Refutation: The Quran’s View of the Holy Bible Revisited Pt. 1


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Sam Shamoun continues to betray intellectual responsibility, especially in light of the Christian method of scriptural exegesis. This week he falls prey to the Word Study Fallacy:

Word studies are popular, easily obtained from available resources, and an easy way to procure sermon content. However, word studies are also subject to radical extrapolations and erroneous applications. It is not always possible to strike exegetical gold by extracting a word from the text for close examination. Word studies alone will not suffice. Indeed, over-occupation with word studies is a sign of laziness and ignorance involved in much of what passes for biblical exposition in our times. – Exegetical Fallacies: Common Mistakes Every Student of the Bible Must Avoid by William D. Barrick, page 3.

and to the Fallacy of Reading Between the Lines:

The unwarranted associative fallacy “occurs when a word or phrase triggers off an associated idea, concept, or experience that bears no close relation to the text at hand, yet is used to interpret the text.” – Exegetical Fallacies: Common Mistakes Every Student of the Bible Must Avoid by William D. Barrick, page 5.

We must also recall Sam Shamoun’s famous five step program to misrepresenting anything and everything:

(1) Quote a text (matn).
(2) Give a citation for said text (matn).
(3) Emphasize certain words or phrases from said text.
(4) Base entire argument on the emphasized phrase or word.
(5) Derive a conclusion from straw man argument of (4) based on selected phrase or word from (3).

Sam Shamoun begins his attack on rationalism, by first implying the Qur’aan is in agreement with him:

How does the Quranic revelation see itself in relation to previous books like the Bible?

God speaks to his prophet, Muhammad, in the Quran saying:

And unto thee O Prophet have We vouchsafed this divine writ, setting forth the truth, confirming the truth of whatever there still remains of earlier revelations and determining what is true therein.

Judge, then, between the followers of earlier revelation in accordance with what God has bestowed from on high, and do not follow their errant views, forsaking the truth that has come unto thee.

Unto every one of you have We appointed a different law and way of life.

And if God had so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community: but He willed it otherwise in order to test you by means of what He has vouchsafed unto you.

Vie, then, with one another in doing good works! Unto God you all must return; and then He will make you truly understand all that on which you were wont to differ.

(Surah 5:48)

What he’s trying to imply from the Qur’aan is that the Qur’aan gives precedence to the authenticity of the current Biblical canon and codex. As we continue you shall see how he slowly deceives himself into thinking this argument is actually valid in relation to the Qur’aanic text.

And We descended to you The Book with the truth, confirming to WHAT (IS) BETWEEN HIS HANDS from The Book (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi), and guarding/protecting on it, so judge/rule between them with what God descended and do not follow their self attractions for desires about what came to you from the truth, to each from you We made/put God’s decreed way of life/method/law and order, and a clear/easy/plain way, and if God wanted/willed, He would have made you one nation/generation, and but to test you in what He gave you, so race/surpass (to) the goodnesses/generosity (good deeds), to God (is) your return altogether, so He informs you with what you were in it differing/disagreeing (P).

He decides that the translation he initially references from Br. Paul Williams does not help him with his word study fallacy, so he then appeals to the authority (which by itself is another fallacy) of another translation to aid him in his butchering of honesty. Notice, he emphasizes the term, “what is between his hands“. So in light of his 5 step program to misrepresenting and misunderstanding everything:

Did he quote a text? ✔
Did he emphasize a certain word or phrase? ✔
Did he try to derive an argument based on word or phrase? ✔

So far, he hasn’t skipped a single step, already violating exegetical rules his own brethren would consider horrendous, Sam goes on to lay his entire argument on the phrase, “what is between his hands”. In that light, let’s examine the actual contents of that Qur’aanic ayat:

وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّـهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنْكُمْ شِرْ‌عَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّـهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَـٰكِنْ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَ‌اتِ ۚ إِلَى اللَّـهِ مَرْ‌جِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ

Translation (Mufti Taqi Uthmani [db])
We have sent down to you the Book with truth, confirming the Book before it, and a protector for it. So, judge between them according to what Allaah has sent down, and do not follow their desires against the truth that has come to you. For each of you We have made a law and a method. Had Allaah willed, He would have made a single community of people, but (He did not), so that He may test you in what He has given to you.

The phrase Sam isolates in his word study fallacy is:

مُصَدِّقًا

Essentially he pushes the premise that this word means: Confirmed what is between his (Muhammad [saw]) hands. i.e. the Bible. As he has said himself:

Muhammad had to testify that the Jewish and Christian Scriptures which were available to him were the uncorrupt revelations of God.

The problem with Sam’s statement is that he focused intensely on one phrase trying to make it into something it is not, thus negating the proper context of the scripture and the message it was trying to convey. To begin with, what does the Ayat firstly state?

We have sent down to you the Book with truth

Allaah is saying, that He has sent down the book, so which book is Allaah referring to here? The Qur’aan. Allaah is saying He has sent the Qur’aan to Muhammad {saw}. What is this Qur’aan doing in relation to the previous revelations?

confirming the Book before it

The Qur’aan is confirming the book before it, i.e. the Injil min Allaah.

So the Qur’aan is confirming that it is from Allaah and it is also confirming that Allaah had revealed the Injil and that the Qur’aan protects the Injil. However Sam’s specially chosen translation paints a slightly different picture, but one which argues against him:

And We descended to you The Book with the truth, confirming to WHAT (IS) BETWEEN HIS HANDS from The Book (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi)

Initially the ayat says that Allaah sent a book to Muhammad {saw}, a revelation. This revelation is confirming what is between Muhammad’s {saw} hands [The Qur’aan] from the previous revelation [Injil]. Since Sam is a bit dense, I shall break this down step by step for him:

(1) Allaah says He revealed scripture to Muhammad {saw}.
(2) He says this scripture, that He has revealed which Muhammad {saw} has (presently) in his hands (possession – the Qur’aan) confirms the previous scripture.
(3) The previous scripture’s message is confirmed in what is in Muhammad’s {saw} book now, (1) – the Qur’aan.

Notice his provided translation says what is between his hands from the book. The ayat presents the case of two books being revealed, but one is presently in the hands of Muhammad {saw} and that is the one Allaah has revealed. This book presently in Muhammad’s {saw} hands confirm what was from the book, previously revealed. Let’s see what Shaykh Rafi Uthmani [db] had to say on this ayat:

In the fifth (48) and sixth (49) verse, the address is to the Holy Prophet Muhammad {saw} saying that to him Allaah has revealed the Qur’aan which confirms the Torah and Injil, Books previous to it, and is their custodian as well. This is because, after the people of the Torah altered the Torah and the people of the Injil made changes in the Injil, it was the Qur’an alone which turned out to be the overseer and protector which exposed the alterations made by them, lit up truth and reality in their proper persepctive. Even today, the true teachings of the Torah and Injil still survive through the Qur’aan, while those who inherited them and those who claim to follow them have disfigured them to the extent that it has become impossible to distinguish truth from untruth. – Tafsir Maar’iful Qur’aan, Mufti Rafi Uthman, page 181.

To make sense of Sam’s argument is a bit hilarious, but if we take his understanding into consideration from what he has provided as a suitable translation for his argument we get the following:

(1) Allaah has revealed a book to Muhammad {saw}.
(2) Forget (1) for now.
(3) The book in your hands, which is not (1) confirms…
(4) What was from another book previously revealed.

So then, the question begs itself, if it’s confirming a previous scripture (لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ – that which preceded it), then what currently is in Muhammad’s {saw} hands? What is in his hands now that’s confirming the previous revelation? Sam is saying the answer to this, is the previous revelation. If that makes no sense to you, as much as it does to us, then we’re on the right track. How exactly can the verse be saying that God has presently sent confirmation and that the confirmation He has sent is currently in Muhammad’s {saw} hands but the confirmation is the previous scripture, not the scripture God currently revealed to Muhammad {saw}? That leads us into a circular argument, more academically, to the fallacy of circular thinking:

Sam is saying the previous revelation is the book in Muhammad’s {saw} hands and it refers to itself as a previous revelation being confirmed by God.

How exactly Sam, is the previous revelation referring to itself as “previous”, shouldn’t it be…..current? Shouldn’t it, logically speaking, refer to itself as the current revelation to make complete sense of the ayat? Essentially, his argument is based upon a world play upon the word study fallacy and does not it into the context of the ayat (verse). The explanation which he proposes ignores rational thought, edifies non-sequitur arguments, i.e. it does not logically follow through, to be true.

He then goes on to make another word study fallacy, this time he quotes numerous places where the word, Kitab is translated as Bible in the English versions of the Qur’aan:

Asad himself translated the word Kitab as Bible and Torah as Old Testament:………….
The following Muslim translators did the same thing:………

He’s basing his argument on a translation and we can easily refute this. The word Kitab literally means Book. The word Bible does not mean Book. The word Bible comes from the Greek word:

βίβλος – A collection of papyri.

A bit more research would have you know that it refers to books:

early 14c., from Anglo-Latin biblia, O.Fr. bible (13c.) “the Bible,” also any large book generally, from Medieval and Late Latin biblia (neuter plural interpreted as feminine singular), in phrase biblia sacra “holy books,” a translation of Greek ta biblia to hagia “the holy books,” – Etymology Online.

In that light the word “Holy Bible” would have two representations in classical Arabic:

(1) Majmu ul Kutub (a collection of papyri/ books).
(2) Kitab ul Muqaddas (holy book).

Neither phrase is to be found in the Qur’aan and if he is to appeal to the fallacy of hasty generalization as we see above, then anywhere the Qur’aan says the word, “Kitab” it has to refer to the New Testament/ Old Testament, otherwise his theory fails. So let’s put that to test:

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَ‌يْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِي

Translation:

This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah –

Editting for Sam’s theory:

This is the New Testament about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious to Allaah –

Therefore since according to Sam’s theory, the Qur’aan is the New Testament Bible, then he has no choice but to accept the Qur’aan as a word from God and become a Muslim. Otherwise he has to publicly rectify his mistake and apologize for this theological blunders. If not, then he continues to display his ignorant sense of intellectual disability.

Sam then goes on to quote, out of all people, Ibn Ishaq, which Sam goes on to say:

In fact, one of the earliest sources on the life of Muhammad even goes so far as to identify John’s Gospel as the written record of the very Gospel which God gave Jesus to pass on to his followers!……The above Muslim biographer quotes John 15:23-16:1 and says that it is taken from the Gospel of Christ which John wrote down for Jesus’ followers! And do notice that he never once states that this particular Gospel is corrupt or unreliable.

Actually, what Sam has done is proven that John 15:23 is referring to Muhammad {saw} as the comforter which Christ promised (as is what Ibn Ishaq’s statement is referring to), this is a direct quotation from Sam’s article:

‘He that hateth me hateth the Lord. And if I had not done in their presence works which none other before me did, they had not sin: but from now they are puffed up with pride and think that they will overcome me and also the Lord. But the word that is in the law must be fulfilled, “They hated me without a cause” (i.e. without reason). But when the Comforter has come whom God will send to you from the Lord’s presence, and the spirit of truth which will have gone forth from the Lord’s presence he (shall bear) witness of me and ye also, because ye have been with me from the beginning. I have spoken unto you about this that ye should not be in doubt.’

This quote from Ibn Ishaq’s work is based on the premise that Muhammad {saw} is the comforter promised:

“The Munahhemana (God bless and preserve him!) in Syriac is Muhammad; in Greek he is the paraclete.

Sam’s authority is Ibn Ishaq. His claim is that Ibn Ishaq says John’s Gospel is from God, however in Sam’s own quotation of Ibn Ishaq, the author himself expresses why he’s quoting John’s Gospel: to prove from the Bible that Muhammad {saw} is promised as a Prophet/ the Comforter! Sam’s own source of authority, is claiming this particular set of verses is true and from God because it confirms Muhammad {saw} as a Prophet. So the question begs itself, if the reason Ibn Ishaq has quoted this section of the Gospel of John to be true because it refers to Muhammad {saw}, does Sam accept that the verses refer to Muhammad {saw}? If not, then Sam has no right, intellectually speaking, or rather academically to state that Ibn Ishaq agrees the Gospel of John is true. As he only quotes those New Testament verses to show Muhammad {saw} is promised in the Bible.

Part 2 can be viewed here.

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best.]

3 comments

  • I really hope Mr. sam shamoun will come around someday out of his own blindness and see the light of islam. Seriously, i think we need to pity him because there appear to be something out of place with his thinking. i am really serious. Can you believe he once actually projected the idea that the qur’an commands muslims not to mention the word ”THREE”? Hmm….may Allah(swt) rectify his condition and may HE also increase you(ijaz) in knowledge. ameen.

  • Hi
    Are the scriptures in the koran unique to it, in other words the stories mentioned unique to the book?

    The stories about Jesus and Abraham etc

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