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Monday, 25 September 2017
 

Enlightenment on the Injeel (The Gospel)

Many were the faiths in the composite world of Western Asia, Northern Africa, and Europe

, and many were the fragments of ancient wisdom; saved, transformed, renewed, or mingled; and many new streams of wisdom were poured through the crucibles of noble minds, prophets, poets, preachers, philosophers, and thinking men of action; and many were the conflicts, and many the noble attempts reaching out towards Unity: and many were the subtle influences interchanged with the other worlds.
At length came the time when the Voice of Unity should speak and declare to the People without the need of Priests or Priest-craft, without miracles –save those that happen now and always in the spiritual world without mystery. Save those mysteries which unfold themselves in the growing inner experience of man and his vision of God. To declare with unfaltering voice the Unity of God, the Brotherhood of Man, Grace and Mercy, Bounty and Love, poured out in unstinted measure forever and ever.

And in their footsteps, We sent Jesus, son of Mary (Maryam) confirming the Taurat (Torah) that had come before him, and We gave him the Injeel (Gospel), in which was guidance and light and confirmation of the Taurat (Torah) that had come before it, a guidance and admonition for the pious who fear God. (46)

وَقَفَّيْنَا عَلَى آَثَارِهِمْ بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَآَتَيْنَاهُ الْإِنْجِيلَ فِيهِ هُدًى وَنُورٌ وَمُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَهُدًى وَمَوْعِظَةً لِلْمُتَّقِينَ (46)

Let the people of the Injeel (Gospel) judge by what God has revealed therein. And whosoever does not judge by what God has revealed (then) such (people) are the iniquitous (disobedient/ rebellious). (47)

وَلْيَحْكُمْ أَهْلُ الْإِنْجِيلِ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَحْكُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ (47)

 

(Surat Al-Ma’ida 5)


Hadeeth Sharif: Narrated Abu-Hurairah: I heard Allah’s Messenger [PPBUH] saying:” I am the nearest of all people to the son of Maryam (Mary), and all the prophets are paternal brothers, and there has been no prophet between me and him (i.e. Isa (Jesus). Saheeh Al-Bukhary.

The Compilation of the Bible

Just as the Taurat is not the Old Testament, or the Pentateuch, as now received by the Jews and Christians, so the Injeel mentioned in the Qur’an is certainly not the New Testament, and it is not the four Gospels as now received by the Christian Church, but an original Gospel which was promulgated by Jesus, as the Taurat was promulgated by Moses and the Qur’an by Muhammad Al-Mustafa [PPBUH].
The New Testament as now received consists of (a) four Gospels with varying contents (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John); and other miscellaneous matter; e.g. (b) the Acts of the Apostles: probably written by Luke and purporting to describe the progress of the Christian Church under St. Peter and St. Paul from the supposed Crucifixion of Jesus to about 61 A.D.; (c) twenty-one Letters or Epistles (the majority written by St. Paul to various churches or individuals, but a few written by other Disciples, and of a general nature); and (d) the Book of Revelation or Apocalypse (ascribed to St. John, and containing mystic visions and prophecies, of which it is difficult to understand the meaning).
As Prof. F.C. Burkit remarks in (Cannon of the New Testament), it is an odd miscellany: “The four biographies of Jesus Christ are not all independent of each other, and neither of them was intended by its writer to form one of a quartette. But they are all put side by side, un-harmonized; one of them being actually imperfect at the end, and one being only the first volume of a larger work”. All this body of unmethodical literature was casual in its nature. No wonder that the early Christians expected the end of the world very soon. The four canonical Gospels were only four out of many, and some others besides the four have survived. Each writer just wrote down some odd sayings of the Master that he recollected. Among the miracles described there is only one which is described in all the four Gospels, and others were described and believed in, in other Gospels, which are not mentioned in any of the four canonical Gospels. Some of the Epistles contain expositions of doctrine, but this has been interpreted differently by different Churches. There must have been hundreds of such Epistles, and not all the Epistles -now received as canonical- were always so received or intended to be received. The Apocalypse also was not the only one in the field. There were others. They were prophecies of “things which must shortly come to pass”; they could not have been meant for long preservation, “For the time is at hand”.
When were these four Gospels written?  By the end of the second century A.D. they were in existence, but it does not follow that they had been selected by that date to form a canon. They were merely pious productions comparable to Dean Farrar’s {Life of Christ}. There were other Gospels besides. And further, the writers of two of them –Mark and Luke- were not among the Twelve Disciples “called’ by Jesus! About the Gospel of St. John there is much controversy as to authorship, date, and even as to whether it was all written by one person. Clement of Rome (about 97 A.D.), and Polycarp (about 112 A.D.); both quote sayings of Jesus in a form different from these found in the present canonical Gospels. Polycarp (Epistle vii) inveighs much against men by words:”who pervert the sayings of the Lord to their own lusts”, and he wants to turn:” to the World handed down to us from the beginning”, thus referring to a Book (or a Tradition) much earlier than the four orthodox Gospels. An Epistle of St. Barnabas and an Apocalypse of St. Peter were recognized by Presbyter Clement of Alexandria (flourished about 180 A.D.). The Apocalypse of St. John –which is part of the present Canon in the West- forms no part of (Peshitta=Syriac), version of the Eastern Christians, which was produced about 411-433 A.D. and which was used by Nestorian Christians. It is probable that the Peshitta was the version (or an Arabic form of it) used by the Christians in the Arabia in the time of the Apostle [PPBUH]. The final form of the New Testament canon for the West was fixed in the fourth century A.D. (say about 367 A.D.) by Athanasius and the Nicene Creed. The beautiful Codex Sinaiticus which was acquired for the British Museum in 1934, and is one of the earliest complete manuscripts of the Bible, may be dated about the fourth century. It is written in the Greek Language. Fragments of unknown Gospels have also been discovered, which do not agree with the received canonical Gospels. 
The Injeel (Greek, Evangel=Gospel) spoken of by the Qur’an is not the New Testament. It is not the four Gospels now received as canonical. It is the single Gospel -which Islam teaches- was revealed to Jesus, and which he taught. Fragments of it survive in the received canonical Gospels and in some others, of which traces survive (e.g. the Gospel of Childhood, or the Nativity, the Gospel of St. Barnabas, etc.). Muslims are therefore right in respecting the present Bible (New Testament and Old Testament), though they reject the peculiar doctrines taught by orthodox Christianity or Judaism. They claim to be in the true tradition of Abraham, and therefore all that is of value in the older revelations –it is claimed- is incorporated in the teaching of the Last of the Prophets.

 

Strongest among men in enmity to the Believers you will find the Jews and the Pagans, and nearest among them in love to the Believers you will find, those who say:”We are Christians”; because amongst these are priests and monks -men devoted to learning, and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant or proud. (82)    

لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ النَّاسِ عَدَاوَةً لِلَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَبَهُمْ مَوَدَّةً لِلَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَى ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ مِنْهُمْ قِسِّيسِينَ وَرُهْبَانًا وَأَنَّهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ (82)

 

In the verse above from Surat Al-Ma’ida 5- we are told that the nearest in love to the Believers among the People of the Book are the Christians. I am not with the hint that this does apply to the modern Christians “because they are practically atheists or freethinkers”, I think that Christian thought; like the world’s thought, has learnt a great deal from the protest of Islam against the priest domination, class domination, and sectarianism, and his insistence on making this life pure and beautiful while we are in it. We must stretch a friendly hand to all who are sincere and in sympathy with our ideals.

The Biblical Prophecy of the Advent of the Muhammad (PPBUH)

In John 14:15:16:- (If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter that he may abide with you forever”.
In John 15:26-27:- (But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me; and you also shall beware witness because you have been with me from the beginning”.
In John 16:12-14:- (I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. How be it when he, the Spirit of truth, is come; he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall be speak; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and he shall show it to you”.
And in John 16:16:- (A little while and you shall not see me; and again a little while, you shall see me, because I got the Father”.
Muslim theologians have stated that the person who is described by Jesus to come after him –in the above verses- does not comply with any other person but Muhammad [PPBUH], the Messenger of God. This ‘person’ whom Jesus prophesied will come after him is called in the Bible ‘Parqaleeta’. This word was deleted by later interpreters and translators, and changed at times to the ‘Spirit of Truth’ and at other times to “Comforter” and sometimes to “Holy Spirit”. The original word is Greek and its meaning is [one whom people praise exceedingly]. The sense of word is applicable to the word ‘Muhammad’ (in Arabic).
Authorities:: Encyclopedia Britannica; “Bible”: Helps to the study of the Bible, Oxford University Press; A.F. Kirkpatrick, Divine Library of the Old Testament: Prof. F.C. Burkett, on the Cannon of the New Testament, in religion, June 1934, the Journal of Transactions of the Society for Promoting the Study of Religions: R.W. Mackay, Rise and Progress of the Christianity: G.R.S. Mead, The Gospel and the Gospels: B.W. Bacon, Making of the New Testament, with its Bibliography: Sir Frederic Kenyon, The story of the Bible: R. Hone, the Apocryphal New Testament, London 1820: H.I. Bell and T.C. Skeat, Fragments of an Unknown Gospel and other Christians Papyri, published by the British Museum 1935:  (Appendix) The Holy Qur’an –Text Translation and Commentary; by A. Yusuf Ali.: (Appendix) Interpretation of the Meanings of the Noble Qur’an; by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, & Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali.:.