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01-03-2006
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Surat al-Nisa (Women) 4:74 promises enormous rewards to those who fight for Allah:

Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.

Muhammad gives himself a self-serving, so called divine order to fight. This is perhaps the basis for calling Islam the religion of the sword. Surat al-Nisa (Women) 4:84 says:

So fight (O Muhammad) in the way of Allah-- Thou art not taxed (with the responsibility for anyone) except for thyself--and urge on the believers. Peradventure Allah will restrain the might of those who disbelieve. Allah is stronger in might and stronger in inflicting punishment.

Finally, here is another gruesome order given by Allah through Muhammad according to Surat al-Maidah (Table Spread) 5:33:

The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom.



The Gospel Of Barnabas

One of the favorite sources used by Muslims to support their erroneous views of Christ and the Holy Bible is the spurious Gospel of Barnabas. Because of its importance as a Muslim apologetic tool, we must examine its veracity and claims.

The History Of The Gospel Of Barnabas

The first mention of Barnabas is found in the New Testament book of Acts. He was a Cypriot Jew, a Levite by tribe, and the friend and sponsor of Saul of Tarsus.

The only known manu****** of the Gospel traditionally attributed to him in existence today is the eighteenth-century copy in Italian. No one has ever seen or mentioned an original copy in Arabic. Furthermore, there is no evidence to support such a claim that there is an authentic Gospel of Barnabas.

Barnabas himself is mentioned in Acts 4:36, but with the name Joseph. He sold his field and gave the proceeds to the apostles to distribute among the needy. His kindness prompted them to call him Barnabas, which means Son of Encouragement. In the so-called Gospel, the author makes a serious blunder by suggesting throughout his book that the name Barnabas was given him by Jesus and that he was one of the Twelve.

Later in Acts, we are told of the reluctance of the church in Jerusalem to accept Saul of Tarsus as a bonafide believer, since he had gained notoriety before his conversion as a persecutor of Christians:

But Barnabas took him and brought him (Saul) to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

Here in Acts, Barnabas is the friend of Paul. However, in the Gospel of Barnabas, he is Pauls bitter enemy (see also Acts 11:26).

One of the most interesting events in the joint ministry of Barnabas and Paul is recounted in Acts 15:1-2. The author of the alleged Gospel declares emphatically that Pauls preaching of Jesus as the Son of God and his forcing of circumcision on the Gentiles was totally opposed by Barnabas; the account in Acts reveals the opposite:

And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved. Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.



The Gospels Popularity Among Muslims

The current Gospel of Barnabas circulating among Muslims is popular because: (1) it counteracts Pauline Christianity; (2) its Jesus denies that He is the Messiah; and (3) its Jesus prophesies the coming of Muhammad. Yet, this eighteenth-century forgery is a false document from beginning to end. Christians and Muslims should reject it because it contradicts both the Bible and the Qur'an. The Bible states clearly in Matthew 16:20, then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ. It was not time to reveal Himself yet.
The Qur'an declares emphatically in Surat al-Imran (The Family of Imran) 3:45:

O Mary! Lo! Allah giveth three glad tidings of a word from Him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto Allah).



Pope Gelasius and the Gospel of Barnabas

Almost five centuries after Barnabass death, the Gospel of Barnabas is mentioned by pope Gelasius I (A.D. 492-496). Because of its heretical teaching, Pope Gelasius forbade Christians to read it. The book was Gnostic in origin and denied the deity of Christ as well as His incarnation. Such a book could have fallen into the hands of Muhammad, providing him with the glaring absurdities of the Qur'anic account of Christ.
Beyond the biblical account, there is nothing known of what happened to Barnabas except a tradition that states he ministered in his later years in Alexandria and Rome. One is surprised to learn that another apophal book, the Epistle of Barnabas, claimed Alexandria as its origin. This is not to be confused with the Gospel of Barnabas to which our Muslim friends attach so much import.



The Eighteenth-Century Copy is a Forgery

In the eighteenth century, an Italian copy of the Gospel surfaced. It is definitely a forgery because it quotes lines from the Qur'an, which, of course, dates to the seventh, not the first, century. The author seems to be familiar with the Gospel forbidden by Pope Gelasius and its heretical teachings. The author of this forgery also quotes Dates Divine Comedy, which was written in the thirteenth century!

Although the Gospel of Barnabas was written as an ideal Islamic Gospel, presenting the life of Christ as Isa of the Qur'an rather than the Lord Jesus Christ, no one with any intellectual integrity should ever accept it as anything but a forgery.