From WikiAhmadiyya, the free encyclopedia on Islam and Ahmadiyyat
The Bible is a canonical collection of texts sacred in Judaism and Christianity. The first part of Christian Bible is the Old Testament and is mostly identical to the Jewish Biblical books such as the Torah. The second part is the New Testament, which discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. The New Testament is only accepted by Christianity and not by Judaism.
Ahmadiyya perspective on the Bible
Ahmadis accept the divine origin of the Bible but believes its teachings were restricted to its own particular era, whereas the revealed teachings of the Quran are perfect and timeless. The fourth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community stated:
Teachings are always perfect in relation to the time in which they are revealed and because of this they differ and they meet the demands of the time perfectly. But when the times change then the teachings must change accordingly. So, the concept of perfection is relevant in the context of our discussion. For instance, there was the religion of Judaism where the emphasis lay on revenge, so much so that even Judaic scholars misunderstood the full significance of this teaching. They thought that it was a must and there was no room for anyone to deviate from the teaching of an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, etc. While the holy Quran, speaking of the same, mentions it to be a necessity of the time. But, according to the holy Quran, a window was open even in the Torah for forgiveness - just a small window which was emphasised. This was due to the fact that Mosesas appeared among a people who had been oppressed for hundreds of years. If at that time he had placed equal emphasis upon forgiveness and revenge, the people who had become weak and had lost their dignity due to the long period of oppression and who could not rise to the challenges of responding to the enemy with strength, such people would always seek refuge in the teaching of forgiveness.
- Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, The Review of Religions April 1999
Practising the previous teaching over a long period of time, the Israelites had become hardhearted and ferocious and this could only be remedied by suspending for a certain period their right to extract vengeance. This is why Jesus admonished them: "You have heard that it was said 'an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth', but I say to you do not resist one who is evil. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also, and if anyone would use you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well." (Bible, Matthew 5:35-45)
Islam holds these two opposing teachings to be complementary, each suited to the conditions and situation prevailing at the time, and neither, therefore, able to lay claim to being universal or eternal. This perfectly stands to reason, for man was still progressing through earlier stages of development and had not yet become one community to which could be vouchsafed a law that would be final and universal. We believe that Islam is that final law and presents a teaching not influenced by place or time which fact is amply illustrated by its teaching in the matter being considered. The Quran says: "Remember that the recompense of an injury is an injury the like thereof; but whoso forgives and thereby brings about a reformation, his reward is with Allah. Surely, Allah loves not wrongdoers" [Quran 42:41] Islam thus combines the best features of both the earlier teachings with the vital addition that forgiveness is commended provided it is likely to result in an improvement and in the correction of the defaulter, that being the real objective.
- Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Some Distinctive Features of Islam
Biblical text corrupted with human interpolations and contradictions
Ahmadis believe the revelation of the Quran was necessary, because human interpolations in the Bible had left the text filled with contradictions. For example, the Bible variously describes David as the seventh and eighth son of Jesse:
Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.
- Bible, I Samuel 16:10-13
Jesse begat his firstborn Eliab, and Abinadab the second, and Shimma the third, Nethaneel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, Ozem the sixth, David the seventh.
- Bible, I Chronicles 2:13-16
Bible prophecised advent of Muhammadsa
The Quran claims the religion of Islam to have fulfilled prophecies found in the Bible:
Before it there was the Book of Moses, a guide and a mercy; and this is a Book in the Arabic language fulfilling previous prophecies.
- Quran 46:12
The Quranic verse above has been associated with numerous Biblical prophecies revealed to Moses and repeated by Jesus including:
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
- Bible, Deutoronomy 18:15-17
It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
- Bible, John 16:7-14
Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord
- Matthew 23:39
The Bible promises to raise 'a Prophet from among their brethren'. As the words are addressed to the Jewish people, Ahmadi Muslims interpret them to refer to their cousins fellow descendants of Abraham, the Arabs - among whom the prophet of Islam, Muhammadsa, was born. The Bible states the coming prophet will be 'like unto' Moses. Like Moses, Muhammadsa and his followers endured severe persecution from the chieftains of their hometown and were forced to migrate, escaping with their lives in highly unlikely circumstances. Similarly to Moses, Muhammadsa received a revealed book containing a religious law and was made the political leader of his people.
The verses further state that the coming prophet will speak 'in the name of the Lord' and that any prophet who falsely claims to speak in the name of the Lord shall soon die. The Quran was the book revealed by God to Muhammadsa and each chapter begins with the words 'In the name of Allah'. Muhammadsa lived a long life and died a natural death. The Quran instructs Muslims to invoke blessings on Muhammadsa. (Quran 33:57)
Another Biblical passage reads:
This is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.And he said, The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.
- Bible, Deuteronomy 33:2
The Bible records Moses received revelation from God at Mount Sinai, yet foretells God moving to Paran. Paran is the name used for the mountains surrounding Mecca, Muhammad'ssa hometown. Muhammadsa famously traveled with ten thousand followers and saints when he reentered Mecca after years of exile. The prophecy mentions a 'fiery law' in the prophet's 'right hand'. The religious law of the Quran was revealed to Muhammadsa.
Elsewhere the Bible foretells a prophet who will 'bring forth judgement to the Gentiles' and be from 'Kedar'. Gentiles is a Biblical word for non-Jewish people and Kedar was the name of an ancestor of Muhammadsa.
Again the Bible states:
My God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well
- Bible, Psalms 84:3-6
Here the house in the valley of Baca is mentioned, with its inhabitants praising God. The holiest site in Islam is the Kaba, mentioned in the Quran as 'the first House' of worship (Quran 3:97) and is located in the Valley of Becca. In each of their five daily prayers, Muslims recite: "All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the Worlds"
Another passage states:
My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set. His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh. His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires. His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend.
- Bible, Solomon 5:10-16
Reference is once more made to 10,000 companions - the same number who followed Muhammadsa in his triumphant return to Mecca. The second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community notes in his book Introduction to the Study of the Holy Quran that the words 'altogether lovely' in the passage above read 'Mahammadim' in the original Hebrew.