What Does Surah 3:81 Declare According to Islam?

Posted By Thomas Perez. June 12, 2011 at 9:05pm. Copyright 2011.


Many Muslims cannot grasp the implication of disagreeing with the truth of the earlier Scriptures given by God through the prophets before Muhammad, namely the Torah of Moses, the prophets and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If the previous Scriptures of the Torah, the prophets and the Gospel were corrupt, then Muhammad could not identify as to what Scripture he would be confirming to before he could even qualify himself as a true prophet.

God made a covenant with various prophets that they would all help a new prophet who is in agreement and confirmation with them in reference to the Scriptures in their possession before a new prophet can be adopted as a true prophet. And since this is a covenant from God, it is reasonably understandable that such a covenant applies to all prophets. But before it can apply to any new prophet, basic criterias must be fulfilled first.

The basic criterion for a new prophet is to agree and confirm with the Scriptures of which God gave to the earlier prophets. The earlier prophets should then believe in the new prophet and help him. We must all realize that there are at least two prophets involved here. But if a new prophet disagrees with the truth of the previous Scriptures of the Torah, prophets and the Gospels, then he has disqualified himself as a true prophet. In other words, he who failed in binding himself to the covenant of the prophets, is himself a false prophet indeed.

The criterion of a true prophet is clearly stated in Surah 3:81. Lets examine this Surah word-by-word and see whether or not if my interpretation of the verse is out of context. This verse is very important to refute Muslims who are accusing the earlier Scriptures (the Bible) as being corrupt.

Surah 3:81 (Pickthal Version) When Allah made a covenant with the prophets, (he said): “Behold that which I have given you of the Scripture and knowledge”. And afterward there will come a messenger, confirming that which you possess. Ye shall believe him. And ye shall help him. He said: “Do you agree, and will ye take up my burden (which I lay upon you) in this (matter)? They answered: “we agree.” He said: “Then bear ye witness. I will be a witness with you.

Lets compare the Qur’an translation of Pickthal with Yusuf Ali’s Version in order to determine if they agreed with each other or not. The two witnesses shall establish the truth or accuracy of the English translation from the Arabic Qur’an.

Surah 3:81 (Yusuf Ali Version) Behold, God took the covenant of the prophets, saying: I give you a book and wisdom; then comes to you an apostle, confirming what is with you; do ye believe in him and render him help? (Yusuf Ali) “Do ye agree and take this my covenant as binding on you?” They said: “We agree.” He said: “Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.

Same thought, different wording. Although both versions have different wordings, the following, nevertheless, can be deduced from Surah 3:81. They are as follows:

1. A new prophet has to subscribe to the revelations given to earlier prophets.

2. He can not disagree with any of the Scriptures given before him.

3. He can not change the Scriptures.

The Foregoing Is Significant For At Least 3 Reasons.

First. Surah 3:81 is presupposing that the previous Scriptures, I.e. The Holy Bible, are the criteria for determining whether a person is a true or false prophet.

Second. Muhammad or anyone else claiming to be a prophet, must confirm that the previous Scriptures remain intact. If these texts were corrupt then he would not be able to confirm them, otherwise he would be guilty of false verification.

Third. At least two prophets; a new prophet shall be confirmed by a practicing prophet (I Sam 16:13).

A Prophet is a spokesman for God; it does not mean “anointed by God” but merely a messenger. The anointing will be imparted from God or His anointed (Luke 4:18).

Did Muhammad agree or disagree with the earlier Scriptures of the Torah of Moses, the prophets, or the Gospel of Jesus Christ? He agreed, that if he disagreed with the Scriptures of the earlier prophets, then he would have disqualified himself as a prophet. And moreover, even if he agreed with the earlier Scriptures but later was found to alter the Scriptures, or the law of God, then that also disqualifies him as a true prophet, for he is breaking the covenant of God made with the earlier prophets. Remember, the words of a prophet must be proven true. Did anybody say; “May 21, 2011?” If the principle of qualification pertaining to the office of a true prophet can apply there (as to Mr. Harold Camping’s failed prophecy of his Rapture prediction of May 21, 2011), it can certainly apply to Muhammad just the same. Just because Muhammad lived several hundred years ago; doesn’t really mean anything. There have been false prophets before – not to long after Christ.

The words of a prophet as a witness for God, must confirm the words of a prophet before him in respect of the same matter. Moreover, the new prophet must have witnesses. The principle of the law of two witnesses are cited in 3 books found in the Holy Bible (Deut 17:6, 19:15, Matt 18:16, II Cor 13:11) Moreover, the words of the prophets must agree with one another (Acts 15:15). Similarly, Acts 15:32  records, “And Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, exhorted the brothers with many words and confirmed them”. A false word never comes from God (Deut 18:22).

The Qur’an, rewritten by Calipth Uthman’s team after Muhammad’s death in 632AD, is the only reliable source of evidence to determine Muhammad’s teachings as to whether or not it conforms with the criterion of a true prophet mentioned in Surah 3:81.

Surah 5:48 (Pickthal) “And onto thee have we revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture before it (Qur’an), and a watcher over it (Qur’an) so JUDGE between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires.

Muhammad believed the divine revelation of the Torah of Moses, the prophets and the Gospel of Jesus, are from the Jews and Christians (Surah 7:157). But why do Muslims disagree with Muhammad that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is in possession of the Christians? Qur’an 7:157 (Pickthal) Those who follow the messenger, the prophet who can neither read or write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the Gospel (which are) WITH THEM.

Surah 29:46 (Pickthal) And argue not with the people of the Scriptures unless it be in that which is better, save with such, of them, as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and REVEALED UNTO YOU; our God and your God are One – (Same God) And unto Him – (same God) we surrender.

It would seem that Muhammad believed in the Christian Gospel. Really? Lets continue.

Qur’an 3:3 (Pickthal) He hast revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scriptures with truth, CONFIRMING that which was (revealed) before it. Even as He (Allah) revealed the Torah and the Gospel.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word Confirm to mean all of the following:

1. Establish the truth or correctness of…

2. State with assurance that something is true

3. Make definite or formerly valid

4. Reinforce (someone) in (opinion or feeling)

As “confirming” is a continuous tense, it does not mean merely confirming the previous Scriptures of the Torah, the prophets and the Gospel at the time of Muhammad were true and correct, but the statement must be still true today. If not so, then it is a lie.

Deut 19:16-19  

16 If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong;

17 Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days;

18 And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;

19 Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.

Matt 18:16  

But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

A Little Acid Test:

Background: Which Came First?

1. The Hebrew Tanakh – The Torah 1400 – 430BC – The Dead Sea Scrolls, the scroll of Isaiah – Hebrew 100BC

2. The Holy Bible – Old Testament – 1400 – 430.

3. The Holy Bible – The New Testament – 55 – circa 68 – 96AD – Khabouris Codex. Arabic: 165AD

4. The Quran – 610AD – 632AD – Kufic: 790AD – Sana’s Codex, Hijazi Script 710AD.

According the aforementioned manuscripts, it is believed that upon such that the testimony of two witnesses shall prevail. Therefore, one can truly be assured that the Old Testament foreshadows the New Testament or New Covenant. And that the New Testament fulfills the Old Testament or Old Covenant. But where does the Qur’an fit into this completed revelation, or Covenant?

Perhaps we must go into the theology of Islam. Since their Qur’an is based upon the validity of the Scriptures before it (the Qur’an) it then must back up, both the Old & New Testament Covenants; not adding on, or subtracting from established Scripture, as rendered in Surah 3:81. But when one examines the book a little bit closer, we come across an odd verse – which really entails many a Muslim belief. I myself, when sharing the Gospel with many of them hear the same rhetoric issuing from their lips – “The denial of Christ death upon the cross.

It is an established fact (by faith), eye witness accounts and sources outside of Biblical citations that Jesus was crucified, died on a cross, was buried and rose again the 3rd day. This account, on several occasions, are recorded as eyewitness accounts and affirmations of such. Such accounts are found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and many sources outside of the New Testament.

The irrefutable evidence is Jesus’ prophecy about His death, burial and resurrection. A prophecy in which He will keep according to His Word (Matt 17:22-23, Mark 10:24, John 19:26 – John & Mary saw His crucifixion) Jesus also declares this of Himself after the fact of the act (Rev 1:17-18).

I am also reminded of three specific verses of Scripture that come to mind (Matt 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33) in which Jesus is cited as saying “Heaven & Earth shall pass away, but my Words shall never pass away”. Moreover, not one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Jesus foretold, whose Word shall not pass away through established and confirmed Scripture; that His death, burial and resurrection would be an accomplished fact. Thus this Word, His Word, is established by the testimony of two witnesses. Moreover, in this case, many witnesses.

Yet it ponders the searcher to ask the question, “Why did Muhammad bear false witness that Jesus was neither killed or crucified. Surah 4:157 cites, “And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, the son of Mary, Allah’s messenger – “they slew Him not, nor crucified Him, but it appeared so.This is very similar to the Gnostic belief that Jesus did not die on the cross, it merely appeared that He did. Others claim, the “swoon theory.”

Here Muhammad contradicted the words of Jesus, more than a prophet before him (Muhammad) in respect to his crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection as duly witnessed by the Apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John. This is a grave breach of the covenant of prophets (Surah 3:81).

Jesus testified that He did not come to destroy or rectify the law, but to fulfill, which implies that the Scriptures are perfect (Matt 5:17). If the Scriptures were corrupt, then Jesus would have to restore it; Not likely, “all be Fulfilled.” Therefore, since the Lord Jesus Christ confirms that the Scripture is perfect “till all be fulfilled,” the assertion by the Islamic religion that the Scriptures is corrupt is baseless. If the Bible is corrupt then their manuscript is also corrupted, in fact even more so; since it is basing validity on a corrupted text – since they claim that the Qur’an upholds the true teachings of the former (The Scriptures). This is no different than what is known as the ‘New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures,’ where Jehovah Witnesses use their updated version of the Bible as the final authority, twisting the deity of Jesus Christ in John 1:1 – rendering Him as a little ‘god’ (small ‘g’ intended in their translation of John 1:1), and twisting other similar verses to fit their ideology and theology. Shame on them.

It would appear that this Surah 3:81″ turned out to be more difficult to some than we can imagine. However, at face value, it would appear that this particular Surah is an affirmation of the Scriptures (the Bible) before the Qur’an.

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