Ibn Khazem (died AD 1064) ruled the South of Spain for some time as the vizier of the caliph. When reading the Qur’an he came across a verse that referred to Jesus speaking of Good News of an Apostle who was to come after him and whose name should be Ahmad (Surah As-Saff, 61:6). The meaning of this Arabic word is similar to the meaning of the name ‘Muhammad’. He must also have read about “the unlettered prophet (i.e. Muhammad) whom they find mentioned in their own (Scriptures); in the law and the Gospel” (Surah Al-A’raf, 7:157). So he began to search the Bible for these clues about Muhammad. Probably to his surprise, he did not find them. What he did find, however, were a number of contradictions between the two Books, both of which were assumed to have come from the same divine source. You can see the problem ibn Khazem was facing. Both the Bible and the Qur’an are stated to be Word of God – and they contradict each other.
Ibn Khazem’s decision was not to question the integrity of the Qur’an. He rather assumed that since the Gospel should agree with the Qur’an, and because Muhammad had spoken so highly of it, the existing Gospel text must have been falsified by the Jews and Christians. This assumption may well display his zeal for the Qur’an, but it is not based on historical facts.
Since then Muslims have questioned the integrity of the Bible. Their argument is not only contradicted by the Qur’an, but also by the ever increasing strong archaeological and historical arguments, which support the genuineness of the Bible. Besides, why should anyone, for any reason, attempt to change the Word of God?
Perhaps this letter has helped you to take a glimpse at what most Muslims seem not to know. Practising Christians have a very special place for the Bible in their hearts and lives. It is God’s love letter to them.
I take it that you are a believing Muslim. Therefore, what I wrote here is likely to hurt your soul. I must assure you that it is probably equally painful for me to write on what appears to be negative about the source of your deepest convictions and devotion. But I am sure that our concern to believe and practise the Truth of God will enable us to overcome some tensions and even hurt feelings, on our common journey. I hope that my next letter will not be as technical, and in a way negative.
I hope and trust that this letter finds you well and in good health. Please answer soon!