[NOTE- The material presented here is meant to be used in lectures and debates. We have compiled some of the best arguments and objections on this subject in order to assist Christians in their evangelistic outreaches and programs. Permission is given to use this material.
In fact, portions of this material were successfully used in refuting a Muslim neophyte named Nadir Ahmed in a live debate held on July 16, 2003 at Paltalk titled "What the Quran says about the Bible." If and when possible, we will try to make tapes of the debate available for anyone who is interested in hearing it for themselves. [For now it can be accessed online here: http://www.islamiccenterofpeoria.org/debates.html.]
The following material is a compilation of evidences from the Quran which Christians can use to prove that the first Muslims believed that Holy Bible is the inspired and preserved Word of God. The first Muslims clearly did not believe that the text of Holy Scriptures was unreliable, but actually appealed to the biblical text for verification purposes.
We would like to preface our comments by saying that we do not believe that the Quran is the word of God. We do believe, however, that the Quran is the earliest record we have that details the beliefs and practices of the first Muslims. As such, we appeal to it solely for historical purposes to show Muslims that their own sources support the authenticity and reliability of the Holy Bible. Hopefully, by Gods sovereign grace, our aim is to lead Muslims to reexamine their view of Gods pure Word, the Holy Bible, and embrace its teaching on the real Jesus of history for salvation.
The dilemma for the Muslim is quite apparent. To accept the Quran is to accept its testimony that the Holy Bible is the preserved Word of God. And yet to accept the Holy Bible is to reject both the Quran and Muhammad. The first Muslims evidently thought that by appealing to the Holy Bible they would be verifying the prophetic claims of Muhammad. Little did they realize that their appeal to the Holy Scriptures for verification purposes actually proves that Muhammad cannot be a true prophet since he contradicts the message of Gods true prophets and messengers, especially the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, Gods beloved Son.
On the flip side, to attack the Holy Bible is to discredit the Quran which confirms the authority, availability, and authenticity of the previous scriptures. Either way, Muslims are in a no win situation.
With this said, we now turn our attention to the evidence of both the Quran and Islamic traditions.
1. The Quran presumes that the Previous Revelation was available during Muhammads time
Before providing the Islamic evidence supporting the authority, authenticity and preservation of the Holy Bible, we need to first address the following passage that Muslims often bring up:
"Allah made a covenant of old with the Children of Israel and We raised among them twelve chieftains, and Allah said: Lo! I am with you. If ye establish worship and pay the poor-due, and believe in My messengers and support them, and lend unto Allah a kindly loan, surely I shall remit your sins, and surely I shall bring you into Gardens underneath which rivers flow. Whoso among you disbelieveth after this will go astray from a plain road. And because of their breaking their covenant, We have cursed them and made hard their hearts. They change words from their context and forget a part of that whereof they were admonished. Thou wilt not cease to discover treachery from all save a few of them. But bear with them and pardon them. Lo! Allah loveth the kindly. And with those who say: Lo! we are Christians, We made a covenant, but they forgot a part of that whereof they were admonished. Therefore We have stirred up enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection, when Allah will inform them of their handiwork. O People of the Scripture! Now hath Our messenger come unto you, expounding unto you much of that which ye used to hide in the Scripture, and forgiving much. Now hath come unto you light from Allah and plain Scripture," S. 5:12-15 Pickthall
It is assumed that "changing words from their context" implies that the previous scriptures have been tampered with. Several responses are in order. First, even if this were the case this would only be referring to the Jews, and even then, not all of the Jews. The Quran testifies that there were many from the People of the Book who wouldnt deal falsely with Gods Word:
"Not all of them are alike. Some of the People of the Book are an upright people. They recite the signs (or verses) of God in the night season and they bow down worshipping. They believe in God and the last day. They command what is just, and forbid what is wrong and they hasten in good works, and they are of the righteous. S. 3:113-114
"Of the people of Moses there is a section who guide and do justice in the light of truth ... After them succeeded an (evil) generation: They inherited the Book, but they chose (for themselves) the vanities of this world, saying (for excuse): (Everything) will be forgiven us. (Even so), if similar vanities came their way, they would (again) seize them. Was not the covenant of the Book taken from them, that they would not ascribe to Allah anything but the truth? AND THEY STUDY WHAT IS IN THE BOOK. But best for the righteous is the home in the Hereafter. Will ye not understand? As to those WHO HOLD FAST BY THE BOOK and establish regular prayer, - never shall We suffer the reward of the righteous to perish." S. 7:159, 169-170 A. Yusuf Ali
Secondly, the passage says nothing about changing words from the text of Scripture. In fact, when we consult the earliest Muslim views we soon discover that the Jews were accused of changing words by misinterpreting the text. In the words of early Muslim exegete Ibn Kathir, taken from his comments on S. 5:13,15:
Then Allah informs us of the punishment He inflicted upon them when they violated His Covenant. Allah says, <because of their breach of their covenant, We have cursed them>, that is, because they broke their pact, Allah expelled them from His Guidance. And <made their hearts grow hard> so they will not accept their guilt. The verse, <they change the words from their context> means THAT THEY MISINTERPRETED THE VERSES OF ALLAH, according to their own desires, and fabricated lies against Him. We ask Allah to save us from that ...
Allah informs us that He has sent His messenger Muhammad with the guidance and the religion of truth for all the people of the earth; Arabs and non-Arabs, illiterate and literate ... the Prophet has come to explain that which they have altered, misinterpreted and distorted and to ignore most of their unnecessary alterations. Al-Hakim reported in his Mustadrak, on the authority of Ibn Abbas, "Whoever disbelieves in stoning to death (Rajm) in Islam has indeed disbelieved the Quran and has no appreciation of Allahs verse, <O people of the Scripture! Now has our Messenger come to you, expounding to you much of that which you used to hide in the Scripture>; therefore, stoning to death is that which the People of the Scripture concealed." Al-Hakim said that the Isnad of this Hadith is Good. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Part 6 Surat An-Nisa, ayat 148 to 176 Surah Al-Maidah, ayat 1 to 181, abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rafa'i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London, 2000 first edition], p. 128, 130-131; capital and underline emphasis ours)
Commenting on the same expression in 5:41, Ibn Kathir repeats:
<They change the words from their places> that is, THEY MISINTERPRET THE WORDS AND ALTER THEM KNOWINGLY (Ibid., p. 167; capital emphasis ours)
Ibn Kathirs comments on S. 3:78 are also pertinent to this very issue:
Mujahid. Ash-Sha'bi, Al-Hassan, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi' bin Anas said that,
<who distort the Book with their tongues.>
means, "They alter (Allah's Words)."
Al-Bukhari reported that Ibn 'Abbas said that the Ayah means they alter and add although none among Allah's creation CAN REMOVE THE WORDS OF ALLAH FROM HIS BOOKS, THEY ALTER AND DISTORT THEIR APPARENT MEANINGS. Wahb bin Munabbih said, "The Tawrah and Injil REMAIN AS ALLAH REVEALED THEM, AND NO LETTER IN THEM WAS REMOVED. However, the people misguide others by addition and false interpretation, relying on books that they wrote themselves." Then,
<they say: "This is from Allah," but it is not from Allah;>
As for Allah's books, THEY ARE STILL PRESERVED AND CANNOT BE CHANGED." Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this statement ... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir Abridged, Volume 2, Parts 3, 4 & 5, Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, verse 147, abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First Edition: March 2000], p. 196; bold and capital emphasis ours)
This is confirmed by Imam Al-Bukhari. In Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitaab Al-Tawheed, Baab Qawlu Allah Ta'ala, "Bal Huwa Qur'aanun Majeed, fi lawhin Mahfooth" (i.e. in Sahih al-Bukhari, Book "The Oneness of God", the Chapter on Surat Al-Borooj (no. 85), Verses 21, 22 saying, "Nay this is a Glorious Qur'an, (Inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved.") we find in a footnote between 9.642 and 643:
"They corrupt the word" means "they alter or change its meaning." Yet no one is able to change even a single word from any Book of God. The meaning is that they interpret the word wrongly. [... and he continues to speak about how the Qur'an is preserved ...] (Source: http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Bible/ibnabbas.html)
Some Muslims have sought to undermine Wahbs positive testimony to the preservation of the Holy Bible by claiming that he was a narrator of Jewish traditions, otherwise known as Isrâ'îliyyât narrations, and was a storyteller.
Several responses are in order. First, this falsely assumes that these Jewish narrations are unreliable as opposed to the Muslim sources being the ones in error. A Muslim cannot assume what he has yet to prove.
Second, just because Wahb narrated Jewish stories doesnt imply that ALL his narrations were taken from the Jews. One needs to first show that his statement regarding the Bible does not reflect the early Muslim view, but rather the Jewish position which Wahb was familiar. The proof that Wahb was reflecting THE MUSLIM VIEW can be gleaned from his comments regarding the Gospel. The Jews, for the most part, did not believe in the Gospel, which clearly shows that Wahbs statement DID NOT COME FROM THEM. Rather, it was something he picked up after his conversion to Islam by the other Muslims.
Third, there have been and continue to be Muslims who view Wahb as a reliable source of Islamic traditions, DESPITE his narration of Jewish traditions:
Concerning Wahb, al-Hâfidh Ibn Hajar (d. 852H) said:
126 - Wahb Ibn Munabbih Ibn Kâmil al-Yamânî, the father of cAbdallâh al-Abnâwî. He is trustworthy [thiqah]...
Ibn Hajar places him in category three of hadîth narrators who come immediately after category two, which includes extremely precise and firmly established hadîth narrators, and after category one which is reserved purely for the Companions of the Prophet(P).
According to al-cIjlî (d. 261H), Wahb is:
A successor, thiqah....
The editor of this edition placed a footnote to al-cIjlî's comment saying:
He is also declared thiqah by Abû Zurcah, al-Nasâ'î, Ibn Hibbân and others.
Imâm al-Suyûtî (d. 911H) includes him in his book of hadîth memorisers.
Many of the hadîth scholars have recorded his hadîth, including al-Bukhârî, Muslim, Abû Dâwûd and al-Tirmidhî.
To summarize the views of various hadîth specialists on Wahb, let us consider the following quote: ...
If we examine what the scholars and critics said concerning Wahb, we would be convinced that he was above the defamation made against him, innocent from any accusation that would scratch his fairness and honesty. Al-Dhahabî said: He was trustworthy and honest and transmitted a lot from the books of isrâ'îliyyât. Al-cIjlî said: Trustworthy and a successor, he was appointed in the Court of Sancâ'. Ibn Hajar said: Wahb Ibn Munabbih of Sancâ' was a successor. He was trusted by the public of scholars except al-Fallâs who said: He is weak, what led him to this stance is that [Wahb] was suspected of having a controversed opinion regarding Qadar [i.e., predestination]. An-Nasâ'î and Abû Zurcah said: He was trustworthy. Ibn Hibbân has mentioned him in his book of trustworthy narrators. Al-Bukhârî himself used to rely on him and trusted him. We can find in al-Bukhârî one report from him through his brother Hammâm from Abû Huraira concerning the writing of hadîth....
So the conclusion here is that Wahb is consider to be a thiqah even though he transmitted isrâ'îliyyât traditions along with the Islamic ones. The scholars have rejected the isrâ'îliyyât traditions which do not satisfy the criteria as listed above.(Source: http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Hadith/Ulum/israel.html)
The authors conclude:
The above discussion is self-explanatory. The obvious conclusion is that each hadîth is discussed on the basis of its strengths and weaknesses; whether in chain of narrators (isnâd) or the text (matn). We find that Wahb Ibn Munabbih and Kacb al-Ahbâr are considered as trustworthy narrators of hadîth because they transmitted the Islamic traditions faithfully along with isrâ'îliyyât traditions. Just because they had also transmitted isrâ'îliyyât traditions along with the Islamic ones does not make them 'untrustworthy' or 'fabricators' of hadîth because they did not attribute these isrâ'îliyyât traditions to the Prophet(P). Muslim scholars have rejected the isrâ'îliyyât traditions on the basis that they do not satisfy the critieria of truthfulness according to the above set of rules.
In a response to an accusation against Kacb al-Ahbâr, Wahb Ibn Munabbih, and others who had knowledge in the previous books and transmitted it in the Islamic literature, Dr. Muhammad Husayn al-Dhahabî says: ...
As for his saying [i.e., the critic]: "In general they [Kacb and the others] introduced to the Muslim's creed and knowledge a lot of what had left bad affects." If [the critic] wanted to put the blame of the bad affects upon Kacb and the others then we don't agree on this, because whatever Kacb and the others narrated from the People of the Book they didn't say it is from the Prophet(P) and [thus] they didn't lie to Muslims about it, but they were only reporting it as the Israelite tradition which existed in their own books. We are not obliged to believe anything of it nor we are requested to trust it...."
Fourth, the English translators of Tafsir Ibn Kathir made sure to omit everything from Ibn Kathir which they considered was weak and unreliable:
Careful analysis and eforts [sic] have been made and taken to ensure that weak Hadith are not included within the abridged version of the English translation. (http://www.ibnkathir.com)
These same translators left Wahbs statement intact, which shows that they considered it sound. Otherwise, they would have expunged it if it had been weak.
Fifth, if the traditions which contain Israiliyyat narrations must be rejected as inauthentic then the Quran must be tossed out as well since it contains MANY narrations from apocryphal and legendary Jewish sources. See the following links for the documentation:
Finally, the debate over which tradition is sound and which narrator was reliable is an indication of the chaotic and corrupt state of the Islamic religion. This is one of the many reasons why we personally do not believe in Islam since the very foundation upon which it sits is shaky and weak. As we stated, our sole purpose in quoting the Quran and the traditions is to convince those Muslims who do believe in it that their own sources forces them to accept the Holy Bible as Gods inspired and preserved Word.
Returning to the subject at hand, we are told in Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38 (Kitab al Hudud, i.e. Prescribed Punishments), Number 4434:
Narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar:
A group of Jews came and invited the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) to Quff. So he visited them in their school.
They said: AbulQasim, one of our men has committed fornication with a woman; so pronounce judgment upon them. They placed a cushion for the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) who sat on it and said: Bring the Torah. It was then brought. He then withdrew the cushion from beneath him and placed the Torah on it saying: I believed in thee and in Him Who revealed thee.
He then said: Bring me one who is learned among you. Then a young man was brought. The transmitter then mentioned the rest of the tradition of stoning similar to the one transmitted by Malik from Nafi' (No. 4431)."
After mentioning this very same hadith, Ibn Kathir comments:
... They arranged a pillow for the Messenger of Allah and he sat on it and said ...
((Bring the Tawrah to me))
He was brought the Tawrah and he removed the pillow from under him and placed the Tawrah on it, saying ...
((I TRUST YOU AND HE WHO REVEALED IT TO YOU.)) ...
These Hadiths state that the Messenger of Allah issued a decision that conforms with the ruling in the Tawrah, not to honor the Jews in what they believe in, for the Jews were commanded to follow the Law of Muhammad only. Rather, the Prophet did this BECAUSE ALLAH COMMANDED HIM TO DO SO ... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Volume 3, Parts 6, 7 & 8 (Surat An-Nisa Verse 148 to the end of Surat Al-Anam), Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, First edition, January 2000, pp. 181-182; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Evidently, neither Muhammad nor his first companions understood S. 5:12-15 to be referring to textual corruption. Commenting on the meaning of tahrif, Thomas F. Michel, the English translator of Shaik-ul-Islam, Ibn Taymiyyas response to Christians, states:
The term tahrif finds its origin in the Quran. In its verbal form it indicates an accusation hurled four times (4:46; 5:13; 5:41; 2:75) against Jewish leaders and carries the meaning that they quote their Scriptures wrongly out of context. On this basis a distinction was made early in the polemical tradition between tahrif al-lafz and tahrif al-mana, the first referring to actual textual distortion and corruption, the second referring to the false and distorted interpretation of basically sound texts.
The early Muslim polemicists, such as Ali al-Tabari, the Zaydi al-Qasim ibn Ibrahim, and Al-Hasan ibn Ayyub, applied the concept of tahrif al-mana to the Christian as well as Jewish Scriptures. The later polemicists of the Asharite school such as AL-BAQILLANI, AL-GHAZALI, and FAKR AL-DIN AL-RAZI, approached the Bible AS BASICALLY SOUND IN ITS TEXT but misinterpreted by Christians and Jews.
Ibn Hazm in his Al-Fisal fi al-Milal wal-Ahwa wal-Nihal, carefully built a case for the verbal corruption of the biblical text. According to Ibn Hazm, the Bible is not a message of God which contains some erroneous passages and words, but is of the status of an anti-Scripture, "an accursed book," the product of satanic inspiration. His conclusion marked A DEPARTURE FROM THE PREVAILING OPINION BEFORE HIS TIME and was followed by subsequent writers only with careful qualifications. Although the majority of later polemicists rejected Ibn Hazms conclusions as extreme, by the strength of his argumentation he influenced all subsequent polemical literature. The question of tahrif of scripture was one that no polemicist - Christian, Muslim, or Jewish - could leave untreated. (Michel, A Muslim Theologians Response to Christianity [Caravan Books; Delmar, NY, second printing 1999], pp. 89-90; bold and capital emphasis ours; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Furthermore, if one continues reading the rest of Surah 5 one will soon discover that the first Muslims were correct since the author of the Quran believed that the original revelation remained in its true and pure form:
"But why do they come to thee for decision, WHEN THEY HAVE (THEIR OWN) TORAH BEFORE THEM? - THEREIN IS THE (PLAIN) COMMAND OF ALLAH; yet even after that, they would turn away. For they are not (really) People of Faith. It was We who revealed the Torah (to Moses): therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the prophets who bowed (as in Islám) to Allah's will, by the rabbis and the doctors of law: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah's book, and they were witnesses thereto: therefore fear not men, but fear Me, and sell not My signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are unbelievers. We ordained therein for them: 'Life for life, eye for eye, nose or nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal.' But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are wrong-doers." S. 5:43-45
"And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, CONFIRMING THE TORAH THAT CAME BEFORE HIM: We sent him the Gospel: therein IS guidance and light, AND CONFIRMATION OF THE TORAH THAT HAD COME BEFORE HIM: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah. Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel." S. 5:46-47
This is not the only time where Jesus is said to have confirmed the Torah:
"And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, THE TORAH and the Gospel, And (appoint him) as a messenger to the Children of Israel, (with this message): 'I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah's leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I bring the dead into life, by Allah's leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe; (I have come to you), TO ATTEST THE TORAH WHICH WAS BEFORE ME. And to make lawful to you part of what was (Before) forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear Allah, and obey me. S. 3:48-50
Ibn Kathir states:
<the Tawrah and the Injil>. The Tawrah is the Book THAT ALLAH SENT DOWN TO MUSA, son of Imran, while the Injil is what Allah sent down to Isa, son of Maryam, peace be upon them, AND ISA MEMORIZED BOTH BOOKS ...
<If you believe. And I have come confirming that which was before me of the Tawrah,> affirming the Tawrah AND UPHOLDING IT," (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Volume 2, Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, pp. 163, 165; bold and capital emphasis ours)
The following passages further show that the previous scriptures were available during Muhammads time.
"What! do you enjoin men to be good and neglect your own souls while you read the Book; have you then no sense?" S. 2:44 Shakir
Ibn Kathir writes:
... And you READ ALLAHS BOOK (THE TAWRAH) and know what IT promises to those who do not fulfill Allahs commandments ...
<While you recite the Scripture (Tawrah)! Have you then no sense?>
You forbid the people from rejecting the prophethood and the covenant that you have mentioned WITH YOU IN THE TAWRAH, while you yourselves have forgotten it, meaning that you have forgotten the covenant that I made with you that you will accept My Messenger. You have breeched My covenant, and rejected what you know IS in My Book. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 1, Parts 1& 2 (Surat Al-Fatihah to Verse 252 of Surat Al-Baqarah), Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, First edition, January 2000, pp. 211-213; bold and capital emphasis ours)
The Quran continues:
"And when there cometh unto them a scripture from Allah, confirming that IN THEIR POSSESSION ..." S. 2:89 Pickthall
Again, here is Ibn Kathir:
<confirming what is with them> meaning the Tawrah ...
<And when there came to them (the Jews), a Book (this Quran) from Allah confirming what is with them (the Tawrah) and the Injil (Gospel)>
Abu Al-Aliyah said, "The Jews used to ask Allah to send Muhammad so that they would gain victory over the Arab disbelievers. They used to say, O Allah! Send the Prophet THAT WE READ ABOUT - IN THE TAWRAH - so that we can torment and kill the disbelievers alongside him ..." (Ibid., p. 293)
The Quran chastens Jews and Christians:
"The Jews say, 'The Christians are not (founded) upon anything.' And the Christians say, 'The Jews are not (founded) upon anything.' And yet they READ the Book (Kitab)." S. 2:113
The earliest Muslim biographer Ibn Ishaq gives us the reason why this verse was supposedly "revealed":
"When the Christians of Najran came to the apostle the Jewish rabbis came also and they disputed one with the other before the apostle. Rafi' said, You have no standing, and he denied Jesus and the Gospel; and a Christian said to the Jews, You have no standing and he denied that Moses was a prophet and denied the Torah. So God sent down concerning them: The Jews say the Christians have no standing; and the Christians say that the Jews have no standing, and yet they read the scriptures. They do not know what they are talking about. God will judge between them on the day of resurrection concerning their controversy, i.e. each one reads IN HIS BOOK THE CONFIRMATION OF WHAT HE DENIES, so that the Jews deny Jesus though THEY HAVE THE TORAH in which God required them BY THE WORD OF MOSES TO HOLD JESUS TRUE; while IN THE GOSPEL IS WHAT JESUS BROUGHT IN CONFIRMATION OF MOSES AND THE TORAH HE BROUGHT FROM GOD: so each one denies WHAT IS IN THE HAND OF THE OTHER." (Ishaq, Life Of Muhammad, trans. Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi], p. 258; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Muslim Scholar Mahmoud M. Ayoub, while commenting on S. 2:97-98, quotes Umar ibn al-Khattab:
(97, 98) These two verses were sent down, as Wahidi relates, on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas, when the Jews of Medina came to the Prophet saying, "We shall ask you concerning certain matters. If you answer us truthfully, we will follow you. Tell us who of the angels comes down to you, for there is no prophet but that an angel comes to him from his Lord with the [charge] of apostleship and revelation. Who is your angel?" He answered, "He is Gabriel." They said, "He is the one who comes down with strife and battle; he is our enemy. Had you said, 'Michael,' the angel who comes down with rain and mercy, we would have followed you" (Wahidi, p. 26). Wahidi further relates on the authority of al-Sha'bi that 'Umar ibn al-Khattab said, "I used to frequent the Jews in their schools WHEN THEY STUDIED THE TORAH AND MARVEL AT HOW THE TORAH CONCURS WITH THE QUR'AN AND HOW THE QUR'AN CONCURS WITH THE TORAH. They said to me, 'O 'Umar, there is no one dearer to us than you.' 'Why?' I asked. 'Because,' they said, 'you come to us and enjoy our company.' I answered, 'I come to marvel at how THE BOOKS OF GOD CONFIRM EACH OTHER' ..." (Ayoub, The Qur'an and Its Interpreters, Volume One [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1984], p. 127; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Those to whom We have given the Book STUDY IT AS IT SHOULD BE STUDIED: They are the ones that believe therein: Those who reject faith therein,- the loss is their own. S. 2:121
M.M. Ayoub states:
Zamakhshari interprets the verse as follows: "'They to whom we have given the scriptures' are the faithful among the people of the Book who recite the scriptures in their true recitation, neither altering nor changing what they contain of the description of the Apostle of God. Those who have faith in their scriptures are contrasted with 'whosoever rejects faith in it [the scriptures],' that is, alterers. 'These shall be the losers' because they exchange guidance for error." (Zamakhshari, I, p. 308) (Ayoub, pp. 149-150)
Hence, according to Zamakhshari there were Jews and Christians who did not alter the scriptures but preserved and recited it as God intended. Therefore, how can one study the Book if the Book did not remain intact?
Returning to the Quran, we read:
"All food was lawful to the Children of Israel except what Israel made unlawful for itself before the Torah was revealed. Say, 'BRING the Torah and READ it, if you are men of truth.' If any, after this, invent a lie and attribute it to God, they are indeed transgressors." S. 3:93-94
They measured not God with a true measure when they said, God has not sent down aught on any mortal. Say: Who sent down the Book that Moses brought as a light and a guidance to men? YOU PUT IT INTO PARCHMENTS, REVEALING THEM, and hiding much; and you were taught that you knew not, you and your fathers. Then leave them alone, playing their game of plunging. This is a Book We have sent down, blessed AND CONFIRMING THAT WHICH WAS BEFORE IT S. 6:91-92 A.J. Arberry
It is quite clear that these passages affirm that the original Torah and the Book of Moses were in the possession of the people of Muhammads time.
Shall I seek other than Allah for judge, when He it is Who hath revealed unto you (this) Scripture, fully explained? Those unto whom We gave the Scripture (aforetime) know that it is revealed from thy Lord in truth. So be not thou (O Muhammad) of the waverers. Perfected is the Word of thy Lord in truth and justice. THERE IS NAUGHT THAT CAN CHANGE HIS WORDS. He is the Hearer, the Knower. S. 6:114-115 Pickthall
Some Muslims claim that this passage refers to the decrees or laws of Allah regarding, for instance, who will be allowed to accept the guidance. It isnt referring to his Books per se. Yet, there is nothing in the immediate context which rules out the Scriptures from being part of the words which Allah claims can never be changed. In fact, there are Muslims who go so far as to use passages such as the above to prove that the Quran cannot be abrogated or changed:
The claim of abrogation is in complete contempt of God's words in the Quran:
"The word of your Lord is complete, in truth and justice. NOTHING SHALL ABROGATE HIS WORDS."6:115
"A.L.R. This is a book whose AYATS HAVE BEEN PERFECTED"11:1
" the words of God are UNCHANGEABLE"10:64
As is plainly clear from the above Quranic words, God asserts that the words of the Quran are perfect, harbour no contradictions and cannot be abrogated. Yet sadly these scholars have invented the greatest lie against the Quran, claiming that there are verses in the Quran that abrogate and invalidate other verses. (Source: http://www.quran-islam.org/160.html)
Muslim apologist and author Akbarally Meherally exhorts Muslims to follow the primary document of Allah:
The Qur'an (Koran) - the revealed "Words of Allah" to the Prophet of Allah, is an uncompromising Primary Document. NONE can change its Message."No change there can be in the Words of Allah that is the Supreme Triumph." Qur'an 10 : 64 The Word of thy Lord doth find its fulfillment in truth and in justice: none can change His Words: for He is the one who heareth and knoweth all. Wert thou to follow the common run of those on earth they will lead thee away from the Way of Allah. They follow nothing but conjecture: they do nothing but lie. Qur'an 6 : 115 - 116This document is protected from falsehood by Allah, who has Revealed it."No falsehood can approach it ("Words of Allah - Qur'an") from before or behind it: it is sent down by One Full of Wisdom, Worthy of all Praise." Qur'an 41: 42
The next Muslim writer applies the passage to Gods laws contained within the revelation:
... In the Quranic concept of God, people do not have to individually please him by prayers and sacrifices but have to follow His laws, which have been clearly outlined in His book. The God of the Quran does not bend towards anyone. He has permanent and objective attributes and is the fountainhead of unchangeable laws (called KALIMAT-I-ALLAH (6:34, 6:115, 10:64, 18:27), SUNNAT-I-ALLAH (17:77, 33:62, 35:43, 48:23), and KHALQ-I-ALLAH (30:30) by the Quran) ... (Source: http://www.icgt.org/MonitorPastArticles/TheConceptofGod2.htm)
Another Muslim applies 6:115 to the Book in heaven, which includes all the revelation:
... Sometimes the following verses are quoted to show that the Quran contains everything: - "And perfected are the words of your Sustainer with truth and justice; there is none who can change His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing." (6:115) "... nothing have we omitted from the Book." (6:38). This refers to the Book in heaven. (Source: http://www.stockhits.com/board/bbs0057.html)
This Muslim writer uses the verse, and a host of others, to prove that the penalty of stoning adulterers is un-Quranic:
In the light of the above it is unimaginable to think that the Nabi would have authorized Rajm as punishment for adultery. In 1979 the Govt. of Pakistan enforced the Hudood Laws as per Hanafi Fiqah regarding theft, adultery, defamation and wine. The punishment for adultery is very clear in the Quran 'Flog each of them with a hundred stripes' (24:3). At another place the Quran clearly points out that: 'The word of thy Lord doth find its fulfillment in truth and in justice; none can change His words' (6:115). The Quran does not differentiate between married and unmarried and there is absolutely no mention of Rajm. As such any changes or addition to clear Quranic injunctions is 'Shirk'. 'He does not share His command with any person whatsoever' (18:26). The companions of the Nabi also followed these injunctions, which would be our guide for all times to come. These injunctions need no confusing or contradictory interpretations and additions. Everything is clearly defined in them. 'We have sent down to them a Book explaining all things, a mercy and glad tidings to Muslims (17:89) 'And We have explained to man in the Quran every kind of similitude (17:89). There are no contradictions in the Quran and the Quranic injunctions 'Do they not consider the Quran (with care)? Had it been from other than Allah they would surely have found therein much discrepancy' (4:82). These ayats affirm all injunctions, laws, principles and punishments given in Quran 'None can change His words (18:27) 'The word of thy Lord find its fulfillment in truth and in justice and none can change His words (6:116). 'Is it not enough for them that we have sent down to them the Book which is rehearsed to them?'(29:51). (Source: http://www.toluislam.com/pub_online/previous_issues/january00/rajm.htm)
The following Muslim writes:
Verily, the Quran is the pure word of Allah, never been changed by anyone, not even by Allahs Messenger. Allah makes this very clear ...
The Quran will forever remain as the pure and undistorted Book of Allah to mankind. No one can ever change it. Allah promises to protect it from any form of human manipulation. He assures us:
The word of the Rabb does find its fulfillment in truth and in justice. None can change His words for He is the One Who hears and knows all. (6:115) (Source: http://www.wefound.org/DivineMessage/7MessageIV.htm)
In his exposition of an Islamic state, this next Muslim states:
2. The sovereignty in practice shall be that of the Qur'an, which means that the government shall be obedient to the laws based on the fundamental principles of the Qur'an.
(6:115) Perfected is the Word of thy Sustainer in truth and justice. There is nothing that can change His Words [...]
(5:44) [...] Those who do not judge by what Allah has revealed are disbelievers.
(5:47) [...] Those who do not judge by what Allah has revealed are wrong-doers.
(6:114) Shall I seek other than Allah for judge when it is He who has revealed unto you (this) Book, fully explained? [..]
(6:116) If you obeyed most of those on earth they would mislead you far from Allah's way. They follow nothing but an opinion, they do but guess.
(45:18) And We have set thee (O Muhammad) on a clear road of commandment; so follow it, and follow not the whims of those who know not. (Source: http://members.aol.com/MAmalek2/qbook16.htm)
Note that the preceding author also quotes verses which refer to the previous books.
Allama Shabbir Usmani believes that S. 6:115 (116 in his version) refers to the Quran:
... and the Jews and Christians also know well on the basis of tidings in their Books that the Holy Quran is indeed sent down from God. Its tidings are all true, its laws are moderate and just and no one has the power to change them. In the presence of such a guarded Book and the perfected and guarded Laws ... (The Noble Quran Tafseer-E-Usmani [Darul-Ishaat Urdu Bazar, Karachi-1 Pakistan, 1999], p. 615, fn. 108; underlined emphasis ours)
This next online Muslim source states:
Most commentators say, - AND RIGHTLY SO, - that the Word of Allah is synonymous with the Qur'aan which He promised to preserve in tact until the Day of Judgement, and it is this Divine pledge which has ensured that no mortal has ever had the audacity of implementing changes in it, not a word, not a mark of punctuation, not a correction, not an abbreviation, no editing, no errata, no prologues nor any epilogues, - nothing) (Source; underline and capital emphasis ours)
By the same token, if Allah promised to preseve His Word which includes the Quran, then this must also include all the other revealed books since they too are God's Word. Thus, if the Quran is correct, then none of God's books can be changed, which means that the Bible has remained intact!
Finally, the online Pooya/M.A. Ali English translation and commentary of the Quran writes:
"There is none who can change His words" is a challenge that the Quran, the revealed word of Allah, will never, like the earlier heavenly scriptures, be tampered with or made to lose its originality and genuineness, as has been explained by Aqa Mahdi Puya in his essay "The originality of the Holy Quran". To save the Quran from tahrif (change), under the command of Allah, the Holy Prophet left the Quran in the safe hands of his Ahl ul Bayt. Refer to hadith al thaqalayn in the introduction under "Essentials: For the readers of the Holy Quran". (Source: http://www.al-islam.org/quran/)
The translators assertion that the previous scriptures have been altered fails to take their own interpretation seriously and/or apply it consistently. If the Holy Bible is the word of God, then it too cannot be altered. Note the following:
The candid admission of the preceding Muslims demonstrate that there is absolutely NOTHING WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF S. 6:115 THAT EXCLUDES THE BOOKS OF GOD from being part of those very words which Allah says cannot be changed. The only real reason stopping a Muslim from embracing this interpretation is an a priori assumption that the Holy Bible has not been preserved from corruption.
In fact, a different Muslim writer, in answering a questioner, quotes another passage relating to unchangeableness of God's words and says:
5. Why don't Muslims adapt the Quran to the needs of the modern age?
The Quran states: there is no changing the words of God. (1) (Source)
Here is what we find when we check the reference for the footnote:
Those who believe and guarded (against evil): They shall have good news in this world's life and in the hereafter; there is no changing the words of Allah; that is the mighty achievement.
Sura Yunus (10) verses 63/64 (Source)
This Muslim writer obviously didn't realize that by linking this passage with the revelation of God, he indirectly provided evidence that the Bible could not have been corrupted. After all, if there is no changing the words of Allah, and if the Bible is Allah's word, then there can be no changing to the Bible!
The Quran claims that Muhammad is predicted in the Torah and Gospel:
"Those who follow the messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the Gospel (which are) WITH THEM. He will enjoin on them that which is right and forbid them that which is wrong. He will make lawful for them all good things and prohibit for them only the foul; and he will relieve them of their burden and the fetters that they used to wear. Then those who believe in him, and honour him, and help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him: they are the successful." S. 7:157
Ibn Kathir notes:
This is a description of the Prophet Muhammad in the Books of the Prophets. They delivered the good news of his advent to their nations and commanded them to follow him. His descriptions were still apparent in their Books, as the rabbis and priests well KNOW. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Sakhr Al-'Uqayli said that a bedouin man said to him, "I brought a milk-producing camel to Al-Madinah during the life time of Allah's Messenger. After I sold it, I said to myself, 'I will meet that man (Muhammad) and hear from him.' So I passed by him while he was walking between Abu Bakr and 'Umar, and I followed them until they went by a Jewish man, WHO WAS READING FROM AN OPEN COPY OF THE TAWRAH. He was mourning a son of his who was dying and who was one of the most handsome boys. The Messenger of Allah asked him (the father),
<I ask you by He Who has sent down the Tawrah, do you not find the description of me and my advent in your Book?>
He nodded his head in the negative. His son said, 'Rather, yes, by He Who has sent down the Tawrah! We find the description of you and your advent in OUR BOOK. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah.' The Prophet said (to the Companions),
<Stop the Jew (the father) from (taking care of) your brother (in Islam).>
The Prophet then personally took care of the son's funeral and led the funeral prayer on him. This Hadith is sound and is supported by a similar Hadith in the Sahih narrated from Anas.
Ibn Jarir recorded that Al-Muthanna said that 'Ata bin Yasar said, 'I met 'Abdullah bin 'Amr and asked him, 'Tell me about the description of Allah's Messenger IN THE TAWRAH.' He said, 'Yes, by Allah! He is described IN THE TAWRAH, just as he is described in the Qur'an,
<O Prophet! Verily, We have sent you as a witness, and a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner.> [33:45]
as a safe refuge for the unlettered ones. [author's note- what follows is a paraphrase of Isaiah 42:1-7] 'You are My servant and Messenger. I have called you 'Al-Mutawakkil' (who trusts in Allah), not hard or harsh.' Neither uttering foul speech in the markets nor returning evil deed with one in kind. Rather, he forgives and forgoes. Allah will not end his life until He straightens through him the crooked religion, so that they might proclaim, 'There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.' He will open through him sealed hearts, deaf ears and blind eyes.'" 'Ata then said, 'I also met Ka'b and asked him the same question, and his answer did not differ from 'Abdullah's answer, even concerning one letter." Al-Bukhari recorded from 'Abdullah bin 'Amr. It was also recorded by Al-Bukhari [up to the word] forgoes. And he mentioned the narration of 'Abdullah bin 'Amr then he said: "It was common in the speech of our Salaf that they describe the Books of the People of the Scriptures AS THE TAWRAH, as some Hadiths concur. Allah knows best." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Volume 4 (Surat Al-Ar'af to the end of Surah Yunus), Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, First Edition: May 2000, pp. 178-179; bold emphasis ours)
The Quran provides further evidence for the authority of the Holy Scriptures:
Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It IS a promise which IS binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph. S. 9:111
The next passage is most interesting:
"But (now), when the Truth has come to them from Ourselves, they say, 'Why are not (Signs) sent to him, like those which were sent to Moses?" Do they not then reject (the Signs) which were formerly sent to Moses? They say: 'TWO KINDS OF SORCERY, EACH ASSISTING THE OTHER!' And they say: 'For us, we reject all (such things)!' Say: 'Then bring ye a Book from Allah, which is a better guide THAN EITHER OF THEM, that I may follow it! (Do), if ye are truthful!'" S. 28:48-49
Here, Muhammad defends the Book of Moses and the Quran. Ibn Kathir states:
<Two kinds of magic, each helping the other!>
Ali bin Abi Talhah and Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said that this refers to THE TAWRAH and the Quran, because Allah says next ...
<Say: "Then bring a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than these two that I may follow it.">
Allah often mentions the Tawrah and the Quran together, as in the Ayat ...
<Say: "Who then sent down the Book which Musa brought, a light and a guidance to mankind ..."> until ...
<And this is a blessed Book which We have sent down.> (6:91-92)
And at the end of the same Surah, Allah says ...
<Then, We gave Musa the Book, to complete (Our favor) upon those who would do right> (6:154) ...
<And this is a blessed Book which We have sent down, so follow it and have Taqwa of Allah, that you may receive mercy> (6:155).
(Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Volume 7 (Surat An-Nur to Surat Al-Ahzab, Verse 50), Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, First Edition, August 2000, p. 418; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Two things to note here. First, the unbelievers claimed that both the Book of Moses and the Quran assisted each other. This implies that the Book of Moses must have been available for examination. Otherwise they would not have been able to know whether the two books confirmed each other. Their statement also confirms that the Quran did not come to expose corruption to the previous scriptures, but rather it came to confirm and assist them.
Secondly, Muhammad challenges the unbelievers to produce a book containing better guidance than either the Book of Moses or the Quran. This would have been a very foolish request on Muhammad's part, if in fact Moses Book had been tampered with. Defending a book that was no longer the pure word of God, but contained additions or deletions, having the words of fallible men mixed in with God's words would only have discredited Muhammad. It would have proven to the unbelievers that much like the previous scriptures, the Quran was nothing more than the words of Muhammad combined with preexisting Biblical and mythical stories. Such a book could be easily matched and refuted. The fact that Muhammad defends it only reaffirms that the Quran does not teach Biblical corruption.
The following passages provide additional support for my argument:
"We did indeed aforetime give the Book to Moses: be not then in doubt of its reaching (thee): and We made it a guide to the Children of Israel. And We appointed, from among them, leaders, giving guidance under Our command, so long as they persevered with patience and continued to have faith in Our Signs (Ayat- Verses). Verily thy Lord will judge between them on the Day of Judgment, in the matters wherein they differ (among themselves) S. 32:23-25
"This Qur'an is not such as can be produced by other than God; but it is a verification of that WHICH IS BETWEEN HIS (ITS) HANDS, and the explanation OF THE BOOK, wherein there is no doubt, from the Lord of the worlds." S. 10:37
"And BEFORE THIS was the Book of Moses as a guide and a mercy: and THIS BOOK is a verification (of it) in the Arabic tongue to warn those who transgress and as glad tidings to the righteous." S. 46:12
"Behold, We turned towards you a company of Jinns listening to the Qur'an ... When the (reading) was finished they returned to their people as warners. They said, O our people! we have heard a Book REVEALED AFTER MOSES attesting to (the truth of) that WHICH IS BETWEEN HIS (ITS) HANDS - guiding to the truth and to a straight path." S. 46:29-30
"The (Qur'an) is indeed a message for you (Muhammad) and your people, (all of) you shall be brought to account, and ASK those of our apostles whom we sent before thee, 'Did We appoint any deities other than the Most Merciful whom they should worship?'" S. 43:23-25
Since all the apostles had died, the only way for anyone to ask them anything is by consulting their writings. Yet, it would be impossible to know with certainty what their message was if these writings had been corrupted!
2. Muslims commanded to follow the Previous Revelation
"If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee: the Truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord: so be in no wise of those in doubt." S. 10:94
Now then, for that (reason), call (them to the Faith), and stand steadfast as thou art commanded, nor follow thou their vain desires; but say: "I believe in whatever Book Allah has sent down; and I am commanded to judge justly between you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord: for us (is the responsibility for) our deeds, and for you for your deeds. There is no contention between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and to Him is (our) final goal. S. 42:15
Those are they unto whom We gave the Scripture and command and prophethood. But if these disbelieve therein, then indeed We shall entrust it to a people who will not be disbelievers therein. Those are they whom Allah guideth, SO FOLLOW THEIR GUIDANCE. Say (O Muhammad, unto mankind): I ask of you no fee for it. Lo! it is naught but a Reminder to (His) creatures. S. 6:89-90
Sir William Muir writes:
The people referred to in the opening Words are the Jews and Christians. The preceding verses contain an enumeration of the chief patriarchs of the Israelites and Christians, from Abraham to Jesus, including "David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Zacharias, John," &c., With "their fathers, offspring, and brethren." The text proceeds:"These are they to whom We have given the Book, and Wisdom, and Prophecy; and if these (the people of Mecca, Jelalooddeen; the Coreish, Baidhâwi,) reject the same, verily We have made (or shall make) it over to a people who will not be disbelievers therein.
"The Book, meaning the Scripture generally," الكتاب يريد به الجنس We have made it over, that is, its guardianship or care," وكلنا بها أي بمراعتها Baidhâwi; "we have committed the custodianship over it," وكلنا بها أرصدنا لها Jelalooddeen. (Sir William Muir, The Corân, p. 103)
The hadith record:
That he asked Ibn 'Abbas, "Is there a prostration in Surat-al-Sad?" (38.24) Ibn 'Abbas said, "Yes," and then recited: "We gave ... So follow their guidance." (6.85,90) Then he said, "He (David) is one them (i.e. those prophets)." Mujahid narrated: I asked Ibn 'Abbas (regarding the above Verse). He said, "Your Prophet (Muhammad) was one of those who were ordered to follow them." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 156)
3. Allah swears to protect the Bible
We read in the Quran:
"Verily, we have sent down THE REMINDER (thikra), and, verily, we will guard it. And we sent before thee among the sects of those of yore." S. 15:9-10 Palmer
This passage connects the Reminder not just with that which was sent down to Muhammad, but also with what came before him. In S. 15:6, the Quran is called the Reminder:
"And they say: O thou unto whom the Reminder (thikru) is revealed, lo! thou art indeed a madman!" Pickthall
Yet, S. 15:9-10 the Reminder/Message refers to the revelation given to all the Apostles. In fact, elsewhere the Bible is called the Reminder/Message:
"And We did not send before you any but men to whom We sent revelation -- so ask the followers of the Reminder (thikri) if you do not know -- With clear arguments and scriptures; and We have revealed TO YOU the Reminder (thikra) that you may make clear to men what has been revealed to them, and that haply they may reflect." S. 16:43-44 Shakir
"And We sent not (as Our messengers) before thee other than men, whom We inspired. Ask the followers of the Reminder (thikri) if ye know not?" S. 21:7 Pickthall
"And We verily gave Moses and Aaron the Criterion (of right and wrong) and a light and a Reminder (thikran) for those who keep from evil," S. 21:48 Pickthall
"And verily we have written in the Scripture, after the Reminder (thikri): My righteous slaves will inherit the earth:" S. 21:105 Pickthall
"And We verily gave Moses the guidance, and We caused the Children of Israel to inherit the Scripture, A guide and a reminder (thikra) for men of understanding." S. 40:53-54 Pickthall
One Muslim propagandist named Jalal Abualrub, in his response to Osama Abdallah, made the following candid admission:
- Here is a question to ask of Osama: Since Allah called the Torah Dhikr, then, what evidence does he have that Ayah 15:9 [Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr and surely, We will guard it], is even about the Quran rather than the Torah?
(Jalal Abualrub, If You Love Allah, Then Follow Muhammad, p. 42)
- Read Ayah 15:9 to try and find direct evidence in it that it is about the Quran.
Indeed, there is absolutely nothing within the immediate context which limits the protection of the Thikr to the Quran. The natural reading of the verse is that Allah would protect all the Thikr that he sent down, not just bits and pieces of it, which means that Allah would preserve the all of previous Scriptures such as the Torah and the Gospel. So then how does Abualrub prove his case that this text is referring to the Quran alone? By appealing to the opinions of Muslim scholars, of course!
Putting it simply, surah 15:9-10 is basically saying that Allah will protect the Holy Bible from corruption. The following passage further substantiates this:
"And indeed it is a revelation of the Lord of the worlds - brought down by the trustworthy spirit upon your heart, so that you be one of the warners [revealed] in a clear Arabic dialect - and indeed it IS [also] IN the scriptures (Arabic- Zubur) of old. Is it no evidence for them that the scholars of the Israelites know him [to be a true prophet]?" 26:192-197
Ibn Kathir claims:
The Qur'an was mentioned in the Previous Scriptures
Allah says: this Qur'an was mentioned and referred to in the previous Scriptures that were left behind by their Prophets who foretold it in ancient times and more recently. Allah took a covenant from them that they would follow it, and the last of them stood and addressed his people with the good news of Ahmad ...
Zubur here refers to Books; Zubur is the plural of Az-Zabur, which is also the name used to refer to the Book given to Dawud ...
<Is it not a sign to them that the learned scholars of the Children of Israel knew it?> meaning, is it not a sufficient witness to the truth for them that the scholars of the Children of Israel found this Qur'an mentioned in the Scriptures which THEY STUDY? The meaning is: the fair-minded among them admitted that the attributes of Muhammad and his mission and his Ummah were mentioned in their Books, as was stated by those among them who believed, such as 'Abdullah bin Salam, Salman Al-Farisi and others who met the Prophet. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Volume 7, Surat An-Nur to Surat Al-Ahzab, Verse 50, pp. 276-277; bold italics and capital emphasis ours)
According to Ibn Kathir, the scriptures of old containing the description of Muhammad and the Quran were available during the time of Muhammad. Another interesting point is that the Hadiths actually apply the title Quran to the Psalms of David:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, 'The recitation of the Quran was made light and easy for David that he used to have his riding animal be saddled while he would finish the recitation of the Quran before the servant had saddled it.' (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 237)
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, 'The reciting of the Zabur (i.e. Psalms) was made easy for David. He used to order that his riding animals be saddled, and would finish reciting the Zabur before they were saddled. And he would never eat except from the earnings of his manual work." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 628)
Since the Quran is contained in previous scriptures, and since David's Psalms are actually called the Quran, this means that God has preserved the Holy Bible intact. Otherwise, to claim that the Holy Bible has been tampered with implies that Allah failed to preserve the Quran from corruption. Let us break this down:
4. Islamic Traditions on the Bible
The hadiths state that Allah's Words, as found in his books, can never be changed:
... The Prophet turned towards Gabriel for advice and Gabriel did not disapprove of that. So he ascended with him for the fifth time. The Prophet said, "O Lord, my followers are weak in their bodies, hearts, hearing and constitution, so lighten our burden." On that the Irresistible said, "O Muhammad!" the Prophet replied, "Labbaik and Sa'daik." Allah said, "The Word that comes from Me DOES NOT CHANGE, so it will be as I enjoined on you in THE MOTHER OF THE BOOK." Allah added, "Every good deed will be rewarded as ten times so it is fifty (prayers) in the Mother of the Book (in reward) but you are to perform only five (in practice)." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 608)
Thus, if the Torah and the Gospel are Allah's Words, as the Quran itself says that they are, then these books can never be changed.
In fact, Al-Bukhari claims that the Gospel was available in Muhammad's time:
Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin 'Abdul 'Uzza, who, during the Pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from THE GOSPEL in Hebrew as much AS ALLAH WISHED HIM TO WRITE ... (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 1, Number 3; see also Volume 6, Book 60, Number 478)
Waraqa had not only seen or heard of the Gospel somewhere, but he had the Gospel in his own possession and was writing it (i.e. making manuscript copies). Copies of the Gospel were available among Muhammad's relatives. It is called "the Gospel" not "a corruption". The Gospel existed in Hebrew, with other hadiths stating that Waraqa read and wrote the Gospel in Arabic. [Cf. these traditions.]
Ibn Ishaq claims that the Apostle John wrote down the Gospel of Jesus:
"Among the things which have reached me about what Jesus the Son of Mary stated in the Gospel which he received from God for the followers of the Gospel, in applying a term to describe the apostle of God, is the following. It is extracted FROM WHAT JOHN THE APOSTLE SET DOWN FOR THEM WHEN HE WROTE THE GOSPEL FOR THEM FROM THE TESTAMENT OF JESUS SON OF MARY: 'He that hateth me hateth the Lord. And if I had not done in their presence works which none other before me did, they had not sin: but from now they are puffed up with pride and think that they will overcome me and also the Lord. But the word that is in the law must be fulfilled, 'They hated me without a cause' (i.e. without reason). But when the Comforter has come whom God will send to you from the Lord's presence, and the spirit of truth which will have gone forth from the Lord's presence he (shall bear) witness of me and ye also, because ye have been with me from the beginning. I have spoken unto you about this that ye should not be in doubt.
"The Munahhemana (God bless and preserve him!) in Syriac is Muhammad; in Greek he is the paraclete." (Ishaq, Life Of Muhammad, trans. Alfred Guillaume, pp. 103-104; bold and capital emphasis ours)
The preceding Gospel citation is taken from John 15:23-16:1. Please notice that Ishaq doesnt say that this particular Gospel is inauthentic or corrupt. Ishaq provides additional verification that Muhammad believed in the purity of the Holy Bible:
"Salih b. Kaisan from Nafi, freedman of Abdullah b. Umar from Abdullah b. Umar, told me: When the apostle gave judgement about them HE ASKED FOR A TORAH. A rabbi sat there reading it having put his hand over the verse of stoning. Abdullah b. Salam struck the rabbis hand, saying, This, O prophet of God, is the verse of stoning which he refused to read to you. The apostle said, Woe to you Jews! What has induced you to abandon the judgement of God WHICH YOU HOLD IN YOUR HANDS? They answered: The sentence used to be carried out until a man of royal birth and noble origin committed adultery and the king refused to allow him to be stoned. Later another committed adultery and the king wanted him to be stoned but they said No, until you stone so-and-so. And they did away with all mention of stoning. The apostle said, I am the first to revive the order from God AND HIS BOOK and to practice it. They were duly stoned and Abdullah b. Umar said, I was among those that stoned them. (Ibid. p. 267; bold and capital emphasis ours)
"Rafi b. Haritha and Sallam b. Mishkam and Malik b. al-Sayf and Rafi b. Huraymila came to him [Muhammad] and said: Do you not allege that you follow the religion of Abraham and believe in the Torah WHICH WE HAVE and testify that it is the truth from God? He replied, CERTAINLY, but you have sinned and broken the covenant CONTAINED THEREIN and concealed what you were ordered to make plain to men, and I dissociate myself from your sin. They said, We hold by WHAT WE HAVE. We live according to the guidance and the truth and we do not believe in you and we will not follow you. So God sent down concerning them: Say, O Scripture folk, you have no standing until you observe the Torah and the Gospel and what has been sent down from your Lord. What has been sent down to thee from they Lord will assuredly increase many of them in error and unbelief. But be not sad because of the unbelieving people." (Ibid., p. 268; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Finally, regarding the Spirit's identity according to surah 17:85, Ishaq writes:
"I was told on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said, When the apostle came to Medina, the Jewish rabbis said, 'When you said, "And you have only a little knowledge about it," did you mean us or your own people?' He said, 'Both of you.' They said, 'Yet you will read IN WHAT YOU BROUGHT that we were given the Taurat IN WHICH IS AN EXPOSITION OF EVERYTHING.' He replied in reference to God's knowledge that was little, BUT IN IT THERE WAS ENOUGH FOR THEM IF THEY CARRIED IT OUT." (Ibid., 139; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Note that the Jews appeal to Muhammad's Quran to establish the sufficiency of their own scriptures. Muhammad confirms that the Torah the Jews had in their possession during his time was completely sufficient for all their needs. Again, if the Muslim assertion is correct this means that Muhammad confirmed a corrupted Torah as being completely sufficient for all the needs of the Jews!
This concludes part 1. Please continue with the second part.
Articles by Sam Shamoun
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