On a recent outing in London Paul Williams, who was recently outed himself (in more ways than one, see here and here), discovered something that outs Islamic apologists like Bassam Zawadi, not to mention many others.
According to PW, world-renowned Islamic scholar Abdel Haleem confirmed for him in a phone conversation one of the two claims that Christians often make regarding the Bible. In the view of Professor Haleem, the Qur’an does NOT teach that the Bible was corrupted. Instead, it teaches that the Bible has been misinterpreted. Prof. Haleem’s statements in this connection, as PW says, “put Muslim apologist Bassam Zawadi (who has argued many times for the view that the Quran teaches textual corruption) in the wrong.” This, as PW also says, serves to “vindicate the oft-stated views of Sam Shamoun and David Wood.”
To PW’s relief, Professor Haleem went on to say that the Injeel is not the same as the four canonical gospels or the New Testament, and that the former was “largely lost to history” while the latter contains only “a few shreds of Jesus’ authentic teaching.’” For whatever reason, and I can think of one that is more than plausible but best left unspoken, PW still hates the Bible but wants to leave room for the Qur’an to still be true in its theological and historical pronouncements, even though he finds the ethical and religious injunctions of the Qur’an impossibly hard to follow (contrary to its own empty-boast about being light and easy, Q. 2:185ff, 7:157, et. al).
As is often the case, PW’s relief on this score proves to be very temporary. For if we follow out this reasoning, it would have to mean that the Quran mentions two different books: the Bible (i.e. the canonical Gospels, the New Testament) and the Injeel (i.e. the original message given to Jesus). Furthermore, it would also mean: 1) when the Qur’an speaks of Christians misinterpreting the Bible at the time of Muhammad, it is not talking about the Injeel, for the Injeel was “largely lost to history”; and 2) when the Qur’an speaks of the Injeel being largely lost to history, it is not talking about the Bible that Christians had in their possession at the time of Muhammad, because they certainly must have had the Bible in their possession in order to (allegedly) misinterpret it.
The problem with saying that the Bible and the Injeel are two different books – one of which existed at the time of Jesus but was lost before Muhammad’s time, the other of which existed at the time of Muhammad but was being misinterpreted – is that the Qur’an does not mention these two different books. Anywhere. This idea is totally foreign to the Qur’an. It nowhere says that Christians have a book that is different than what was given to Jesus, and it nowhere says that the book given to Jesus is different than the book in the possession of Christians.
Worse than the above, not only does the Qur’an not make such a distinction, it actually contradicts it. To give just one example, the Qur’an says that Christians can find Muhammad in the (Torah and the) Injeel.
Those who follow the apostle, the unlettered Prophet, whom THEY FIND mentioned in their own (scriptures), - in the law and the Gospel [i.e. Injeel]; - for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure); He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him, honour him, help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him, - it is they who will prosper. (Q. 7:157, Yusuf Ali)
If Christians did not have the Injeel at the time of Muhammad, then the Qur’an is wrong when it claims that they could find Muhammad in it. And if Christians (allegedly) could find Muhammad in the Injeel, then that means Christians must have had it at the time of Muhammad. And of course, since we have today what the Christians had at the time of Muhammad, then that means that Christians today have the Injeel.
This puts Muslims in quite a bind. Instead of crying down everything they don’t like in the Bible as a corruption of the original message sent down by God in the first century, they will now have to do the tough job of disproving that the Bible, i.e. the Injeel, teaches things like the following:
Jesus is God
Jesus became a human being
Jesus died, was buried and rose again for the salvation of sinners
Among other things.
There can be no question of corruption from a Qur’anic standpoint, and thus no cherry-picking of verses to avoid the obvious. The only option that is open to Muslims in light of what Professor Haleem admitted, i.e. the Qur’an does not teach that the Bible has been corrupted, and that the Qur’an demonstrates, i.e. the Bible is the Injeel, is the hard job of honest exegesis.
This is why Professor Haleem's devastating admission coupled with an artificial and false distinction could only provide temporary relief for those who want to give credence to the Qur’an, even those who have left Islam behind. PW should really just come all the way out and make a clean break with Islam, leaving behind not only any hope of being able to live up to the Qur'an's impossible requirements, but also any notion that it is true in its theological and historical teachings.
The good news for those who have ears to hear it, is that according to the uncorrupted Injeel, the true God does not first require us to live up to His dictates before He will love us; rather, we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). And God demonstrated his own love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). That is why Jesus could say in the Gospel that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). The love of God taught in the Bible is a saving and transforming love; the love of Allah taught in the Qur’an produces despair for those who are honest with the fact that they do not measure up to what Allah requires in order to be loved by him. PW has already learned the latter. Let's pray that he (and all Muslims) also comes to learn the former.