The Bible was already a complete book with 66 booklets in 400 AD. The first book, Genesis was written in 1400BC and the last one, Revelation, before 100AD. The Koran was not written as a book during the lifetime of Mohammed. He received the revelations from around 610 to 629. When he died Zayd ibn Thabit was asked, during the caliphate of Abu Bakr (632-634), to compile a written version of the whole book. His sources were some of Mohammed's followers who memorized his revelations, while others had parts written down on the shoulder bones of camels, palm fronds and tablets. One copy was completed (Uthman's edition) and all the others which might have differed were destroyed: 'Muslims claim that the Koran as it stands today is an exact record of the original without so much as a dot or stroke ever having been lost, changed, or substituted in any way. This is a strange claim to make for a book which had to be compiled piecemeal from various sources scattered among the companions of Mohammed.... [T]here is further evidence that some passages have been lost, that others have been abrogated, and other codices compiled about the same time as Zaid's had numerous readings that differed from his and from each other's.'1
The Koran is regarded as the holy book of the Muslims. It is said to have a divine origin from Allah. We know that Muslims are extremely hostile to Christianity. They advocate that the Jewish and Christian books have been corrupted, but the Koran is the pure word of Allah (God and Allah are not the same, because Allah does not have a son). If that is so, why did Allah send Mohammed revelations that come from the 'corrupted' Bible? Not only that, why were the revelations quoted incorrectly? For example, the story of Jonah in the Bible. The book of Jonah was written around 785-760 BC. He was a prophet during the time of Jeroboam (2 Kings 14:25). The Assyrians were a decadent and prosperous rising world power and a potential threat to Israel. God sent Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh in Assyria and preach to them to turn from their evil ways. Jonah knew about the threat the Assyrians were to Israel. He wanted them destroyed, not saved, so he ran away. It is futile to run from God and so after a journey through a big fish's stomach, Jonah went to Nineveh and preached. The people repented and the city was not destroyed. The Bible explains that God is not a God of the Jews only, but a God of mercy who loves all people in the world. Incidentally, the Assyrians did conquer Israel in 722 BC, but they quickly forgot Jonah's message and were consequently, themselves, overpowered by the Babylonians in 712 BC.
In the Koran we find the following description of Jonah: He fled on a ship, was swallowed by a fish, and was later cast out into the wilderness where Allah provided a tree of gourd (the Bible says a vine). Then he was sent to a hundred thousand or more, who believed (Surah 37.139--148). There is no mention that God sent the prophet to Nineveh or that he went to Joppa and found a ship to flee to Tarshish.2 The historical places and details were left out. Why did Allah include Jonah in the Koran and why did he copy from the Bible? (Without the complete narrative of Jonah the reader of the Koran can only wonder what it is about, unless it is to demonstrate Allah's forgiveness.) Why didn't he use original examples of his revelations to the Arabs? They are known as the people of Allah, as the Israelites are known as the people of God. God spoke to His own prophets, so Allah should have done the same. If Allah is God Almighty, it would have been easy for him to reveal himself over thousands of years in the history of Arabia, as God did with and in Israel.
- J Gilchrist, The Qur'an, The Scripture of Islam, Life Challenge Africa, 1995, p 104-105.
- Ibid, p 9.