Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
The Bible, The Quran and Science is a book by a French surgeon Dr. Maurice Bucaille and could be described as a commentary of the following verses of the Holy Quran:
The disbelievers say: This Quran is naught but a lie that Muhammad has fabricated, and other people have helped him with it. They have, thereby, perpetrated an injustice and an untruth. They also say: These are fables of the ancients which he has got someone to write down for him and they are recited to him morning and evening. Say to them: The Quran has been revealed by Him Who knows every secret that is in the heavens and the earth. Indeed, He is Most Forgiving, Ever Merciful. (Al Surah Al-Furqan 25:5-7)
He examined the Holy Quran in the light of modern science and found, ‘The Quran has been revealed by Allah Who knows every secret that is in the heavens and the earth.’
Many Christian writers and clergy claim that the Holy Quran is borrowed from the Bible. Allah refutes this allegation in the words, “The Quran has been revealed by Him Who knows every secret that is in the heavens and the earth.” The most effective proofs of this Quranic claim were to come after the scientific revolution. Dr. Maurice Bucaille’s book is indeed a landmark achievement in this regards. However, it needs to be understood that the Holy Quran is a book of ‘religion’ and not a ‘book of science’ and Bucaille’s book is a book of ‘metaphysics’ and not of science. Metaphysics is a term, which means literally ‘what comes after physics.’ So, it is a branch of philosophy that studies the ultimate structure and constitution of reality, correlating religion and science.
The Christian apologists often accuse that the Holy Quran is borrowed from the Bible. How can they be disabused of this self indulgence? This post or thread is dedicated to this issue.
This book by a French Surgeon, Maurice Bucaille has gained general popularity in the Muslim world. Today when I searched this title of the book on Google, I came up with more than half a million possible links. I want to start this knol to compare and contrast the Holy Quran and the Holy Bible in light of science. Even today some Christian apologists have the audacity to suggest that the Holy Quran is copied from the Bible. Let this thread be a discussion and an international repository to disabuse them of such ideas.
Here I quote from the introduction section of Maurice Bucaille’s book:
Another fundamental difference in the Scriptures of Christianity and Islam is the fact that Christianity does not have a text which is both revealed and written down. Islam, however, has the Quran which fits this description.
The Quran is the expression of the Revelation made to Muhammad by the Archangel Gabriel, which was immediately taken down, and was memorized and recited by the faithful in their prayers, especially during the month of Ramadan. Muhammad himself arranged it into suras, and these were collected soon after the death of the Prophet, to form, under the rule of Caliph Uthman (12 to 24 years after the Prophet’s death), the text we know today.
In contrast to this, the Christian Revelation is based on numerous indirect human accounts. We do not in fact have an eyewitness account from the life of Jesus, contrary to what many Christians imagine. The question of the authenticity of the Christian and Islamic texts has thus now been formulated.
The confrontation between the texts of the Scriptures and scientific data has always provided man with food for thought.
It was at first held that corroboration between the scriptures and science was a necessary element to the authenticity of the sacred text. Saint Augustine, in letter No. 82, which we shall quote later on, formally established this principle. As science progressed however it became clear that there were discrepancies between Biblical Scripture and science. It was therefore decided that comparison would no longer be made. Thus a situation arose which today, we are forced to admit, puts Biblical exegetes and scientists in opposition to one another. We cannot, after all, accept a divine Revelation making statements which are totally inaccurate. There was only one way of logically reconciling the two; it lay in not considering a passage containing unacceptable scientific data to be genuine. This solution was not adopted. Instead, the integrity of the text was stubbornly maintained and experts were obliged to adopt a position on the truth of the Biblical Scriptures which, for the scientist, is hardly tenable.
Like Saint Augustine for the Bible, Islam has always assumed that the data contained in the Holy Scriptures were in agreement with scientific fact. A modern examination of the Islamic Revelation has not caused a change in this position. As we shall see later on, the Quran deals with many subjects of interest to science, far more in fact than the Bible. There is no comparison between the limited number of Biblical statements which lead to a confrontation With science, and the profusion of subjects mentioned in the Quran that are of a scientific nature. None of the latter can be contested from a scientific point of view. this is the basic fact that emerges from our study. We shall see at the end of this work that such is not the case for the Hadiths. These are collections of the Prophet’s sayings, set aside from the Quranic Revelation, certain of which are scientifically unacceptable. The Hadiths in question have been under study in accordance with the strict principles of the Quran which dictate that science and reason should always be referred to, if necessary to deprive them of any authenticity.
These reflections on the scientifically acceptable or unacceptable nature of a certain Scripture need some explanation. It must be stressed that when scientific data are discussed here, what is meant is data definitely established. This consideration rules out any explanatory theories, once useful in illuminating a phenomenon and easily dispensed with to make way for further explanations more in keeping with scientific progress. What I intend to consider here are incontrovertible facts and even if science can only provide incomplete data, they will nevertheless be sufficiently well established to be used Without fear of error.
Scientists do not, for example, have even an approximate date for man’s appearance on Earth. They have however discovered remains of human works which we can situate beyond a shadow of a doubt at before the tenth millenium B.C. Hence we cannot consider the Biblical reality on this subject to be compatible with science. In the Biblical text of Genesis, the dates and genealogies given would place man’s origins (i.e. the creation of Adam) at roughly thirty-seven centuries B.C. In the future, science may be able to provide us with data that are more precise than our present calculations, but we may rest assured that it will never tell us that man first appeared on Earth 6,786 years ago, as does the Hebraic calendar for 1976. The Biblical data concerning the antiquity of man are therefore inaccurate.
Whereas the scriptures are books of religion, what Bucaille is writing or the theme of his book is ‘metaphysics.’ A certain amount of humility is in order to comprehend the distinction between religion, science and metaphysics. In the words of Sir Charles Darwin, as he quoted Francis Bacon from his book Advancement of learning in the later editions of Origin of Species to establish the proper relationship between religion and natural science:
“To conclude, therefore, let no man out of weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well-studied in the book of God’s word, or in the book of God’s works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavor an endless progress or proficiency in both.” Review of the scriptures in light of science and appropriate commentaries by the initiated will lead a casual but honest reader to truth.
Now let me offer a detailed excerpt from the writings of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, as he defends the Holy Quran against the allegation of plagiarism:
The author of Yanabi-ul-Islam has tried to prove that the Holy Quran has been copied from certain accounts or books, but his effort is nothing compared to the effort made by a learned Jew to determine the authenticity of the Gospels. He has established, in his own estimation, that the moral teachings of the Gospels have been taken from the Jewish scripture Talmud and certain other books of the Israelites, and that this act of plagiary has been so blatant that whole paragraphs have been copied word for word. The scholar has proved that the Gospels are a collection of stolen material, and has gone so far as to prove that the ‘Sermon on the Mount’—in which Christians take such pride—has been copied verbatim from the Talmud. He has shown that the text has also been copied from various other books, and has thus astonished many people. European researchers are also taking a keen interest in this research. I recently came across a book written by a Hindu in which he, too, had tried to prove that the Gospels have been taken from the teachings of Buddha, and he cited Buddha’s moral teachings to establish this point. The story about the devil, who took Jesus (as) from place to place to tempt him, is also prevalent among the Buddhists. Everyone is, therefore, entitled to believe that the story has been copied in the Gospels with minor alterations. It is an established fact that Jesus (as) came to India and his grave is to be found in Srinagar, Kashmir, as I have proved with categorical evidence. And in this context, the detractors are further justified to believe that the existing Gospels are merely a sketch of Buddhism. The evidence in this regard is so overwhelming that it can no longer be concealed.
Another incredible fact is that the ancient book of Yuz Asaf (which most English scholars believe to have been published before the birth of Jesus (as)), and which has been translated in all European countries, is so similar to the Gospels that many of their passages are identical. The parables used by the Gospels are also found word for word in this book. Even if the person reading it were so ignorant as to be practically blind, he would still be convinced that the Gospels have been borrowed from the same book. Some people, including some English scholars, believe that this book belongs to Gautama Buddha, and that it was originally in Sanskrit and was later translated into other languages. If this is true, the Gospels would lose all their credibility and Jesus (as) would be considered a plagiarist in all his teachings—God forbid. The book is available for everyone to see. My own opinion, however, is that this book is Jesus’ own Gospel which was written during his journey to India. I have proved with many arguments that it is indeed the Gospel of Jesus (as), and is purer and holier than the other Gospels. The English scholars who consider this book to be that of Buddha, call Jesus (as) a plagiarist by implication, and thus they dig their own grave.
It should also be remembered that the clergy’s collection of scriptures is completely worthless and even embarrassing. They whimsically declare some books to be divine and others to be forged. They judge these four Gospels to be authentic and the rest—about fifty-six of them—forged. But this belief is based on mere guesswork and speculation, rather than on any concrete evidence. They have had to make these decisions by themselves, for there is a marked discrepancy between these and the other Gospels. Researchers, however, believe that it is not possible to determine which of them is actually forged and which is not. This is why, on the occasion of King Edward’s coronation, the Church fathers of London presented him with the books which they presume to be forged along with the four Gospels, all bound in one volume. I possess a copy of this Bible. Now, if these books had really been forged and were unholy, would it not be sinful to bind the holy and the unholy in a single volume? The fact is that these people are unable to say with any degree of conviction whether any of these books are authentic or forged, and everyone goes by their own opinion. Out of mere prejudice, they declare those Gospels to be fabricated which are in accord with the Holy Quran. Hence they have declared the Gospel of Barnabas to have been forged because it contains a clear prophecy about the Prophet of the Latter Days [the Holy Prophet]. Sale, in his commentary, has related the story of a Christian monk who was converted to Islam after reading this Gospel. Remember, these people declare a book to be false or fabricated for either of these two reasons:
1. If an account or a book contradicts the current Gospels.
2. If an account or a book has some similarity with the Holy Quran. Some mischievous and black-hearted people first try to establish the principle9 that these books are fabricated, and then claim that the Holy Quran contains stories taken out of them, and in this manner they try to deceive the ignorant.
The fact is that only Divine revelation has the authority to prove the truth or falsity of past scriptures. Any account confirmed by Divine revelation has to be true, even though some ignorant ones declare it otherwise. Similarly, the account which Divine revelation rejects, has to be false, even though some people declare it to be true.
To think that the Holy Quran is made up of such well known accounts, tales, books or gospels, is the height of ignorance and something to be ashamed of. Is there anything wrong with a book of God being in agreement with some past accounts? Many truths of the Vedas, which were not even known at the time, are to be found in the Holy Quran, but can we conclude from this that the Holy Prophet (saw) had studied the Vedas? The Gospels that have now become available—thanks to the printing press— were not known to anyone in Arabia, and the people of that land were simply unlettered. If there happened to be an odd Christian among them, he was not likely to know much about his own religion. It is therefore despicable to think that the Holy Prophet (saw) plagiarized from these books. The Holy Prophet (saw) was unlettered and could not even read Arabic, let alone Greek or Hebrew. It is now upon our opponents to produce any manuscript of that time from which these accounts are supposed to have been taken. If the Holy Quran contained material copied from other sources, the Christians of Arabia, who were bitter enemies of Islam, would at once have cried out that it has been taken from their own accounts.
Remember, the Holy Quran is the only scripture in the world that proclaims itself to be a miracle. It forcefully asserts that its prophecies and narratives are from the realm of the unseen, it contains prophecies about the future down to the Last Day, and that it is a miracle in respect of its eloquence and beauty of expression. It would have been easy for the Christians of that time to produce the books from which passages were supposedly copied in the Holy Quran, thus dealing a severe blow to Islam. But now they only cry over spilled milk. It is unthinkable that the Christians of Arabia would have kept quiet despite being in possession of books—whether genuine or forged—from which they suspected the Holy Quran of having copied certain material. Thus there can be no doubt that the Holy Quran is totally composed of the revealed word of God, and that this revelation was a great miracle, for, no one could produce anything like it.
Just consider, can a person dare to give such a challenge to the whole world, while being a plagiarist and having cooked the whole thing up on his own, and knowing full well that this knowledge has not come to him from the unseen, rather he has stolen it from such and such books, and to think that no one should be able to accept his challenge and expose him!
The fact is that the Christians are extremely annoyed with the Holy Quran, for it has destroyed the very basis of their religion. It has refuted the concept of deifying a human being, shattered the doctrine of the cross, and proven beyond all doubt that the teachings of the Gospels—which the Christians are so proud of—are extremely flawed and ineffective. It was, therefore, only natural for their egoistic passions to have been aroused, and their imputations [against the Holy Quran] are quite understandable. The example of a Muslim who wishes to convert to Christianity is like a person who, having been born from his mother’s womb and having attained maturity, wishes to return to her womb and become a sperm once more. I wonder what the Christians are so proud of! If they have a ‘God’, he is the one who died long ago and lies buried in Mohalla Khanyar, Srinagar, Kashmir. And if he has any miracles to his name, they are no greater than those of other Prophets, indeed Prophet Elijah showed greater miracles than he ever did.
This is from the book Fountain of Christianity. Please see the actual book for some of the references cited and the footnotes.