Does The Quran Affirm the Teachings of Paul?


Bassam Zawadi


Christian Missionary Argument No.1:

The Quran says:

Surah 3:55

Behold! Allah said: "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the day of resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto Me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute."

The Quran says that those who follow Jesus will be made superior on the day of resurrection. Who else could these people be besides the Christians? 

My Response:

Tabari has it in his commentary:

حَدَّثَنَا بِشْر بْن مُعَاذ , قَالَ : ثنا يَزِيد , قَالَ : ثنا سَعِيد , عَنْ قَتَادَة  هُمْ أَهْل الْإِسْلَام الَّذِينَ اِتَّبَعُوهُ عَلَى فِطْرَته وَمِلَّته وَسُنَّته فَلَا يَزَالُونَ ظَاهِرِينَ عَلَى مَنْ نَاوَأَهُمْ إِلَى يَوْم الْقِيَامَة


حَدَّثَنَا الْقَاسِم , قَالَ : ثنا الْحُسَيْن , قَالَ : ثني حَجَّاج , عَنْ اِبْن جُرَيْج  نَاصِر مَنْ اِتَّبَعَك عَلَى الْإِسْلَام عَلَى الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِلَى يَوْم الْقِيَامَة  

Bashr bin Mu'aath said that Yazid said that Sa'eed told on the authority of Qatadah: they are the people of Islam that followed him based on his fitrah (natural disposition), religion, and Sunnah. So, they still are made superior over those who oppose them until the Day of Judgment. 

Al Qaasim said that Al Hussain said that Hujjaaj said on the authority of Ibn Jurayj: He made victorious those who followed you (Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him) with Islam over those that disbelieved until the Day of Judgment. (Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Jami' al-bayan fi ta'wil al-Qur'an, Commentary on Surah 3:55, Source) 

So, we see that one opinion is that the people being referred to in the verse are the Muslims of today. Since we are the ones who are truly following the teachings of Jesus. Jesus (peace be upon him) is reported to have prophesized of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to come and that he must be followed. Since us Muslims do this, then in effect we are the true followers of Jesus.  

Tabari states another opinion:

الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِهِ مِنْ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيل وَغَيْرهمْ

 Those that believed from Bani Israel and other than them. (ibid.) 

So, it could also refer to the original followers of Jesus during his time. They will be superior because Islam has come to make known that those people who indeed followed Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) are those who will be going to heaven, and thus, they are honored in this life. 

So to say that its referring to the Christians of today is false and only an assumption when analyzing the verse by it self. But if we look at the overall teachings of Islam and see how it clearly goes against the teachings of Pauline Christianity, we see that it cannot be referring to the Christians of today. 

Christian Missionary Argument No.2:

The Quran says:

Surah 61:14

O ye who believe! Be Allah's helpers, even as Jesus son of Mary said unto the disciples: Who are my helpers for Allah ? They said: We are Allah's helpers. And a party of the Children of Israel believed, while a party disbelieved. Then We strengthened those who believed against their foe, and they became the uppermost. 

The Quran says that the believers of Jesus became the victorious ones and prevailed. We all know that Pauline Christianity is the one that prevailed. Therefore, the Quran affirms Pauline Christianity.  

My Response:

Tafsir of Qurtubi says:

 قَالَ اِبْن عَبَّاس : أَيَّدَ اللَّه الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فِي زَمَن عِيسَى بِإِظْهَارِ مُحَمَّد عَلَى دِين الْكُفَّار 

Ibn Abbas said: Allah strengthened those who believed in the time of Jesus by having Muhammad's religion be uppermost over the religion of the disbelievers. (Abu 'Abdullah Al-QurtubiTasfir al Jami' li-ahkam al-Qur'an, Commentary on Surah 61:14, Source) 

Tafsir of Tabari says: 

فَقَوَّيْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْ الطَّائِفَتَيْنِ مِنْ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيل عَلَى عَدُوّهِمْ , الَّذِي كَفَرُوا مِنْهُمْ بِمُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِتَصْدِيقِهِ إِيَّاهُمْ , أَنَّ عِيسَى عَبْد اللَّه وَرَسُوله , وَتَكْذِيبه مَنْ قَالَ هُوَ إِلَه , وَمَنْ قَالَ : هُوَ اِبْن اللَّه تَعَالَى ذِكْره , فَأَصْبَحُوا ظَاهِرِينَ , فَأَصْبَحَتْ الطَّائِفَة الْمُؤْمِنُونَ ظَاهِرِينَ عَلَى عَدُوّهِمْ الْكَافِرِينَ مِنْهُمْ 

So we strengthened those who believed from the two tribes of Bani Israel over their enemies, those who disbelieved in Muhammad peace be upon him for what he came to attest to them, that is that Jesus is the slave of Allah and his Messenger, and to expose the lies of those who say that he is God, and those who say that he is the son of Allah the Most High, so they (the believing tribe) have been made victorious over the disbelieving enemies.

قَالَ : لَمَّا بَعَثَ اللَّه مُحَمَّدًا , وَنَزَلَ تَصْدِيق مَنْ آمَنَ بِعِيسَى , أَصْبَحَتْ حُجَّة مَنْ آمَنَ بِهِ ظَاهِرَة                          

He said: When Allah sent Muhammad, and sent the confirmation of who believed in Jesus, it was established that those who believed in him (Jesus) were uppermost. (Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Jami' al-bayan fi ta'wil al-Qur'an, Commentary on Surah 61:14, Source)

 Tafsir of Razi says...

وقال إبراهيم: أصبحت حجة من آمن بعيسى ظاهرة بتصديق محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم وأن عيسى كلمة الله وروحه،                                                                                          

Ibrahim said: It became established that the sect that believed in Jesus was uppermost by the confirmation of Muhammad (peace be upon him), and Jesus is the word of Allah and His spirit. (Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Tafsir al-Kabir, Commentary on Surah 61:14, Source) 

So basically, we can see that when God said that those who believed in Jesus were strengthened and became victorious over those who disbelieved, it meant that eventually, the Quran would come down and confirm the truth. It came down to confirming the true revelation of Jesus Christ and that those who truly believed in the original teachings of Jesus were strengthened in status and made victorious because the truth had finally come to confirm that they were on the proper path. It is similar to how the Qur'an describes the believers as uppermost in success (Surah 3:139).  

The Quran could not affirm Paul's teachings. Paul preached a crucified Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:23), while the Quran preached a non-crucified Jesus (Surah 4:157). So, the Quran was not and will never affirm the teachings of Paul. 

Other Christian Arguments

Christians pose another set of arguments. For instance, they quoted narrations that indicate that some Muslims believed that Paul was a messenger of God. Well, this is nothing more than an appeal to authority. Because it is clear that these Muslims were ignorant of who Paul was and were ignorant of Christianity. It is also possible they were passing off traditions from Christian and Jewish sources. We take our religion from the Quran and the authentic teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Since these two condemn the teachings of Paul, this is enough for the Muslims. Despite her many faults, Dr. Christine Schirrmacher still had to admit in her article, "Islamic Views about Christian Scriptures":

While the disciples of Jesus are mentioned in passing in the Koran, the text does not reference the New Testament church, the missionary charge given to the Apostles, or any of the New Testament letters or their contents and authors.

This and other arguments have been thoroughly addressed in the following two articles: 



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