The Quran and Corrupt Christianity
Both Muhammad and the Quran show a failure to grasp the difference between New Testament Christianity and the corrupted Christianity practiced by those who professed to be Christians in the Arabian peninsula of the sixth and seventh centuries. The fact that the Quran reflects this failure shows that its author(s) did not have divine guidance, even as it failed to detect the Jewish misrepresentations of the Old Testament as projected by the rabbinic folklore of the day. The form of Christianity reflected prominently in the Quran is Catholicism (e.g., Surah 57:27—monasticism; Surah 17:56—saint worship). Anyone familiar with the first five centuries of church history is well aware of the extent to which the Christian religion had become perverted and distorted. These perversions did not escape the attention of the author of the Quran. However, even when an appropriate criticism is leveled against a doctrine with which Muhammad disagreed, the criticism often will contain an implicit approval of another element that is contrary to New Testament teaching.
For example, the Quran refers to Jesus as “son of Mary” 22 times. Most of these allusions are uttered by Allah Himself (Surah 2:87,253; 3:45; 4:171; 5:17,46,75,78,110,114,116; 9:31; 19:34; 23:50; 33:7; 43:57; 57:27; 61:6,14). Yet this phrase occurs in the New Testament only one time—and only then as used by certain unnamed townspeople whose use of the term shows they knew of Him only in terms of His earthly relationships, i.e., the son of Mary, and as a carpenter who had brothers and sisters (Mark 6:3). The Quran places an undue and unbiblical emphasis on Mary, thereby reflecting the Catholic notion that characterized his day (cf. Surah 5:116). The overwhelming emphasis in the New Testament is on Jesus being the “Son of God” (Mark 1:1; Luke 1:35; John 1:34; 3:18; 5:25; 10:36; 11:4; Acts 9:20; Romans 1:4; 2 Corinthians 1:19; Hebrews 4:14; 7:3; 10:29; 1 John 3:8; 4:15; 5:10,13,20; et al.)—an acknowledgment made even by Satan and the demons (Luke 4:3,9,41; 8:28). [NOTE: The notion of Mary as intercessor on behalf of those still on Earth (Abbott, 1966, pp. 96,630) is reflected in the comparable role assigned to Muhammad by Muslims (Geisler and Saleeb, 1993, pp. 85-86)].
The author of the Quran unquestionably had heard the squabbles between Christians and Jews (Surah 2:113). Mistakenly assuming they were supposed to follow the same book, the Quran demonstrates a lack of understanding regarding the distinction between the Old Testament and the New Testament, as well as the relationship sustained between Judaism and Christianity. This surface misconception undoubtedly contributed to the uninformed conclusion that the Bible is corrupt, and is unable to transmit God’s will accurately.
The Quran possesses many characteristics that demonstrate its uninspired (i.e., human) origin. One such trait is its failure to distinguish between the Christianity taught in the New Testament and the distorted form of Christianity to which the author of the Quran was exposed. It unwittingly endorses the corrupt features that characterize the Byzantine Christianity that manifested itself in Arabia in the sixth and seventh centuries after Christ.
Abbott, Walter, ed. (1966), The Documents of Vatican II (New York: America Press).
Geisler, Norman L. and Abdul Saleeb (1993), Answering Islam (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).