The Bible tarnishes David with involvement in the major sins of adultery and murder. This is a violation of at least three Commandments, “Thou shalt not kill”, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and “Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s wife”. Contrast this with the Qur’an, where David is portrayed as a being endowed by God with wisdom and being grateful to God for all that he was given. It is therefore inconceivable that one whom God had personally endowed with wisdom and given the responsibility of ruling a kingdom could be so selfish and enslaved to their lowly desires.
An even bigger issue emerges if we consider that the very law that David was supposed to uphold carries the death penalty for adultery:
If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel. [Deuteronomy 22:22]So, why weren’tt David and the wife of Uriah put to death for their sin? The chapter later goes on to tell us that instead of them being put to death, God killed their illegitimate child, a child that was completely innocent!
Prophet Noah and drunkenness
The Bible says:
Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside… [Genesis 9:20-22]The Qur’an says:
Indeed, Allah chose Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of ‘Imran over the worlds [Chapter 3, verse 33]After the great flood, the Bible tells us that the first thing Noah did was to get shamelessly drunk. We are led to believe that this is the same person that had the self discipline to build an ark as well as the patience to preach to his people and tolerate their rebellion for hundreds of years.
O descendants of those We carried [in the ship] with Noah. Indeed, he was a grateful servant. [Chapter 17, verse 3]
Prophet Job and his many blasphemies
The Bible says:
I will say to God: Do not condemn me, but tell me what charges you have against me. Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the schemes of the wicked? [Job 10:2-3]Qur’an says:
then know that God has wronged me and drawn his net around me. “Though I cry, ‘I’ve been wronged!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice. [Job 19:6-7]
For he [Job] says, ‘It profits a man nothing when he tries to please God.’ [Job 34:9]
And remember Our servant Job, when he called to his Lord, “Indeed, Satan has touched me with hardship and torment.” [So he was told], “Strike [the ground] with your foot; this is a [spring for] a cool bath and drink.” And We granted him his family and a like [number] with them as mercy from Us and a reminder for those of understanding. [We said], “And take in your hand a bunch [of grass] and strike with it and do not break your oath.” Indeed, We found him patient, an excellent servant. Indeed, he was one repeatedly turning back [to Allah]. [Chapter 38, verses 41-44]Look at the virtuous character of Job in the Qur’an, he never once blames or criticises God for his difficulties. We learn a great lesson from his story, that no matter what trials we face or affliction we are tested with, we should always remain patient, for in the end the righteous are rewarded. When we look at the Biblical account, what morals can be derived from a story that is filled with blasphemies against God?
WHY THE BIBLE REPRESENTS A PROBLEM
There are numerous reasons why the negative picture of the Prophets painted by the Bible is problematic:
First and foremost, it goes against the very nature and purpose of Prophethood as stated in the Bible itself. Not even the essence of revelation, monotheism, is respected by the Prophets. So God comes across as a poor planner rather than the infinitely wise being that we know Him to be.
As human beings we learn by example and naturally aspire after role models, so in order to encourage piety the examples set before us should be positive. Anyone with children will recognise this. So this makes a mockery of God’s wisdom, since His intention is to bring us closer to Him but the bad examples of His Prophets achieve the opposite of what God intended.
Phenomenon of “junk in, junk out”: if you are saturated with negative imagery and ideas, over time you will become desensitised and be more likely to fall into sin yourself. Again, this defeats the purpose of guidance in the first place, as it leads a person closer to sin and further away from God.
Please note that this does not mean that Prophets are supposed to be infallible. Only God Almighty is perfect and free of error. A distinction has to be made, though, between making honest mistakes, which all human beings fall into, Prophets included, and the committing of major sins as portrayed in the Bible.
Both the Qur’an and Bible paint a very noble and honourable concept of Prophethood. However it’s only the Qur’an that presents the Prophets in such a way that satisfies this ideal. In contrast the Bible shows the Prophets in an extremely negative light. No sin is too great for them to commit, nor is any vice beyond their lowly desires.
One of the reasons that Allah revealed the Qur’an is to defend His righteous Prophets against the slander and falsehood attributed to them in the Bible. This is why one of the names of the Qur’an is Al Furqan, meaning “the Criterion between truth and falsehood”. So the Qur’an not only confirms the scriptures that came before it, but also corrects the fabrications that have polluted them:
“And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth…” [Chapter 5, verse 48]It is clear that the Qur’an provides the best guidance for those who want good examples to follow in order to be successful in the hereafter.