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The Qur’an has been preserved in its original form and language without even a minute change as revealed to the Prophet of Islam. This is highly in contrast with other religious scriptures that lost their original contents – in some cases even the languages. At the moment of revelation or shortly after, each passage was recited by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) before the friends or followers who happened to be present, and was generally committed to writing by some one amongst them, at the time or afterwards, upon palm-leaves, leather, stones, or such other material as conveniently came to hand. There were several scribes in his following, the most famous of whom, Zaid Ibn Thâbit, has left his name to posterity. These scattered and confused materials were within two or three years reduced to the order and sequence in which we now find them. So carefully, indeed, has the Quran been preserved, that there are no variations to be found in the innumerable copies scattered throughout the world. But this is not surprising, for it is God Himself who has undertaken the task of preserving His Final Message to the humanity. When one looks into the history of the New Testament scriptures, one finds the following facts: The words and teachings of Jesus (peace be upon him) remained in oral tradition for at least 40 to 50 years, passing orally from one generation to the next. Then the Four Gospels, as we know them today, were written in a period of 45 years – between 70 A.D. and 115 A.D. The four Gospels were written in Greek. The original words spoken by Jesus (peace be upon him) are lost, for he and his disciples spoke Aramaic, a language that is now extinct. We do not even have the original manuscripts of the Greek gospels available today. Though the four gospels bear the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John who were supposedly disciples of Jesus (peace be upon him), they are not the actual authors, for nothing was written during forty to fifty years after Jesus. Unlike the Qur’an which is the direct words of God, written down immediately as they came, the gospels are the third-party historical narrations of the life and teachings of Jesus. Thus they do not contain God’s own and direct words, but those of the narrators who described the events. The four gospels did not become canonical until the fourth century. The deviations from the original teachings of Jesus started with St. Paul when he converted into Christianity. It was he who introduced the divinity of Jesus, the doctrine of original sin, and of Jesus dying for the sins of mankind. The person of Jesus or Isa in Arabic (peace be upon him) is of great significance in both Islam and Christianity. However, there are differences in terms of beliefs about the life and the occurrences of this noble Messenger. Muslims take their information about Jesus from two main sources: the Quran, the direct word of God, as revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Christians take their information about Jesus from Bible, which for them includes the Old and New Testaments. This includes four biblical narratives covering the life and death of Jesus. They are placed at the beginning of the New Testament and comprise close to half of it. Encyclopedia Britannica notes that "none of the sources of his life and work can be traced to Jesus himself; he did not leave a single known written word. Also, there are no contemporary accounts written of his life and death. What can be established about the historical Jesus depends almost without exception on Christian traditions, especially on the material used in the composition of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, which reflect the outlook of the later church and its faith in Jesus." Like Christians, Muslims believe Mary, Maria in Spanish, or Maryam as she is called in Arabic, was a chaste, virgin woman, who miraculously gave birth to Jesus. They believe the Prophet Jesus performed miracles by the will and permission of Allah, Who has all power and control over all things. Muslims believe in the Absolute Oneness of God, Who is a Supreme Being free of human limitations and wants. He has no partners in His Divinity. He is the Creator of everything and is completely separate from His creation. It is above His Majesty and Glory to take a son, partner or associate. He is independent of everyone and everything, while on the other hand, everyone and everything is dependent on Him. According to the Christian belief, Prophet Jesus died to save mankind form sin. However, this is not stated explicitly in the four gospels which form the primary source texts of Christianity. It was Paul of Tarsus, considered the real father of Christianity, who came up with this idea. Muslims believe Jesus was not killed on the cross and then resurrected. "And because of their saying, ‘We killed Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah’- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of Jesus was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. The have no knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely they killed him not (Jesus, son of Mary). But Allah raised him (Jesus) up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he is in the heavens). And Allah is ever All-Powerful, All-Wise" (Quran 4:157-158). With the exception of Unitarian Christians, most Christians now believe in the Divinity of Prophet Jesus, which is connected to the belief in Trinity. The four Gospels and the Epistles of St. Paul are the main sources of Christianity which discuss the Resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion. According to Christian belief, Resurrection is a manifestation of God’s justice, who exalted Christ to a life of glory, as Christ had humbled Himself unto death.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:qur'an, four gospels, islam christianity comparison, jesus islam, religious scriptures, preservation of scriptures
Subjects:Arts & Humanities (b)
ID Code:672
Deposited By:Mr. Muhammad Asif
Deposited On:19 Sep 2006
Last Modified:04 Oct 2007 21:02

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