3. Revelation and inspiration in the Bible and the Qur’an
Is not inspiration and revelation the same? Not really. When I say that I am inspired by watching a soccer match of the All African Soccer Championship, I do not mean to say that it was a divine revelation. To inspire means “to guide or arouse by (divine) influence …” (Collin’s Dictionary). In the same reference work revelation is explained as “God’s disclosure of His own nature and His purpose for mankind.”
The Bible explains further that “no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation, for prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21) “All Scripture is God- breathed (inspired) and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2Tim. 3:16) And how was it inspired? By God revealing His mystery: “I did not receive it [the message] by any man, nor was I taught it, rather I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:12) “The mystery of Christ… has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.” (Eph. 3:4-5)
Human beings have an innate notion of God. They know that He exists, but cannot perceive much about His nature or will, unless He reveals this. And that is done by inspiration. Without this, false religion flourishes, even the worship of demons. But God revealed Himself in Jesus Christ: “He is the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15); “in Christ all the fullness of the deity lives in bodily form.” (Col. 2:9) Jesus Christ said Himself: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9) and “I and the Father are one.”(John 10:30) “His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6)
Further, the miracles He performed prove His claim and so do all those who truly love and know Him witness to the transformation in their lives due to divine enabling.
When we read how biblical messages were received and what they affected, we sense a holy awe. (Isa. 6:1- 8; Jer. 1:1-10; Ezek. 1:1 – 2:10; Dan. 7:1-14; Ex. 3:1-17; 1 Sam. 3:1-19)
But inspiration came to Muhammad quite differently: “Sometimes it comes to me like the ringing of a bell and that is most troublesome to me… sometimes the angel assumes the form of a man for me and he talks with me.” “While revelation descended upon him on an intensely cold day, then it left him while his brow steamed with sweat.” “When a revelation came to the Prophet he used to become greatly perturbed and his face became changed.” [all from Mishkat IV, p. 359]
Before that, he “saw prophetic dreams and heard unseen voices and calls.” [Mishkat IV, p. 354] “As often as the Prophet received inspiration, it seemed as if his soul were being taken from him, for he had always a kind of swoon (unconsciousness) and looked like one intoxicated.” [acc. to Zaid-ibn- Thabit in Ali Halabi’s Turkish IN- SANU’L UYUN]
“After an accession of shivering and shutting his eyes, there used to come over him what resembled a swoon, his face would foam, and he would roar like a young camel.” “When inspiration descended upon the Apostle, they used to bathe his sacred head with henna, because of the headache that used to come on.” “…when inspiration descended on the Apostle of Allah, there used to be heard near his face as it were the buzzing of bees.” [MIZZANU’L HAQQ by C.G. Pfander, pp 345-346]
The result was as would be expected: “The Prophet… went out several mornings in that mood; so that he might destroy himself… he ascended on the summit of a hill in order to cast himself down therefrom.” [Mishkat IV, p. 358].
We know that suicidal inclination is often a result of occult practices, and much of what was quoted above strongly suggests demonic origin of his “visions” and voices. Little wonder, then, that “the Prophet was of a highly strung and nervous temperament So afraid was he of darkness, on entering a room at night, he would not sit down till a lamp had been lighted for him; and al-Waqqidi adds that he had such repugnance to the form of the cross that he broke everything brought into his house with that figure upon it” [THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD by Sir William Muir, p. 200] This is supported by a Hadith about the return of Jesus “as a just judge. He will break crosses (and) kill swine.” [Sahih Muslim I, p. 92]. As Christians (and particularly as those with experience in dealing with the occult), we have difficulty including Muhammad among the biblical prophets. The inspiration, which little doubt he had, did not come from a divine source, but must have resulted from contact with the occult world, even if he was not aware of this.
|• The Bible has been revealed over a period of 1500 years to over 40 writers.
• God reveals himself and his will.
• the Bible was written by dual authorship: A) God, who is in control, B) specially appointed men inspired by the Holy Spirit
• God used each writer’s background; they knew what they perceived.
• the Bible is sufficient revelation for mankind to know the way to heaven and to have assurance about it
• The Bible forms a unity and is in chronological order with correct historical reports.
• The content of the Bible has been revealed progressively.
|• The Qur’an has been revealed over a period of about 23 years to one person.
• Only Allah’s will is declared.
• The Qur’an claims to have only one author: Allah, the supreme ruler of the universe.
• When Muhammad received the revelation by the angel Gabriel, he sputtered forth words as the will-less tool of a spirit.
• The Qur’an is perfect revelation to Muslims, in it, they can read what is expected from them, but there is no assurance of salvation.
• The Qur’an does not form a unity and is not written in chronological order. It is rather a poetical book to be enjoyed for its style than its content.
What shall we conclude? When taking into account the credentials demanded in the Bible in order to differentiate between inspirations by God versus other sources, we can and should exercise confidence and trust in the Bible. [Read Deut 18:21-22; Jer. 28:9; Isa. 48:3 + 5; 41:21; 44:7 + 26; Deut. 13:1-4; Zech. 4:9; Ps. 105:17-19] Equally, the Bible disqualifies the content of the Qur’an. Its message contradicts the Bible and carries none of the credentials demanded by God. Whatever the source, whether from a man or from demons, the Qur’an does not constitute the Word of God.