Saturday, April 10, 2010

A strange episode with corruption and the Gospel

The other day I was visiting a small city which doesn't get many foreigners at all. I went into the barber's to get a shave (you can do that here, it's cheap too). We got into a conversation about history and I said that I have studied religion a good deal. The barber was impressed as I listed off the Islamic caliphates and where they were based. The place had a lot of people in it, just young guys hanging out with nothing to do.

Anyway, after a while he laid out carefully and intelligently the argument for Islam: the Gospel and Torah are corrupted, they were once integral but are not now. So God sent a final revelation, the Qur'an, through the last Prophet, to be a sure foundation and revelation to humanity. What is your response to this, he wanted to know.

I pointed out a few basic things: if God could not preserve the first three books, then why would he be able to preserve the fourth? (This is a question that has no answer, he said.) I also mentioned that the the Qur'an does not say the these books are corrupted. I said that 'tahriif' is simply an Islamic tradition, like the face veil, and you can take it or leave it as you like. I finally pointed out that in the Qur'an God tells Muhammad, "If you are in doubt about anything, ask the people who have read the book before you." Now how can God tell Muhammad to ask these people for advice if their Scriptures are corrupted? All pretty standard stuff.

Then something surprising happened. The other barber who had been listening jumped in, Yes, this is true, the Qur'an does not say the injiil is corrupted at all.

This surprised me a lot. I have never heard a Muslim who was not a follower of Jesus or an academic writing in some journal defend the integrity of the Gospel/injiil. Strange.

Anyway, I lent my NT to the first barber and told him next I'm back in his city I would go to pick it up, and see if he had found any corruption in it. Not sure when I'll be back down there, but God willing he will read it and we'll have a good conversation next I see him.

Abu Daoud