In his book Is the Injeel Corrupted? Fouad Masri addresses the most popular question among Muslims about the Christian faith. You may have been asked this question already by your Muslim friend or colleague. Fouad’s insights will help you engage in conversation about the veracity of the New Testament the next time the topic comes up. This article provides a brief summary of his helpful book.
What is the Injeel?
Al-Injeel is Arabic for the Book of Jesus, or what Christians call the New Testament. For those who follow Jesus, the Injeel is a guide to all of life and faith. Muslims also hold the Injeel in high esteem as a book sent from God to humans. Muslim religious teachers, or imams, often teach that the Injeel is one of the four holy books Muslims must honor and obey. The Qur’an supports this, admonishing Muslims to read the Injeel.
“Say ye: ‘We believe in Allah and the revelation given to us and to Abraham, Ishma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes and that given to Moses and Jesus and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord we make no difference between one and another of them and we bow to Allah (in Islam)’” (Qur’an 2:136)
The Injeel is a book respected by both Christians and Muslims.
What is the Argument?
Muslims believe that Christians changed the Injeel, and as a result it lost its meaning over time.
The Injeel, however, is not the only holy book besides the Qur’an that Muslims are told to honor. They are also taught to respect Al-Tawrat (The Book of Moses, or the Torah, which is the first five books of the Old Testament) and Al-Zabur (The Book of David, or the Psalms). However, many Muslims have never read any of these books.
As Fouad reminds us, they are commonly taught that God sent Al-Tawrat, and it was corrupted. So He sent Al-Zabur, and then it was corrupted. God then sent Al-Injeel, and when it was corrupted, He finally sent Al-Qur’an, which cannot be changed. Al-Qur’an is believed to be the only pure and unadulterated word of God. With this belief system in place, our Muslim friends naturally question us about the integrity of the Injeel.
Fouad encourages readers to begin the conversation through a theological lens. If God is all powerful, is He not also able to keep His own word pure? Muslims and Christians agree that God sent the Injeel to humans. If He allowed man to change His own word, would that not imply that man is stronger than God?
Looking to the Injeel itself, we find that Jesus said in Mark 13:31, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” The Injeel also makes its own origin very clear in 2 Peter 1:20-21, “First of all, you should know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
If the Injeel is truly the word of God sent to humans, God is able to preserve it. The Injeel itself testifies of this.
Man was created with a mind, made in God’s image, able to think and reason. Therefore it is sensible that God can use logic to confirm His word and the claims He has made about Himself. There are several essential questions we can ask our Muslim friends to logically examine this issue.
- Who changed the Injeel?
- Why did they change the Injeel?
- Where was it changed?
- When was it changed?
History has not recorded the answers to these questions. Rather, we have record that early followers of Jesus took great care to preserve and protect the scriptures, many at the cost of their own lives. History also shows the extreme persecution of Christians for three centuries after Christ’s death. Would the Injeel, a life-giving revelation of God, be corrupted by its own adherents during such a time when it gave hope to the early church?
Read the logical examination of these questions and others in Chapter 5, “Illusion Versus Reality”.
The historical approach to the corruption question, though a rich record cherished by Christians, is lengthy and often requires more time than the attention of your Muslim friend may allow. Fouad suggests it may therefore not be the most productive starting point when investigating the posterity of the Injeel. However, it is intriguing to consider the three time periods of the Injeel’s history and their testament to the faithfulness of God’s preservation of His word.
The Eyewitness Stage
This indicates the time when there were those on the earth witnessing Christ and his deeds. Any attempt to corrupt the Injeel in this time period would surely have been met with repudiation by the very witnesses of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
The Persecution Stage
This stage spans the period after the original disciples had died and followers of Jesus were persecuted across the known world. Important documented evidences make it unlikely that the Injeel would have been corrupted during this time. Some of them still exist today, unchanged.
This period spans to the present age. During the spread of Christianity throughout the world, the Injeel was faithfully and carefully translated from the earlier manuscripts.
For a comprehensive examination of these fascinating stages of the Injeel’s history, see Chapter 6, “The Manuscripts Speak”.
The accuracy and preservation of the Injeel is an important issue to discuss with your Muslim friend. From all he or she has been taught about the holiness of God and the high honor due His word, the concern is a valid one. You do not have to have a PhD in Theology to engage in discussion about tough questions like this one with your Muslim friend. Understanding the basic issues becomes easy with the right tools. Is the Injeel Corrupted? is one of a series of helpful resources in Fouad’s Unlock the Truth series, and a worthy read to study this topic further.