By Samuel Green

We must not choose to test God. Testing God is a great sin and there is a command against it in the Bible: Do not test the LORD your God (Deuteronomy 6:16, NIV). However, while we must not test God, God does command us to test prophets:

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. See, I (Jesus) have told you ahead of time. (Matthew 24:24-25, NIV)

Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22, NIV)

Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1, NIV).

For Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14, NIV).

We must test anyone who claims to be a prophet

Muhammad claims to be a prophet of God. Christians cannot reject his claim as impossible because Christians believe that God has sent prophets. But this does not mean that Christians must blindly accept that Muhammad is a prophet, that would be foolish and disobedient. Instead we are commanded to test prophets to determine whether they are from God. Muhammad may be a true prophet or he may be a false prophet. We must test him to see which he is. Are you prepared to test Muhammad as God has commanded?

How do we test a prophet? We test a prophet by examining his prophecy to see whether it is true. The prophecy of Muhammad is recorded in the Qur'an so we need to test what the Qur'an says to see whether Muhammad is a true prophet.

The Qur'an makes three claims as to why Muhammad is a true prophet. These claims are "testable". These claims are:

  1. The Qur'an confirms the teaching of the Jewish and Christian scriptures.
  2. The Qur'an makes clearer the teaching of the Jewish and Christian scriptures.
  3. Muhammad is foretold in the Jewish and Christian scriptures.

The Jewish and Christian scriptures are the writings of the prophets and are contained in the Bible. These include the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel. For a comprehensive analysis of what the Qur'an says about the Bible follow the link at the end of this article.

For the rest of this article I wish to take seriously these claims and test them. I pray that you will not seek excuses to avoid this test but will rather obey God and seek the truth.


O ye unto whom the Scripture hath been given! Believe in what We have revealed,
confirming that which ye possess. (4:47 Pickthall)

In some ways the Qur'an does confirm the Bible. For instance the Bible teaches that there is only one God and that he is the creator of all things and that there is a day when God will judge all mankind. The Qur'an too teaches these ideas and so confirms the Bible. However at many other important points the Qur'an contradicts the teaching of the Bible and so does not confirm it at all. Here are a few brief examples:

Fighting for God

In the Gospel Jesus very clearly taught that Christians are not to fight for their religion. His apostles also taught the same:

(T)urn the other cheek ... love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:39, 44)

Put back your sword in its place ... for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. (Matthew 26:52)

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesian 6:12)

But in the Qur'an it says that the Gospel taught that fighting for God (religion) is acceptable.

(T)hey fight in the way of God; they kill, and are killed; that is a promise binding upon God in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Koran (Sura 9:111, Arberry).

What the Qur'an teaches about the Gospel is wrong. The Gospel clearly prohibits fighting for religion. The Qur'an does not confirm the Bible at this major point.

The Punishment for a Thief

In the Bible the punishment for stealing is that the thief must repay the property he stole plus an additional amount to compensate (Leviticus 6:1-5, Exodus 22:3-4). If the thief cannot repay then he is forced to work to repay his debt (Exodus 22:1). The maximum length of time that he can work is six years, then he must be released (Deuteronomy 15:12-14). This type of justice is property punishment for a property crime.

In the Qur'an however a thief is to have his hand cut off:

As for the thief, both male and female, cut off their hands. (Qur'an 5:38, Pickthall)

This type of punishment is a permanent lifelong physical punishment for a property crime. The Qur'an's teaching in no way confirms the Bible's teaching.

Remarrying the Same Woman

In the Torah, God commanded Moses that a man must not remarry his wife if after leaving him she has married another man. In fact God said it is detestable to do such a thing.

If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)

However, the Qur'an allows a man to remarry his wife when after leaving him she has been married another man:

And if he hath divorced her (the third time), then she is not lawful unto him thereafter until she hath wedded another husband. Then if he (the other husband) divorce her it is no sin for both of them that they come together again. (Sura 2:230, Pickthall)

What the Qur'an allows the Bible teaches is disgusting, thus the Qur'an does not confirm the Bible.

The Death of Jesus

In the Bible Jesus clearly taught that he would die and be raised from the dead:

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. (Matthew 16:21)

Jesus also said that his death and resurrection was what the prophets before him had foretold:

He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:45-47)

Jesus also explained the meaning of his death:

Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- just as the Son of Man (Jesus) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:26-28)

However, when the Qur'an teaches about the death of Jesus on the cross it says that he never really died!

"We (the Jews) slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God" - yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them. ... and they slew him not of certainty - no indeed; God raised him up to Him; God is All-mighty, All-wise.(Sura 4:156-157, Arberry)

Jesus taught that his death on the cross was to pay for our sins and that it was part of God's work that he came to perform. However in the Qur'an Jesus' death on the cross is no death at all. Thus the Qur'an does not confirm the Bible at this most important point.

The Account of Noah

The Qur'an also incorrectly retells many of the Biblical accounts. Here are just two brief examples. The Bible clearly teaches that all of Noah's sons came into the ark with him.

This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. ... The LORD then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. ... And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. (Genesis 6:9-10, 7:1, 7:7)

However, in the Qur'an one of Noah's sons did not come into the ark:

And Noah called to his son, who was standing apart (from the ark), "Embark with us, my son, and be thou not with the unbelievers!" He said, "I will take refuge in a mountain, that shall defend me from the water." ... And the waves came between them and he was drowned. (Sura 11:42-43, Arberry)

Thus the story of Noah in the Qur'an does not confirm the Bible's teaching.

The Plagues of Egypt

The Bible records in great detail the plagues that God sent upon Egypt. This can be found in Exodus chs. 7-11. A summary of the plagues is as follows:

  1. River turned to blood. Exodus 7:14-24
  2. Frogs 8:1-15
  3. Gnats 8:16-19
  4. Flies 8:20-32
  5. Death of livestock. 9:1-7
  6. Boils 9:8-12
  7. Hail 9:13-35
  8. Locusts 10:1-20
  9. Darkness 10:21-29
  10. Death of the firstborn 11:1-10

In the Qur'an we are told that one of the plagues was a flood.

So we let loose upon them the flood and the locusts, the lice and the frogs, the blood, distinct signs; but they waxed proud and were a sinful people. (Sura 7:130/133, Arberry)

This is just wrong; a flood was not one of the plagues that God sent on Egypt. So again we see that the Qur'an does not confirm the Bible.

Conclusion: The Qur'an claims to confirm the teaching of the Bible. However, when its teaching is compared to that of the Bible it is seen that the Qur'an does not confirm the Bible at major and minor points. No doubt many excuses could be made up to excuse the Qur'an for this failure, but why rely on excuses? The Qur'an claims to confirm the teaching of the Bible but it does not therefore it is not true and not genuine prophecy from God.


This Koran is not such as can be produced by other than Allah;
on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it,
and a fuller explanation of the Book (10:37 AYA/38 MP).

Verily this Koran doth (does) explain to the Children of Israel
most of the matters in which they disagree (27:76 AYA).

The Death of Jesus

In the Bible the death of Jesus on the cross is very clearly explained. Both Jesus and his disciples taught that Jesus' death was to pay for our sins so that we could be saved from the judgement of God.

Jesus said:

(T)he Son of Man (Jesus) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)

The apostle Peter taught:

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. (1 Peter 3:18)

The apostle Paul taught:

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law (eg. judgement) by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles (nations) through Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:13-14)

The apostle John taught:

He (Jesus) is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

The above quotes show that the Bible explains the death of Jesus very clearly. But when the Qur'an is read it does not make clearer the Bible's teaching instead it actually confused this teaching. It does this by teaching that Jesus never died on the cross.

"We (the Jews) slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God" - yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them. ... and they slew him not of certainty - no indeed; God raised him up to Him; God is All-mighty, All-wise.(Sura 4:156-157, Arberry)

What is the result of what the Qur'an teaches about Jesus' crucifixion? Is the meaning of Jesus' death taught more "clearly" so that it is easier to understand? No, it is the opposite. The death of Jesus is not even believed by many Muslims. Thus the Qur'an does not make clearer the teaching of the Bible, instead it confuses and takes away from people God's word that was already clear.

Abraham's sacrifice

The Bible teaches very clearly that Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God:

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. ... When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." (Genesis 22:1-12, NIV)

The rest of the Bible also teaches clearly that Isaac was the son that Abraham offered in sacrifice:

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son. (Hebrews 11:17, NIV)

Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? (James 2:21, NIV)

The account of Abraham's sacrifice is also told in the Qur'an. However the account is not very clear. In particular the identity of the son is not explicitly stated.

We gave him (Abraham) news of a gentle son. And when he reached the age when he could work with him, his father said to him: "My son, I dreamt that I was sacrificing you. Tell me what you think." He replied, "Father, do as you are bidden. God willing you shall find me steadfast." And when they had both submitted to God, and Abraham had laid down his son prostrate upon his face, We called out to him saying: "Abraham, you have fulfilled you vision." (Sura 37:99-104, Dawood)

Since the identity of Abraham's son is not mentioned this has led to all types of confusion for the Muslim community. Al-Tabari is one of Islam's greatest historians of the Qur'an. He freely admits that the early Muslim theologians were not sure which son Abraham offered, some thought it was Isaac, others that it was Ishmael. In fact Al-Tabari even says that there are reliable hadiths (reports) from Muhammad some of which say it was Isaac and others which say it was Ishmael:

The earliest sages of our Prophet's nation disagree about which of Abraham's two sons it was that he was commanded to sacrifice. Some say it was Isaac, while others say it was Ishmael. Both views are supported by statements related on the authority of the Messenger of God. If both groups of statements were equally sound, then - since they both came from the Prophet - only the Quran could serve as proof that the account naming Isaac is clearly the more truthful of the two. (Al-Tabari, The History of al-Tabari, Vol. II, p. 82, Prophets and Patriarchs (trans. William M. Brenner), State University of New York Press, Albany 1987)

This confusion, caused by the Qur'an, comes to a climax with the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Adha. This festival occurs during the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. At this festival an animal is sacrificed to remember the time when Abraham offered, not Isaac, but his son Ishmael. The Bible clearly teaches that the son Abraham offered was Isaac. The Qur'an does not say who the son was, but the result of the Qur'an's unclear teaching is that Muslims reject the clear teaching of the Bible and instead think that the son was Ishmael even though there is not evidence for this from the Qur'an.

Again we see that what was clearly taught in the Bible is confused by the Qur'an and has led to confusion and disagreements between Muslims and Jews and Christians. Thus the Qur'an's claim to explain more clearly the Bible is seen to be false yet again.

(For more information about Abraham's sacrifice and the title of "only son" follow the link at the end of this article.)

Son of God

In the Bible there is a lot of teaching about the "Son of God". This teaching is quite clear. The Qur'an also has much to say about the "Son of God", however it does not confirm or make clearer the Bible's teaching, instead it misunderstands and actually confuses what the Bible clearly taught.

What does the Bible say about the "Son of God"?

The phrase, "Son of God" is a title that is used in the Bible to denote someone's relationship to God. This relationship involves the person, or people, receiving promises from God that they will receive something from him. In this way they are an heir to God as they have been promised and inheritance from him. Now since a son is the heir to his father so too those who have received promises from God are called "sons" of God. In the book of Exodus we see that the whole nation of Israel is called God's "son".

The LORD said to Moses, "When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. ... Then say to Pharaoh, `This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, "Let my son go, so he may worship me." But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.'" (Exodus 4:21-23, NIV)

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. (Hosea 11:1, NIV)

Later in Israel's history God appointed David as Israel's king. The title of "Son" that had been applied to Israel was now also applied to her king as he was the head of the nation and had received a special promise from God. Thus every king of Israel had the title of "Son" of God:

The LORD declares to you (David) that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. (2 Samuel 7:11-14, NIV)

The king of Israel also had another title, the title of Messiah. (The Greek translation of the word Messiah is Christ.) The word Messiah comes from the Hebrew word "to anoint". Every king of Israel was anointed to the position of king, and so every king was The Anointed or the Messiah. We see this happen when Saul was anointed king over Israel:

Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him, saying, "Has not the LORD anointed you leader over his inheritance? (1 Samuel 10:1, NIV)

What have we seen so far? We have seen that every king of Israel had the titles of Son of God and Messiah/Christ. Thus the Son of God was the Messiah/Christ and the Messiah/Christ was the Son of God. This connection between the two titles was clearly understood at the time of Jesus for we see the two titles used together:

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" ... Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16:13-16, NIV)

Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.(Matthew 26:62-64, NIV)

Hopefully now you can understand what the Bible means when it talks about the Son of God. It is not talking about God having sex and producing a baby. The title Son of God does not even imply divinity in the person for, as we have seen, the nation of Israel and her king were call God's son. Jesus is the true fulfillment of the Son of God. He is the true son of David, the true Israel. He is the true son who received the inheritance from his Father God. This inheritance was the kingdom of God itself.

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (Matthew 28:18, NIV)

Now does the Qur'an make clearer the Bible's teaching about the "Son of God"? The answer is no! In fact the Qur'an misunderstands and confuses this teaching from the Bible. Throughout the Qur'an it denies that Jesus is the Son of God yet mistakenly still calls him the Messiah.

The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was no more than God's apostle and his Word which He cast to Mary (Sura 4:171, Dawood).

The Jews say, Ezra is the "Son of God"; the Christians say, "The Messiah is the Son of God." That is the utterance of there mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. God assail them! How they are perverted. (Sura 9:30, Arberry)

They say: "God has begotten a son" God forbid! (Sura 10:68, Dawood)

The Qur'an shows no understanding of the meaning of the title "Son of God". In the Qur'an it means nothing more than to imply that God had sex, and as we have seen from the Bible this is not what the title means. In the Qur'an Jesus is given the title of Messiah and yet denied the title of the Son of God; the Bible clearly teaches that both of these titles go together.

Again we see that what was clearly taught in the Bible is confused by the Qur'an and has led to confusion and disagreements between Muslims and Christians. The Qur'an claims to make clearer the teaching of the Bible but this claim is false. It does not make clearer the Bible's teaching, in fact it only confuses it.


Those who follow the Messenger (Mohammed), the Prophet who can
neither read nor write, whom they will find described
in the Torah and the Gospel (which are) with them (7:157 MP).

In order to decide whether or not Muhammad is foretold in the Bible you will need to read the Biblical scriptures that are referred to and decide for yourself whether you think they foretell the coming of Muhammad. You may like to read my review of Jamal Badawi's article on this subject. He lists all the common Biblical scriptures that Muslims claim refer to Muhammad. Personally I have found all the attempts to demonstrate this unconvincing.

It is obvious that Muslims have also found it hard to find any reference to Muhammad in the Bible. I say this because some Muslims have actually written their own Gospel so that it now fortells the coming of Muhammad. Two examples of this are "The Gospel According to Islam" (1979) and "The Gospel of Barnabas" (14th century):

But she (Mary) pointed to the babe. They said, How can we talk to an infant in the cradle. But the child spoke up and said, I am indeed a servant of God. He hath appointed me as a sign for men and a mercy from Him. This was a matter decreed ... That I may bring to the world the good news of a messenger who will come after me as light and mercy to all the nations; his name shall be called Admirable (2:20-3:1). (Ahmad Shafaat, The Gospel According to Islam, New York: Vantage Press, 1979)

Then said the priest: "How shall the Messiah be called?" ... Jesus answered: "The name of the Messiah is admirable ... Mohammed is his blessed name".(The Gospel of Barnabas, chapter. 97, 14th century A.D.)

If Muhammad really was foretold in the Gospel there would be no need for Muslims to rewrite the Gospel with Muhammad now foretold in it. These false Gospels are contributing proof that Muhammad is not foretold in the Bible and that this claim of the Qur'an is false.

(For more information about these false gospels follow the link at the end of this article.)


Anyone who claims to be a prophet must be prepared to have his prophecy tested - it is a command from God! The prophecy of Muhammad is the Qur'an and the Qur'an makes three claims that can be tested:

  1. It confirms the teaching of the Bible.
  2. It makes clearer the teaching of the Bible.
  3. Muhammad is foretold in the Bible.

In this article I have presented the evidence so that you can consider these claims for yourself. I personally can only conclude that the claims of the Qur'an are false. It does not confirm the teaching of the Bible; it does not make clearer the teaching of the Bible; and Muhammad is not foretold in the Bible. It is because the Qur'an is false that Muslims have had to rewrite the Gospel, with books like "The Gospel According to Islam" and "The Gospel of Barnabas", in order to make the Bible and Qur'an confirm each other. This also explains why so many Muslims I have spoken to attack the Bible and accuse it of being changed; they are trying to escape the failure of the Qur'an by laying the blame on others.

Links mentioned in this article:
More information on Abraham's sacrifice
What Does the Qur'an Say about the Jewish and Christian Scriptures?
The Gospel of Barnabas and The Gospel According to Islam
The author welcomes your response via email
Christian-Muslim Discussion Papers ©2004
Further Discussion Papers by Samuel Green

Answering Islam Home Page