The Gospel of Barnabas has been used by Muslims to argue against Jesus’ death on the cross. According to Jan Slomp,1
- Raḥmatullāh al-Kayrānawī mentioned the Gospel of Barnabas in a debate with Karl Pfander in 1854.
- The Gospel of Barnabas was mentioned in T.P. Hughes Dictionary of Islam in 1885.
- In 1899, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, appealed to the Gospel for support of his views.
- In January 1973, Muḥammad ‘Ata ur-Rahim, assisted by K.A. Rashid, launched a campaign to spread the Gospel of Barnabas in Pakistan.
- In 1973, Mirza Masum Beg of the Ahmadiyya published the English text of the Gospel of Barnabas.
- In 1974, the Gospel of Barnabas was translated into Urdu.
- Between 1973-1974, The Pakistan Times printed the text of the Gospel in nine installments.
The fact is that the “Gospel of Barnabas” used by Muslims and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is a fake.
“the Gospel of Barnabas has been shown to have its origins in the western Mediterranean world, probably in Spain, in the 16th century.” 2
“The so-called Gospel of Barnabas is a forgery by all definitions.”3
The Gospel of Barnabas is an example of Islamic tampering with Scripture (tahrif) and trying to rewrite the Christian gospels, which give a true account of Jesus Christ.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and Yuz Asaf
Furthermore, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has mislead many from the true gospels by teaching that Yuz Asaf is an ancient work from which the Four Gospels of Christianity borrowed from,
“Another incredible fact is that the ancient book of Yuz Asaf (which most English scholars believe to have been published before the birth of Jesus), and which has been translated in all European countries, is so similar to the Gospels that many of their passages are identical. The parables used by the Gospels are also found word for word in this book. Even if the person reading it were so ignorant as to be practically blind, he would still be convinced that the Gospels have been borrowed from the same book. Some people, including some English scholars, believe that this book belongs to Gautama Buddha, and that it was originally in Sanskrit and was later translated into other languages. If this is true, the Gospels would lose all their credibility and Jesus would be considered a plagiarist in all his teachings—God forbid. The book is available for everyone to see. My own opinion, however, is that this book is Jesus’ own Gospel which was written during his journey to India. I have proved with many arguments that it is indeed the Gospel of Jesus, and is purer and holier than the other Gospels” (pp.9-10 “Fountain of Christianity)
What Mirza Ghulam Ahmad taught as “fact” is really a fiction.
Why does this matter?
Muslim denial of Jesus’ death on the cross means a denial of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is good news, because everlasting life is offered to all who believe in Jesus, the Jesus of history.
Will you believe in the Jesus of history? This is an important question because sin and death is a part of your history. Resurrected life can be a part of your–and your family’s–history through faith in Jesus.
The following video looks at Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s comments about the crucifixion and the Gospel of Barnabas.After watching this video, can Mirza Ghulam Ahmad be considered a true prophet, since he denied the historical event of Jesus’ death on the cross and appealed to a forgery?
You may also be interested to learn more about:
- Slomp, Jan, “The Gospel of Barnabas”, in: Christian-Muslim Relations 1500 – 1900, General Editor David Thomas. Consulted online on 05 January 2019<http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2451-9537_cmrii_COM_26269>
- “Gospel.” Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān. General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe; Brill [Leiden and Boston], 2005. CD-ROM version
- Jan Slomp, The Gospel of Barnabas in Recent Research; https://www.chrislages.de/barnarom.htm; accessed March 16, 2019