Does the Gospel of Barnabas contradict the Qur’an?

Christian points can be found in this link:

So many articles by the Christians with the same points repeated over and over shows desperation to prove this book wrong. Points that attempt to show differences between Qur’an and the Gospel are pleading to the Muslims to reject this book. Muslims do not say that this Gospel is the book that was revealed on Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) but say that it is a biography of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) written by his disciple Barnabas.

Lets analyze all these alleged differences and alleged errors.

The Qur’an (2:29) says that the Heavens are seven in number, while “Barnabas” gives the number as nine (178).

Barnabas narrates the following statement of Jesus (peace be upon him):

Truly I say to you that the heavens are nine, among which are set the planets; that are distant one from another five hundred years’ journey for a man: and the earth in like manner is distant from the first heaven five hundred years’ journey.

From this we clearly see some sort of error in translation and understanding. What I understood by heaven here is the sky and the planets. The seven heavens in the Qur’an refer to some other fact whereas heaven spoken by Jesus (peace be upon) is referring to the nine planets.

According to “Barnabas”, man is endowed with a free will. (164). On the contrary, man only does what Allah wills him to do (Qur’an – 76:30, 37:96, 17:13, 10:99-100).

This claim clearly shows the lack of knowledge of Islam and basic common sense. Everything happens by the will of God and man is endowed with free will. Everything happens by the will of God or destiny is also a Christian belief. Before anything was created, everything was written in a book and that book is the will of God. Man is allowed free will and does not do an action because it is written in that book but it is the other way round. Man performs a certain act and that is written down. God knows through infinite knowledge what people will do and therefore, that free will has been allowed by God and written down.

Adam was not the first man circumcised (23). Abraham was.

This is neither the belief of the Qur’an nor the belief of the Bible. Adam (peace be upon him) was the first one to be circumcised but Abraham (peace be upon him) was the first one with whom it was made compulsory in the form of a covenant. There is no mentioning that it was not practiced before that.

According to “Barnabas” (3), Mary brought forth her son without pain. This is contradicted by the Qur’an (19:23).
The Gospel of Barnabas speaks of the delivery as being painless.
The virgin was surrounded by a light exceeding bright, and brought forth her son without pain,
However, Lady Mary did observe pain before that.

[19.23] And the throes (of childbirth) compelled her to betake herself to the trunk of a palm tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died before this, and had been a thing quite forgotten!

[19.24] Then (the child) called out to her from beneath her: Grieve not, surely your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you;

[19.25] And shake towards you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop on you fresh ripe dates:

She observed pain but God helped it through the blessing. Her delivery then became painless. There is no problem with this story at all.

The Qur’an follows the Mosaic law of “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”, whereas “Barnabas” says “… ye shall not overcome evil with evil, but rather with good” (81). “Woe unto them that call for vengeance …” (63). “… kiss the hand of those who revile thee, and present gifts to those who persecute thee and strike thee much” (64).

The law keeps changing. Different Prophets brought different laws and interpretations but their basic teaching was the same such as belief in One God, all the books, all the Prophets, all the Angels, life after death, destiny etc. Qur’an distinguishes between a Rasool and a Nabi. The former brings a new law whereas the latter confirms the existing law.

The Qur’an approves of polygamy. “Barnabas” does not tolerate it (115).

The Qur’an and the Bible both approve of polygamy and so does Barnabas’ Gospel. What the Gospel means is that a man should not lust after women and be content with the ones he has married. Lusting refers to adultery and marriage does not consider it lust. To be content with the woman one has uplifts the woman and prevents adultery. The Islamic stance is made clear in the link provided.

The Qur’an approves of the teaching of abrogation. “Barnabas” condemns it (38).

Barnabas’ Gospel should be seen in context. It says that Jesus (peace be upon him) was sent with the same law as that of Moses (peace be upon him). Moses (peace be upon him) brought a new law just like Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The Qur’an condemns eating pork but “Barnabas” says “that which entereth into the man defileth not the man, but that which cometh out of the man defileth the man” (32).

This clearly shows the hypocrisy of the writer. The context should be shown.

‘Verily I say unto you, that to eat bread with unclean hands defileth not a man, because that which entereth into the man defileth not the man, but that which cometh out of the man defileth the man.’
Thereupon. said one of the scribes: If I shall eat pork, or other unclean meats, will they not defile my consciences?’

Jesus answered: Disobedience will not enter into the man but will come out of the man, from his heart; and therefore will he be defiled when he shall eat forbidden food.’
The pork issue was answered right there by Jesus (peace be upon him) but sadly, the writer of the article did not consider it important to show. This is clearly an evidence of deliberate deceit.

“Barnabas” totally ignores the existence of the prophet John the Baptist (Yahya ibn Zakariyya).

The Gospel of Barnabas mentions that a total of 144,000 Prophets had come and he does not mention all of them.

According to “Barnabas”, Jesus expressly denies that he is the Messiah. In the Qur’an, the only Messiah is Jesus.

Other Prophets have also been called by this title in 1 Samuel 15:17, 1 Kings 1:39, 1 Samuel 16:13, Leviticus 4.

The Jews were more anxious about the last Prophet (a warrior!) and Jesus (peace be upon him) understood this. He understood who the Jews meant by the Messiah and so Jesus (peace be upon him) rejected being that man.

In chapter 82, “Barnabas” makes the jubilee a centenary event. The Jewish jubilee, it will be remembered, was celebrated every 50 years.

The year of Jubilee was debatable among the popes! The Old Testament is also a corrupted book (as mentioned above) and this corruption showed in the decisions of the popes. They themselves did not agree upon it! Church has books and documents that are not even known to outsiders. Their library is nothing less than treasure and it appears that they knew about these different Jubilee dates which means that they must have made these changes from some books or documents that they possessed. Was Gospel of Barnabas one of them?

The point mentioned by the article here is that there are several similarities between the Gospel of Barnabas and the work of Dante (13th/14th century) and says that such similarities cannot be coincidences. However, if we examine these so-called similarities, we see that common sense material has been spoken which is mentioned in religious scriptures and from which Dante copies from.

“…and go and serve false and lying gods. Gospel of Barnabas, para 23” is a statement that can be found in the work of Dante as well. However, if we examine this sentence we see that this is nothing but simple statement that could have been spoken by anyone. The Qur’an says that the polytheists worship false gods who lie to them and on the Day of Judgment, the worshippers of these false and lying gods would call their gods but none would come and those that exist (Jinn) would reject any association with them. Satan and his team of Jinn (fallen angels of the Bible) are referred to as liars and it is mentioned that those who are polytheists and worship idols, in fact worship these lying Jinn (false gods). The Qur’an mentions this statement but the wording is different in Arabic. Literal translations would bring forward the same statement as narrated by Barnabas.

Know ye therefore, that hell is one, yet hath seven centres one below another. Hence, even as sin is of seven kinds, for as seven gates of hell has Satan generated it: So are seven punishments therein.

Qur’an came much before Dante and mentions the same fact that hell has seven centres. The claim of the article is wrong and is correct the other way round. It is actually Dante who has copied from religious texts. Qur’an agrees with this fact and it is an accepted belief of the Muslims that the hypocrites and people like Pharaoh will be in the 7th or the lowest center of hell.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church asserts:

Gospel of Barnabas was declared a rejected book in the Decretum Gelasianum by Pope Gelasius [Pope of Rome 492-96]. According to E. Von Dobschutz, it is a private compilation which was composed in Italy (but not at Rome) in the early sixth century.

Feudal lords is a term used by the article to make it look like a medieval book. If other appropriate words are used for the same title, then there appears to be no medieval connection. A tyrant village leader is an appropriate word and such people have existed throughout time.

The article says that storing wine in barrels was not practiced in Palestine as they used to store it is wine skins and for this, the article gives reference from the Bible. The Bible itself is not the source and is a debatable book. However, the verse shall still be examined.

Matthew 9:17
King James Bible
Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Neither do they put new wine into old bottles. Otherwise the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish. But new wine they put into new bottles: and both are preserved.

Tyndale New Testament
Neither do men put new wine, into old vessels: for then the vessels break, and the wine runneth out, and the vessels perish. But they pour new wine into new vessels, and so are both saved together.

Webster’s Bible Translation
Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

The court procedure mentioned by Barnabas has also been questioned to be medieval. However, when one examines the New Testament, similar procedures will be found there. Palestine was under Roman rule and this procedure was their practice at that time as well.

The reference to the duel between two rival lovers reminds one of the age of chivalry (99).

The passage reads as follows:

Ye know that when a youth loverth a lady, and she love not him, but another, he is moved to indignation and slayeth his rival.

This is nothing but a simple fact that has nothing to do with the medieval society. Adam’s son killed his other son for the sake of woman as mentioned by the Hadith and also the Book of Jubilees that has been discovered recently. Such sort of crimes have no date in history and have existed since ever.

Barnabas’ ignorance of Palestinian geography and history

Examples of Nazareth and Capernaum have been cited for this claim.

Jesus went to the Sea of Galilee, and having embarked in a ship sailed to his city of Nazareth;

Jesus (peace be upon him) going to the Sea of Galilee is not a problem at all. He went to his city is also not a problem but there is a problem if it is stated that Nazareth is right next to the sea of Galilee. However, such a thing has not been mentioned. First of all, it states that Jesus sailed to his city. This does not mean that his city was next to the sea. For example, it takes Mr. A a train and then a bus to go to his home and it is stated that Mr. A took a train to go to his home. Such a statement is not incorrect. Secondly, the sentence posted is a translation which is not as good as the original. What if the most accurate translation read something like this?

Jesus went to the Sea of Galilee, and having embarked in a ship sailed towards his city of Nazareth;

This translation buries any kind of issue from this verse. Thirdly, maps were not drawn at that time and the outskirts of a city were considered a part of that city. Perhaps even land outside that city was considered a part of that city.

Capernaum: Up is not the direction. If a person says that he lives right down the street, does it mean that the street has a slope and he lives on the lower part? This is incorrect. The street can be straight and the person can be living towards north, east or west. Again, maps were not drawn. The first maps had the North Pole down but later the map was turned upside down. Going up a place could even be referring to the high slope of that area.

Jesus (peace be upon him) went from Nazareth to Jerusalem through ship and for this, the same reason given above applies.

There is the story of Daniel, who, according to “Barnabas” (80), was taken captive by Nebuchadnezer while he was yet 2 years old. Now if we suppose that Nebuchadnezer captured Daniel in the first year of his reign, it would follow that in the second year of his reign, Daniel was three years old. In this very year, it will be remembered, he was promoted by Nebuchadnezer to the rank of a ruler “over the whole province of Babylon”. According to “Barnabas” therefore, his age would be three, at most four years!

This point by the article brings this interesting article to mind:

This article, although does not speak about this exact point, answers all such questions. The message behind the article should be understood and applied to this point. If this is done so, one will not find any problem with the Gospel of Barnabas and a comparison of the Gospel of Barnabas with the Bible would be accepted as something very foolish. A book with unknown authors (Bible) and a book written by the disciple of Jesus (peace be upon him) should not be compared at all.

The article argues that the great sedition in Judea cannot be found in any historical documents. This claim is false. That period sees remarkable chaos. The New Testament states that the Jews picked up stones to throw at Jesus (peace be upon him). This story of the New Testament has been corrected by the Gospel of Barnabas. Besides, there are many events in history not proven by historical discoveries. Many cities and towns mentioned in the Old Testament are not known to any historian.

Besides, it is absurd to believe that 3 armies, numbering 600,000 soldiers, could gather in the twinkle of an eye and disperse as quickly.

If we read the chapter carefully, we see that these three armies were not registered soldiers. Family had turned against each other and it were the common folk who equaled to such a large number. Secondly, counting such a large number is quite impossible and this figure is either an estimate or an exaggeration by Barnabas.

Herod, an enemy of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), quitted a riot not because for the sake of Jesus (peace be upon him) but to maintain calm in the region. History sees rebellion from the Jews during that time and such a large gathering was immediately dispersed by the authorities.

The high priest who wanted to bow down to Jesus (peace be upon him) had realized his error and had embraced Islam but Jesus (peace be upon him) refused this bowing from him. Worshipping was only for God.

Gospel of Barnabas does not contain any contradiction with the Qur’an or historical facts. The only contradiction is in the understanding of those who make such claims.


6 responses to “Does the Gospel of Barnabas contradict the Qur’an?

  1. Salam.

    Good job! But for this ‘contradiction’ with Qur’an…

    ‘The Qur’an follows the Mosaic law of “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”, whereas “Barnabas” says “… ye shall not overcome evil with evil, but rather with good” (81). “Woe unto them that call for vengeance …” (63). “… kiss the hand of those who revile thee, and present gifts to those who persecute thee and strike thee much” (64).’

    …there is a verse !

    But good and evil cannot be equal, repel thou with something that is better – and lo! he between whom and thyself was enmity as though he had been close, a true friend!
    Yet this is not given to any but those who are wont to be patient in adversity: it is not given to any but those endowed with the greatest good fortune!

    • Quran: 5:45: And We ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution. But whoever gives [up his right as] charity, it is an expiation for him. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are the wrongdoers. Hey this verse was revealed not on Jesus pbuh.

      • This is a Qur’anic Ayah which tells the command given to bani Israel and Eisa (عليه السلام) followed the law of Musa (عليه السلام). Yes! He also preached forgiveness and the Qur’an also says that forgiveness is better than revenge.

  2. But I have a question, Does satan is an angel or a Jiin? Gospel of barnabas says, satan instigated many angels and they did not followed the command of Allah, though it says that all the wholly angels prostrated to Adam pbuh except satan and his followers. But quran says, all the ANGELS PROSTRATED EXCEPT SATAN. Pl comment on this.

    • Satan is a Jinn. In Biblical books, Jinnaat are known as fallen angels and GoB uses that same terminology but in terms of characteristics, qualities, habits, manners, decisions and choices, they are different from angels.

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