Injeel of Jesus: Oral or Written Book?

This is one question that keep coming through when discussing with the Muslims on the nature of the Injeel that Jesus of the Qur’an received, is it no news that there are different views from Islamic world on this issue, it remain one of the theological issue modern Muslims faces.

Some Muslims believed the Injeel given to Jesus is a book that has been abrogated by the Quran, therefore has no relevance when the Qur’an was revealed, since the Injeel was believed to have been for the Jews alone and the Qur’an for mankind.

Interestingly, some maintained that the Injeel at a point (though not specifically known) came to be corrupted and is no longer valid as a divine source of inspiration, yet, some believe it is no longer in existence, as it has vanished decades ago! While others insist that the Injeel of Jesus was not even a book, but an oral message.

In this study, we are going to take a look at the last claim, that the Injeel was not a book but an oral message, and nothing more than that.

You may wonder why some Muslims are making this claim, and why it seems to be an escape route for a glaring problem that arises when this topic is been discused, here is why. If the Injeel was indeed given as an oral message and not a book as a documentation, then, it makes it easier for Muslims to avoid been asked the troubling question “where is the Injeel of Jesus?”

Secondly, what this claim also aim to acheive is allow the use of double standard, that while Muslims are attacking the Gospel saying its not the Injeel, when asked to produce the Injeel, they will rather reply that its not a book to start with, which still does not answer the question and allows for a double standard as noted above.

But what does the Qur’an says about the Injeel of Jesus, is it an oral message or a written documented book just like the Torah? This is what this study aim to uncover.

Let take a look at some Quranic verses starting from Quran 3:3

It is He Who has sent down the Book (the Qur’an) to you (Muhammad SAW) with truth, confirming what came before it. And he sent down the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel).

From the verse above, we are told that the Quran was sent down to “confirm” what came before it, namely the Torah and the Injeel, and we know the Torah is not just an oral message, it is indeed a book, how then do some Muslims conclude that the Injeel is not a book? Moreover, how can the Qur’an confirm it when it wasn’t documented in the first place, what is the confirmation the Qur’an was talking about?.

As noted in a recent academic Quranic work by the Muslims “The Study Qur’an” “what came before it” in arabic is “ma bayna yadayh” which can also be understood to mean “previous to” and can also mean “in the presence of”

(The Study Qur’an, Commentary on Quran 3:3)

 

In the light of this, we are made to know that, the Qur’an was revealed when the Torah and the Gospel was still existing and with the Jews, this is a fact attested to by Qur’an 5:48, we read:

Let the people of the Injeel (Gospel) judge by what Allah has revealed therein. And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed (then) such people are the Fasiqun (the rebellious i.e disobedient (of a lesser degree).

How can the people of the Injeel judged by what is not available to them in form of a book? This gives a strong support to the view that the Injeel is a book and not just some unknown oral message floating around.

Allah further prove the existence of the previous scriptures while the Qur’an is being revealed once more, showing that the Injeel was then available as scripture when the Quran was being revealed, we read in Qur’an 2:41

And believe in what I have sent down (this Qur’an), confirming that which is with you, [the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)], and be not the first to disbelieve therein, and buy [get] not with My Verses [the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)] a small price (i.e. getting a small gain by selling My Verses), and fear Me and Me Alone. (Tafsir At-Tabari, Vol. I, Page 253).

The Qur’an further states that Allah sent the Torah and the Injeel as scripture, please note how the Quran was referred to as a book, and the same term “al-kitab” which was used for the Qur’an is the very same word used for these other books, namely, the Torah and the Injeel. We read in Quran 6:114:

[Say (O Muhammad SAW)] “Shall I seek a judge other than Allah while it is He Who has sent down unto you the Book (The Qur’an), explained in detail.” Those unto whom We gave the Scripture [the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)] know that it is revealed from your Lord in truth. So be not you of those who doubt.

The Jesus of the Qur’an himself claim to have received a book from Allah, please note again that in the arabic, it is still the same word “al-Kitab”, we read in Qur’an 19:30:

“He [‘Iesa (Jesus)] said: Verily! I am a slave of Allah, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet;”

Allah again solidify the verses we just quoted by saying that he will teach Jesus, not just the Torah, but the Injeel as well, even though this is a bit problematic for the Muslims, it still affirm the Injeel as a book, since it was equated with the Torah which no Muslims have not problem admitting is indeed a book. Qur’an 3:48 affirms:

And He (Allah) will teach him [‘Iesa (Jesus)] the Book and Al-Hikmah (i.e. the Sunnah, the faultless speech of the Prophets, wisdom, etc.), (and) the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel).

On a final note, we read in Quran 7:157, a verse which state that Muhammad was mentioned in the Torah and the Gospel “with them”, meaning, they have the book presently with them, how can Muhammad’s  mentioning be confirmed if this is not a book where it can be reference, and if it was not a book, why are Muslim Apologist today always quoting John 14:16 as a reference to Muhammad if the Gospel refered to is not a book but an oral message which exist no more.

Since you have seen that the Injeel is actually a book, and not just a mere oral message floating around, we are asking, where is that Gospel today? How can we verify the content of that Gospel?

We want our Muslim friends to think about this and reject this false ideology.