Answered by Shaykh Gibril Haddad
Question: Recently a devout Christian and a Muslim were debating about Islam and Christianity and the Christian posed the question, “If Muslims believe that the Bible has been altered by Men but the Quran has been preserved since it’s revelation and Allah has promised to preserve it. Why would Allah protect only one of his books and not all of them?” How do we answer this?
Answer: Wa `alaykum as-Salam wa rahmatullah,
May Allah Most High bless you and yours here and hereafter.
The short reply is that The Qur’an abrogates and supersedes all previous dispensations including the Old and New Testaments as indicated in verse 5:48: And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So whatever is found in other books to be in conformity with the Qur’an is accepted as true and whatever not is rejected as false.
The long reply which I will put sternly but with brotherly charity nevertheless since Christians, Jews and Muslims are all originally spiritual sons of our Father Abraham, upon him peace, is that the question itself contains two semi-false premises which obscure the truth deliberately or unwittingly. The first semi-false premise is that “Muslims believe that the Bible has been altered by Men;” in reality this is agreed upon by the Christians themselves in the post-Biblical studies age if not since the days of the Septuagint, Jerome and other translations and is clear from the mere fact that multi-denominational Bibles differ in their very substance and the number of the books contained therein, not just in their betrayal of the original language, and in their indiscriminate admixture of Divine discourse with Prophetic discourse with commentary and supercommentary through the ages.
The second semi-false premise is that only Muslims “believe that the Quran has been preserved since its revelation” but in reality that also is agreed upon by even the rankest enemies of Islam from all their multifarious sides such as both the crusading missionaries of the Middle Ages and Renaissance on the one hand and the Protestants and free-thinkers of the so-called Enlightenment on the other, its most patent proof being the Arabic of present-day copies which do not differ from the Arabic of the earliest manuscripts.
It emerges clearly from the above facts that (i) the Muslims who allegedly did not reply did not fail to do so out of inability to reply but most likely out of recognition that the logical fallacy of the question itself rendered it spurious as a question, and that to proceed to demonstrate that fallacy and ask for the question to first shed its own spuriousness and be reiterated in correct fashion was beyond the call of duty or the availability of time; and (ii) the question at hand, namely “Why would Allah protect only one of his books and not all of them?” is one that both Jesus in the parable of the vineyard, and the Christian burners of the apocryphal Gospels have already answered. That is, God sends what He wishes with whom He wishes to whom He wishes and when He wishes; and the consequence is an argument against the receivers, not against the Sender; and once truth has been altered and defaced to the point of disappearance in part or in whole, its original shell is fodder for the fire. Or (the Muslim might tell his devout Christian interlocutor), as you might hear your own preachers tell you from the pulpit, corrupted books are of no avail whatsoever as a path of salvation no matter what pomp and solemnity continue to “paint their face fair” to the flocks immersed brow-deep in false worship. And this is the status of all abrogated Scriptures: God has willed that they become eviscerated of their spiritual function and meaning so that are mere shadows of their former selves and no longer the Divine Books that they were at the time of their respective revelation. This is clear to all, the Christian denominations and sects, their apostates and free-thinkers, and lastly Muslims, and is nothing new nor difficult to grasp.