Sura Maidah 5:46 – was or is guidance and light?

“In Sura Maidah 5:46 the Qur’ān says that ‘in the Injīl was guidance and light’ (past tense).”

This claim is based on a misunderstanding of the Arabic text. The phrase in Arabic is “الإِنجِيلَ فِيهِ هُدًى وَنُورٌ“; Al-Injīla fiyhi Hudayy wa nur, translated literally “…in it guidance and light…” There is no verb there, but it implies present tense (“is”). In Arabic present-tense copulative sentences do not need the verb “to be” (” kana “). Thus “The man is big” in Arabic is literally “The man big.” The tense is taken from the context. The famous Bengali author Dr. Lutfor Rahman made the following comment about this verse in his book Religious Life :

“Who truly believes in all of Allah’s scriptures? Besides the one Qur’ān , I never see anyone reading the Injīl (Bible), Psalms, or Torah. Many Muslims insult Hazrat `Īsā. The Qur’ān says—guidance and light is in the Injīl. I haven’t seen even one person attemting to get an Injīl! One must be a Christian first – otherwise how can you be a Muslim?”1

  1. Lutfar Rahman, Dharma Jeevan. (Joy Prokashoni: Dhaka, 2005), p.22.

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