“How could there be any alteration in the Book whose words’ sharpness has reached a great level of circulation in the East and in the West? … For no change can occur in a book that is well circulated among men. Every wise man can see that the alteration of the Bible was impossible for it was well circulated among men of different faith and backgrounds.” Al-Razi (865 – 925 AD)
So are you wise or foolish?
When Muslims point to differences in Biblical text, they are usually looking at different translations.
First of all, Christians already know about this. Scholars have studied it for decades. It’s a field of study called “Textual Criticism”.
We know there are “variations” and it is a minor issue that does not change God’s message in the Bible. Variations do not prove that the Bible is not authentic. Scholars agree that today’s Bible presents the same message as in the manuscripts found in the 2nd & 3rd century AD, hundreds of years before Muhammad was born. (The Quran affirms the People of the Book and their scripture in the 7th century AD; by 5th century, the Bible was already distributed worldwide).
The issue that really troubles you Muslims is that you are really comparing the Quran and the Bible. Since you believe the Quran is unchanged, so when you see this issue of variation in a translation of the Bible, you think this is evidence that the Bible is changed. Don’t force your concept of scripture on to the Bible. We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Translations are made by men and men are not perfect.
Quran too has many translations too. And there are many variations and differences and even different meanings in the Yusof Ali version of the Quran, compared to Pickthall’s version, compared to Sahih International’s version, compared to Arberry’s version…etc?
Do you see what I mean? Does it mean these are fake Qurans that have been changed? Or are they just different translations?
Through careful scholarly studies of literally thousands of ancient Bible manuscripts, we can be sure that our Bible is proven reliable and authentic. Quran has not gone though such a thorough research. Firstly because of lack of manuscripts. Many manuscripts that had variations had been burnt by Uthman. We can’t even compare your different manuscripts and their variations because Uthman got rid of all the damning evidence!
Secondly, while thousands of Bible manuscripts have been available for any scholar, whether Christian, Muslim or Atheist, to research and study for decades, the few known Quranic manuscripts discovered is kept under tight security and rarely allowed to be studied. Why? Is it because the Quran manuscripts like Topkapi & Samarkand differs from today’s Quran?
One of the most famous Quranic manuscripts is the Sanaa manuscript of Yemen. But it contains only 43 surahs! What happened to the other 71 surahs? Does it mean they were added later?
A German scholar and Quran authority, Gerd Puin, had been commissioned by Yemen to do the study and he has reported that there are numerous variations, and even changes of text, as in erased and a different text re-written on top of it, called palimpsests. Very serious consequences for the authenticity of the Quran that all Muslims believed to be preserved.
Am I making this up? Look it up for yourself. Search for Sanna manuscript or Gerd Puin.
The Bible has gone though even more rigorous research decades ago and came out clean. The worst you can point to are these variations in translations which as I said are minor issues.
If you think these are problems with the Bible, you have bigger problems with the quran. Scholars can attest to this. Look up Dr. Mustafa (now Dr. Mark Gabriel) – former Muslim Imam and Ex-Professor in Al Azhar University, Cairo and Dr. Muhammed Rahoumy (now Dr. Samuel Paul) – former Dean in Al Azhar Islamic University.