Does Islam endorse the Bible?

Does Qur’an (the word of Almighty Creator) endorse the Bible?

During recent times a new and very interesting claim has been made by attackers of the Qur’an. Throughout history the attackers have leveled similar allegations whether it be 100 years back or 1,300 years but the claim that Qur’an endorses the Bible is a very recent one.

The Almighty Creator tells us in the Qur’an that He sent down books on different Prophets and names four books namely Torah, Zaboor, Injeel and Qur’an. Torah was revealed on Prophet Moosa [Moses], Zaboor (or Psalm according to Christians) was revealed on Prophet Da’ood [David], Injeel (or Gospel according to Christians) on Prophet Issa (Jesus) and Qur’an on Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (May peace be upon them all).

The Almighty Creator tells us to believe in all His scriptures.

and who believe in that revelation, which hath been sent down unto thee, and that which hath been sent down unto the prophets before thee, and have firm assurance in the life to come: (Qur’an 2:4)

And remember We gave Moses the Scripture and the Criterion (Between right and wrong): There was a chance for you to be guided aright. (Qur’an 2:53)

Say ye: “We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to God (in Islam).” (Qur’an 2:136)

And many more…

However, the Almighty also tells us that the previous books have been altered by man and are no longer in their original shape or form. They hold parts of truth mixed with falsehood.

Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say:”This is from God,” to traffic with it for miserable price! – Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby. (Qur’an 2:79)

Those who conceal God’s revelations in the Book, and purchase for them a miserable profit, – they swallow into themselves naught but Fire; God will not address them on the Day of Resurrection. Nor purify them: Grievous will be their penalty. (Qur’an 2:174)

Ask the Children of Israel how many clear (Signs) We have sent them. But if any one, after God’s favour has come to him, substitutes (something else), God is strict in punishment. (Qur’an 2:211)

Ye People of the Book! Why do ye clothe Truth with falsehood, and conceal the Truth, while ye have knowledge? (Quran 3:71)

And remember God took a covenant from the People of the Book, to make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it; but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And vile was the bargain they made! (Qur’an 3:187)

Do you not look at those, who were given a portion of the scriptures? They use it to purchase misguidance! They want you to lose the right path, too! (Qur’an 4:44)

Hast thou not turned Thy vision to those who were given a portion of the Book? they believe in sorcery and Evil, and say to the Unbelievers that they are better guided in the (right) way Than the believers! (Qur’an 4:51)

O people of the Book! There hath come to you our Apostle, revealing to you much that ye used to hide in the Book, and passing over much (that is now unnecessary): There hath come to you from God a (new) light and a perspicuous Book,- (Qur’an 5:15)

It was We who revealed the law (to Moses): therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the prophets who bowed (as in Islam) to God’s will, by the rabbis and the doctors of law: for to them was entrusted the protection of God’s book, and they were witnesses thereto: therefore fear not men, but fear me, and sell not my signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what God hath revealed, they are (no better than) Unbelievers. (Qur’an 5:44)

There are several other verses that speak of the corruption of previous books but the above mentioned ones are sufficient for our understanding. From this we can clearly see that the books that Christians and Jews hold today were once sent by the Almighty but have now been altered and are neither in the form nor in the exact words sent by the Almighty.

Another point to note is that these books were sent by God Almighty whereas the present day Bible and Gospels are mainly the work of man claimed to be inspired by God Almighty. The Muslim point is that the previous books were entirely God Almighty’s word with no human involvement. This “inspired by God but written by man” claim itself proves that these are not the real scriptures revealed by God Almighty.

Missionary arguments

Before we discuss the missionary arguments it must be made clear that the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John never were the word of God; the Almighty never revealed them nor did He inspire them but their writers might have recorded some parts of God’s word in them. They are more of corrupt biographies of Prophet Jesus (May mercy of God be upon him). If Christians followed the gospel of God, then it might have been different; then it would have been referred to as the word of God in some way or another.

However to some missionaries, these verses of the Qur’an of Bible’s corruption are not clear. They claim that other verses of the Qur’an endorse the Bible and so in that light, the above verses have to be interpreted to understand that the practices of Jews and Christians became corrupt rather than the books. For example, they state that the Qur’an mentions that the word of God cannot be changed and will be protected by the Almighty Himself (Qur’an 15:9). They then argue that if the Bible was the word of God, then it must also be protected by God Almighty. The answer to this argument is that God Almighty specifically mentions the Qur’an when protection from corruption is mentioned.

We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption). (Qur’an 15:9)

The verse might appear to be vague and could be interpreted to mean any Message sent down by God Almighty. However, if we read in context we find that it specifically refers to the Message sent down to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (May blessings of Almighty be upon him).

They say: “O thou to whom the Message is being revealed (i.e. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ)! truly thou art mad (or possessed)! “Why bringest thou not angels to us if it be that thou hast the Truth?” We send not the angels down except for just cause: if they came (to the ungodly), behold! no respite would they have! We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption). (Qur’an 15:6-9)

The anti Islamic missionaries present an argument that Qur’an tells the Prophet (May blessings of Almighty be upon him) to consult the Jews and Christians quoting the following verses:

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. (10:94)

And We sent not (as Our messengers) before thee other than men whom We inspired – Ask the followers of the Remembrance if ye know not! (16:43)

The criteria to go to the people of the book for knowledge is if the Prophet (May blessings of Almighty be upon him) had any sort of doubt. However, in 49:15, 7:158 and other verses we read that God Almighty tells us that the Messenger (May blessings of Almighty be upon him) believes and does not doubt and therefore, the question of asking the Jews and Christians does not arise. In addition to this explanation, some scholars also interpret this verse to mean that God commanded Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (May blessings of God be upon him) to confer with the people of the books to confirm their knowledge of Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) as a prophet sent from God Almighty, as mentioned in the Torah and the Gospel. Many of the Jewish Rabbis did attest to this fact even though the Prophet did not have doubt, nor did he ask them to proclaim his mention in their books.

Anti-Islamic missionaries present the following verse and claim that Qur’an orders the Jews and Christians to follow their own book instead of coming to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (May blessings of Almighty be upon him).

Why do they come to you for judgment? They have the Torah with them, and it does contain the commandments of Allah. Yet they ignore it. In fact, these people are not the believers! (5:43)

Muhammad Asad gives a commentary of this verse as follows:

This verse illustrates the strange mentality of the Jews, who-despite the fact that they believe the Torah to contain all of the Divine Law – surreptitiously turn to a religious dispensation in which they do not believe in the hope that its verdict on certain ethical questions might confirm some of their own wishful beliefs which happen to run counter to the Torah.

In other words, they are not really prepared to submit to the judgment of the Torah-although they assert their belief in it -nor the judgment of the Qur’an, which confirms some of the laws of the Torah and abrogates others: for, as soon as they come to realize that the Qur’an does not agree with their preconceived ideas, they turn away from it.

Quite a lot of the verses presented by the anti Islamic missionaries use incorrect translations where ‘Guidance was in previous scriptures’ is incorrectly translated as ‘Guidance is in previous scriptures’. They don’t need to use these tricks and can simply present verses that speak in present tenses. Perhaps they do so to increase the number of verses to present their cause. For Muslims numbers are not important; if it appears even once in the book of God Almighty, it shall be gladly accepted. A few of those correctly translated verses are listed below:

And believe in what I reveal, confirming the revelation which is with you, and be not the first to reject Faith therein, nor sell My Signs for a small price; and fear Me, and Me alone. (Qur’an 2:41)

And when there comes to them a Book from God, confirming what is with them,- although from of old they had prayed for victory against those without Faith,- when there comes to them that which they (should) have recognised, they refuse to believe in it but the curse of God is on those without Faith. (Qur’an 2:89)

How come they (come) unto thee (Muhammad) for judgment when they have the Torah, wherein Allah hath delivered judgment (for them)? (Qur’an 5:43)

It is an accepted fact that the Qur’an came in stages over 23 years and was not revealed directly in a paper book format. So if the Qur’an refers to itself as ‘Kitab’ (Book) in, say, year 12 and tells the believers to follow the Kitab, it is only referring to the revealed part at the time which was definitely not complete. The believers, at the time these verses were revealed, considered the revealed part to be the Kitab, Book, Revelation etc. So as per these verses and this simple logic, parts of truth are also the ‘Book’.

Furthermore, we see from Qur’an 19:30 where Prophet Jesus (May peace be upon him) spoke in the cradle and mentioned that he is granted the Book. He did not have a physical book or papers with him. From this it can be established that parts of truth is also the Book and therefore there is no problem in saying that the people of the book even today have the Book with them.

Do Ahadith (sayings of the Prophet) endorse the Bible?

Anti-Islamic missionaries allege that the Prophet of Islam believed that the Torah held by the Jews during his time was the real uncorrupted Torah. The quote the following Hadith for this claim:

Sunan Abu Dawud

Book 38, Number 4434

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar:

A group of Jews came and invited the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) to Quff. So he visited them in their school.

They said: Abul Qasim, one of our men has committed fornication with a woman; so pronounce judgment upon them. They placed a cushion for the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) who sat on it and said: Bring the Torah. It was then brought. He then withdrew the cushion from beneath him and placed the Torah on it saying: I believed in thee (order of stoning) and in Him Who revealed thee (order of stoning).

He then said: Bring me one who is learned among you. Then a young man was brought. The transmitter then mentioned the rest of the tradition of stoning similar to the one transmitted by Malik from Nafi’ (No. 4431).

The words in brackets are not part of the original Hadith but my own which is explained below.

First of all, several scholars of Ahadith doubt the authenticity of this Hadith as one of the narrators is not completely reliable. However, some scholars do not reject the narrator completely and so we will not debate on the authenticity of the narration.

If we examine the Hadith itself we find the answers especially if we ponder over the underlined parts. The Prophet (May blessings of God be upon him) confirmed that the verse of stoning in the Torah was the truth and was a commandment from the Almighty. There are verses from the Qur’an and other narrations to support this interpretation:

Why do they come to you for judgment? They have the Torah with them, and it does contain the commandments of Allah. Yet they ignore it. In fact, these people are not the believers! (5:43)

Muhammad Asad gives a commentary of this verse as follows:

This verse illustrates the strange mentality of the Jews, who-despite the fact that they believe the Torah to contain all of the Divine Law – surreptitiously turn to a religious dispensation in which they do not believe in the hope that its verdict on certain ethical questions might confirm some of their own wishful beliefs which happen to run counter to the Torah.

In other words, they are not really prepared to submit to the judgment of the Torah-although they assert their belief in it -nor the judgment of the Qur’an, which confirms some of the laws of the Torah and abrogates others: for, as soon as they come to realize that the Qur’an does not agree with their preconceived ideas, they turn away from it.

There is an interesting narration that reads as follows:

Sahih Bukhari

Volume 4, Book 56, Number 829:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar:

The Jews came to Allah’s Apostle and told him that a man and a woman from amongst them had committed illegal sexual intercourse. Allah’s Apostle said to them, “What do you find in the Torah (old Testament) about the legal punishment of Ar-Rajm (stoning)?” They replied, (But) we announce their crime and lash them.” Abdullah bin Salam said, “You are telling a lie; Torah contains the order of Rajm (stoning).” They brought and opened the Torah and one of them solaced his hand on the Verse of Rajm (stoning) and read the verses preceding and following it. Abdullah bin Salam said to him, “Lift your hand.” When he lifted his hand, the Verse of Rajm (stoning) was written there. They said, “Muhammad has told the truth; the Torah has the Verse of Rajm (stoning). The Prophet then gave the order that both of them should be stoned to death.

(‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar said, “I saw the man leaning over the woman to shelter her from the stones.”

Moreover, we know as a fact that there was no Torah in Arabic at the time of the Prophet -peace be upon him. Qur’an 3:78 mentions that some of the Jews used to recite some portions of the Torah to the Muslims in a twisted tongue in order to try to fool the Muslims into believing that what they had recited was from the Torah. As there was no Arabic Bible and the Jews used to narrate to the Muslims from it in Arabic, they did the same for the verse of stoning. They narrated it to the Prophet -peace be upon him- in Arabic. The Prophet -peace be upon him- was well aware that the Torah was not revealed in Arabic and hence when he attested or confirmed the verse of stoning, he confirmed or attested the message which he heard in Arabic.

If we read in context we will never find any contradiction in Islamic texts.

A few more Ahadith are quoted by the missionaries claiming that The Prophet approved of the Jewish scriptures.

Sahih Bukhari

Volume 4, Book 56, Number 667

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr:

The Prophet said, “Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single sentence, and tell others the stories of Bani Israel (which have been taught to you), for it is not sinful to do so. And whoever tells a lie on me intentionally, will surely take his place in the (Hell) Fire.”

Sunan Abu Dawud

Book 25, Number 3655

Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As:

The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) used to relate to us traditions from the children of Isra’il till morning came; he would not get up except for obligatory prayer.

We need not go into further investigation; just pondering over the highlighted parts will enable us to see that The Prophet (May blessings of God be upon him) was speaking of narrating stories of Bani Israel that he had narrated to the companions.

To conclude this section, I present a beautiful Hadith that will sum up the main argument.

Sahih Bukhari

Volume 6, Book 60, Number 12:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The people of the Scripture (Jews) used to recite the Torah in Hebrew and they used to explain it in Arabic to the Muslims. On that Allah’s Apostle said, “Do not believe the people of the Scripture or disbelieve them, but say:– “We believe in Allah and what is revealed to us.” (2.136)

Did Ibn Abbas (may God Almighty be pleased with him) endorse the Bible?

Sahih Bukhari

Volume 9, Book 93, Number 613:

Narrated ‘Ikrima:

Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “How can you ask the people of the Scriptures about their Books while you have Allah’s Book (the Qur’an) which is the most recent of the Books revealed by Allah, and you read it in its pure undistorted form?”

Volume 9, Book 93, Number 614:

Narrated ‘Ubaidullah bin ‘Abdullah:

‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbaas said, “O the group of Muslims! How can you ask the people of the Scriptures about anything while your Book which Allah has revealed to your Prophet contains the most recent news from Allah and is pure and not distorted? Allah has told you that the people of the Scriptures have changed some of Allah’s Books and distorted it and wrote something with their own hands and said, ‘This is from Allah, so as to have a minor gain for it. Won’t the knowledge that has come to you stop you from asking them? No, by Allah, we have never seen a man from them asking you about that (the Book Al-Qur’an ) which has been revealed to you.

Here it is very clear that the companion of the Prophet also believed that the Bible was altered. However, Christian missionaries present the following narration to claim that he endorsed the Bible:

“By the Mount and an Inscribed Book” (52:1-2): Qatada said that “mastur” means “written”. “Yasturun” (68:1) means, “they inscribe”, and the Umm al-Kitab (43:4) is the whole of the Qur’an and its source. [He said that] “ma talfizu” (50:18) means: “He does not say anything but that it is written against him.” Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “Both good and evil are recorded,” and “yuharrufuna” (4:46) means, “they remove”. No one removes the works of one of the books of Allah Almighty, but they twist them, interpreting them improperly. “Dirasatihim: (6:156) means “their recitation” “Wa’iyya” (69:12) is preserving, “ta’iha” (69:12) means to “preserve it”. “This Qur’an has been revealed to me by inspiration that I may warn you,” meaning the people of Makkah, “and all whom it reaches”(6:19) meaning this Qur’an, so he is its warner.

To understand this statement of Ibn Abbas, we must understand the nature of the books of God Almighty. The Qur’an is much different from the previous revelations as it came down in stages over 23 years whereas the Torah came down directly as well as the Gospel of God revealed to Prophet Issa (Latinized to Jesus) (may peace be upon him).

The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John never were the word of God; the Almighty never revealed them nor did He inspire them but their writers might have recorded some parts of God’s word in them. Therefore, anyone can change anything in it as it is basically the work of man. The original gospel of God has been lost somewhere. Perhaps it is buried somewhere uncorrupted and unchanged like the Dead Sea Scrolls. As for the Torah, the same applies. Jerusalem was destroyed several times and everything in it ravaged and plundered and tribes scattered. The Torah was also destroyed and lost somewhere and the people who remembered parts of it wrote it down later on which became the Torah for the people then. These scribes might have been honest men trying to save the message of the Torah but later on came the lying scribes (Jeremiah 8:8) who kept on changing the message altogether.

In numerous places of the Torah, we read passages like ‘And God said…’ which clearly shows that it is not written by God whereas Prophet Moosa (may peace be upon him) went to the mountain to receive the law from God. This confirms the points raised forth in the previous paragraph. There is no evidence whatsoever that the original Torah and Gospel have been changed rather the man made ones kept on changing.

Please note that it is the opinion of Ibn Hazm Al-Andalusi as well that the Torah of today is a man-made book.

To summarize this point let us put it in simple words. For example, if I have a book called ‘A’ that cannot be altered or corrupted which I lose later on. From my memory, I wrote down what I knew of it and kept it with me as a substitute for the original. The copy with me does not become the original unless I knew all of it by heart. The copied and changed alternative can be altered and doctored and the condition of non-corruption does not apply to it.

Qur’an (word of Almighty), sayings of the Prophet of Almighty God, commentaries of Qur’an and sayings of the companions of the Prophet all agree without any contradiction that the previous books were revealed by God Almighty but their present forms are not in the form that He revealed.

Indeed, Allah knows the best.

One response to “Does Islam endorse the Bible?

  1. It’s later here so I will bookmark this to be reblogged on my WordPress account. I have been looking for this info for months. I am preparing a blog on how the Western news has been deliberately warping and twisting Qur’anic entries to create hatred for their amusement. I am a Christian and learned as a child that Jews, Muslims and Christians are 1 family

    Thank you for this: I will be in touch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s