The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ was proclaimed in the centre of Slough on June 7th by Pastors Peter Simpson and John Sherwood, helped by Mrs Lesley Pilkington, who was able to engage in various profitable conversations with passers-by, including a number of Muslims.
As Pastor Sherwood was preaching about the God-ordained blessing of the family unit headed by a mother and a father who produce children, an atheist walked by and said that we should not be thinking about producing children because over-population is the great problem which is threatening the world’s existence.
Such a view of course ties in with the whole climate-change-anxiety scenario which has gripped the western world. The reality, however, is that “the global fertility rate has (actually) declined dramatically since the 1950s … Of the 195 current nations upon earth, 183 are anticipated to have a fertility rate below the replacement level (by the year 2100)” (1). It is very disturbing how the modern environmental movement actually sees people themselves as the problem, when the Bible clearly teaches that a numerous offspring is the blessing of God to both individuals and nations.
Pastor Simpson had a conversation with a group of Muslim schoolboys, who insisted that the Bible had been corrupted and could not be relied upon. The minister responded by telling them that the Qur’an itself endorses the validity of the Christian Bible. For example, in Surah 3:3, we read of Allah,
“It is he who sent down to thee, in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it : And he sent down the law of Moses and the Gospel” (2).
Pastor Simpson also told the schoolboys that in Surah 10:94 Allah actually advises Mohammed that if he is in doubt about the revelations which he has received, then he should go to the people of the Book, i.e. to the Jews and Christians, who have been reading their Scriptures since before time of Mohammed.
“If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto Thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book before Thee” (Surah 10:94) (3).
This verse plainly implies that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are God’s own revelation.
The Penn minister also endeavoured to deal with the Muslim claim that there has only ever been a single text of the Qur’an which is incorruptible and has never been changed. This claim does not stand up to scrutiny.
No complete manuscript of the Qur’an existed during Mohammed’s lifetime. His revelations were committed to written fragments and people’s memories. However, many of those who memorised what Mohammed had told them died in the Battle of Yamama in December 632 (4), some six months after Mohammed’s death in June 632 (5).
Abu Bakr, the first caliph after Mohammed’s death, ruled from 632 to 634 (6). He gathered together the remaining portions of the Qur’anic text and a codex was put together around 634. This was eventually lodged with Hafsa, Mohamamed’s widow.
The third caliph, Uthman, ruled from 644 to 656. During his reign, some 19 years following Mohammed’s death, there were disagreements about the text of the Qur’an. Uthman therefore decreed that Hafsa’s copy, along with other textual sources, should be compiled into an official version. This task was overseen by Zaid ibn Thabit, who had been Mohammed’s scribe.
Sahih al Bukhari, Sunni Islam’s most trusted source for the ‘Hadith’ (the collected sayings of Mohammed), tells us that one copy of this official compilation was sent to every province with instructions that “all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt” (7) (8). Modern editions of the Qur’an are based on Uthman’s official version. So we learn that certain Qur’anic texts were destroyed in order to make way for the officially endorsed version. This undermines the Islamic claim to a complete unimpaired text which has never been changed.
A scholar associated with Mohammed himself, Abdullah bin Masud, called the official version of the Qur’an a deception, and also said that it contained three chapters which should not be there at all.
One of the men to whom Mohammed had actually recited the Qur’an and one of the few who would gather Qur’anic portions whilst Mohammed lived, Ubay Ibn Ka’b, also stated that Uthman’s official version was missing two chapters (9). In addition to this, the son of the second Muslim caliph, Ibn Umar, openly declared that much of the Qur’an had disappeared (10). Even Mohammed’s own wife, A’isha, tells us that in Surah 33 of Uthman’s official copy many verses are omitted (11).
Pastor Simpson was not able to refer to all these precise details during the conversation with the schoolboys, but did emphasise the general message that under the reign of the third caliph a standardised text of the Qur’an had to be created, whilst other textual sources had to be destroyed.
Prayer is being offered up concerning these young Muslims, and the many others who heard the gospel in Slough, whatever their religious background, including those of no faith. May many come to see the truth of the Bible, and that in this unique book alone lies the message of how to find salvation and everlasting life.
2 The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an, Amana Corporation, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, p126
3 The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an, Amana Corporation, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, p504
5 David Wood, https://www.namb.net/apologetics/resource/has-the-qur-an-been-perfectly-preserved/
8 Sahih al-Bukhari 4987
9 David Wood, https://www.namb.net/apologetics/resource/has-the-qur-an-been-perfectly-preserved/
10 Abu Ubaid, Kitab Fada’il-al-Qur’an, quoted by David Wood in above article
11 Abu Ubaid, Kitab Fada’il-al-Qur’an, quoted by David Wood in above article