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Church Tradition & The Textual Integrity Of The Bible

by M S M Saifullah, Qasim Iqbal & Muhammad Ghoniem

Source: http://www.islamic-awareness.org

Assalamu-alaikum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

The basis of evaluation of any hadîth (story or report) in Islam of any text concerned particularly with religion is based on the study of matn (i.e., text) and its isnad (i.e., chain of narration).

A hadîth (pl. ahâdîth) is composed of two parts: the matn (text) and the isnad (chain of reporters). A text may seem to be logical and reasonable but it needs an authentic isnad with reliable reporters to be acceptable; cAbdullah b. al-Mubârak (d. 181 AH), one of the illustrious teachers of Imâm al-Bukhârî, said, “The isnad is part of the religion: had it not been for the isnad, whoever wished to would have said whatever he liked.”[1]

The Christian ‘hadîth’ is composed of matn (text) but no isnad (chain of narration). Without isnad, as cAbdullah b. al-Mubarak said, anyone can claim anything saying that it is coming from the authority. The authorities in the case of Christian ‘hadîth’ are the Apostles and later day Church Fathers. But how can one be sure that the Christian ‘hadîth’ is not mixed with falsehood without the proper isnad and its verification?

The Old Testament, to certain extent and the New Testament in toto lack chain of narration. When this argument was put forward, the Christian missionary Jochen Katz wrote:

On 8 Oct 1998, Jochen Katz wrote (on a different thread):

> That is a bogus argument from an Islamic point of view.

Missionaries when cornered try to wiggle out of the argument by calling names. According to Katz, the Islamic argument of using the chain of narration, i.e., isnad, is ‘bogus’ because the New Testament and major part of Old Testament lacks it and above all it is a Muslim argument. By calling the Islamic argument of isnad ‘bogus’ Katz thought that he is already refuted it. Unfortunately, the Orientalists like Bernard Lewis who read this ‘bogus’ Islamic tradition and compares it with the Christian scholarship say that: Read more of this post