)

WHO? WHAT was his message in the Quran? WHY was he mentioned in the Bible? WHEN did it occur? WHERE did this happen?  HOW was message delivered?



Aaron son of Amran and Jochebed, Moses’ younger  brother


First High Priest of Israel

1500 BC

Wilderness of Shur

Aaron was an excellent speaker



Aaron (Harun)

Allowed Idolatry.

Sent with Moses to Pharaoh with sign




Given power by God to help Moses



Abraham son of Terah born in Ur of the Chaldees


Trusted God to be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac. Father of the Israelite nation

1850 BC

Migrated from Ur (Babylonia) to Canaan, to Egypt, to Shur, and finally died in Machpelah, east of Mamre.

Called a friend of God



Abraham (Ibrahim)

Rejected idolatry.



Settled some of his family near the Kabaa, Mecca.

Built the Kabaa with Ishmael



Adam the first man


Sinned and was driven from Garden of Eden

4000 BC

Garden of Eden, in the east

Adam and Eve felt shame at their nakedness




Repentance was accepted by God




Satan lied to Adam about an eternal kingdom



David son of Jesse


Great king, wrote Psalms, lineage of Jesus

1060 BC


Felt God’s love even though he sinned, Psalm 32 and 52



David (Dawud)

Cursed the Jews,

Killed Goliath, God made him a king and a prophet




God gave David a book of divine wisdom --  Psalms



Isaac the son of Abraham and Sarah


To be offered as a sacrifice by Abraham. Inherited Abraham’s covenant

1900 BC

Gerar, Lahai-roi, and Canaan

God provided a ram caught in a thicket as a substitute for Isaac



Isaac (Ishaq)

Only listed with Ishmael or Jacob as a prophet







Ishmael the son of Abraham and Haggai


Abraham’s first son.  Sent into the wilderness with Haggai. Founder of the Ishmaelites

1900 BC


Ishmael had 12 sons and died at age 137



Ishmael (Ismail)

Built the Kabaa with Abraham and listed as righteous with Elisha and Dhul-Kifl







Jacob son of Isaac and Rebekah


Cheated Esau out of  his birthright and his father’s blessing

1840 BC

Canaan, Shechem,  Bethel, and Egypt

Wrestled with God and who injured his hip. Renamed “Israel”



Jacob (Yaqup)

Established food restrictions before the Torah. Listed with other prophets 6 times







Jesus the son of God, born by Mary


The Messiah, The Word (logos) become flesh

0-33 AD

Bethlehem, Egypt, and  Jerusalem

 Preached to multitudes, performed miracles



Jesus (Isa) the son of Mary

Called Messiah,  prophet




Spoke from the cradle and as an adult, performed  miracles



Jethro (father-in-law of Moses)


Arab shiek and priest of Midian. Also called Reuel, or “friend of God”

1491 BC

Sinai, Midian

Counseled Moses on how to delegate his authority



Jethro (Shu’aib)

Called on his people to serve God




Those who rejected his call were killed by an earthquake



Job son of Shem


Tested by Satan to shake his faithfulness

1520 BC

Uz (desert region east of Palestine)

Rewarded with wealth, 7 sons, and 3 beautiful daughters



Job (Ayyub)

Afflicted by Satan, an admonition to worshipers




Told to stamp his feet and a spring will gush out



John the Baptist, son of Zacharias


Announced Jesus’ arrival, baptized Jesus

3 years before Anno Domini

Wilderness of Judea and by Jordan river

Holy Spirit landed on Jesus like a dove



John the Baptist (Yahya), son of Zacharias

John was given a name no man has ever born before him




Sign of God’s will is that Zacharias was not able to speak for 3 days



Joseph son of Jacob


Rose from slavery to be ruler of Egypt. Save Israelites and Egyptians from famine

1715 BC

Canaan, Egypt

Interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, helped relocate his family to Egypt



Joseph (Yusuf)

Escaped a dark pit, was tempted by his Master’s wife, imprisoned several years, restored his father’s eyesight




Story is proof of God’s graciousness and a confirmation of the previous scriptures




Lot son of Haran


Abraham’s nephew was surrounded by sinful behavior and ultimately escaped.

1920 BC

Haran, Canaan, Sodom

God destroyed Sodom and turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt



Lot (Lut)

Fought against homosexuality and disbelief



“Wicked City”

City destroyed by shower of clay stones



Moses son of Amran


Led Israelites from Egypt and handed down the Laws

1491 BC

Egypt, Midian, Moab

God provided food for 40 years while Israelites wondered in desert



Moses (Musa)

Prophet who revealed the Tawrat to the Israelites



Mount Sinai

Struck rock with staff and 12 springs began to flow



Noah son of Lamech


Built an ark to save his family and all animals from the great flood

2948 BC

Canaan, Mount Ararat

Rain fell for 40 day and 40 nights and flooded the earth.  Noah and family were saved





Had faith in God, saved family and animals in ark



Mount Judi

Salvation confirmed promises of God



Solomon son of David


Great King, built first Temple, author of Ecclesiastes and some Proverbs

992 BC

Jerusalem, Judah. Ruled region from Euphrates to Egypt’s border

God took away much of his kingdom because he was a profligate and later an idolater



Solomon (Sulayman)

Converted Queen of Sheba




God assigned jinn, men, and birds to work for him and gave him a spring flowing of brass





Priest in the Temple in Jerusalem and father of John the Baptist

Sixth year before Anno Domini

Jerusalem, Judean hills

Mute from beginning of Elizabeth’s pregnancy until John was named





Mary was trusted to his care, and he was the father of  Yahya (John)




God provided food for Mary. Zachariah’s barren, aged wife had son. God made him mute for three days at John’s birth


The Quran Contains Numerous Positive Allusions to the Bible


If the Quran had stated that the Jewish and Christian scriptures were heretical and did not express the divine will of God, then it would be understandable that Muslims would reject those documents and forbid their entry into Muslim countries.  If the Quran held the position that the particular copies of those books circulating in the Arabian peninsula were forgeries or were somehow corrupted then a mechanism could be put in place to allow circulation of only those editions which were certified to be faithful to the original texts  However, as we will see below, neither is the case. The Quran not only endorses the scriptures that came before the Quran but states that anyone who disbelieves in all of them “has surely gone astray into far error.”


Surely, many have noted the statements of agreement between the Quran and the Scriptures, but one of the earliest scholars to make the point was Sir William Muir in his book “The Koran, Its Composition and Teaching and the Testimony it Bears to the Holy Scriptures,” written in 1855 and now being photo-republished in its original typesetting by Kessinger Publishing. He states, “ . .  the books of the Old and New Testaments are never mentioned in the Quran otherwise than with profound veneration . . ,“ and he produces a list to underscore his point.  Sir Muir arranged his list in the assumed chronological sequence of the Quran as understood in his time to underscore that the view of the scriptures did not change from the apologetic Mecca period to the more aggressive Medina period. Since long lists of “proof texts” are tedious, I have tried to duplicate his scholarship by including only the most basic statement from each of the cited texts:


Passages Revealed at Mecca


1.      Surah 87:18 -- verily this is in the former page, the pages of Abraham and Moses

2.      Surah 53:36  -- hath he not been told of that which is in the pages of Moses and of Abraham who acted faithfully?

3.      Surah 53:11  -- verily there is an admonition – in pages honorable, exalted, pure

4.      Surah 32:24 --  verily we gave Moses the book: wherefore be not in doubt as to the reception thereof

5.      Surah 39:64 --  verily it has been revealed to thee and to those before thee

6.      Surah 54:42 --  are your unbelievers [i.e., Meccans] better than those [of the time of Noah, Lot, Moses, etc] or is there an immunity for you in the Scriptures?

7.      Surah 34:6 – see that what has been revealed unto thee [Jews and Christians] from thy Lord is truth

8.      Surah 34:31 – and the unbelievers say, we will not believe in this Quran nor in that [which was revealed] before it

9.      Surah 41:45 – verily we gave Moses the book

10.  Surah 45:16 – verily we gave the children of Israel the book . . and they fell not to variance until after divine knowledge had come to them

11.  Surah 38:36 – [Muhammad] cometh with truth and attesteth of the [former] prophets

12.   Surah 37:114 – we gave them a perspicious book, and directed them into the right way

13.  Surah 27:191 – verily it is in the former Scriptures

14.   Surah 46:4 --  bring me a book [revealed] before this [if you want to show idolatry is permitted]

15.  Surah 46:10 – a witness amongst the children of Israel testify to the like thereof and believe [the Quran]

16.  Surah 46:12  -- preceding it there is the Book of Moses, a guide and a mercy; and this Quran is a book attesting

17.  Surah 46:30 – verily we have heard a book revealed after Moses, attesting the revelation that precedeth it

18.  Surah 35:25 – [earlier prophets] who brought them clear signs, and writings, and the enlightening book

19.  Surah 35:31 – that which We have revealed unto thee is the truth, attesting that which precedeth it

20.  Surah 19:11 – Oh John [the Baptist] ! take the book with power

21.  Surah 19:29 –  [Jesus said] I am the servant of God; he hath given me the book [the Injil] and made me a prophet 

22.  Surah 42:1 – Thus doth God, the glorious and wise, communicate inspiration unto thee, as he did unto those that preceded thee

23.  Surah 42:12 – He hath ordained unto you the religion which he commanded unto Noah . . Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, saying . . . be not at variance therein

24.  Surah 42:15 – And say, I believe in whatever books God hath revealed

25.  Surah 40:56 – We caused the Children of Israel to inherit the book, a guide and an admonition unto people of understanding hearts

26.  Surah 40:72 – They that reject the book [i.e., the Quran], and that which We have sent our messengers with [i.e., the Jewish and Christian scriptures][will receive dreadful punishment]

27.  Surah 25:36 – verily We gave Moses the book

28.  Surah 20:132 – hath not an evident demonstration come unto them in the former pages?

29.  Surah 43:43  -- ask those of Our Apostles whom We have sent before thee

30.  Surah 12:111 – It is not a story fabricated, but an attestation of [the revelation] which is before it

31.  Surah 22: 18 – and before  him is the Book of Moses a guide and a mercy

32.  Surah 11:3 – verily We gave Moses the book

33.  Surah 10:37 – it is an attestation of that which precede it

34.   Surah 10:93 – if thou art in doubt regarding that which We have sent down unto thee, then ask those who read the book [revealed] before thee

35.  Surah 6:20 -- those to whom We have given the book recognize him as they recognize their own sons

36.   Surah 6:90 -- these are they to whom We have given the book, and wisdom, and prophecy

37.  Surah 6:92 – who sent down the book, which Moses brought, a light and a direction to mankind

38.  Surah 6:93 – And this book We have revealed, blessed, certifying the truth of that [revelation] which precedeth it

39.  Surah 6:114 – He it is that hath sent down to you the book, explaining

40.  Surah 6:124 – we will not believe until there is brought unto us [a revelation] like unto that which the apostles of God brought

41.  Surah 6:154 – then We gave Moses the book complete as to whatever is excellent

42.  Surah 6:155 – verily the Scripture hath been revealed to two people before us, and we are ignorant of their reading

43.  Surah 28:44 – verily We gave Moses the book – an enlightenment unto mankind, and a direction, and a mercy

44.  Surah 28:47 – do they not disbelieve in that which was given unto Moses

45.  Surah 28:53 – those to whom We have given the Scripture before it, believe therin

46.  Surah 23:25 – verily We gave Moses the book, if haply they might be directed

47.  Surah 21:7 --  ask, therefore, the people of the Scripture, if you know it not

48.   Surah 21:49 – We gave Moses and Aaron the distinction [Al-Furqan] and a light

49.  Surah 21:105 – verily we have written in the Psalms, after the Law, that “my servants, the righteous, shall inherit the earth.”

50.  Surah 18:2 – We gave Moses the book, and made it a direction to the Children of Israel

51.  Surah 17:4 – and We declared in the book, in respect to the Children of Israel

52.  Surah 17:55 – verily  We have bestowed favor on some of the prophets more than upon others, and We gave David the Psalms

53.  Surah 17:102  -- verily we gave Moses nine evident signs; wherefore inquire from the Children of Israel

54.  Surah 17:108 – verily they unto whom the knowledge hath been given anterior to [the Quran], when they hear it recited unto them, fall down upon their faces worshipping

55.  Surah 16:43 – ask the people of the Scripture if ye know not. [We sent them] with evident signs and books

56.  Surah 13:39 – and those to whom We have given the book, rejoice for that which hath been sent down unto thee

57.  Surah 13:45 – [A witness of Muhammad’s Prophethood is] he with whom is the knowledge of the book

58.  Surah 29:27 – We placed among [Abraham’s descendants] prophecy and the book

59.  Surah 29:46 – say, We believe in that which hath been revealed to us, and in that which hath been revealed to you

60.  Surah 29:47 – those to whom We have given the Scripture believe in [the Quran]

61.  Surah 7:158 – they shall find [the Prophet described] in the Pentateuch and in the Gospel

62.  Surah 7:160 – and of the people of Moses, there is a party that directeth with truth, and acteth justly by it

63.  Surah 7:168 – a generation that inherited the book (Scriptures) . . . and they diligently study that which is contained therein

64.  Surah 7:170 – the next life is better . . . for those who hold fast by the book (Scriptures) and observe prayer

65.  Surah 74:30 – that those to whom We have given the book may firmly believe




Passages Revealed at Medina


66.  Surah 2:1 --   they who believe in [the Quran] and that which has been revealed before thee . . .are the blessed

67.  Surah 2:40 – believe in that which I have revealed, attesting the truth of the (Scripture) which is with you

68.  Surah 2:53 – We gave Moses the book and the distinction (between good and evil)

69.  Surah 2:75 – then they pervert [the word of God] after they have understood it

70.  Surah 2:76 – why do you acquaint them with what God had revealed [in the Scripture]

71.  Surah 2:78 – and amongst them are ignorant persons, who know not the Book

72.  Surah 2:79 – woe unto those that write the Book with their hands and then say “This is from God.”

73.  Surah 2:85 – do you believe in part of the book, and reject part thereof

74.  Surah 2:87 – We gave Moses the Book

75.  Surah 2:89 – [the Quran] came unto them from God, attesting the truth of that [Scripture] which is with them

76.  Surah 2:91 – Believe in that which God hath revealed . . [the Quran is] the truth attesting that which is with them [the Scripture]

77.  Surah 2:97 – Moses came unto you with evident signs (or revelations)

78.  Surah 2:97 – [the Quran] attesting that (Scripture) which is before it

79.  Surah 2:101 – a prophet came unto them from God, attesting that (Scripture) which is with them

80.  Surah 2:113 – yet [Jews and Christians] read the Scripture

81.  Surah 2:137 – We believe . . .in what has been given to the prophets from their Lord: we make no distinction between any of them

82.  Surah 2:141 – who is more unjust than he who hideth the evidence which he hath received from God (in the Scriptures)

83.  Surah 2:146 – those to whom the Scripture hath been given, and they know that this is the truth from their Lord

84.  Surah 2:148 – those to whom We have given the Scripture recognize him as they recognize their own sons

85.  Surah 2:161 – We have manifested the same [clear demonstration and guidance] to mankind in the Scripture

86.  Surah 2:176 – verily they that conceal the Scripture which God hath revealed . . God hath send down the Book in truth

87.  Surah 2:213 – He sent down the Scripture with them in truth

88.  Surah 2:254 – We gave unto Jesus, the Son of Mary, evident signs (or plain revelations)

89.  Surah 2:286 – the faithful, every one of them believeth in God, and in His angels, and in His books

90.  Surah 57:25 – We revealed unto [our apostles] the scripture . . .We gave [Jesus] the Gospel

91.   Surah 98:1 – those to whom the Scriptures have been given did not fall into variance, until after a clear (Revelation) had come to them

92.   Surah 62:5 – those who are charged with the Law (the Tourat) and do not discharge (the obligations of) it

93.  Surah 48:29 – this is the likeness of them in the Pentateuch and the likeness of them in the Gospel

94.  Surah 61:6 – attesting that which is before me of the Tourat

95.  Surah 4:43 – believe in what We have revealed attesting that (Scripture) which is with you

96.  Surah 4:49 – those to whom a portion of the Scripture has been given . . . believe in false gods and idols

97.  Surah 4:52 – We gave to the children of Abraham the book and wisdom

98.  Surah 4:130 – We commanded those to whom the Scripture was given before you

99.  Surah 4:135 – whoever disbelieves in God, and in His angels, and in His books, and in His prophets, and in the last day, verily he hath wandered into a wide error

100.  Surah 4:161 – believe in that which hath been revealed unto thee, and in that which has been revealed before thee . . .[to Abraham, Jesus, Apostles, Moses]

101.  Surah 3:2 – He hath caused to descend upon thee the Scripture in truth, attesting that (Scripture) which is before it: and He sent down the Tourat and the Gospel from before for the guidance of mankind

102.  Surah 3:19 – those to whom the book was given, did not fall into variance until after that the knowledge [of Divine truth] came unto them

103.  Surah 3:23 – those to whom a portion of the Scripture hath been given

104.  Surah 3:48 – And (God) shall teach Him (Jesus) the Scripture, and wisdom, and the Tourat, and the Gospel; and (shall send Him as) an Apostle unto the Children of Israel

105.  Surah 3:64 – neither the Tourat nor the Gospel was revealed until after [Abraham]

106.  Surah 3:77 – amongst them is a party that twist their tongues in (reading) the book

107.  Surah 3:78 – be ye perfect, inasmuch as you know the book, and inasmuch as ye study it

108.  Surah 3:80 – thereafter shall come an Apostle attesting the truth of that (Scripture) which is with you

109.  Surah 3:83 -- We believe . . .in what has been given to the prophets from their Lord: we make no distinction between any of them

110.  Surah 3:93 – Bring hither the Tourat, and read it, if ye be true

111.  Surah 3:113 – Amongst the People of the Book there is an upright race that read the signs (or revelations) of God in the night season, and they bow down worshiping . . . these are the virtuous ones

112.  Surah 3:119 – ye believe in the entire Scripture

113.  Surah 3:184 – verily the apostles before thee . . . came with evident demonstrations, and the Scriptures

114.  Surah 3:199 – there are those [People of the Book] who believe in God, and in that which hath been revealed to you, and in that which hath been revealed to them

115.  Surah 5:14-16 – [Jews] dislocate the word from its place . . Christians . . . have forgotten a part of that whereby they were admonished . . Our apostle . . . shall make manifest unto you much of that which ye have hidden of the book

116.  Surah 5:47 – [the Jews] dislocate the word from out of its place

117.  Surah 5:50 – verily We have revealed the Tourat; therein is guidance and light . ..We gave [Jesus] the Gospel, wherein is guidance and light, which attests the Tourat that preceded it

118.  Surah 5:68 – we believe in God, and in that which hath been revealed unto us, and in that which hath been revealed from before

119.  Surah 5:74 – if they set up (or observe) the Tourat and the Gospel and that which hath been revealed unto them from their Lord, they shall eat both from above, and from under their feet

120.  Surah 5:77 – Oh ye People of the Book!, ye are not grounded upon anything, until ye set up (or observe) the Tourat and the Gospel, and that which hath been revealed to you from your Lord

121.  Surah 5:119 – I taught [Jesus] the Scriptures, and wisdom, and the Tourat, and the Gospel

122.  Surah 66:13 – [Mary] attested the words of her Lord and His Scriptures, and was amongst the pious

123.  Surah 9:113 – the promise of God thereupon is true in the Tourat, and in the Gospel and in the Quran


So, from the first cited verse to the very last, the truth of the previous scriptures is affirmed by the Quran.  While citation Number 115 asserts that Jews dislocated the words of their Scriptures from their proper places and the Christians forgot some of their own doctrines, nowhere does the Quran say the Scriptures themselves are forgeries or have been adulterated.  Citation Number 120 admonishes the People of the Book to observe the contents of their Torah and Gospel.  Citations Number 81 and Number 109 confirm that Muslims make no distinction among the revelations given to Jews, Christians, and Muslims.


So where in the Quran is there any indication that the Bible in use today is not the same Scriptures that the Quran so profusely affirmed?  Muhammad Asad, in The Message of the Quran, provides a number of footnotes which may shed some light on this controversy.


Surah 2:76-77: And there are among them unlettered people who have no real knowledge of the divine writ, [following] only wishful beliefs and depending on nothing but conjecture. Woe, then, unto those who write down, with their own hands, [something which they claim to be] divine writ, and then say, “This is from God,” in order to acquire a trifling gain thereby; woe, then unto them for what their hands have written, and woe unto them for all that they may have gained!


Asad’s notes say that this applies to the Old Testament and that the reference is to scholars who corrupted the text of the Bible and thus mislead their ignorant followers.  This accusation, however, can only apply to the “scholars” in Medina, as copies of the Old Testament were maintained in synagogues throughout the known world where Jews had migrated. It would be highly unlikely that each of the thousands of copies of the Old Testament would end up “corrupted” in exactly the same way.


Surah 3:78  And, behold, there are indeed some among them who distort the Bible with their tongues, so as to make you think that [what they say] is from the Bible, the while it is not from the Bible; and who say, “This is from God,” while it is not from God: and thus do they tell a lie about God, being well aware [that it is a lie].


Asad’s note refers to commentary by Muhammad Abduh (d. 1905) in Manar III, pg. 345,  who said that the distortion referred to here does not necessarily presuppose a corruption of the text as such, but rather giving an expression a meaning other than originally intended.  The example given is the use of  “Father” in the New Testament which he claims originally meant, metaphorically, the Originator and Sustainer, but was later transferred to  a positive reality associated with Jesus alone, meaning that he was literally “the Son of God.”  This footnote seems to underscore the need for Muslims to have ready access to the Bible to be sure that Jews and Christians are not distorting the text of the Bible with their tongues.


Surah 5:14-15 And [likewise,] from those who say, “Behold, we are Christians,” We have accepted a solemn pledge: and they, too, have forgotten much of what they had been told to bear in mind – wherefore We have given rise among them to enmity and hatred, [to last] until Resurrection Day; and in time God will cause them to understand what they have contrived.  O followers of the Bible! Now there has come unto you Our Apostle, to make clear unto you much of what you have been concealing [from yourselves] of the Bible, and to pardon much.


Asad’s note says this “concealing” refers to the gradual obscuring, by followers of the Bible, of its original truths which they are now unwilling to admit even to themselves.  Once again, if this is the case, nothing would be more powerful in the hands of Muslims than copies of the Bible to prevent Christians and Jews from concealing their own teachings which came from God.



Muslims Are Instructed to Believe in Both the Bible and the Quran


One of the most compelling commands in the Quran is found Surah 4:135:


Believers, have faith in God and His apostle, in the Book He has revealed to His apostle, and in the Scriptures He formerly revealed. He that denies God, His angels, His Scriptures, His apostles, and the Last Day has gone far astray.


The formerly revealed Scriptures can only mean the Bible.  If Muslims do not have faith in that Book along with the Quran, they will go far astray.  In this sense, governments and religious leaders who prevent Muslims from having access to the Bible could be accused for “un-Islamic” behavior.


This is confirmed by Sharia Law, as represented in The Reliance of the Traveller, translated into English by Nuh Ha Mim Keller. This concise reference book on Sharia Law was written by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d. 1368), and Section u3.4 provides:


To believe in His inspired Books means those which He revealed to His messengers, believe meaning to be convinced that they are the word of Allah Most High, and all they contain is the truth.


Scholars differ as to how many Books there are. Some hold that they number 104, and some say otherwise. One is obliged to know four particular Books:


1. the Tawrah (Torah), revealed to our liegelord Musa (Moses).

2. the Injil (Evangel), revealed to our liegelord Isa (Jesus)

3. the Zabur (Psalms), revealed to our liegelord Dawud (David)

4. and the Qur’an (Koran) revealed to our liegelord Muhammad


To this original text is added a note written by Sheikh Abd al-al-Wakil Durubi (1914-2004), a scholar Keller met in Damascus in 1982 and the person who encouraged him to translate The Reliance of the Traveler into English.  Durubi’s comments were written shortly before Keller’s book was published in 1991, and so it must be viewed in the light of it being written 650 years after the original text of that book and 1350 years after the Quran:


            The obligation of belief applies to the original revelations, not the various scriptures in the

             hands of non-Muslims, which are textually corrupt in their present form.


Taken at face value, the obligation to believe in these scriptures has endured from the time of Muhammad, so there is an implied obligation of the Muslim community to retain at least a copy of the uncorrupted original revelations. No such document exists, to the best that can be determined.


Regarding the total number of books included in the Scriptures, the number 104 is very close to the total number of books in the Bible, adjusting for supplemental additions to the original book titles (e.g., Kings 1 and Kings 2) .





The Quran is indelibly linked with the history and geography of the Bible, the men of the Bible, and the lessons of the Bible.  The Quran repeatedly confirms and embraces the Bible, and much of the Quran cannot be understood without referring to the Bible.  Any person or group involved in “dialogue” between Muslims and non-Muslims must use the Bible as an important reference tool.  Beyond that, if Muslims in general are interested in a deeper understanding of the Quran they will greatly benefit from having ready access to a copy of the Bible in their own language.  This was underscored in  Sir William Muir closing appeal written 130 years ago:


All honest Muslims are called on to believe, for they cannot consistently disbelieve, that these Scriptures are the inspired Word of God, that they are a light to lighten Mankind, and illumination and admonition to the Pious; in fine, that they are calculated to lead those that follow their precepts into the way of peace, and make them wise unto salvation. Why, then, will they neglect so precious a source of spiritual benefit as (the Quran itself being judge) exists in the Old and New Testaments, and shut themselves out from their illumination?







Note 1: See

Note 2:  See and

Note 3: See

Note 4: Page 79, note 4

Note 5:  See

Note 6: Sources for the number of times each name is cited are Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible and the Quran Concordance found at



About the Author:  Chris Chrisman has multiple degrees from Stanford University and has been a long-time student of Christian-Islamic issues.  He has lived in two Muslim countries and has traveled widely in the Near East and the Middle East. He believes that dialogue among the major faiths can proceed only if the existing text of the Bible is considered valid and consistent with numerous positive references to it in the Quran.  Chris Chrisman currently lives in the United States.  He can be reached at

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