The New Testament Greek manuscripts

Greek New Testament manuscripts vs. Arabic Qur’an and hadith manuscripts

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons)


Many Christian apologists argue that the Qur’an and hadith are historically unreliable. It is claimed that this is due to the scarcity of early manuscript evidence for either Qur’an or hadith. The latter is claimed to be far more unreliable because the earliest compilations date back to only Bukhari about 200 years after the fact. The following quotation is taken from a Christian paper on the subject captures the essence of such arguments raised against Islam by Christian missionaries :

“Documentary evidence for the Qur’an has always been difficult, due to the paucity of primary documents at our disposal (as was mentioned in the previous section). The oldest Muslim documents available are the Muslim Traditions, which were initially compiled as late as 765 A.D. (i.e. The Sira of Ibn Ishaq). Yet the earliest documents which we can refer to today are those compiled by Ibn Hisham (the Sira of the prophet), and the large Hadith compilations of al-Bukhari, Muslim and others, all written in the ninth century, and thus 200 to 250 years after the fact. They are much too late to be useful for our study here. Therefore we must go back to the seventh century itself and ascertain what documents are available with which we can corroborate the reliability of the Qur’an.” [1]

There are several erroneous claims made in the above quotation. The oldest surviving Muslim documents are not the ‘Muslim Traditions’, but rather the Qur’an itself. The so called “Qur’an of Uthman” at the Topkapi museum date to the late first century or early second century(hijri). Another so called “Qur’an of Uthman” which is kept at the Turk ve islam Eserleri muzesi is also dated to the late first century or early second century(hijri). Two other “Qur’an of Uthman” are found in Egypt (Masjid Al-Hussain, Cairo and Darul Kutub al-Misriyya) with similar dates. Then there are the first and late first century or early first century San’a manuscripts and codices. All of these and many more predate the the biographical works of Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Hisham and also the hadith compilations of Bukhari and Muslim. The quotation also erroneously claim that all the hadith compilations date to the ninth century(200-250 after the fact). This is also false. The earliest documentation of hadith that has been discovered predate the Sihah Sittah(six authentic compilations e.g. Bukhari and Muslim) and it is the Sahifa of Hammam bin Munabbih written in the mid-first century(hijri). This has been noted by the hadith scholar Dr. M. Hamidullah in Sahifa Hammam bin Munabbih: The Earliest Extant Work On The Hadith. The compilations of hadith by the four great imams are also readily accessible today. All of them and others predate the compilations of Bukhari and the rest of the sihah sittah. The Christian missionary in the quotation claims that “They are much too late to be useful for our study here”. However, it has just been illustrated that this is an extremely inaccurate assertion. Nevertheless, the Christian author has made the judgment that anything that exceeds 200 years is too late to be of any use. Let us employ this criterion that he has used against Islam on his Holy Bible and see how it fairs. In order to do this I will produce scanned pages from Kurt and Barbara Aland’s The text of the New Testament [2] which was translated from their original Der text des Neuen Testaments in German. Both husband and wife(especially Kurt Aland) are notable textual critics and have worked with other prominent textual critics like Bruce Metzger. Kurt Aland was the head of the Institute for New Testament Textual Research in Germany and editor of the Nestle-Aland edition of Novum Testamentum Graece (Greek New Testament). Kurt and Barbara Aland list all the papyri, uncials and minuscules from the earliest to the latest. In the table one can easily ascertain that there are only two documents that can be definitely said to belong to the second century C.E. namely, p52 and p90. The other earliest papyri are p32, p46, p64+67, p66 and p77. They are dated to either the late second century or early/mid third century. Note that no single surviving document dates back to the first century in the table! The overwhelming majority of all the Greek texts date from the 3rd to as late as the 17th century! The following is the table from pages 159 to 162 of The text of the New Testament listing all the Greek texts and manuscripts.

Isaiah prophecises Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Isaiah 21:7 and the camel rider

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons)


Some Christians (not all) cite Isaiah 21:7 as an example of a prophecy concerning Jesus. Jesus is said to have rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as mentioned in John 12:14 and elsewhere in the other gospels.  Tying that with Isaiah 21:7 which mentions a rider on an ass(donkey) they propose that Isaiah saw Jesus riding on a donkey into Jerusalem. That’s all fine, but what about the other part of the verse that mentions a rider on a camel? The gospels do not mention at all Jesus riding on a camel into any city. The following verse is from the Douay-Rheims version of the Bible which is based on the Septuagint.

“And he saw a chariot with two horsemen, a rider upon an ass, and a rider upon a camel: and he beheld them diligently with much heed.” (Isaiah 21:7)

A Critique on the Crucifixion

Difficulties, Contradictions and Problems in the Crucifixion tale

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons)


“…but they killed him not, nor crucified him…”(Qur’an 4:157)

Jesus’ Crucifixion is the bedrock of mainstream Christianity. It is such an important foundation in Christianity that even sects that have departed from “Orthodoxy” such as Unitarianism and the Jehovah’s Witness have retained the crucifixion. Paul says, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Cor. 15:14). Without crucifixion there is no resurrection. Because the preaching of Christianity is based on the resurrection it goes without saying that the crucifixion is equally significant and important which is also why the official symbol in mainstream Christianity is the cross.

It is often claimed in Evangelical circles and by Christian missionaries that there is a consensus among scholars and historians both conservative and liberal that Jesus certainly died on the cross. This is misleading. There are scholars who argue that because there is such a paucity in early reliable historical records attesting to Jesus’ existence  that must mean that he is a myth, a legend, a fiction. Granted that the circle of scholars of this persuasion is small in number that does not discount the fact that they are up and about. Tom Harpur who was professor of New Testament and New Testament Greek at Wycliffe(The Pagan Christ), Bruno Bauer (Critique of the Gospels and History of Their Origin), Earl Doherty(The Jesus Puzzle), Prof. G.A. Wells(The Historical Evidence for Jesus), Prof. Michael Martin(The Case Against Christianity) are some of the scholars who have questioned Jesus’ existence. Thus to continue claiming that all scholars both liberal and conservative agree on the crucifixion is untrue. Undoubtedly, a vast majority of scholars say the crucifixion happened, but not without  serious qualification. They do not say it as a fact, but rather as a probable occurence. Historians involved in this area of study base their judgment on probabilities rather than conclusive historical data. Using the historical method scholars comb through available  historical materials, assess them and thereafter produce what they think to be the most probable conclusion. Historians using the critical historical method do not recognise supernatural events because they are the least probable occurences which is why God cannot be in the equation hence discounting both resurrection and Jesus’ ascent to heaven as historical(at least according to the historical method). A person living 2000 years ago would be regarded as dead because it is highly improbable(or impossible) for a man to live for centuries.  Because Jesus lived around 2000 years ago historians conclude that he must have died.  This is of course according to the critical historical method. The real question that historians are interested in is how he died.  And for this they look at the historical records surrounding the person Jesus. According to their perspective based on their research the most probable explanation or cause for Jesus’ death is the crucifixion. Thus many modern (non-Muslim) historians have no qualms over Jesus’ death  itself not because they think that Jesus was factually and definitely crucified but because a man living 2000 years ago cannot still be alive.  In this article we will be looking closely at some of those major data and sources used to propose that Jesus died by crucifixion. God willing, we will illustrate  by proposing nine contentions(using historical and theological arguments) that the historical material employed are insufficient in  proving the crucifixion and that Jesus certainly did not die the shameful death of a crucified man.

Biblical Christian Taqiyyah

Christians lie to promote their religion

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons)


The activity of Christians promoting their faith through deceit all over the world is not something new to Muslims. We are well aware of the sly tactics employed by Evangelical and Christian missionaries in delivering the message of Christianity to the unbelievers. We know about the Christian Evangelical ship Logos that sails around the world making stops in third world countries like Indonesia and luring the people by giving them gifts in exchange for belief in Christ. How many times have you heard missionary propagandists like Christian Prince and Sam Shamoun throwing accusations of so called “Islamic taqiyyah” at Muslims saying that Islam teaches its followers to use deceit as one of the ways to deliver Islam. The word Taqiyyah comes from the root waqa which means to “to shield/protect oneself”. However, when Christian missionaries talk about Taqiyyah what they mean is that Muslims lie to spread their religion. In this article we will unequivocally show that Christians are the ones who lie and deceive to spread their faith which is incidentally taught by  their Holy Bible(s).

Biblical errancy in Mark 1

Human Error or Divine Incompetence?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons)

Can you imagine a book that claims to convey factual information and data making a terrible factual error in its first paragraph? Let’s say we have a book called “101 Facts on Animals” and in the first supposed fact it makes an UNFACTUAL claim. Would you be taking that book seriously anymore or will you consider chucking it in the bin and find other books instead? This is the predicament that Christians face when the claim is made that the Gospel according to Mark is divinely inspired or “god-breathed”. At the very beginning of the book and in the first chapter of Mark we have a truly irreconcilable textual error.

In the beginning was an error…..

Unveiling Polycarp

A dialogue between Ibn Anwar and Polycarp

I am not quite sure who Mr. Polycarp is, but it does seem fairly certain that he is a Christian apologist. He first appeared on Unveiling-Chrisianity on the Trinity Challenge post where he simply posted a reference, that is,  Matthew 28:19 in answer to Ibn Sa’ad’s challenge to produce a single verse that teaches the Trinity in the Bible(s).  I in turn replied and directed him to an article I had written on Matthew 28:19. Thereafter, we had some very interesting exchanges that you may follow here.  On August 16, he also comented on another article. The article is on Paul written by my friend Sami Zaatari the Muslim apologist. Naturally, I responded and that led to some further exchanges until finally Polycarp relented and asked for time out so he could gather his sources and provide much more meaningful rebuttals. I had no objection to it and opined that maybe he could even produce a whole thesis on the subject to which he said, “maybe I will!”. The thesis isn’t forthcoming, but of course one understands that thesis’ are time consuming and take a while to complete. So, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and give him at least 2 years to finish it. Neverheless, he has returned and produced the following response which is his latest.

Whose canon is divinely inspired?

  Multitude of Christian canons

by Ibn Anwar

    The word canon comes from the Greek kanna which accoding to Prof. Bleddyn J. Roberts means ” ‘reed’ or ‘cane’; which gives the idea of a measuring-rod, and it was first used in this sense when Athanasius applied it to the books of the NT.” [1] In the Biblical sense canon refers to a select number of books that are considered authoritative and divinely inspired, hence, their inclusion in a particular Bible volume. Many Christians, especially from the west are pretty much familiar with the 66 books canon – 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. The Protestants would be less familiar with the Catholic canon which consists 73 books containing 7 extra books. The so-called Deuterocanonical books are regarded as apocryphal(doubtful) by the Protestants, but the Catholics consider them canonical. One may think that the existence of different canons end at the Catholic-Protestant traditions. One would be very wrong to think that. As a matter of fact throughout Christian history there have been numerous different canons that differ from one another. In this article we shall have a glimpse at those many Christian canons. The main purpose of this article is to show that those Christians out there who want to talk about Qur’anic manuscripts burned by Uthman r.a. and try to undermine its credibility from that approach need to reconsider their tactic.