Thoughts and Truth from the Impossible Life

Gospel of Barnabas and Islam

It is interesting that Muslims are not aware that this book of Barnabas contradicts the Quran in several places.

Eg,A typical contradiction between the Quran and the book of Barnabas is found in the statement in the Gospel of Barnabas about the angels of God on the last days before the great Judgment:(1)- “The fifteenth day the holy angels shall die, and God alone shall remain alive” (para 53). The Qur’an knows nothing about the death of angels but states that eight of them shall bear the throne of Allah on the Last Day (Surah 69:17),(2)-Gospel of Barnabas states that on the thirteenth day of the final period before the end, all mankind will die and every living thing on the earth shall perish (para 53) whereas the Qur’an states that men will be alive until the last day, the great Day of Judgment, when the trumpet shall sound and “every man will have enough concerns on that day to make him heedless of others” (Surah 80:37).I wonder why Muslims who are knowledgeable in the Quran will refer to this book.


  • Most of the additions applied to the canonical Gospels through the fake Gospel of Barnabas unsurprisingly endorse some teachings of the Catholic Church, which do not combine these teachings to the Sacred Scripture, but regard them as components of the Sacred Tradition. The author of the Gospel of Barnabas, however, fails to distinguish the Sacred Traditions from the Sacred Scripture, which definitely precedes the traditions since traditional doctrines are mostly based on assumptions aiming to clarify some parts of the Scripture.

    More to the point, the nature of those additionsin this fake Gospel gives us clues about the approximate time of the origin of the GOB since it is fortunately possible to know when some presumptions of the Church came to existence and were accepted widely enough to be considered traditionally true or at least reasonable. The GOB has several teachings of this kind that began to be voiced in the medieval period. Besides, it is most likely that the author of GOB was a priest that was well-versed in those traditional tenets as well as had access to the official interpretation of the Church on some parts of the Holy Scripture.

  • The prevalent distinctive feature of the list in the Gospel of Barnabas is undoubtedly the occurrence of the name “Barnabas” in the third place and as the first person of the second pair of apostles. The uncanny insertion of Barnabas’ name to the list of the twelve apostles mirrors the medieval author’s preoccupation about the supposed originality and reliability of his material. In order to convince the reader that his Gospel version was authentic and of apostolic origin, he felt obliged to identify Barnabas as one of the Twelve and overtly wrote his name whenever he referred to the writer of the Gospel
  •  The Epistle of Barnabas – which is sometimes confused with the canonical Letter to the Hebrews due to its similar content – dates back to the early second century whilst the apocryphal Gospel of Barnabas cannot go back in history further than medieval period through manuscript evidence. Thus, the fake Gospel of Barnabas is believed by most historians to be a fraud of a monk living in medieval Spain or Italy.


Ever so often, Muslims mention the “Gospel of Barnabas”. What are the reasons that nearly everybody, who has studied it (including many Islamic scholars), believe that the is a forgery from the Middle ages? The below references should give you enough material to ponder if you don’t believe it.

The Muslim scholar Cyril Glassé states:

As regards the “Gospel of Barnabas” itself, there is no question that it is a medieval forgery. A complete Italian manuscript exists which appears to be a translation from a Spanish original (which exists in part), written to curry favor with Muslims of the time. It contains anachronisms which can date only from the Middle Ages and not before, and shows a garbled comprehension of Islamic doctrines, calling the Prophet “the Messiah”, which Islam does not claim for him. Besides its farcical notion of sacred history, stylistically it is a mediocre parody of the Gospels, as the writings of Baha’Allah are of the Koran.The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, Harper & Row, 1989, p. 64

St Barnabas

St Barnabas

April 27, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Understanding Islam | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


%d bloggers like this: