In Conflict with Islam

The Qur'an expects a Muslim to believe in the books of God which he gave to Moses, David, Jesus and other prophets. According to Islamic teachings, these books should in no way contradict each other. Muslims believe that if the Bible differs it must be because it has been corrupted. Many Muslims think that the Gospel of Barnabas is in harmony with the Qur’an in its teaching about the crucifixion and other matters. Therefore, they claim, it must be the one and only true Gospel, the original.

Here are a few important points about which the Qur’an and this gospel are not in harmony:

  1. According to some Muslims understanding the original Gospel descended upon Jesus. While the Gospel of Barnabas does indeed claim that it descended into the heart of Jesus (Barnabas, chapter 10), it does not specify that Jesus received God’s words precisely from a heavenly copy of the book. The writer does not appear to subscribe to this Muslim view of inspiration.

  2. Christ is portrayed as having voiced and believed the Muslim creed, Shahada, "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet". This creed was not laid down until 600 years after Jesus. Even in the Qur’an it is never given as one complete statement at one time.

  3. This Gospel presents Jesus and his mission as being identical to that of John the Baptist in the role of forerunner to the Messiah, who is Muhammad (Barnabas, chapters 42-44 and 220). The author has completely omitted John the Baptist and his ministry, whilst both the Qur'an and the New Testament acknowledge John's prophethood and teach that he was a forerunner of Jesus. Moreover, the Qur'an accepts Jesus as the Messiah but the Jesus in this gospel refuses to accept this title. In several passages this gospel openly suggests that Jesus is not the Messiah (Barnabas, chapters 42, 82, 83, 96, 97, 198, 206).

  4. This Gospel portrays Mary as giving birth to Jesus without pain (Barnabas, chapter 3) and that his birth took place in a shepherd’s house or shelter. However, the Qur’an relates the pangs of childbirth, which drove Mary to cry out in pain and that Jesus was born under a palm tree in the wilderness.

  5. Many Muslims believe that Allah has sent 124,000 prophets into the world, but this Gospel places the count at 144,000 (Barnabas, chapter 17).

  6. It tells us that God sent a group of believers to hell for 70,000 years (Barnabas, chapter 137), whereas the Qur’an says that God would not harm a believer even so much as by the weight of an ant (Surah 4:40).

  7. According to the teaching of this Gospel when the Tawrat became contaminated, God sent another book, the Zabur or Psalms. When this was altered by people, God gave the Injil - the Gospel to replace it. This theory holds that when a divine book is altered or corrupted, God sends another book. Consequently, when the Gospel was corrupted God sent the Qur’an. This raises an important question with regard to the Gospel of Barnabas. If, as many Muslims believe, this is an unaltered version of the true and original Gospel, then there was no need to send the Qur’an to replace it.

  8. According to this gospel, there are nine heavens and ten hells (Barnabas, chapters 52,57,178). However, the Qur'an teaches only seven heavens (Surah 2:29).

  9. This Gospel teaches that Satan is the creator of hell (Barnabas, chapter 35), whereas the Qur’an teaches that God is Creator of hell (Surah 25:11).

  10. In this Gospel, it is stated that before the last day there will be a fifteen-day schedule of step-by-step destruction (Barnabas, chapter 53). It further states that on the thirteenth day the heavens shall be rolled up like a book and every living thing shall die. All this is in clear contradiction with the Qur’an, which states that men will be alive until the last day (Surah 80:33-37). Nowhere does the Qur'an mention the death of the holy angels, but asserts that they will still perform their duty (Surah 69: 15-17).

  11. Jesus is alleged to have said that a man should content himself with one wife, whereas the Qur'an permits up to four wives (Surah 4:3; Barnabas, chapter 115).

  12. In chapter 32, 66 and 67 of this gospel Jesus is reported to have said that offerings and sacrifices are not part of God's command but are man made traditions. In other words this gospel denies that God ordered burnt sacrifices in the Torah. However the Qur'an confirms that God did order the Israelites to offer sacrifices (Qur'an, Surah 2:67-72; Bible, Numbers 19:1-10).

It is obvious that although these two documents, and the people who support them, share the same theology concerning the crucifixion of Jesus, there is very little else upon which their teachings coincide.