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Q / A
Answering Common Misconceptions

20. Answering Christian questions

Question:

I have been a Christian for a long time without finding the answer to many Christian questions. Now, many Christians trouble me using the prophecies of Daniel and the last book of their Bible, the Apocalypse. What does Islam say about the prophecies of Daniel and the Book of Revelations in the Bible?

Answer:

Your Christian friends are troubling you, why do you trouble yourself with the prophecies of the book of Daniel or the Apocalypse? First, think for yourself and ask your Christian friends: is the Bible really the word of God? How can they prove such claim? The Bible speaks for itself and says: I am a compilation of human literary works written by human authors, documenting the history, views, epistles and other literary works of the Israelites (the Old Testament) and Christians (the New Testament). Both groups were written and adopted, centuries after the departure of prophets Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them), respectively. Neither the churches nor the Christian scholars can deny this simple fact, but they apologetically claim that the writers of the Bible were “inspired” by God to write what they wrote! Otherwise, they could not have written! Can they prove that? Why would not this apply to any similarly prominent human works such as: Homer’s “Odyssey”, Karl Marx’ “Capital”, Francis Fukuyama’s “End of History and the Last Man”, …etc.

Books of the Old Testament represent selections of the literary heritage of the Israelites; written, copied, translated, modified and gradually added as either  canonical or complemental material, during several centuries after the departure of Moses (peace be upon him). Revisions and corrections to the “Bible” are still going on today, independently by the divergent Christian denominations.

As for the New Testament, it was the Church, through its ecumenical council at Nicea in the year 325 A.C., that first selectively adopted some of these human works from among hundreds of others, to be the  first “holy” version. The original Injeel of God inspired to the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) was practically lost, hidden or ignored, although few reference to that Injeel appear in the Bible, see e.g. (Mark 1: 14-15), (Romans 1:1 and 1:9), (1 Corinthians 9:12). The chosen works were selected to reflect and support changes introduced into the originally pure monotheistic message of Jesus. Such changes were started by Paul and others:

-         Claiming Jesus to be the Lord: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2: 11)

-         that he is son of God: And straightway he (Paul) preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. (Acts 9: 20)

-         that he is part of a triune God (a concept borrowed from pagan and Hellenic beliefs: For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1John 5: 8)

Such claims directly contradict with what Jesus himself said and emphasized, according to the same Bible:

- And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. (Luke 18: 19)

- And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. (Matthews 8: 20)

- And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord. (Mark 12: 29)

These are few, but major examples of the contradictions and mistakes of the Bible (both Old and New Testaments), which is naturally expected for any such collection of human works, reflecting the personal viewpoints, motives and inclinations of those who wrote, edited and selected them to be holy. Scores of these contradictions and mistakes (intentional or otherwise) cannot escape the eyes and mind of a common reader albeit a scholar. Compare for example the divergent narrations of the four Gospels of Matthews, Mark, Luke and John; for any of the following:

-         Jesus Genealogy (through Joseph the Carpenter !!!)

-         Where was Jesus in this first two years?

-         The Last Supper and arrest of Jesus

-         Trial of Jesus

-         The story of crucifixion

-         The alleged burial

-         The alleged resurrection

-         The end of Judas

You can find more in the suggested links, and probably much more if you have the time and patience to critically read, compare and evaluate the lengthy collection of the Bible books.

As such, how can a sound mind believe or rely on any story, anecdote, prophecy, or statement in the Bible? Why should you trouble yourself with the prophecies in Daniel and the Apocalypse?

If you are referring to the prophecy of Daniel:

Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.  (Daniel 2: 37-43)

Why should any interpreter forcibly twist the meaning of such simple words to fit to his own wish or pre-conceived ideas?

The Apocalypse was written by the widely disputed “John”, who also wrote the fourth (John) Gospel, as well as his two epistles. It is well-known that this Gospel, in contrast to the other three Gospels, was intentionally written to support the claims of deifying Jesus, Trinity … etc. So should the Apocalypse be viewed.

Instead of troubling yourself with whatever the Bible or its interpreters claim, ask your Christian friends to read this answer and to visit this section (Ask about Islam) on the Internet. It is fruitless to go on arguing secondary issues with others (e.g. prophecies in the Bible) if we do not agree on the main issue: Could the Bible, written by known and unknown human authors, be wishfully claimed to be the word of God?

Allah says, what means: So woe to (the ones) who write the Book with their hands; thereafter they say, “This is from (the Providence of) Allah, that they may trade it for a little price; So, woe to them for what their hands have written, and woe to them for what they have earned. (Qur’an 2: 79)

He also says, what means: And the Jews will never be satisfied with you, neither will the Christians till you (closely) follow their creed. Say, “Surely the guidance of Allah is the Guidance”.(Qur’an 2: 120)

Finally He says, what means: Say, “O population of the Book, come to a level word between us and you, that we worship none except Allah, and that we do not associate anything with Him, and that some of us do not take to themselves others as lords, apart from Allah”. So, in case they turn away, then say, “Bear witness that we are Muslims”. (Qur’an 3: 64)

Suggested links:

Is the Bible the word of God?

Could the Qur’an be a copy of the Bible

Muslim-Christian Dialogue

Islam and Christianity