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Is the Bible unknown to the Qur'an?

Published by Steven Masood - January 5th 2018
Is the Bible unknown to the Qur'an?

When Christians use the testimony of the Qur’an in support of the Bible’s integrity, some Muslims argue that the references in the Qur’an do not relate to present day versions of the Torah and the Gospel. They say that the “Scriptures” of the Jews, as well as the “Scriptures” of the Christians at the time of Muhammad, 571-632 CE, were different than those available today. In effect, they are saying that the Jews in Muhammad’s day were reading a different Tanakh, something which was “certainly not identical,” “nor resembled anything like the Old Testament.” Similarly the Injil (Gospel) was “not at all identical with the New Testament or even the four Gospels” available to us today.[1] Rather, these Muslims believe that the New Testament has pagan origins.[2]

Many Muslims consider the Torah to be a single book given to Moses. They do not believe that the first five books of the Tanakh (or Old Testament) is the Torah of Muham-mad’s day. They also think that when the Qur’an talks of the Injil, that this is a single book given to Jesus. Many Muslims do not believe that the Gospel includes the four Gospel accounts about what Jesus did and said, as we find in the New Testament. To conclude the matter, such Muslims add that even the title “Bible” for the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians is foreign to the Qur’an. They claim it is not that Scripture which is mentioned in the Qur’an as containing guidance and light.

Is the Bible unknown to the Qur’an?

Some Muslims boldly claim, “Nowhere within the text of the Bible is the Bible called ‘The Bible’. The word Bible itself was invented to represent a collection of books.” Others in discussion argue, “The Qur’anic passages which testify to the Torah, and the Injil and the Psalms, do not refer to what Christians now call the Bible.”[3]

It is indeed true that the title Bible is not used in the Qur’an, although it used its own transliteration of “Bible.”  Any good dictionary will explain that the word Bible is derived from the Greek word biblia (neuter plural), which mean “books.” As the collections of Jewish and Christian texts came to be considered as one unit, the term in Latin began to be understood as feminine singular, denoting “The Book.” The same word has come through to modern English in words like “bibliography.” When the title Bible, “The Book,” came into existence, it denoted a collection of writings or books, specifically in labeling the Jewish and Christian Scripures. The title is certainly not new but is found in many places of the Scriptures. For example:

  • “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book (en to biblio touto)” (John 20:30).

  • “It is written in the Book (biblio) of Psalms...” (Acts 1:20)

  • “But God turned away from them and gave them over to the worship of the sun, moon and stars. This agrees with what is written in the book of the Prophets (en biblio ton propheton)” (Acts 7:42)

The Qur’an borrowed many foreign terms and names, especially from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac and Arabized them into its text: Tawrat, Furqan, Musa, Isa, and so on. Although the Qur’an does use the Arabized word ‘Injil’ for the Gospel/New Testament borrowed from Greek/Syric vocabulary, it does not contain the Greek-derived title “Bible” for the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians. It has identified Scripture as “Kitab” (the Book) – borrowing from Hebrew “Kitvie” by calling the Scripture’s followers as Ahlal Kitab – “the people of the Book.” The Qur’an contains its own Arabic words, listing the parts of “the Book” as the Tawrat, Zaboor, Injil, and Sahaif (Torah, Psalms, the Gospel, and the books of the prophets respectively).

Therefore, the notion that the Qur’an does not mention the Bible is simply not understanding what the term “Bible” means, as well as the term “Kitab.” It would be like saying that the Qur’an does not mention “God.” The Muslim listener will refer to many verses where Arabic words like “Allah” or “Rab” are mentioned.  If those words stand for God in the Qur’an, then it should not be difficult to recognise that the term Ahlul Kitab stands for Jews and Christians and that their Kitab stands for their Scriptures.


The above is a page from Steven Masood’s book, The Bible and the Qur’an: A Question of Integrity. For more detail or to buy the book click here.


[1] Izzat Khan and Abu Abdullah, Divine Revelations, The Muslims and the Bibles: A Clarification, pp. 4-6.

[2] Kamal-ud-Din, The Sources of Christianity, p. 15.

[3] Asadi, Islam & Christianity: Conflict or Conciliation?, p.2

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