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Abstract:
Written for a Muslim audience, this article expounds on the Muslim view that the Bible is authentically the Word of God. The article does not mention the Baha'i Faith, but its topic is relevant to Baha'i studies.
Notes:

The Quranic Witness to Biblical Authority

by Sam Shamoun

1999

1. Introduction, by Eric Sloan

If you've ever dialoged with a Muslim on the Bible you've probably heard the exclamation; "The Bible is corrupt." This assertion made by Muslims against the Bible alleges the Jews and Christians have changed the text. They assert the Bible we have today is no longer the infallible word of God. Thus, Muslims infer that God sent down the Qur'an as a judge to correct the Bible by refuting and exposing its corrupted and altered condition.

Sam Shamoun's insightful article, "Quránic Witness to Biblical Authority," examines what the Qur'an says about the Torah (Tawrat) of Moses, the Psalms (Zabur) of David and the Gospel (Injil) of Jesus. The author holds to the belief that the Qur'an defends the authenticity and authority of the Bible as the uncorrupted and inherent Word of God. Although as a Bahá'í I disagree with one of Sam's conclusions, and that is "since the Qur'an teaches the Bible is the Word of God, then the Qur'an must be false because it contradicts the Bible." Nevertheless, I am in complete agreement that the Qur'an upholds the Bible as the uncorrupted Word of God.

The truth delineated in "Quránic Witness to Biblical Authority" is extremely relevant to the Bahá'í Faith. Bahá'u'lláh championed this view by upholding the textual integrity of the Bible in his Book of Certitude (Kitáb-i Iqan), written at Baghdad in 1862. Contrary to the general Islamic view, Bahá'u'lláh explains that the Qur'an does not accuse Jews and Christians of altering the text of their scriptures, but rather interpreting God's holy Book in accordance with their idle imaginings and vain desires. It's not the Bible that is corrupt, it's the interpretation of certain Christian and Jewish divines that is corrupt.

"Nay, rather, by corruption of the text is meant that in which all Muslim divines are engaged today, that is the interpretation of God's holy Book in accordance with their idle imaginings and vain desires. And as the Jews, in the time of Muhammad, interpreted those verses of the Pentateuch, that referred to His Manifestation, 87 after their own fancy, and refused to be satisfied with His holy utterance, the charge of "perverting" the text was therefore pronounced against them. Likewise, it is clear, how in this day, the people of the Qur'án have perverted the text of God's holy Book, concerning the signs of the expected Manifestation, and interpreted it according to their inclination and desires.

In yet another instance, He saith: "A part of them heard the Word of God, and then, after they had understood it, distorted it, and knew that they did so."[1] This verse, too, doth indicate that the meaning of the Word of God hath been perverted, not that the actual words have been effaced. To the truth of this testify they that are sound of mind." [1 Qur'án 2:75.]
    (Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 85)

My appreciation to Sam Shamoun, a prolific writer, and Jochen Katz, President of www.answering-islam.org, for permission to publish this article in the Bahá'í Library Online.

The Quranic Witness to Biblical Authority

by Sam Shamoun

A common accusation leveled by Muslims against Christians is the belief that the Holy Bible in our possession today, has been corrupted and no longer represents the original teachings of God's messengers. Hence, Muslims believe that God sent down the Quran as a criterion to judge and correct the Bible, exposing the corruption made to it. Accordingly, anything contained within the Holy Bible that is confirmed by the Quran can be trusted and is acceptable to Muslims. At the same time, the passages of the Bible that disagree with the Quran are rejected as interpolations added on later by the community of believers expressing their personal beliefs and experiences.

Doctrines such as Original Sin, the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, His vicarious death and atonement, are ideas foreign to the original, pristine teaching of Jesus and His first followers, whom the Quran agrees, were Muslims submitted to the exclusive worship of the One True God. Since the Bible teaches the above-mentioned doctrines, it could not have possibly been preserved from deliberate textual corruption, since it would have agreed with the Quran in every detail.

This assumption is fallacious for the following reasons:

  • There are nearly 25,000 whole or fragmentary copies of the individual books of the Bible in our possession today, with some dating back four, six, and even eight centuries before the compilation of the Quran. Due to the fact that everything was hand-copied, thousands of variants arose. Yet, textual critics who are not necessarily Christians, have carefully examined these variants and have concluded that we have 98.33% of the original reading, with the 1.77% still remaining intact within the variants. Hence, we have virtually 100% of the original reading faithfully preserved via the manuscript copies. Further, the critics have also established the fact that none of these variants affect any major doctrine, since most of them are nothing more than misspellings, numerical discrepancies, and scribal notes which were assumed to be part of the text by later scribes.

    An example of a variant is given here for further clarification:

    Y*u hav on a illion llars
    Yo ave w*n mill dollars
    You have won a * dollars
    You * million ars

    A careful examination of these variants would lead us to the conclusion that the original document read, "You have won a million dollars." This exemplifies the majority of the variants found in the Bible, and clearly demonstrates that these in no way affect any tenet of faith whatsoever.

  • The Quran itself bears witness to the fact that the Bible we have today is the uncorrupted Word of God. Before proceeding to the evidence for this claim, we will quote the common assumptions made by Muslims and respond to them:

 

1.
The Quran confirms the Torah of Moses and the Injil (Gospel) given to Jesus. It never mentions the Gospels (plural) or the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament).

Response:

The Quran affirms the Torah that was available at the time of Muhammad, and the Gospel in usage at that time:

Sura 7:156-157:

"And I will write down (my mercy) for those who are righteous and give alms and who believe in our signs; who follow the apostle, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in the Torah and the Gospel THAT IS WITH THEM.

Remark: This verse states that there is a prophecy of Muhammad to be found in the Gospel [singular] available during that time. This destroys the Muslim contention that the Quran mentions the Gospel given to Jesus, not the gospels written about him, since the only Gospel in usage at the time of Muhammad were the same four-fold Gospel accounts contained within our modern-day New Testaments.)

Sura 53:36:

"Nay is he not acquainted with what IS IN THE BOOKS OF MOSES."

Sura 5:46:

"But why do they (the Jews) come to thee for decision, when they have the Torah in which IS the command of God."

Sura 5:50:

"And let the People of the Gospel judge by what God has revealed in it. If any fail to judge by what God has revealed, they are licentious."

Sura 5:71:

"Say, O People of the Book! You are not (founded) on anything UNTIL you PERFORM the TORAH and the GOSPEL, and what was revealed to you from your Lord."

Sura 3:93-94:

"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."

Sura. 28:48-49:

"But when the truth has come to them from Us, they say: `why is he not given the like of what was given to Moses?' Did they not disbelieve in that which was given to Moses before? They say: `Two kinds of magic (the Torah and the Quran) each helping the other!' And they say: `Verily! In both we are disbelievers.' Say (to them, O Muhammad): `Then bring a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than these TWO (the Torah and the Quran), that I may follow it, if you are truthful.'"

Remark: Notice how Muhammad is commanded to defend both the Quran and the Torah of Moses that was available to him as a guidance from God. No mention of textual corruption whatsoever.

Sura 32:23:

"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."

These verses presuppose that an uncorrupted Torah and Gospel exist which both Jews and Christians are commanded to study and adhere to.

The only Torah the Jews have ever known, and Gospel that Christians have possessed are that which make up the five books of Moses and the four gospel accounts* found in our modern Bibles today.

[ * The Gospel of Jesus is not a book, but the Good News that God sent His Son into the world to atone for sin and make reconsiliation between God and man. Hence, Jesus is the living Gospel sent to the world. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are not four different gospels, but four different perspectives on the one Gospel of God revealed in the person of Christ. The authors, writing under inspiration, give mutually complementary, not contradictory, material on the life and passon of Christ. This multiple attestation serves the purpose of fulfilling the requirement of the Mosaic Law that, "by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established." Deuteronomy 19:15 ]

In fact, God personally states to Muhammad in 32:23 that he should have no doubt that the Torah of his time is the very same Torah of Moses.

This is solidified by the fact that we have copies of these books that are both prior to and contemporary with the time of Muhammad, and are identical to what we have today. It is purely wishful thinking to suppose that the Torah and Gospel referred to at the time of Muhammad were something totally different in content from what we have in our possession.

 

2.
The Quran never alludes to the Bible, only the revelation originally given to the Prophets, i.e. Moses, David, Jesus, etc.

Response:

This is another unsubstantiated assumption. It is presumed that since the word "Bible" does not appear in the Quran, then what the Judeo-Christian communities commonly refer to as God's Word is not acceptable to the Muslims.

Yet, if one were to trace the word Bible back to the Greek, one would discover that the word itself comes from the term biblia, meaning "books." Hence, in time the collection became classified as the Book due to the fact that although the Bible consisted of 66 individual writings, the author was one, the Holy Spirit, having one unifying theme: the advent of God's Messiah-Deliverer.

Not surprisingly, we find the Quran mentioning the Book (Arabic- al-Kitab) of the Jews and Christians:

Sura 2:113:

"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."

Sura 3:79:

"It is not for a man to whom is given the Book and wisdom and prophecy that he should then say to people, `Be worshippers of me in place of God.' But rather, `Be true teachers (rabbáníyín), since you TEACH the BOOK and you STUDY IT EARNESTLY."

The Muslim scripture again presumes the existence of an uncorrupted Book which both Jews and Christians study. The only Book in the hands of the Judeo-Christian community at the time was the Bible as it exists in its present form. Furthermore, the Arabic term used for the Bible is the very same used in the Quran, al-Kitab al-Muqaddas, the Holy Book. Hence, the Kitab referred to in the Quran is the very Kitab used by Arab Christians during and after the time of Muhammad.

Furthermore, it is not true either that the term Torah only referred to the five books of Moses. In both the Holy Bible and the Hadith the word is used in a generic sense to refer to the Old Testament as a whole.

For instance, the Mishkat al-Masabih cites several traditions (Book XXVI, Ch. XVIII, pp. 1232, 1233 and ch. XIX, p. 1244) which indicate that the Torah prophesies the coming of Muhammad:

Ata b. Yasar told that he met `Abdallah b. `Amr b. al-As and asked him to inform him of the description of God's messenger given in the Torah. He agreed, swearing by God that he was certainly described in the Torah by part of the description of him given in the Qur'an when it says,

"O prophet, We have sent you as a witness, a bearer of good tidings, and a warner, and a guard for the common people." (From Al-Ahzab 33:45 up to here. The following is from the Torah-Old Testament, Isaiah 42:1-3,6-7.) "You are my servant and my messenger; I have called you the one who trusts, not harsh or rough, nor loud-voiced in the streets. He will not repulse evil with evil, but will pardon and forgive, and God will not take him till He uses him to straighten the crooked creed so that people may say there is no god but God, and he opens thereby blind eyes, deaf ears and hardened hearts. Bukhari transmitted it, and Darimi also gives something to the same effect on the authority of `Ata who gave as his authority Ibn Salam.

The citation from the Torah is actually found in Isaiah 42:1-3, 6-7. You will not find a single reference in the Torah of Moses matching the above citation. This proves that at least in this Hadith the word "Torah" referred to more than the first five books of Moses.

Commenting on the preceding hadith, Ibn Kathir writes:

"... Al-Bukhari recorded it 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 Two Scriptures AS THE TAWRAH, as some Hadiths concur. Allah knows best.’" (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 4, (Surat Al-Ar'af to the end of Surah Yunus), 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: May 2000], p. 179; bold and capital emphasis ours)

"Jesus answered them `Has it not been written in your LAW, I said you are gods?'" John 10:34

Jesus includes Psalm 82:6 as part of the Law (i.e. Torah).

"The crowd spoke up, `We have heard from the LAW that the Christ will remain forever, so how can you say, "The Son of Man must be lifted up?" Who is this Son of Man?'" John 12:34

There is no reference in the books of Moses that indicates Christ will remain forever. The only places you'll find such statements are Psalm 110:1,4 and Daniel 7:13-14. Hence, the Jews used the term "Law" (Torah) as a reference for the whole of the Hebrew Bible.

"But this is to fulfill what is written in their LAW: `They hated me without reason.'" John 15:25

Jesus alludes to Psalms 35:19 and 69:4 as part of the Law.

In Romans 3:10-19 Paul alludes to Psalms 5:9, 10:7, 36:1, 14:1-3, 51:4, 53:1-3, 59:7-8, 140:3 and Ecclesiastes 7:20 as "the Law".

"In the LAW it is written: `Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me,' says the Lord." 1 Corinthians 14:21

Paul includes Isaiah 28:11-12 as part of the Law. This should sufficiently demonstrate that the term Torah or Law came to be used in a broader sense referring to the entire Hebrew Bible. This is precisely what we find in the Hadith as well.

Finally, by the start of the second century the term "Gospel" was used by the early church to refer to the fourfold Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Noted scholar, F. F. Bruce explains:

"At a very early date it appears that the four Gospels were united in one collection. They must have been brought together very soon after the writing of the Gospel according to John. This fourfold collection was known originally as `The Gospel' singular, not `The Gospels' in the plural; there was only one Gospel, narrated in four records, distinguished as `according to Matthew', `according to Mark', and so on. About A.D. 115 Ignatius, bishop, of Antioch, refers to `The Gospel' as an authoritative writing, and as he knew more than one of the four `Gospels' it may well be that by `The Gospel' sans phrase he means the fourfold collection which went by that name." (Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? [Intervarsity Press; Downers Grove Il., rpt. 1992], p. 23)

Bruce goes on to cite another church father:

"By the time of Irenaeus, who, though, a native of Asia Minor, was bishop of Lyons in Gaul about A.D. 180, the idea of a fourfold Gospel had become so axiomatic in the Church at large that he can refer to it as an established and recognized fact as obvious as the four cardinal points or the four winds:

`For as there are four quarters of the world in which we live, and four universal winds, and as the Church is dispersed over all the earth, and the gospel is the pillar and base of the Church and the breath of life, so it is natural that it should have four pillars, breathing immortality from every quarter and kindling the life of men anew. Whence it is manifest that the Word, the architect of all things, who sits upon the cherubim and holds all things together, having been made manifested to men, have given us the gospel in fourfold form, but held together by one Spirit.'" (Ibid., p. 24)

Hence, to a Christian living at the time of Muhammad the term `Gospel' meant the fourfold collection found in our present day Bibles.

 

3.
The Quran is sent down as the Criterion (al-Furqan) and a guardian over previous Scripture (muhaiminan `alaihi), indicating that its function is to expose the corruption of the former text.

Response:

The term, al-Furqan, is used also for the revelation given to Moses:

Sura 2:53:

"And remember We gave Moses the Scripture and the Criterion (between right and wrong): there was a chance for you to be guided aright." - Y. Ali

Sura 21:48:

"In the past We granted to Moses and Aaron the Criterion (for judgement) and a light and a Message for those who would do right..." - Y. Ali

This is a strong indication that the term Criterion does not suggest that a scripture called by this term corrects and exposes corruption to previous revelation, since there were no scriptures prior to the one given to Moses.

The term Furqan also appears in Suras 2:185; 8:29,41 and 25:1:

"The month of Ramadan is that in which the Quran was revealed a guidance to men and clear proofs of the guidance and the Criterion (Furqan)..." [2:185 - Maulana Muhammad Ali; F.E. Peters trans.]

The Quran is stated to be the clear proof of the guidance and of the Furqan, implying that the Furqan is something other than the Quran; at least in this reference.

"O you who believe, if you keep your duty to Allah, He will grant you a distinction (Furqan) and do away with your evils and protect you. And Allah is the Lord of mighty grace." [8:29 - M. Muhammad Ali]

This passage promises Muslims that if they believe and keep duty, Allah would grant them a Furqan. This could not be the Quran since it was already being given piecemeal to the community through their prophet Muhammad.

"And know that whatever you acquire in war, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, if you believe in Allah and in that which We revealed to Our servant, on the day of Discrimination (Furqan), the day on which the two parties met..." [8:41 - M.M. Ali]

This verse was revealed in connection to the battle of Badr, where the Muslims met the other party in war on the day of Furqan. Based on the context itself, Furqan can only mean victory, i.e. that Allah granted the Muslims victory over the much larger opposition. This suggests that the term can and often does mean more than simply a criterion used in relation to judging right and wrong. In fact, the term is used to refer to things other than the Quran, and is therefore not something unique to Islam.

"Blessed is He Who sent down the Discrimination (Furqan) upon His servant that he might be a warner to the nations." [25:1 - M.M. Ali]

The revelation that Muhammad received is the Furqan that is to be used to warn the nations. Yet, in Sura 3:3 all the books of God were sent as a Furqan:

"He has revealed to thee the Book with truth, confirming that which is before it, and He revealed the Torah and the Gospel aforetime, a guidance for the people, and He sent the Criterion (al-Furqan)..."

This passage makes it clear that the Furqan cannot be referring to the Quran alone, since the two are seen as being distinct. It is precisely this distinction which has led Muslims scholars to differ on the identity of the Furqan itself, whether it is the Quran or all the revealed books of God. Muslim scholar Mahmoud M. Ayoub writes:

"The issue that has concerned commentators in connection with this verse is the mention of the Furqan (criterion) after that of the Qur`an and the Torah and the Gospel. The word Furqan is generally used as one of the names of the Qur`an... Since the Qur`an is mentioned in the previous verse as a revelation preceded by the Torah and the Gospel, what is the wisdom in mentioning it again? Commentators have offered various answers to this problem." [Ayoub, The Quran and Its Interpreters, vol. II - The House of Imran; Albany, N.Y.; State University of New York Press, 1992, p.15]

Some commentators like al-Zamakhshari, believe it to be the entire collection of revealed books, or quite possibly the Psalms of David or the Quran itself:

"If you ask what is here intended by the word Furqan, I answer, It is the entire genre of heavenly books because they are all a Criterion (Furqan) distinguishing truth from falsehood. It may also mean all the Scriptures mentioned here. It is as though God said after mentioning the three Scriptures, `and He sent down that by means of which truth may be distinguished from error,' meaning either all His Scriptures, or these three Books in particular. It may also be that God here intended a Fourth Scripture, which is the Psalms (Zabur), as He says, `and We gave David the Psalms' (Q. 17:55). It may also be that God here repeated mention of the Quran, denoting its special characteristic of being a criterion distinguishing between truth and error. This He did after mentioning it by its generic name, by way of emphasizing its greatness and manifesting its special excellence." [Ibid., p.16]

The view that Furqan refers to all three Scriptures is, according to Razi, "the view of most tafsir masters," since they "are not only a source of divine guidance, they are also divine criteria distinguishing between lawful and unlawful acts and precepts in addition to other sacred laws." [Ibid., p.17]

Ar-Razi, believes differently, arguing:

"As for identifying the Psalms as the Furqan, it is unlikely because the Psalms contain no laws or precepts, but only exhortations. Thus to characterize the Torah and Gospel as Furqan is more probable than the Psalms because they do contain clear evidence of this in their precepts and laws. As for the second view which identifies the Qur`an as the Furqan in this instance, it is also unlikely because God saying `and He sent down the Criterion' is conjoined to what is before it [that is `He sent down the Book to you']. Moreover, that which is conjoined to a thing must be different from the thing which it is conjoined, which is in this case the Qur`an, but which was already mentioned. This means, therefore, that the Furqan must be other than the Qur`an..." [Ibid., p.17]

Razi believes that Furqan refers to "the miracles which God linked to the revelation of these Scriptures." [Op. cit.]

Ayoub goes on to list the different ways the verse has been interpreted such as the fact that some say Furqan refers to both the Quran and Muhammad (Nisaburi), to the faith in the divine oneness in relation to the universal mind (Ibn Arabi), to every clear and unambiguous verse (Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq), or even to "all the fundamental and ancillary [religious] sciences which God sent down to His prophets through revelation" (Tabataba`i). (Ibid., pp. 17-20)

Thus, due to the text's ambiguity Muslim apologists cannot convincingly demonstrate that Furqan is used for the Quran as a criteria over previous Scriptures. In fact, a case can and has already been made by Muslims themselves to prove that all Scripture is al-Furqan.

The other term used in relation to the Quran is found in Sura 5:48:

"To you (Muhammad) We revealed the book in truth, attesting to (the truth of) that which IS between his (its) hands from the scripture (the Torah and Gospel), and guarding it (wa muhaiminan `alaihi)."

It is presumed that the Arabic phrase, "guarding it in safety", refers to the Quran's role as a quality control agent, affirming that which remains intact and exposing any tampering to the biblical text. Muslims often accuse Christians of misquoting the Quran, reading verses out of their intended context. Amazingly, Muslims are guilty of the very same thing and against their own scripture!

When the verse is read in conjunction with the previous passages and within the verse itself, the Quran is seen as protecting and guarding uncorrupted scriptures; it says absolutely nothing about exposing textual corruption whatsoever. (cf. Sura 5:43-47,68 - Ali)

In fact, the Quran came as an Arabic verification of the Bible to the Arabs who were ignorant of the contents of the Judeo-Christian Scripture:

Sura 35:31:

"That which We have revealed to you of the Book is the truth, attesting to (the truth of) that which IS between his (its) hands (the Torah and Gospel)..."

Sura 10:37:

"This Quran is not such as can be produced by other than God; but it is a verification of that (the Torah and Gospel) which IS between his (its) hands, and the explanation of the Book, WHEREIN THERE IS NO DOUBT, from the Lord of the worlds."

Sura 6:154-157:

"Then We gave Moses the Book, complete as to whatever is excellent, and explaining all things in detail, and a guide and a mercy, that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord. And this (the Quran) is a Book which We have revealed, blessed: so follow it and be righteous, that you may receive mercy: lest you should say, 'The Book was sent down to two peoples before us, and for our part, we remained unacquainted with all that they learned by assiduous study; or lest you should say: `If the Book (the Torah and Gospel) had only been sent down to us, we should have followed its guidance better than they.'"

Sura 46:12:

"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."

Sura 26:192-197:

"And lo! It is a revelation of the Lord of the Worlds, which the True Spirit hath brought down upon thy heart, that thou mayest be (one) of the warners, In Plain Arabic Speech. And lo! It is in the Scriptures of the men of old. Is it not a token for them that the doctors of the children of Israel know it?"

In the preceding passages the Quran is sent as a confirmation of the Book "in which there is no doubt." Not once do these verses state that the Book at the time of Muhammad had been corrupted and needed to be corrected in any way. Furthermore, it is the Quran, not the Bible, that needs to be viewed in light of previous Scripture for verification purposes:

"And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers." [S. 10:94]

Furthermore, this commits an etymological fallacy. The meaning of the word is not derived from its root but in the manner and the context in which it is used within a sentence. For instance, one of the 99 names of God in the Quran is al-muhaimin:

He is Allah, besides Whom there is no God; the King, the Holy, the Author of Peace, the Grantor of Security, Guardian (muhaimin) over all, the Mighty, the Supreme, the Possessor of greatness. Glory be to Allah from that which they set up (with Him)! [S. 59:23]

Are we to presume that Allah confirms that which remains intact in creation and exposes corruption to it since he is called muhaimin? Obviously not, which indicates that the word does not have just one meaning as some modern Muslim apologists seem to suggest. It simply implies that the Quran guards, not corrects, the Holy Bible. In fact, this is precisely how one Muslim commentator, al-Baidawi, understood the term:

A keeper over the whole sacred books, such as shall preserve them from change, and witness to their truth and authority." (Abdiyah Akbar Abdul-Haqq, Sharing Your Faith With a Muslim [Bethany House Publishers, 6820 Auto Road Minneapolis MN, 55438 1980], p. 39 citing W. Muir, CORAN, p. 205)

Muslim commentator Ahmad b. Mahmud al-Nasafi concurs:

"[The phrase] 'confirming the Book that was before it' means that the Quran confirms what the Torah says and offers. 'Assuring it' means bearing witness to it. The Quran did not say, 'Believe what I have believe and disbelieve what I have disbelieved and what I keep silent on, neither believe it nor disbelieve it,' but it says, 'who so judges not according to what Allah has sent down.' Muhammad also said: 'I am the first who fulfills Allah's command and his Book (i.e., The Torah and the Gospel).' (See al-Nasafi's commentary on Sura al-Maida 5:43-48)." (True Guidance [Light of Life, PO Box 13, A-9503 Villach, Austria 1994], pp. 96-97 citing Tafsir al-Nasafi vol. 1-4, Cairo, Egypt, 1961)

Even Abdullah Yusuf Ali, who was by no means sympathetic to the Holy Scriptures, readily admitted that muhaimin does not imply corruption. In his footnote to S. 5:48, Ali wrote:

After the corruption of the older revelations, the Qur-an comes with a two-fold purpose: (1) to confirm the true and original Message, and (2) to guard it, or act as a check to its interpretation. The Arabic word Muhaimin is very comprehensive in meaning. IT MEANS ONE WHO SAFEGUARDS, WATCHES OVER, STANDS WITNESS, PRESERVES, AND UPHOLDS. The Qur-an SAFEGUARDS the "Book", for it has preserved within it the teachings of all the former Books. It watches over these Books in the sense that it will not let their true teachings to be lost. It upholds and supports these Books in the sense that it corroborates the Word of Allah which has remained intact in them. It stands a witness because it bears testimony to the Word of Allah contained in these Books and helps to sort it out from the interpretations and commentaries of the people which were mixed with it: what is confirmed by the Qur-an is the Word of Allah and what is against it is that of the people. (Ali, Quran, n. 759- taken from the ALIM CD-ROM version)

Aside from Ali's erroneous exegesis of the text, his note demonstrates that there is nothing in the word muhaimin which leads one to conclude that the Holy Bible has been tampered with. In fact, the very definitions given by Ali (i.e., "safeguards, watches over, stands witness, preserves, and upholds") are all quite positive in nature and prove beyound any reasonable doubt that the Quran confirms, upholds and testifies to the authority and integrity of the biblical text.

Finally, the Quran itself states that God would make sure that the Bible would be protected from corruption:

"We have, without doubt sent down THE MESSAGE (Zhikra); And We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)." [S. 15:9 - Y. Ali]

That this includes the Holy Bible is made clear in the following citations:

"And before thee We sent none but men, to whom We granted inspiration: If ye realise this not, ask of those who possess THE MESSAGE (Zhikri)." [S. 16:43 - Y. Ali]

"Before thee, also, the messengers We sent were but men, to whom We granted inspiration: if ye know this not, ask of those who possess THE MESSAGE (Zhikri)." [S. 21:7 - Y. Ali]

"In the past We granted to Moses and Aaron the Criterion (al-Furqana) (for judgment), And a Light and a Message (Zikra) for those who would do right." [S. 21:48]

"Before this, We wrote in the Psalms, after THE REMINDER (Zhikri): `My servants, the righteous, shall inherit the earth.'" [S. 21:105]

"We did aforetime give Moses the Guidance, and We gave the Book in inheritance to the Children of Israel - A Guide and A REMINDER (Zhikraa) to men of understanding." [S. 40:53-54 - Y. Ali]

These passages establish that the revelation given to Moses, David and the Book which Jews and Christians possessed at the time of Muhammad is also part of that Reminder which God sent down and promised to preserve. Hence, for Muslims to state that the Bible is corrupt basically means that God failed to guard his message from corruption, breaking his promise of insuring its preservation.

 

4.
The Quran clearly indicates that the Bible has been falsified in Sura 2:79:

"Therefore woe be unto those who write Scripture with their hands and then say, `This is from Allah,' that they may purchase a small gain therewith. Woe unto them for that their hands have written, and woe unto them for that they earn thereby."

Response:

It cannot be overstated that the context of any scripture quoted is very important in understanding the passage presented. Hence, when one reads the verse before it, the meaning of the verse cited above takes on a whole new dimension:

"Among them are unlettered folk who know the Scripture not except from hearsay. THEY BUT GUESS." [S. 2:78]

It becomes obvious that this passage is referring to certain Jews during Muhammad's time who knew nothing of their respective Scriptures, falsifying revelation for gain. Yet, the passages that we examined before it affirm that there were Jews and Christians who knew the Book, studying it in truth.

In fact, Sura 3:199 clearly states that there were many who would not falsify revelation for profit:

"And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book, those who believe in God, and that which has been revealed to you, in that which has been revealed to them, bowing in humility to God. They will not sell the signs of God for miserable gain. For them is a reward with their Lord, and God is swift in account."

Sura 3:113-114:

"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.

Further, the Quran accuses a certain number of the Jewish faction of perverting the text with their tongues, reading it out of context. It never accuses them of perverting the text itself:

Sura 3:78:

"There is among them a party (fariq) who (in reading) twist their tongues with the Book so that you will count it from the Book and it is not from the Book. And they say it is from God and it is not from God. And they say a lie against God and they know (it)."

Sura 5:12-13:

"God formerly took a covenant from the Children of Israel, and We appointed twelve captains among them... and because of their (Jews') breach of their covenant, We cursed them, and made their hearts grow hard. They change the words from their (right) places and they forgot a part of that whereby they were admonished. You will not cease to find deceit in them, excepting a few of them, but pardon them, and forgive, for God loves those who are kind.'"

Finally, Jews did they very same thing when hearing the Quran:

"Can you (O men of faith) still earnestly desire that they (the Jews) will believe in you? And verily a party (fariq) among them hear the Word of God, then they pervert it knowingly after they have understood it. And when they meet the believers they say, `We believe,' but when they meet each other in private they say, `Why do you tell them what God has revealed to you (in the Torah), that they may engage you in argument about it before their God? What do you not understand?' Do they not know that God knows what they conceal and what they make public?" [S. 2:75-77, c.f. S. 4:44-47]

No Muslim would dare say that the Quranic text had been corrupted by these Jews who were perverting Muhammad's words to them. Hence, perversion refers to misinterpreting the meaning of, never to corruption of, the text of Scripture.

In concluding this study, we would like to address one final Muslim attempt to prove that the Islamic Scripture denies the authority of our present Bible by referring to the following traditions:

Abu Huraira reported God's Messenger as saying:

"In the last days there will be lying dajjals who will bring you traditions of which neither you nor your fathers have heard, so beware of them. They will neither lead you astray nor seduce you." Muslim transmitted it. He also said that the People of the Book used to read the Torah in Hebrew and expound it in Arabic to the Muslims, so God's messenger said, "Neither believe nor disbelieve the People of the Book, but say, Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the Prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered." (S. 2:136) Bukhari transmitted it. (Mishkat ul-Masabih, Bk. 1, Ch. VI, p. 42 [tr. James Robson, Ashraf, Lahore, 1963])

It is suggested that Muhammad is commanding Muslims from neither accepting nor rejecting the Bible, using the Quran as the Criteria instead.

Unfortunately for the Muslim line of argument, this Hadith does not reject the Holy Bible itself, but its oral translation Arabic. The Jews were reading the Torah in Hebrew, a language foreign to Muhammad and his followers, and proceeded to interpret its meaning in Arabic; and believing that the Jews were not honest in their dealings with Muslims, Muhammad could not be certain of their honesty in correctly conveying the meaning of their Scripture.

In his commentary on Bukhari, Ayni affirms this when he states that the Muslims were unable to know whether or not the interpretations given by the People of the Book accorded with the Torah, suggesting that to confirm a lie or to deny the truth provokes the wrath of God. (Ernest Hahn, The Integrity of the Bible According to the Qur'an and the Hadith, p.30)

That Muhammad believed that the text of Torah had not been corrupted is solidified by this Hadith from Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38 (Kitab al-Hudud, i.e., Prescribed Punishments), No. 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: Abul Qasim, one of our men has committed fornication with a woman; so pronounce judgement 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' (see also No. 4431).

Hence, Muhammad not only believes in the integrity of the Jewish Scripture, but respects it enough to place it on a cushion! This in effect proves that corruption refers to misinterpretation, not to textual tampering.

This following story is taken from Ibn Ishaq's Sira Rasulullah:

"Rafi b. Haritha and Sallam b. Mishkam and Malik b. al-Sayf and Rafi b. Huraymila came to him 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 man, and I disassociate 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 to you from your Lord. What has been sent down to thee from thy Lord will assuredly increase many of them in error and unbelief. But be not sad because of the unbelieving people." (Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, p. 268)

Muhammad believes in the Torah available in his day as the truth from God. His skepticism was not directed towards the purity of the text itself, but the Jewish misinterpretation of God's holy Book. Hence, there is no evidence that Muhammad believed that the Holy Bible had been tampered with.

Muslims, both of the past and present, who agree with this, include Ibn Abbas, Ali Tabari, al-Baidhawi, ar-Razi, al-Ghazzali, Ibn Taymiyya, Muhammad Abduh, Maulawi Muhammad Sa'id, Sayyid Ahmad Husayn Shawkat Mirthi, Maulawi Chiragud-Din, Mahmoud Ayoub, Ibn Khaldun, and Adil Ozdemir. All these scholars affirm that the Quran in no way assumes the corruption of the Biblical text, but rather, the People of the Book's deliberate misinterpretation of it (cf. E. Hahn, op. cit., Appendix III; (cf. Gerhard Nehls, Dear Abdallah, Letter 2).

For instance, Muhammad Abduh Sayyid Ahmad Khan, a religious and social reformer of modem times (died 1905), states:

"As far as the text of the Bible is concerned. it has not been altered ... No attempt was made to present a diverging text as the authentic one. (M. H. Ananikian, The Reforms and Religious Ideas of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan. The Moslem World 14 (1934) p. 61).

Another example of a Muslim who agrees that the Bible is not corrupted is the Egyptian scholar, Muhammad 'Abduh. In regards to alleged biblical corruption, he notes that the

"charge of corruption of the Biblical texts makes no sense at all. It would not have been possible for Jews and Christians everywhere to agree on changing the text. Even if those in Arabia had done it, the difference between their book and those of their brothers, let us say in Syria and Europe, would have been obvious." (Jacques Jomier, Jesus, The Life of the Messiah, C.L.S., Madras, 1974, p. 216.)

Furthermore, in the words of Mahmoud Ayoub:

"Contrary to the general Islamic view, the Qur'an does not accuse Jews and Christians of altering the text of their scriptures, but rather of altering the truth which those scriptures contain. The people do this by concealing some of the sacred texts, by misapplying their precepts, or by `altering words from their right position" (4:26; 5:13,41; see also 2:75). However, this refers more to interpretation than to actual addition or deletion of words from the sacred books. The problem of alteration (tahrif) needs further study. ("Uzayr in the Qur'an and Muslim Tradition" in Studies in Islamic & Judaic Traditions, ed. W.M. Brenner and S.D. Ricks, The University of Denver, 1986, p. 5.)

Finally, Islam's premiere commentator, Ibn `Abbas, believed in the preservation of all of God's books:

"From Kitaab (the book of) Al-Tawheed, Baab (chapter) Qawlu Allah Ta'ala, "Bal Huwa Qur'aanun Majeed, fi lawhin Mahfooth - Or, the Book of the Oneness of God, the Chapter of Surat Al-Borooj (no. 85), Verses 21, 22 which says, `Nay this is a Glorious Qur'an, (Inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved': `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.'" [Arabic]

And,

"The Imam Muhammad Isma'il al-Bukhari (p. 1127, line 7), records that Ibn `Abbas said that `the word Tahrif (corruption) signifies to change a thing from its original nature; and that there is no man who could corrupt a single word of what proceeded from God, so that the Jews and Christians could corrupt only by misrepresenting the meaning of the words of God.'" (T. P. Hughes, Dictionary of Islam [Kazi Publications, Inc, 3023-27 West Belmont Avenue, Chicago Il. 60618, 1994], p. 62)

Hence, the commentary of Abdullah Ibn `Abbas who is one of the Sahaba (companions) and Mohammed's cousin. His opinions are held to be above the opinions and commentaries of all other Sheiks who are not Sahaba.

Not only did Ibn `Abbas believe that the scriptures remained uncorrupt, but others who wrote shortly after him concur:

"Ibn Mazar and Ibn Hatim state, in the commentary known as the Tafsir Durr-I-Mansur, that they have it on the authority of Ibn Muniyah, that the Taurat (i.e. the books of Moses), and the Injil (i.e. the Gospels), are in the same state of purity in which they were sent down from heaven, and that no alterations had been made in them, but that the Jews were wont to deceive the people by unsound arguments, and by wresting the sense of Scripture... Shah Waliyu `Illah, in his commentary, the Fauzul `l-Kabir, and also Ibn `Abbas, support the same view." (T. P. Hughes, p. 62)

And,

"Ibn Kathir in his book Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya quotes Muhammad saying about the Jews and Christians: 'David died in the midst of his friends. They were not led astray, nor changed [their books]. The Friends of Christ stayed in His ordinances and guidance for two hundred years' (proved by Ibn Hibban). It is well-known that we have copies of the New Testament that go back to the fourth century A.D. These are in harmony with the books as they are today." (True Guidance, p. 179)

We must also point out that the idea of the Bible being corrupt was first promoted by Ibn Khazem (d. 1064 A.D.) as a means of avoiding the obvious contradictions between the Bible and the Quran. Believing that the Quran could not possibly have been corrupted, he then assumed that it was the Bible that underwent textual modifications. This, he felt, must have been the case (cf. Gerhard Nehls, Dear Abdallah, Letter 2).

This brief examination of the Quran should convince any open-minded Muslim that the Holy Bible has never suffered any textual corruption whatsoever, whether before, during, or after the advent of Islam. This factor makes it incumbent for all Muslims to earnestly study its message, embracing it wholeheartedly. To refuse to do so is to dishonor the very message of the Quran which came to confirm, not to correct, the truthfulness and authenticity of the Holy Bible, God's well-preserved Word.

For a more in-depth study into the Quranic affirmation of the authenticity of the Holy Bible, we recommend the following two books:

  1. Ernest Hahn & Ghiyathuddin Adelphi:

    The Integrity of the Bible According to the Qur'an and the Hadith

    Fellowship of Faith for the Muslims
    P.O. Box 65214
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4K 3Z2

  2. Dr. William Campbell:

    The Quran and the Bible in the light of history and science

    Middle East Resources
    ISBN 1-881085-00-7


Note: Our usage of the Quran does not imply our belief in its authority nor its inspiration. We quote it solely for the sake of convincing the Muslims of the Bible's authority and authenticity as a fact confirmed by their religious text.


 

APPENDIX

QURAN 5:48 AND ITS TRANSLATION

The following translations of Surah 5:48 are cited in order to demonstrate how other Islamic scholars define the term muhaimin:

"And We have sent down to thee the Book with the truth, confirming the Book that was before it, and ASSURING IT." (The Koran Interpreted, A. J. Arberry [Touchstone Books, Simon & Schuster Inc., 1996], p. 135)

The Quran assures the Bible, not expose corruption to it.

"And to you We have revealed the Book containing the truth, confirming the earlier revelations, AND PRESERVING THEM (FROM CHANGE AND CORRUPTION)." (Al-Quran - A Contemporary Translation by Ahmad Ali [Princeton University Press, New Jersey, fifth ed. 1994], p. 104)

Note how this Muslim understands the verse to mean that the Quran protects the Holy Bible from being corrupted and changed, not exposing corruption to the biblical text.

"Now We have revealed unto thee this Book comprising the truth, fulfilling that which was revealed before it of the Book, and as A GUARDIAN OVER IT." (The Quran Arabic Text With A New Translation by Muhammad Zafrullah Khan [Olive Branch, New York, 1997], p. 107)

"And We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, verifying what was before it of the Book and A GUARDIAN OVER IT." (The Quran by Mahomedali Habib, trans. M.H. Shakir [Tahrike Tarsile Quran Inc., 1995], p. 103)

"And to thee We have sent down the Book of the Koran with truth, confirmatory of previous Scriptures, AND THEIR SAFEGUARD." (The Koran by J.M. Rodwell [Ivy Books, New York, 1993], p. 67)

"We have sent you down the Book with the Truth, to confirm what was already there from the [previous] Book, AND TO SAFEGUARD IT. (The Quran by T.B. Irving; http://isgkc.org/EnglishQuran/sura5.htm)

The Quran SAFEGUARDS the Bible.

"And We have revealed to thee the Book with the truth, verifying that which was before it of the Book and A GUARDIAN OVER IT." (Holy Quran Arabic Text, English Translation and Commentary by Maulana Muhammad Ali [Ahmadiyyah Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore Inc., U.S.A., 1995] p. 256)

"And to you We have revealed the Book with the truth. It confirms the Scriptures which came before it and stands as A GUARDIAN OVER IT." (The Koran Revised Translation by N. J. Dawood (Penguin Books, England, 1997], p. 85)

The Quran assures, preserve, guards, safeguards the Bible. These translations made by both Muslim and non-Muslim scholars clearly demonstrates the polemical nature of those Muslim apologists who try to read into this verse Bible corruption.


The Quran on the Authority and Integrity of the Biblical Text, Part 2

This article is a supplement to my paper, "The Quranic Witness to Biblical Authority", above. Here, I produce additional evidence from both the Quran and Hadith demonstrating that neither Muhammad nor his companions believed that the text of the Holy Bible was corrupted. On the contrary, they wholeheartedly affirmed the authenticity and preservation of the Biblical text that was available to them.

Before proceeding, I would like to clarify the two main reasons for also appealing to the Quran as a verification of the Holy Bible. First, Muslims often claim that the Holy Bible has been tampered with. It is my sincere hope that by demonstrating from the Quran itself that such a charge has no basis in in the scripture which is normative for their faith, Muslims will then abandon such a claim. Second, I view the Quran as an early historical record of what the first Muslims believed. Hence, I use the Quran to document the fact that the first Muslims did not believe that the Holy Bible had been tampered with. Therefore, Muslims that claim to follow the example of Muhammad and his followers must also adopt the same view of the Holy Bible that the first Muslims had. Once it has been conclusively shown, that the Quran presupposes and the early Muslim community including Muhammad himself held to the integrity of the Biblical scriptures, it will not be possible to remain a faithful Muslim while at the same time believing or propagating the charge of textual corruption of the Bible.

Furthermore, we would also like to clarify the meaning of certain terms used throughout this article. The Arabic word Tawrat or Torah first refers to the specific revelation given to Moses. The term is then also used in a broader sense to refer to certain sections of the Old Testament revelation. Zabur (singular) refers to the Psalms of David. Its plural form, Zubur, refers to the scriptures given to David and to the other messengers of God. The term Injil refers to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This Gospel, as we shall shortly document, is contained in the four Gospels found within the New Testament.

With this just said, we now proceed to the evidence.

Sura 2:2

"THAT is the Book, wherein is no doubt, a guidance to the godfearing..." A.J. Arberry

Although many Muslim scholars claim that the phrase "that book" refers to the Quran, this seems to be more of a desperate attempt of avoiding the obvious implications of this passage, namely that the Muslims were to have no doubt about the authority and inspiration of the Holy Bible available at the time of Muhammad.

Because, whenever the Quran refers to itself as a divine book from God it uses the phrase "this", not "that":

And this is a Book (the Koran) which We have sent down as a blessing; so follow it that you may receive Mercy. Lest you should say that the Book was sent to two sects (the Jews & Christians) before us, and we were unaware of what they used to study. S. 6:155-156

This Koran could not have been produced by any other than Allah; it confirms what was revealed before it (the Torah & Gospel), and explains fully the Book (Scriptures) that was revealed without any doubt by the Lord of the worlds. S. 10:37

As the authors of the True Guidance note:

The Quran says that there is no doubt in the Book, though some Muslims have cast doubt on its authenticity. The Quran orders Muhammad to ask those who read the Book from before him whenever he is in doubt concerning the Quran (Sura Yunis 10:94). Islamic commentators said that verse 2 means that there is no doubt that the Book is a guidance unto the god-fearing. But the god-fearing are not in need of guidance, because Allah has already guided them!

We believe that "that Book" refers to the Bible only, not to the Quran. Were the Quran intended, Muhammad would have said "this book" not "that Book." (True Guidance - Comments on Quranic Verses [Light of Life, PO Box 13, A-9503 Villach, Austria], part 5, p. 8; bold emphasis ours)

Finally, even some Muslim scholars understood S. 2:2 as referring to the Holy Bible as that book in which there is no doubt. Ibn Kathir acknowledges the fact that some viewed the phrase 'that book' as referring to the Bible:

has been interpreted by some as the Torah and the Gospel, which is highly unlikely and useless elaboration on a matter about which they know nothing. The correct interpretation is that it refers to the Qur'an." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Part 1 Surah Al-Fatiah Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 1 to 141, abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rafa'i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London, 1998 Second Edition], p. 57; bold italic emphasis ours)

Mahmoud M. Ayoub states:

Most commentators have agreed that dhalika al-kitab (that is the Book) means hadha al-kitab (this is the Book). Tabari reports the view on the authority of 'Ikrimah, al-Suddi and Ibn 'Abbas that "Kitab may refer to the surahs which were sent down before Surat al-Baqarah in Mecca... Some commentators have claimed that the word kitab refers to the Torah and the Gospel and not the Qur'an (see Tabari, I, pp. 227-228).

And,

... Other commentators have said that the word kitab refers either to the Torah and the Gospel in which the Qur'an is explained or to them both, meaning that the Qur'an included both the Torah and the Gospel... (Ayoub, The Qur'an and Its Interpreters, Volume One [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1984], pp. 62, 63; bold emphasis ours)

In light of the preceding factors, there is nothing within the context of the Quran that would rule out that the phrase, that is the Book wherein is no doubt, is referring to the Holy Bible. That is, unless one holds to the prior assumption that the biblical text is corrupt and then proceeds to read this presupposition into the exegesis of the Quran. On the contrary, if we are free from this bias, it is the more natural understanding based on the common grammatical usage that dhalika refers to an entity outside the Quran.

Sura 2:53 and Al-Furqan

Mahmoud M. Ayoub provides the following Islamic commentaries on S. 2:53:

(53) Commentators are generally agreed that the word kitab (scriptures) is meant the Torah and that the Furqan (criterion) is that by which truth may be distinguished from falsehood. Furqan then would be an attribute of the Torah (see Tabari, pp. 70-71; see also Qurtubi, I, p. 39; and Shawkani, I, p. 86). Razi discusses several possible meanings of the word Furqan. "The Furqan [separator, or that by which things may be distinguished] could be either the Torah as a whole or in part. It may also refer to something other than the Torah, perhaps one of the miracles of Moses, such as his staff, and so forth. It may mean relief or victory, as God said concerning the Apostle, 'and what we sent down to our servant on the day of the criterion [Furqan], the day when the two parties met' [Q. 8:41]. The word Furqan may refer to the splitting [infiraq] of the sea, or as some have said, to the Qur'an, WHICH WAS ALSO SENT DOWN TO MOSES." Razi, however, rejects this last view as a false interpretation. He finally concludes, "The Furqan is that which truth may be distinguished from falsehood. Thus it may either be the Torah or something external to it"... (Ayoub, pp. 101-102; bold cap emphasis ours)

As we shall later see, other Muslim commentators believed that the term "Quran" could also be applied to previous scriptures.

Ayoub also discusses S. 2:75:

Others said, 'It was the Torah which they altered, rendering the sanctions in it prohibitions, and the prohibitions sanctions; the truth in it they rendered untrue, and what is false, truth. Thus if a man came to them with a valid accusation, and offered them a bribe, THEY WOULD BRING OUT THE BOOK OF GOD to judge him thereby. But if a man came to them with a false accusation and offered them a bribe, they would bring out an altered book according to which he would be judged to be truthful. If, however, a man came to them inquiring concerning a matter wherein there was neither truth nor falsehood, nor was a bribe offered, they would enjoin upon him to act truthfully" (Tabari, II, p. 246; see also Tabarsi, I, p. 317)

With regard to what was actually changed or altered, many commentators, and especially those who attributed the alteration to the Torah, said that it was the description in the Torah of the physical features, character, and prophethood of Muhammad which was altered or obscured. Razi, as usual, questions such traditional interpretations and in the end prefers to leave the matter open. He begins by observing, "Alteration [tahrif] must either refer to the actual words or to their meaning... Unbroken transmission [tawatur], however, PREVENTS ALTERATION OF THE ACTUAL WORDS. Thus, if those who altered were the seventy men at the time of Moses, they would have altered nothing relating to Muhammad, but only injunctions and prohibitions. If, on the other hand, they lived at the time of Muhammad, it is more probable that what is intended by altering are things relating to Muhammad. The literal sense of the Qur'an does not indicate what they actually altered" (Razi, III, pp. 134-135)..." (Ibid., pp. 120-121; bold cap emphasis ours)

Ayoub's comments on S. 2:97-98 are also noteworthy:

(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.'..." (Ibid., p. 127; emphasis ours)

The preceding traditions affirm that:

  1. Certain Muslim scholars believed that the Torah was given the title al-Furqan, i.e. the Criterion distinguishing between right and wrong.
  2. The Jews had the Book of God with them and would bring it out to decide individual cases.
  3. Razi affirms that the Torah could not have suffered textual corruption due to the unbroken transmission affirming its preservation.
  4. Umar used to frequent Jewish learning centers where the Torah was actually being studied and was amazed how the Torah available at his time confirmed the Quran and vice-versa.
  5. Umar classifies the Torah of his day as one of "the Books of God."

In light of the preceding evidence, we can safely conclude that neither Razi nor Umar believed in the corruption of the Biblical text.

Furthermore, the following verses presume that uncorrupt copies of God's original revelation existed during the time of Muhammad:

S. 2:113

"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."

This verse states that the Jews and Christians read the book, not a corrupt version of the book.

S. 3:79

"It is not for a man to whom is given the Book and wisdom and prophecy that he should then say to people, 'Be worshipers of me in place of God.' But rather, 'Be true teachers (Arabic-rabbaniyin), since you teach the Book and you STUDY it earnestly.'"

The People of the Book of Muhammad's time are said to be studious teachers of the Book. Again, no mention of corruption.

S. 3:93-94

"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."

This passage clearly indicates that the Torah revealed by God was in the hands of the Jews at the time of Muhammad. Otherwise, how could the Quran command the Jews to read the revealed Torah of God if in fact they did not posses it?

S. 43:44-45

"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?'"

Dr. William Campbell notes:

According to Baidawi, Jelaleddin, and Yusuf Ali, "ask those of our apostles whom we sent before thee" means enquire of their people - those learned in their writings and doctrines. Therefore those writings and doctrines were clearly available in Muhammad's time. (Campbell, The Qur'an and the Bible in the Light of History & Science [Middle East Resources 1992, ISBN 1-881085-00-7], p. 39; bold emphasis ours)

 

Muhammad Commanded to Follow the Previous Guidance

The Quran states:

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

Here was an excellent opportunity for Muhammad to expose the tampering of the Biblical text. Instead, he professes his belief in the Holy Bible.

They are whom (Children of Israel) We gave the Scripture, the Judgment and the Prophet hood, but if those (Meccans) disbelieve them, We have entrusted them (Scripture, Judgment and Prophet hood) to a nation (Children of Israel) who do not disbelieve them; they are those whom Allah have guided, so [O Muhammad] follow their Guidance... S. 6:89-90

Muhammad is told to follow the guidance given to the Children of Israel since they are a nation entrusted with and who believe in the revelation given by God. Yet, why would Muhammad follow the guidance given to the Jews if in fact they were corrupt enough to tamper with the Biblical text? And if they had tampered with the Holy Bible how then could the Jews have known the guidance of God?

And if you [O Mohammed] are in doubt of what We have revealed to you (the Koran), ask those who read the Scriptures before you; verily the Truth has come to you from your Lord, therefore do not be one of those doubtful people. And do not be one who belies the signs of Allah, lest you shall become a loser. S. 10:94-95

Muhammad is told that if he is in doubt he should ask the People of the Book for verification of the truth that he has received.

Some try to claim that this passage is not referring to Muhammad. Rather, it is addressing the unbelievers that had doubts about Muhammad's apostleship. This explanation still does not resolve the issue. That the Quran appeals to the testimony of the Jews and Christians for verification implies that the Holy Bible is a criterion that others must use to test the message given to Muhammad.

Furthermore, that the Quran appeals to the Jews and Christians is a strong argument against Biblical corruption. After all, why would the Quran appeal to people that were dishonest enough to corrupt the Holy Bible, that is if the Muslim claim of textual corruption is true?

Others claim that the context of this passage is dealing with certain historical situations that were also known by the People of the Book since these events are also recorded within their scriptures. In light of this, the Quran is telling these unbelievers to verify the historical accounts reported within the Quran with the record possessed by the People of the Book. Again, the problem is far from resolved. The only way for the People of the Book to be called as a witness for the veracity of these historical episodes is if they had uncorrupt copies of the revelation in their possession! Otherwise, it makes absolutely no sense to appeal to documents that had been tampered with, since such documents would be completely unreliable. That the Quran does in fact appeal to the Holy Bible again affirms that Muhammad clearly believed that the Holy Bible in his possession was completely reliable.

 

Ibn Kathir on the Biblical Text

The following traditions and citations are taken from the series of commentaries done by Ibn Kathir. Most of these commentaries have been translated into English as the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Darussalam Publishers & Distributors with offices in Riyadh, Houston, New York and Lahore. The translations were done by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, unless noted otherwise. Before proceeding, we would first like to make it clear that Ibn Kathir does not believe that the previous revelations remained uncorrupt. Rather, his view was that the Biblical text had been corrupted throughout time. Our aim in citing Ibn Kathir is to show that other Muslims did not agree with him, but rather wholeheartedly acknowledged that God's Books remained intact throughout the ages.

Ibn Kathir on S. 2:101:

And when there came to them a messenger from Allah, CONFIRMING WHAT IS WITH THEM, a party of the People of the Book threw away the BOOK OF ALLAH behind their backs, as if (it had been something) they did not know!

This passage again presumes that the Jews and Christians had God's Book intact. Yet a party of them, not all, refused to follow its message. This is what is meant by the phrase they "threw away the Book of Allah behind their backs." In fact, Muhammad is said to confirm the Book. Nowhere does the Quran state that Muhammad was sent to expose corruption to the Holy Bible. Ibn Kathir notes:

Allah cursed them (author-the Jews) for breaking their covenant and for disbelieving in the Prophet. He sent to them (and to humanity in general) even though he was described TO THEM IN THEIR SCRIPTURE. In addition, they were ordered to follow him and support him... Some of them threw away the Book of Allah behind their backs with what it included of Muhammad's description. As if they knew nothing about it... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Surah Al-Fatiha Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 1 to 141, part 1, trans. Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rafa'i, pp. 190-191)

Again, the only way for the Jews to know of the Biblical description of Muhammad is if they had God's original uncorrupt revelation in their possession.

Ibn Kathir on S. 3:71-73:

O People of the Scripture! Why do you mix truth with falsehood and CONCEAL THE TRUTH WHILE YOU KNOW? And a party of the People of the Scriptures say: "Believe in the morning in that which is revealed to the believers, and reject it at the end of the day, so that they may turn back. And believe no one except the one who follows your religion." Say (O Prophet): "Verily right guidance is the guidance of Allah." (And they say): "Do not believe that anyone can receive like that which you have received, otherwise they would engage you in agreement before your Lord." Say: "All the bounty is in the Hand of Allah; He grants to whom He wills, And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Knower.

We would like to first note that the only way for the People of the Scriptures to conceal truth knowingly, IS IF THEY IN FACT HAD THE TRUTH IN THEIR POSSESION! Ibn Kathir states:

Allah guides the hearts of the faithful to the perfect faith through the clear Ayat, plain proofs and unequivocal evidence that He has sent down to His servant and Messenger Muhammad. This occurs, O you Jews, even though you hide the description of Muhammad the unlettered Prophet whom you find IN YOUR BOOKS, THAT YOU RECEIVED FROM THE EARLIER PROPHETS... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Abridged Volume 2, Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, verse 147, parts 3-5, p. 188)

Ibn Kathir claims that the Jews in the time of Muhammad had the books of the prophets in their possession.

Ibn Kathir on S. 3:78:

Mujahid. Ash-Sha'bi, Al-Hassan, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi' bin Anas said that,

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,

As for Allah's books, THEY ARE STILL PRESERVED AND CANNOT BE CHANGED." Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this statement. However, if Wahb meant the books that are currently in the hands of the People of the Book, then we should state that there is no doubt that they altered, distorted, added to and deleted from them. For instance, the Arabic versions of these books contain tremendous error, many additions and deletions and enormous misinterpretation. Those who rendered these translations have incorrect comprehension in most, rather, all of these translations. If Wahb meant the Books of Allah that He has with Him, then indeed, these Books are preserved and were never changed. (Ibid., Volume 2, p. 196, 2000)

Ibn Kathir disagrees with both Wahb and Abbas that the previous revelation remained intact. And on what basis does he disagree? On the basis that Arabic versions of the Holy Bible showed textual tampering in the form of additions and deletions! This is equivalent to someone today claiming that the Quran has been corrupted due to the fact that an English version made by Rashid Khalifah omits S. 9:128-129! The scholarly thing to do is to examine the original languages of the scriptures and see if the text has remained intact. Once this is done, one will discover that the Holy Bible, much like the Quran, contains variant readings. These variants do not prove wholesale corruption to the Biblical text. To claim otherwise would actually prove that the Quran, along with the Holy Bible, has been completely corrupted seeing that both books have come down to us with variations.

Interestingly, Ibn Kathir's citation of Ibn 'Abbas concurs with the following two reports:

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 ...]

This is the Tafseer (commentary) of Abdullah Ibn Abbas, one of the Sahaba (companions) and Mohammed's cousin. His opinions (because he is a Sahabi (companion)) are held to be above the opinions and commentaries of all other Sheikhs who are not Sahaba.

Since Ibn Abbas' above reference to "They corrupt the word" quotes part of Sura 4:46, it is not only a commentary on Sura 85:22, but also on the meaning of the Quranic charge against the Jews of corrupting the scriptures.

(Source: this article)

And:

"The Imam Muhammad Isma'il al-Bukhari (p. 1127, line 7), records that Ibn 'Abbas said that 'the word Tahrif (corruption) signifies to change a thing from its original nature; and that there is no man who could corrupt a single word of what proceeded from God, so that the Jews and Christians could corrupt only by misrepresenting the meaning of the words of God.'" (T. P. Hughes, Dictionary of Islam [Kazi Publications, Inc, 3023-27 West Belmont Avenue, Chicago Il. 60618, 1994], p. 62)

Someone might interject here and claim that Ibn Abbas actually denied the preservation of the Holy Scriptures. According to Ubaydullah bin Abdallah bin Otba, Ibn Abbas said:

O Congregation of Muslims, how can you ask questions of the People of the Book, when your book which God revealed to His prophet brings the best tidings about God: Ye read it unfalsified and God has told you that the People of the Book have altered (baddalu) what God wrote, and have falsified (ghaiyaru) the book with their hands, and said, "This is from God," in order to get some paltry reward for it. Has He not forbidden you to ask those people about what you have received in the way of knowledge? By God, we have never seen any one of them asking you about what has been revealed to you. (Bukhari, Sahih, Kitab al-Shahada, No 29, as noted in J.W. Sweetman, Islam and Christian Theology, Part One, Vol. II [Lutterworth Press, London, 1947], p. 139)

Dr. William Campbell responds:

If this were the sole reference to the previous Scriptures in the Hadith, it would certainly fortify the Muslim claim that the People of the Book corrupt their Scriptures. Yet, to the best of our present knowledge, it must be considered as a single negative reference among the many other references within the Hadith which confirm the presence of a valid Torah and Gospel in the early Muslim community.

It is true that our evidence from the Hadith on this issue may be meaningless to those Muslims who have little trust in them. Yet, regardless of anyone's opinion about the importance of the Hadith, it must be noted that the Mishkat al-Masabih does not include a single reference to corruption of the previous Scriptures. Moreover, assuming we have not missed any pertinent references, it is clear that all the Hadith, with one exception, are devoid of any reference to the corruption of previous Scriptures.

It is possible, of course, that individual Jews foolishly corrupted individual texts of their books, or in other words, that there were isolated instances of actual textual corruption. This would allow us to reconcile this single tradition with the remaining traditions which accept the genuineness of these previous Scriptures.

In summary, according to the Hadith which we have examined, Waraqa writes or translates the "Hebrew Scriptures," not corrupted Scriptures; Muhammad says that the "Jews and Christians read the Torah and the Injil," not a corrupted Torah or Injil. With a copy of the Torah at hand, Muhammad judges according to it, and on another occasion he quotes the Torah and says nothing about it being a corrupted Torah. (Dr. William Campbell, The Qur'an and the Bible in the Light of History & Science [Middle East Resources 1992], pp. 68-69; bold emphasis ours)

Antoin MacRuaidh concurs with the above assessment:

In Islamic hermeneutics, as in Christian exegetical interpretation, the rule is that one interprets the lesser in terms of the greater, and there are far more ahadith testifying to the veracity and existence of the Torah and Injil than this one which may question such. Possibly, the reference is to Surah 4:44, where individual Medinan Jews are berated for corrupting isolated texts in their speech. However, the usual meaning of corruption is perhaps best explained by the following text:

Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As MISHKAT AL-MASABIH

Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) heard some people disputing about the Qur'an. Thereupon he said: It was because of this that those gone before you had perished. They set parts of the books against the others (whereas the fact is) that the Book of Allah has been revealed with one part confirming the others.

Therefore, do not falsify some parts with the others and speak only that which you know; that which you do not know, refer it to one who knows it well.

Transmitted by Ahmad and Ibn Majah.

Clearly, 'falsification' refers to misinterpretation of Scripture, especially if deliberate distortion, rather than the corruption of the actual text itself. Bukhari, in ar-Rad, says:

'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.

This confirms the fact that the accusations against Christians in the Qur'an and Hadith are simply that they misunderstood or misrepresented the doctrines of the Scriptures, not that they changed the actual text. (Source: this article; bold italic emphasis ours)

Interestingly, support for the above claim that Ibn Abbas was referring to misinterpretation of the text and to concoction of false scripture which the Jews then tried to pass off as revelation, and not to the actual corruption of the Holy Bible itself, can be seen from the very same hadith. In the above hadith, Ibn Abbas is purported to have said:

"... Ye read it unfalsified and God has told you that the People of the Book have altered (baddalu) what God wrote, and have falsified (ghaiyaru) the book with their hands, and said, "This is from God," in order to get some paltry reward for it..."

The above citation seems to refer to the following Quranic passage:

So woe to those who write the Book with their hands, and then say, 'This is from Allah,' that they may sell it for a little price. So woe to them for what their hands have written, and woe to them for their earnings. S. 2:79

This seems to imply Biblical corruption until we look at its original context:

"Can you (O men of faith) still earnestly desire that they (the Jews) will believe in you? And verily a party (fariq) among them hear the Word of God, then they pervert it knowingly after they have understood it. And when they meet the believers they say, 'We believe,' but when they meet each other in private they say, 'Why do you tell them what God has revealed to you (in the Torah), that they may engage you in argument about it before their God? What do you not understand?' Do they not know that God knows what they conceal and what they make public? Among them are unlettered folk who know the Scripture not except from hearsay. THEY BUT GUESS." S. 2:75-78

Once the passage is read in its proper context, we discover that it is not speaking of Jews and Christians corrupting their Holy Book, but rather unlettered Jews who were ignorant of the content of scriptures and falsified their own revelation for gain.

Ibn Kathir notes:

means among the people of the Scripture. An illiterate, to the Arabs, is a person who can neither read nor calculate, as the Prophet said: "We are an illiterate Ummah; we neither write nor calculate; the month is such and such..." The verse means that among the people of the Scripture were people who could not read or write. means except from hearsay or statements that they falsely repeat. They only say what they think rather than what is actually mentioned in the Scripture and claim that it is from the scripture. that is they lie, not knowing what is written in the Scripture and they only say what they think about your Prophethood (that is Muhammad's) through conjecture. This is another group of Jews. They are the rabbis who call the people to misguidance, through lies, and devour the wealth of people by false means.

As-Suddi said that a group of Jews wrote a book of their own and sold it to the Arabs for a trifling price, claiming that it was Allah's word. Al-Bukhari narrated that az-Zuhri quoted Ibn 'Abbas through a number of chain of authorities as saying that the people of the Scripture altered Allah's word, and that they wrote their own version claiming that it was from Allah that they may purchase a small gain therewith. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Part 1 Surat al-Fatiha Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 1 to 141, pp. 161-162; italic emphasis ours)

Ibn Kathir acknowledges that the Jews of this passage were an illiterate group who did not know their own scripture. This affirms that these Jews could not have been perverting the text of the Holy Bible since they were ignorant of its contents, having no direct knowledge of it except from hearsay. But corrupting the text of the manuscripts does not only demand good knowledge of their content and direct access to them, but also a well developed ability of writing and forging in a way that is not easily detected which would otherwise lead to immediate discovery and rejection of the corruption.

Furthermore, the Quran clearly speaks of learned Jews and Christians who knew scripture and would not sell it for gain:

"And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book, those who believe in God, and that which has been revealed to you, in that which has been revealed to them, bowing in humility to God. They will not sell the signs of God for miserable gain. For them is a reward with their Lord, and God is swift in account." S. 3:199

"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

Finally, S. 2:75-78 seems to assert that the Jews were also falsifying the Quran when it claims that "verily a party (fariq) among them hear the Word of God, then they pervert it knowingly after they have understood it." This is supported by the following passage:

"Seest thou not those unto whom a portion of the Scripture hath been given, how they purchase error, and seek to make you (Muslims) err from the right way? Allah knoweth best (who are) your enemies. Allah is sufficient as a Guardian, and Allah is sufficient as a Supporter. Some of those who are Jews change words from their context and say: 'We hear and disobey; hear thou as one who heareth not' and 'Listen to us!' distorting with their tongues and slandering religion. If they had said: 'We hear and we obey: hear thou, and look at us' it had been better for them, and more upright. But Allah hath cursed them for their disbelief, so they believe not, save a few. O ye unto whom the Scripture hath been given! Believe in what We have revealed confirming that which ye possess, before We destroy countenances so as to confound them, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers (of old time). The commandment of Allah is always executed." S. 4:44-47

Yusuf Ali comments on S. 4:44-47:

"... A trick of the Jews was to twist words and expressions, so as to ridicule the most solemn teachings of the Faith. Where they should have said, 'We hear and we obey,' they said aloud, 'We hear,' and whispered, 'We disobey.' Where they should have said respectfully, 'We hear,' they added in a whisper, 'What is not heard,' by way of ridicule. Where they claimed the attention of the Teacher, they used an ambiguous word apparently harmless, but their intention disrespectful." (Ali, The Holy Qur'an, p. 194, f. 565)

And,

"... 'Ra'ina' if used respectfully in the Arabic way, would have meant 'Please attend to us.' With the twist of their tongue, they suggested an insulting meaning, such as 'O thou that takest us to pasture!', or in Hebrew, 'Our bad one!'" (Ibid, f. 566)

Using Muslim logic here we would have to conclude that the Jewish perversion of the Quran by their tongues meant that they corrupted the text of the Quran as well.

In fact, the Quran claims that there were individuals who were dividing the Quran into parts:

(Of just such wrath) as We sent down on those who divided (Scripture into arbitrary parts),- (So also on such) as have made Qurán into shreds (as they please). Therefore, by thy Lord, We will, of a surety, call them to account, For all their deeds. S. 15:90-03

Other translations read:

PICKTHALL: Those who break the Qur'an into parts.
SHAKIR: Those who made the Quran into shreds.

HILLALI-KHAN: Who have made the Qur'ân into parts. (i.e. believed in a part and disbelieved in the other).

KHALIFAH: They accept the Quran only partially.

SHAKIR: Those who made the Quran into shreds.
T.B. IRVING: who have torn the Quran apart.

Khalifah and Hillali-Khan understand the verse to be claiming that believing in only part of the Quran is equivalent to tearing the Quran into shreds. If this is so, one can therefore legitimately argue for a similar understanding in reference to the Bible being torn apart or falsified. The Quran is claiming that the Jews and Christians believed only in part of the Holy Bible and misinterpreted the rest of the scriptures that did not agree with their theological presuppositions. The Quran no more asserts that the Biblical text has been tampered with than the above verse proves that the Quran itself has been corrupted.

It is also possible that Ibn Abbas might not have been referring to S. 2:79, but rather to the following verses:

There is among them a section who distort the Book WITH THEIR TONGUES: (As they read) you would think it is a part of the Book, but it is no part of the Book; and they say, "That is from Allah," but it is not from Allah. It is they who tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it! S. 3:78

Ibn Kathir notes:

The Jews Alter Allah's Words

Allah states that some Jews, may Allah's curses descend on them, distort Allah's words WITH THEIR TONGUES, change them from their appropriate places, and alter THEIR INTENDED MEANINGS. They do this to deceive the ignorant people by making it appear that their words are in the Book of Allah. They attribute their own lies to Allah, even though they know that they have lied and invented falsehood... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Volume 2, pp. 195-196; italic emphasis ours)

Interestingly this section appears right before the following citation quoted earlier:

Mujahid. Ash-Sha'bi, Al-Hassan, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi' bin Anas said that,

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,

As for Allah's books, THEY ARE STILL PRESERVED AND CANNOT BE CHANGED." Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this statement. However, if Wahb meant the books that are currently in the hands of the People of the Book, then we should state that there is no doubt that they altered, distorted, added to and deleted from them. For instance, the Arabic versions of these books contain tremendous error, many additions and deletions and enormous misinterpretation. Those who rendered these translations have incorrect comprehension in most, rather, all of these translations. If Wahb meant the Books of Allah that He has with Him, then indeed, these Books are preserved and were never changed. (Ibid., p. 196)

Therefore, these citations serve to reinforce our earlier assessment that the Quran only claims some of the People of the Book perverted scripture with their tongues, i.e. through misinterpretation and some were writing books unrelated to the Biblical text and claiming those to be revelation. Neither of the two has anything to do with the charge of textual corruption of the Holy Bible.

In either case, the preceding evidence and Ibn Abbas' positive assertion on the preservation and incorruptibility of God's Books explicitly affirms that the last thing Ibn Abbas had in mind was to attack the purity of the Biblical text.

Ibn Kathir states that the term "Quran" was used by Muhammad to refer to previous revelation:

"... We should state here that it is possible to call other Divine Books, ‘Qur'an’, since this Qur'an is based on all of them. Imam Ahmad recorded Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

Reciting was made easy for (Prophet) Dawud (David) in that he used to order his animal be prepared for him to ride and in the meantime he would read the entire Qur'an. He used to eat only from what his hand made.

Al-Bukhari collected this Hadith. The Qur'an mentioned here is [sic] refers to the Zabur..." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Volume 5, p. 282; bold emphasis ours)

Here is Sahih al-Bukhari:

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)

And:

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)

The above hadiths call the revelation given to David both the Quran and the Psalms.

Ibn Kathir's statement that previous revelation is called the Quran due to the Quran being based on all of them seems to echo the following statement::

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...

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, Volume 7, pp. 276-277; bold italic emphasis ours)

According to Ibn Kathir, the scriptures of old containing the description of Muhammad and the Quran was available during the time of Muhammad. If this is the case, then on what basis can Ibn Kathir claim that the previous revelation has been tampered with seeing that this verse clearly states that the previous Scriptures were still available at the time of Muhammad? The fact that the Scripture remained intact during the time of Muhammad is reinforced by the following passage:

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

Mahmoud M. Ayoub states:

(121) Wahidi relates on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas, "This verse was sent down concerning the people of the ship who came [to Medina] with Ja'far ibn Abi Talib from Abyssinia. They were forty men, thirty-two from Abyssinia and eight of the monks of Syria. The monk Bahirah was said to be among them." In another tradition related on the authority of al-Dahhak, we are told, "The verse was sent down concerning those among the Jews who accepted faith [such as 'Abdallah ibn Sallam and others]." Still another tradition related on the authority of Qatdah and 'Ikrimah states, "It was sent down concerning the Companions of Muhammad" (Wahidi, p. 37; see also Ibn Kathir, I, pp. 286-287; Qurtubi, II, p. 95; Tabarsi, I, p. 448; and Shawkani, I, pp. 135-136)

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, The Qur'an and its Interpreters, Vol. 1, pp. 149-150)

Hence, according to Zamakhshari there were those 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?

We are also told in the Quran:

They say: "O thou [Muhammad] to whom the Message (Dhikru) is being revealed! Truly thou art mad (or possessed)!..." We have, without doubt sent down THE MESSAGE (Dhikra); And We will assuredly guard it (from corruption). S. 15:6, 9

In light of the previous citations, we would like to ask the following question. Seeing that the Quran claims to be IN the previous revelation, seeing that certain Muslims used the term "Quran" for previous revelation, and seeing also that Allah claimed that he would preserve the Quran, does it not logically follow that Allah would also preserve the previous revelation that contained the Quran? This can be easily seen in that S. 26:192-197 states that the Quran IS IN the scriptures of old, meaning that the previous revelation still remained intact during Muhammad's time. This point is strengthened further by the fact that the Quran calls the previous revelation the Reminder-Dhikr:

"And before thee We sent none but men, to whom We granted inspiration: If ye realise this not, ask of those who possess THE MESSAGE (Dhikri)." S. 16:43

"Before thee, also, the messengers We sent were but men, to whom We granted inspiration: if ye know this not, ask of those who POSSESS THE MESSAGE (Dhikri)." S. 21:7

Or have they taken for worship (other) gods besides Him? Say, "Bring your convincing proof: this is the Reminder (Dhikru) of those with me and the Reminder (Dhikru) OF THOSE BEFORE ME." But most of them know not the Truth, and so turn away. S. 21:24

"In the past We granted to Moses and Aaron the Criterion (al-Furqana) (for judgment), And a Light and a Message (Dhikra) for those who would do right." S. 21:48

"Before this, We wrote in the Psalms, after THE REMINDER (Dhikri): 'My servants, the righteous, shall inherit the earth.'" S. 21:105

It is all the same for them whether you warn them or do not warn them; they still will not believe. You will only warn someone who follows THE REMINDER (Dhikra) and dreads the Mercy-giving even though He is Unseen. S. 36:10-11 T.B. Irving

Sa'd, by the Koran, which portrays the Reminder (A.J. Arberry - containing the Remembrance/ Saaad Wal-Qur'aani Dhith-Dhikr). S. 38:1

"We did aforetime give Moses the Guidance, and We gave the Book in inheritance to the Children of Israel - A Guide and A REMINDER (Dhikraa) to men of understanding." S. 40:53-54

These passages establish that the revelation given to Moses and the Book which the Jews and Christians possessed at the time of Muhammad was also part of the "Reminder" that God had sent down. Hence, seeing that God said he would protect the Reminder, and seeing that the Reminder includes both the Holy Bible and the Quran, and seeing that the Quran supposedly IS IN the previous revelation serves to debunk Muslim claims of Bible corruption.

Another Quranic passage supporting Biblical preservation includes the following:

"Those who follow the messenger, the unlettered Prophet, WHOM THEY FIND MENTIONED IN THEIR OWN (SCRIPTURES),- IN THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL;- for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure); He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him, honor him, help him, and follow the Light which is sent down with him,- it is they who will prosper."... Of the people of Moses there is a section who guide and do justice in the light of truth... We broke them up into sections on this earth. There are among them some that are the righteous, and some that are the opposite. We have tried them with both prosperity and adversity: In order that they might turn (to Us). 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. 7:157, 159, 168-170

This passage tells the people of Muhammad's time that they will find the latter mentioned in the Law and the Gospel. Again, for this to be so there had to have been uncorrupt copies of both the Law and the Gospel available at the time. The passage also admonishes the Jews to study the Book, which presumes that the Jews had an uncorrupt copy of God's revelation in their possession.

Ibn Kathir concurs. Here is his comment on S. 7:157:

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),

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,

[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-A'raf to the end of Surah Yunus, pp. 178-179; bold emphasis ours)

This story presumes that Muhammad believed that the Torah available in his time was that which God had sent down to Moses. Otherwise it would have been foolish for Muhammad to ask the Jews if whether their book contained a prophecy about him and his advent if in fact they had corrupted their scriptures. Furthermore, that Ata bin Yasar asked both Abdullah bin Amr and Ka'b al-Ahbar whether a description of Muhammad exists in the Torah presumes that they both had uncorrupt Torahs in their possessions.

Finally, this story also presumes that Isaiah 42:1-7, cited above, formed part of the Torah sent down by God to Israel. In fact, Bukhari claims that the term Torah was used in a broader sense to refer to the entire collection of divine writings possessed by the Judeo-Christian communities.

The Implicit Islamic Witness to Biblical Authority

The following citations are taken from Muslim historians and scholars that implicitly attest to the authority and preservation of the Biblical text.

For instance Al-Tabari cites Matthew's Gospel, more specifically Matthew 2:1-15, as an accurate depiction of historical events that transpired in Jesus' life:

"Some historians mentioned that Jesus was born forty-two years after Augustus had become emperor. Augustus continued to live on, and his reign lasted fifty-six years; some add a few days. The Jews assaulted Christ. The sovereign in Jerusalem at the time was Caesar, and it was on his behalf that Herod the Great reigned in Jerusalem. Messengers of the king of Persia came to him. Sent to Christ, they came to Herod by mistake. They informed Herod that the king of Persia had sent them to offer Christ the gifts they carried, gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. They told him that they had observed that Christ's star had risen - they had learned this from computation. They offered him the gifts at Bethlehem in Palestine. When Herod learned about them, he plotted against Christ, and looked for him in order to slay him. God commanded an angel to tell Joseph, who was with Mary at the sanctuary, that Herod intended to slay the child, and to instruct him to flee to Egypt with the child and its mother.

"When Herod died the angel told Joseph, who was in Egypt, that Herod was dead and that his son Archelaus reigned instead - the man who sought to slay the child was no longer alive. Joseph took the child to Nazareth in Palestine, to FULFILL the word of Isaiah the prophet, 'I called you out of Egypt'..." (Tabari, The History of al-Tabari Volume IV - The Ancient Kingdom, Moshe Perlman trans. [The State University of New York Press; Albany, 1987], pp. 124-125)

The footnote reads:

"The reference ascribed here to Isaiah is in Hosea 11:1." (Ibid, p. 125)

Ibn Ishaq quotes the Gospel of John as the very same gospel given to 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)

The preceding Gospel citation is taken from John 15:23-16:1. Ishaq never once hints that this particular Gospel is inauthentic or corrupt.

Additionally, we find a NT verse inscribed in the Kaba. On p. 86 of Ishaq's The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasulallah), we read:

"Layth Abu Sulaym alleged that they found a stone in the Kaba forty years before the prophet's mission, if what they say is true, containing the inscription 'He that soweth good shall reap joy; he that soweth evil shall reap sorrow; can you do evil and be rewarded with good? Nay, as grapes cannot be gathered from thorns'"

Hence, we even have Matthew 7:16 inscribed on a stone in the Kaba itself!

Finally,

"Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. Thou wilt see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. On their faces are their marks, (being) the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude IN THE TAURAT; and their similitude IN THE GOSPEL IS: like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the Unbelievers with rage at them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds forgiveness, and a great Reward." S. 48:29

According to this passage, the description of Muslims in prayer IS IN the Torah and Gospel, meaning that both books were available during the time of Muhammad. Interestingly, Yusuf Ali claims that the description of Muslims in the Torah and the Gospel is an allusion to Numbers 16:22 and Mark 4:27-28:

"... In the Book of Moses, which is now found in a corrupt form in the Pentateuch, the posture of humility in prayer is indicated by prostration: e.g. Moses and Aaron 'fell upon their faces', Num. xvi. 22." (Ali, The Holy Qur'an - Meaning and Translation, p. 1400, n. 4916)

Ali claims that the Pentateuch only contains portions from the Book of Moses, but is not the actual revelation given to Moses. Yet, the verse itself claims that Moses' Torah WAS AVAILABLE during the time of Muhammad. There is absolutely no warrant for the claim that today's Torah, which is virtually identical to that available in Muhammad's time, only contains part of the original revelation. Aside from his claim on the Pentateuch, Ali indirectly affirms that the book of Numbers formed part of the Torah alluded to by the Quran!

Ali continues:

... The similitude in the Gospel is about how the good seed is sown and grown gradually, even beyond the expectation of the sower: "the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how; for the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the earth"; Mark, iv 27-28... (Ibid., n. 4917)

This again presumes that the Gospel of Mark formed part of the Gospel that the Quran claims was sent down to Jesus.

The following tradition is found in Mishkat al-Masabih, translated by James Robson, Ashraf, Lahore, 1963,

Book II, ch. I, pp. 62,63:

Ziyad b. Labid said: The Prophet mentioned a matter, saying, "that will be at the time when knowledge departs." I asked, "How can knowledge depart when we recite the Qur'an and teach it to our children and they will teach it to their children up till the Day of Resurrection?" He replied, "I am astonished at you, Ziyad. I thought you were the most learned man in Medina. Do not these Jews and Christians READ THE TORAH AND THE INJIL without knowing a thing about their contents?" Ahmad and Ibn Majah transmitted it, Tirmidhi transmitted something similar from him, as did Darimi from Abu Umama.

Muhammad claims that the Jews and Christians of his day were actually reading the Torah and the Injil. This again presumes that uncorrupt copies of the Torah and Gospel were available at that time. Otherwise it would not have been possible for the Jews and Christians to be reading something they did not possess.

Mishkat al-Masabih, Book I, ch. VI, p. 49 states:

Jabir told how 'Umar b. al-Khattab brought God's messenger A COPY OF THE TORAH saying, "Messenger of God, THIS IS A COPY OF THE TORAH." When he received no reply he began to read to the obvious displeasure of God's messenger, so Abu Bakr said, "Confound you, do you not see how God's messenger is looking?" So 'Umar looked at God's messenger's face and said, "I seek refuge in God from the anger of God and His messenger. We are satisfied with God as Lord, with Islam as religion, and with Muhammad as Prophet." Then God's messenger said, "By Him in whose hand Muhammad's soul is, were Moses to appear to you and you were to follow him and abandon me, you would err from the right way. Were he alive and came in touch with my prophetic mission he would follow me." Darimi transmitted it.

According to this tradition Umar had an uncorrupt copy of the Torah in his possession. Muhammad's complaint is not that the text of the Torah had been tampered with. Rather, his complaint centered around the fact that the Torah was not binding upon the Muslims since Muhammad's guidance has replaced the revelation given to Moses.

Again, from Mishkat, Book XX, ch. I, p. 892:

Salman said HE READ IN THE TORAH that the blessing of food consists in ablution after it, and when he mentioned that to the Prophet he said, "The blessing of food consists in ablution before it and ablution after if." Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud transmitted it.

That Salman was able to read from the Torah presumes that uncorrupt copies of the Torah were available during that time.

In light of the preceding evidence, it is no wonder that the Quran gives the following warning to those that deny the revelation given to the messengers that preceded Muhammad:

"Those who deny the Book, and that with which We sent Our Messengers they will come to know. When iron collars will be rounded over their necks, and the chains, they shall be dragged along. In the boiling water, then they will be burned in the Fire." S. 40:70-72

Yet, problems still remain for the Muslims. By accepting the Holy Bible one must reject Muhammad since Muhammad contradicted the message given in the previous revelation. But to reject the Holy Bible is to reject both the message of the Quran and the Sunnah since the latter sources both presume the preservation and reliability of the Holy Bible.


The Quran on Biblical Authority Revisited


Introduction

This article is the final supplement to my first two papers on this subject, above.

It is my intention in this paper to examine certain claims made by some Muslims regarding the Quranic position of previous Scriptures. There are Muslims who actually assert that the Taurat, Gospel and Quran are all part of one Book and that these revelations are now to be found in the Quran alone. This view goes so far as to deny that the Holy Bible contains even a portion of the original revelation that was given to God's messengers before Muhammad. It is further asserted that the Quran never claims that the Taurat was given to Moses. Another Muslim argument that I will be dealing with is the claim that the Quran only acknowledges the Psalms given to David. The Quran does not recognize any other Psalm. With that said, we begin with our examination of the said claims.

THE REVELATION OF MULTIPLE BOOKS

The Quran doesn't just refer to the Book of God, but also refers to the Books of God and makes it mandatory for Muslims to believe in all of them:

"The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, HIS BOOKS (kutubihi), and His messengers. ‘We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His messengers.’ And they say: ‘We hear, and we obey: (we seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.’" S. 2:285

"O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and the scripture which He hath sent to His Messenger and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). Any who denieth Allah, His angels, HIS BOOKS (Kutubihi), His Messenger, and the Day of Judgment, hath gone far, far astray." S. 4:136

"But We had not given them Books (Kutub) which they could study, nor sent messengers to them before thee as Warners." S. 34:44

"Hast thou not turned thy vision to those who were given a portion of the Book? they believe in sorcery and Tagut (Evil), and say to the Unbelievers that they are better guided in the (right) way than the believers!" S. 4:51

That a portion of the Book was given to some implies that there were other portions given to others. This implies that the term Book carries a wide variety of meanings depending on the context. Here, Book refers to God's revelations as a whole, all the books of God as a single unit. This shows that at times the Arabic word Kitab carries the same meaning as Bible, i.e. a reference to all the inspired books together in a single collection or as a single unit since the author of all these books is essentially One, namely God. The Quran also uses the word Book to refer to the written Record that will be read on the Day of Judgment:

"And thou wilt see every nation bowing the knee: every nation will be called to its Book (Kitabihaa): ‘This Day shall ye be recompensed for all that ye did! This Our Book (Kitaabunaa) speaks about you with truth: For We were wont to put on record all that ye did.’" S. 45:28-29

One final reference to Allah's Books includes:

"And Mary, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her of Our Spirit and she accepted the truth of the words of her Lord and HIS BOOKS (Kutubihi), and she was of, the obedient ones." S. 66:12

These verses should sufficiently demonstrate that the Quran acknowledges that God has revealed more than one Book.


THE QURAN, TAURAT AND GOSPEL ARE DIFFERENT BOOKS

The Quran affirms that the Taurat and the Gospel were different books and circulated separately during the time of Jesus and Muhammad:

"It is He (God) who sent down to thee the Book in truth, attesting to what IS BETWEEN ITS (HIS) HANDS, and He sent down the Torah AND the Gospel BEFORE THIS as a guide to mankind." S. 3:3

This verse states that the Quran confirms the Taurat and Gospel which were revealed before Muhammad and that these books were in Muhammad's possession, or at least in the possession of the Jews and Christians at the time of Muhammad. This affirms that the claim that the Taurat and the Gospel are now found only in the Quran is a farce.

"And He will teach him (Jesus) THE BOOK AND the wisdom AND the Taurat AND the Gospel. And (make him) a messenger to the children of Israel: That I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that I determine for you out of dust like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird with Allah's permission and I heal the blind and the leprous, and bring the dead to life with Allah's permission and I inform you of what you should eat and what you should store in your houses; most surely there is a sign in this for you, if you are believers. And a verifier of that which IS BETWEEN MY HANDS of the Taurat and that I may allow you part of that which has been forbidden to you, and I have come to you with a sign from your Lord therefore be careful of (your duty to) Allah and obey me." S. 3:48-50

"But why do they (the Jews) come to thee for decision, WHEN THEY HAVE THE TAURAT IN WHICH IS THE COMMAND OF GOD. Surely We revealed the Taurat in which IS guidance and light; with it the prophets who submitted themselves (to Allah) judged (matters) for those who were Jews, and the masters of Divine knowledge and the doctors, because they were required to guard (part) of the Book of Allah, and they were witnesses thereof; therefore fear not the people and fear Me, and do not take a small price for My communications; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the unbelievers. We ordained therein for them (the Jews): ‘Life for life, eye for eye, nose for 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 what God has revealed, they are wrong-doers. And in their footsteps (of Moses and the Jews) We sent Jesus the son of Mary, verifying to the Taurat which was BETWEEN HIS HANDS; and We gave him the Gospel - therein is guidance and light and verifying the Taurat which was BETWEEN HIS HANDS: a guidance and an admonition to the righteous. To you (Muhammad) We revealed the book in truth, VERIFYING THAT WHICH IS BETWEEN HIS (ITS) HANDS FROM THE SCRIPTURE, and guarding it; therefore judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires (to turn away) from the truth that has come to you; for every one of you did We appoint a law and a way, and if Allah had pleased He would have made you (all) a single people, but that He might try you in what He gave you, therefore strive with one another to hasten to virtuous deeds; to Allah is your return, of all (of you), so He will let you know that in which you differed;" S. 5:43-48

"When Allah will say: O Jesus son of Mary! Remember My favor on you and on your mother, when I strengthened you with the holy Spirit, you spoke to the people in the cradle and when of old age, and when I taught you the Book AND the wisdom AND the Taurat AND the Gospel; and when you determined out of clay a thing like the form of a bird by My permission, then you breathed into it and it became a bird by My permission, and you healed the blind and the leprous by My permission; and when you brought forth the dead by My permission; and when I withheld the children of Israel from you when you came to them with clear arguments, but those who disbelieved among them said: This is nothing but clear enchantment." S. 5:110

"And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: ‘Oh Children of Israel! I am the apostle of God to you, confirming that which IS BETWEEN MY HANDS from the Taurat and giving the good news of an Messenger who will come after me, his name being Ahmad, but when he came to them with clear arguments they said: This is clear magic.’" S. 61:6

These verses show that the Taurat in the hands of the Jews, the Gospel of Jesus and the Quran given to Muhammad were separate books which were circulating separately. Even though Christians included the Taurat as part of their scriptures, they still considered it as a revelation distinct from the Gospel.

"And I will write down (my mercy) for those who are righteous and give alms and who believe in our signs; who follow the apostle, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in the Torah AND the Gospel that IS WITH THEM." S. 7:156-157

"God has bought from the believers their selves and their wealth, and for them is the garden (of Paradise) if they fight in the ways of God: and whether they kill or are killed, the promise of God IS true in the Torah AND the Gospel AND the Qur'an, and who is more faithful to his promise than God?" S. 9:111

The Taurat and the Gospel are said to be with the Jews and Christians during Muhammad's time, and that these books along with the Quran were both different and separate from one another.

"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

"In their histories there is certainly a lesson for men of understanding. It (the Qur'an) is not a fabricated story, but a verification of that WHICH IS BETWEEN HIS (ITS) HANDS, a detailed explanation, a guide and a mercy to the people who believe." S. 12:111

"And the unbelievers say, ‘We will not believe in this Qur'an, nor in that which IS BETWEEN HIS (ITS) HANDS; and could you see when the unjust shall be made to stand before their Lord, bandying words one with another! Those who were reckoned weak shall say to those who were proud: Had it not been for you we would certainly have been believers.’" S. 34:31

"That which we have revealed to you of the Book is the truth, attesting to (the truth of) that WHICH IS BETWEEN HIS (ITS) HANDS; most surely with respect to His servants Allah is Aware, Seeing." S. 35:31

"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

Again, these verses attest that the Quran came to confirm the scriptures such as the Taurat and the Gospel which were available at the time of Muhammad. This again confirms that these scriptures were not contained within the Quran, but were separate from it and accessible to Muhammad's contemporaries.

The final line of evidence, which demonstrates the availability of the previous scriptures at Muhammad's time, includes the following passages:

And they say: If only he would bring us a miracle from his Lord! Hath there not come unto them the proof of what IS IN the former scriptures (al-Suhufi al-oola)? S. 20:133

The Quran says that the FORMER scriptures or pages were available as evidence for Muhammad's contemporaries. These pages which existed at Muhammad's time would have included the revelation given to Moses and Abraham:

"Nay, is he not acquainted with what IS IN the Books of Moses" S. 53:36

"Lo! This IS IN the former scrolls (Al-Suhufi al-oola). The Books of Abraham and Moses (Suhufi ibraheema wa moosa)." S. 87:18-19

And:

"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 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]?" S. 26:192-197

This passage makes it quite clear that the Quran is in the previous scriptures, not the other way around. Muslim commentator Ibn Kathir writes:

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 [August 2000, first edition], 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. There can be little doubt that the Quran denies the claim that all the previous revelations exist only within its own pages.


TAURAT - REVEALED TO MOSES?

Certain Muslims claim that the Quran never says that the Taurat was given to Moses. Rather, the Taurat refers to a body of legislation that was given to the Israelites. This Taurat is not identical to the first five books of the Old Testament called the Pentateuch.

The only problem with this assertion is that it fails to take seriously the Quranic claim that the Taurat, as well as the Book given to Moses, was entrusted to the Children of Israel:

"All food was lawful to the Children of Israel, except what Israel (Jacob) made unlawful for himself, before the Torah was revealed. Say: ‘Bring ye the Torah and study it, if ye be men of truth.’" S. 3:93

"But why do they (the Jews) come to thee for decision, WHEN THEY HAVE THE TAURAT IN WHICH IS THE COMMAND OF GOD. Surely We revealed the Taurat in which IS guidance and light; WITH IT THE PROPHETS WHO SUBMITTED THEMSELVES (to Allah) JUDGED (matters) FOR THOSE WHO WERE JEWS, and the masters of Divine knowledge and the doctors, BECAUSE THEY WERE ENTRUSTED WITH THE PROTECTION OF THE BOOK OF ALLAH, and they were witnesses thereof; therefore fear not the people and fear Me, and do not take a small price for My communications; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the unbelievers. We ordained therein for them (the Jews): ‘Life for life, eye for eye, nose for 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 what God has revealed, they are wrong-doers." S. 5:43-45

"We gave Moses the Book, and made it a Guide to the Children of Israel, (commanding): ‘Take not other than Me as Disposer of (your) affairs.’ O ye that are sprung from those whom We carried (in the Ark) with Noah! Verily he was a devotee most grateful. And We decreed for the Children of Israel in the Book, that twice would they do mischief on the earth and be elated with mighty arrogance (and twice would they be punished)!" S. 17:2-4

"We did aforetime give Moses the Guidance, and We gave the Book in inheritance to the Children of Israel,- A Guide and a Reminder to men of understanding." S. 40:53-54

"We did aforetime grant to the Children of Israel the Book the Power of Command, and Prophethood; We gave them, for Sustenance, things good and pure; and We favored them above the nations. And We granted them Clear Signs in affairs (of Religion): it was only after knowledge had been granted to them that they fell into schisms, through insolent envy among themselves. Verily thy Lord will judge between them on the Day of Judgment as to those matters in which they set up differences." S. 45:16-17

The New Testament agrees that the revelation given before Christ was entrusted to the Jews:

"What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with THE VERY WORDS OF GOD." Romans 3:1-2

"For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, THE COVENANTS, THE RECEIVING OF THE LAW, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. Romans 9:4-5

This implies that we must turn to the Jews to see what was the Taurat which they had in their possession. In fact, the Quran encourages people to ask the Children of Israel about their history, especially the circumstances surrounding the Exodus:

"And certainly We gave Moses nine clear signs; SO ASK THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL. When he came to them, Pharaoh said to him: Most surely I deem you, O Moses, to be a man deprived of reason." S. 17:101

And:

"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

When we do ask the People of the Book, i.e. the Jews and Christians, we discover that a careful examination of the scriptures that God entrusted to the Children of Israel shows that the Taurat in their possession was none other than the revelation given to Moses.

In fact, one Muslim writer agrees that the term Taurat, as well as Gospel/Injil, must be defined within its cultural and historical context:

The Qur'an, by the names ‘Torah’ and ‘Injeel’ refers to what was called ‘Torah’ and ‘Injeel’ in the environment in which the Qur'an was revealed. It is obvious that had the Qur'an implied something else by these words, it was then necessary to clarify that the words were being used to imply something different from what they were commonly used in the environment. It should be kept in mind that the implication of words in a good piece of literature cannot be against the common usage of such words. If such is the case, it can only be considered a flaw of that piece of literature. For example, in the contemporary English language, the phrase "the prophet" (in singular form) is used only for Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). If any contemporary English writer uses the phrase to imply any other person, it would only be considered a serious mistake and flaw in his writing, unless he/she explicitly or implicitly clarifies in his writing that the phrase has been used in a meaning different from its generally understood connotation. (Source; bold emphasis ours)

Taking the above author's claims in perspective it becomes virtually impossible to deny that the term Taurat refers to the revelation given to Moses.

Before proceeding to the scriptural evidence we would first like to point out that the words Torah (singular) and Torot/Taurat (plural) simply means Law or instruction as Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon indicates:

08451 towrah {to-raw'} or torah {to-raw'}

AV - law 219; 219

1) law, direction, instruction
1a) instruction, direction (human or divine)
1a1) body of prophetic teaching
1a2) instruction in Messianic age
1a3) body of priestly direction or instruction
1a4) body of legal directives
1b) law
1b1) law of the burnt offering
1b2) of special law, codes of law
1c) custom, manner
1d) the Deuteronomic or Mosaic Law (Source)

The Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Torah is Nomos. Thayer's Lexicon defines the word as:

3551 nomos {nom'-os}

AV - law 197; 197

1) anything established, anything received by usage, a custom, a law, a command
1a) of any law whatsoever
1a1) a law or rule producing a state approved of God
1a1a) by the observance of which is approved of God
1a2) a precept or injunction
1a3) the rule of action prescribed by reason
1b) of the Mosaic law, and referring, acc. to the context. either to the volume of the law or to its contents
1c) the Christian religion: the law demanding faith, the moral instruction given by Christ, esp. the precept concerning love
1d) the name of the more important part (the Pentateuch), is put for the entire collection of the sacred books of the OT.
(Source)

Both the words Torah/Torot and Nomos are used throughout the Holy Bible to refer to the revelation given to Moses at Sinai:

"Then he said to Moses, ‘Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance, but Moses alone is to approach the LORD; the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with him.’ When Moses went and told the people all the LORD's words and laws, they responded with one voice, ‘Everything the LORD has said we will do.’ Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said. He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the LORD. Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, ‘We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.’ Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.’ Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank. The LORD said to Moses, ‘Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you THE TABLETS OF STONE, with THE LAW and commands I have written for their instruction.’" Exodus 24:1-12 (cf. Exodus 19-20)

Amazingly, the Quran alludes to this event:

"O ye Children of Israel! We delivered you from your enemy, and We made a Covenant with you on the right side of Mount (Sinai), and We sent down to you Manna and quails: (Saying): ‘Eat of the good things We have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein, lest My Wrath should descend on you: and those on whom descends My Wrath do perish indeed!’ S. 20:80-81

The Covenant that God gave to Israel through Moses on the Mount included the giving of the Taurat as well.

"If you do not carefully follow all the words OF THIS LAW, which are written IN THIS BOOK, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name - the LORD your God - the LORD will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. He will bring upon you all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded, and they will cling to you. The LORD will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded IN THIS BOOK OF THE LAW, until you are destroyed." Deuteronomy 28:58-61

"The LORD will never be willing to forgive him; his wrath and zeal will burn against that man. All the curses WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK will fall upon him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven. The LORD will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for disaster, according to all the curses of the covenant WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK OF THE LAW." Deuteronomy 29:20-21

"After Moses finished writing IN A BOOK THE WORDS OF THIS LAW from beginning to end, he gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD: ‘Take THIS BOOK OF THE LAW and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you.’" Deuteronomy 31:24-26

The Quran also alludes to the ark that Moses left behind:

"And their Prophet said unto them: Lo! the token of his kingdom is that there shall come unto you the ark wherein is peace of reassurance from your Lord, and a remnant of that which the house of Moses and the house of Aaron left behind, the angels bearing it. Lo! herein shall be a token for you if (in truth) ye are believers." S. 2:248 Pickthall

Since the ark contained a copy of the book of Moses, and since this book was none other than the Taurat itself, this pretty much silences the claim that God didn't give the Taurat to Moses.

"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all THE LAW my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let THIS BOOK OF THE LAW depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." Joshua 1:7-8

"Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the Israelites. He built it according to what is WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW OF MOSES - an altar of uncut stones, on which no iron tool had been used. On it they offered to the LORD burnt offerings and sacrificed fellowship offerings. There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua copied on stones THE LAW OF MOSES, which he had written. All Israel, aliens and citizens alike, with their elders, officials and judges, were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the LORD, facing those who carried it-the priests, who were Levites. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the LORD had formerly commanded when he gave instructions to bless the people of Israel. Afterward, Joshua read all the words OF THE LAW - the blessings and the curses - JUST AS IT IS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW. There was not a word OF ALL THAT MOSES HAD COMMANDED that Joshua did not READ to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them." Joshua 8:30-35

"Yet he did not put the sons of the assassins to death, in accordance with what is written IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW OF MOSES where the LORD commanded: ‘Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sins.’" 2 Kings 14:6

"Yet he did not put their sons to death, but acted in accordance with what is written IN THE LAW, IN THE BOOK OF MOSES, where the LORD commanded: ‘Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sins.’" 2 Chronicles 25:2

"While they were bringing out the money that had been taken into the temple of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found THE BOOK OF THE LAW of the LORD that had been given THROUGH MOSES. Hilkiah said to Shaphan the secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the LORD.’ He gave it to Shaphan." 2 Chronicles 34:14-15

"They set aside the burnt offerings to give them to the subdivisions of the families of the people to offer to the LORD, as is written in THE BOOK OF MOSES. They did the same with the cattle." 2 Chronicles 35:12

"And they installed the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their groups for the service of God at Jerusalem, according to what is written in THE BOOK OF MOSES." Ezra 6:18

"all the people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out THE BOOK OF THE LAW OF MOSES, which the LORD had commanded for Israel. So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought THE LAW before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law. Ezra the scribe stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion. Beside him on his right stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; and on his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam. Ezra opened THE BOOK. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, ‘Amen! Amen!’ Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. The Levites - Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah - instructed the people in THE LAW while the people were standing there. They read from THE BOOK OF THE LAW OF GOD, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read. Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, ‘This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.’ For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law ... Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from THE BOOK OF THE LAW OF GOD. They celebrated the feast for seven days, and on the eighth day, in accordance with the regulation, there was an assembly." Nehemiah 8:1-8, 18

"In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom - in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the LORD and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes ... ‘Therefore the curses and sworn judgments WRITTEN IN THE LAW OF MOSES, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. JUST AS IT IS WRITTEN IN THE LAW OF MOSES, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth.’" Daniel 9:1-3, 11b-13

"Remember THE LAW OF MY SERVANT MOSES, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel." Malachi 4:4

"He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is WRITTEN about me IN THE LAW OF MOSES, the Prophets and the Psalms.’" Luke 24:44

"Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one MOSES WROTE ABOUT IN THE LAW, and about whom the prophets also wrote - Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’" John 1:45

These verses demonstrate that the Book that God gave to Moses is none other than the Taurat. Interestingly, the fact that the Quran fails to mention that the Taurat was given to Moses actually proves that the Quran is an incomplete and unreliable record, especially in regards to the teachings and lives of the biblical prophets. Much of the Quran would make little to no sense and is obviously dependent upon the Holy Bible to help clarify the stories of God's true prophets.


PSALMS GIVEN TO OTHER MESSENGERS

It is sometimes claimed that the Quran only acknowledges the Psalms given to David, as the following verses show:

"Lo! We inspire thee as We inspired Noah and the prophets after him, as We inspired Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and as We imparted unto David the Psalms (Zabuuraa);" S. 4:163

"And thy Lord is Best Aware of all who are in the heavens and the earth. And we preferred some of the prophets above others, and unto David We gave the Psalms (Zabuu-raa)." S. 17:55

As such, they claim that Muslims are not required to accept any of the other Psalms found in the Old Testament. This claim fails to take into consideration that the Quran states that God inspired additional Psalms to messengers besides David:

"Then if they reject thee, so were rejected messengers before thee, who came with Clear Signs, The Scriptures (Zuburi), and the Book of Enlightenment." S. 3:184

"Without doubt it is (announced) IN the revealed Books of former peoples (Zubu-ril-'awwaliin)." S. 26:196

"Are your Unbelievers, (O Quraish), better than they? Or have ye an immunity IN the Sacred Books (Zubur)?" S. 54:43

"And if they reject thee, so did their predecessors, to whom came their messengers with Clear Signs, Scriptures (Zuburi), and the Book illuminating." S. 35:25

Finally, the following citation demonstrates that there were Muslims who had no problem in accepting all the OT Psalms:

Then Allah, may He be glorified and honored, revealed to Da'ud (David), the Psalms, that is al-zabur, which are ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY in number and IN THE HANDS OF THE JEWS AND CHRISTIANS. (Abu 'l-Faraj Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Nadim, The Fihrist - A 10th Century AD Survey of Islamic Culture, edited and translated by Bayard Dodge [Great Books of the Islamic World, Inc., Columbia University Press, 1970], p. 43; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Although this source erroneously attributes all 150 Psalms to David, this nonetheless demonstrates that some Muslims wholeheartedly embraced and accepted all of the OT Psalms as God's revealed Word.

This concludes our discussion. May our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ use it to bring precious Muslims to the truth of his only revealed Word, the Holy Bible. Amen. Come Lord Jesus, come. We love you forever, O King of eternal glory.

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