Should Muslims Read the Bible?



Conversation point: Are Muslims allowed to read the Bible?

If they tell you that Muslims are not allowed to read the Bible, show them verses from the Quran that shows even Muhammad was asked by Allah to consult the earlier Scriptures.

And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which we (ie Allah) reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture before thee (Surah 10:94).

Conversation point: Is it true a Muslim is required to believe in all the holy books? 

Some Muslims think that the advent of the Quran has made the earlier Scriptures irrelevant. In other words, all that God wants us to know can be found in the Quran and there is no longer any need to read the Bible.

In actuality, a Muslim is required to believe in the holy books, not just the Quran. These books include the Taurat (first five books of Moses), Zabur (Psalms) and Injil (gospel).

002.285
YUSUFALI: The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers.

Surah 4:136 O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and the scripture which He hath sent to His Messenger and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). Any who denieth Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Day of Judgment, hath gone far, far astray.

How can the Muslim pledge to believe in them if he has not read them?

Encourage Muslims to read the Bible for themselves. Give them a copy of the Bible in a language they can understand. Or give them booklets of the Bible e.g. gospel of Luke, etc.

Conversation point: Is it true a Muslim is required to believe in all of God’s messengers?

002.285 YUSUFALI: The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers.

The Quran mentions by name 25 prophets.

List of some of the prophets mentioned and their names in the Quran.

Adam the “Chosen of Allah”,

Noah (Nuh), the “Prophet of Allah”,

Moses (Musa), the “Coverser with Allah”,

Abraham (Ibrahim), the “Friend of Allah”,

Ishmael (Isma’il), the “Sacrifice of Allah”,

Jesus (Isa), the “Word of Allah” and the “Spirit of Allah”.

Isaac (Ishaq),

Jacob (Ya’qub),

David (Dawud),

Solomon (Sulaiman),

Elijah,

Elisha,

Jonah (Yunus),

John the Baptist (Yahya),

Zechariah (Zakariya), father of John the Baptist.

The Quran also says not all the stories of the prophets are detailed in the Quran. Therefore it is necessary to refer to the Bible to see how they have lived their lives and the message they had for their community.

Surah 40:78. We did aforetime send apostles before thee: of them there are some whose story We have related to thee, and some whose story We have not related to thee.

Conversation point: Do you know the Quran and Bible contains complementary stories?

The Quran mentions that there are nine plagues that Egypt went through before Pharaoh was willing to let the Israelites leave Egypt. However, the Quran records only six of the nine plagues. That is why it is important to read the Bible to get the complete story of what the other three plagues are.

017.101 YUSUFALI: To Moses We did give Nine Clear Signs: As the Children of Israel: when he came to them, Pharaoh said to him: “O Moses! I consider thee, indeed, to have been worked upon by sorcery!

007.133 PICKTHAL: So We sent against them the flood and the locusts and the vermin and the frogs and the blood – a succession of clear signs. But they were arrogant and became a guilty folk.

In fact, the Bible records for us ten plagues. (The primary reference to the plagues in the Bible is in Exodus 7:1-13:15.)

Reference Plague What happened?
7:14-24 Blood Fish die, the river smells, the people are without water.
8:1-15 Frogs Frogs come up from the water and completely cover the land.
8:16-19 Gnats All the dust of Egypt becomes a massive swam of gnats.
8:20-32 Flies Swarm of flies cover the land.
9:1-7 Livestock All the Egyptian livestock die but none of Israel’s is even sick.
9:8-12 Boils Horrible boils break out on everyone in Egypt.
9:13-35 Hail Hailstorms kill all the slaves and animals left out or unprotected and strip or destroy almost every plant.
10:1-20 Locusts Locusts cover Egypt and eat everything left after the hail.
10:21-29 Darkness Total darkness covers Egypt for three days so no one can even move except the Hebrews, who have light as usual.
11:1-12:33 Death of firstborn The firstborn of all the people and cattle of Egypt die but Israel is spared.

The ten plagues in the Bible are different from the six plagues mentioned in the Quran. However, one important difference is the omission of the tenth plague. Rather than discussing what the ten plagues actually were, it is more interesting to discuss with Muslims on the tenth plague because of its important significance.

Conversation pointer: The Quran mentions that there are nine plagues that Egypt suffered before Pharaoh was willing to let the Israelites go. The Bible records for us a tenth plague. Do you know what that is?

The tenth plague that is not recorded in the Quran is the death of the first-born. Only the homes that have the blood of the animal painted on the door is spared from death.

This story is a good one to illustrate to Muslims the importance of the blood in the area of salvation. The Israelite homes did not experience death if they rely on the blood to save them.

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