The Authenticity of the Scriptures according to the Quran

Muslims are assiduously taught to believe, and do for the most part profess to believe, that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments now in circulation are not genuine. The reasons commonly advanced for such belief are that the original writings have been:

(1) Corrupted, i.e. tampered with, (muharraf). It is contended that there have been, at some time or other, alterations, omissions, and additions in our Scriptures; in particular that statements about the Deity and Son-ship of Christ, the Trinity, the death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, have been deliberately inserted, where references to Muhammad have been suppressed.

(2) Abrogated, annulled, (mansukh) i.e. by the “descent of the Quran; so that the Bible is no longer authoritative. Closely connected with this idea is the claim that the Quran is in itself a compendium of all true and necessary teaching contained in the earlier books supplemented by further revelation.

(3) Occasionally the New Testament, as we have it, is declined for the quaint reason, held by some, that Jesus at the time of His Ascension took the original Injil with Him to heaven.

No matter what particular connotation the term muharraf may have for him, the Muslim almost invariably rests (the act is termed tahrif, a word. which, strictly speaking signifies the transposition of letters in words, thereby effecting “alteration”, but Muslims usually employ the term. when bringing a charge of textual corruption.) his case for the corruption of the Bible on what he thinks the Quran has to say about the question. For him that book is the final court of appeal, seeing that he believes it to contain only the ipsissima verba of God.

While reserving to ourselves the right to determine this matter on quite other grounds, we shall nevertheless find it profitable, both for, ourselves and for Muslims, if we make a close study of the numerous references in the Quran to our Scriptures. In an article of this size, however, a mere summary of our findings must suffice.

 

Support from the Quran for the Scriptures

The general impression provided in the Quran is that Muhammad, at any rate, believed in their divine origin and genuineness.

1. The Quran declares that God Himself gave these Scriptures to His Prophets:

a) To Moses (Taurat): The Pentateuch is clearly intended in all these passages.

> “We did indeed aforetime give the Book to Moses” (As-Sajdah 32:23 cp Al-Baqarrah 2:53, 87; Hud 11:110; Al-Anbiya 21:48; Al-Furqan 25:35; Ghafir 40:53 and etc)

b) To David the Psalms. (Zabur)

> “and to David We gave the Psalms” (An-Nisa 4:163).

(c) To Jesus the Evangel (Injil)

> “And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel” (Al-Maidah 5:46 cp. Al-Hadid 57:27; Maryam 19:30)

2. The earlier books are invariably spoken of in terms of high praise:

(a) The Taurat is said to be the Book of God:

> “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 Allah’s will, by the rabbis and the doctors of law: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s book, and they were witnesses thereto” (Al-Maidah 5:44 cp Al-Baqarrah 2:89).

(b) The Word of God:

> “Can ye (o ye men of faith) entertain the hope that they will believe in you? Seeing that a party of them heard the Word of Allah” (Al-Baqarrah 2:75)

(c) “Al Furqan”, i.e. the illumination a title of distinction applied also to the Quran (Al-Imran 3:4).

> “In the past We granted to Moses and Aaron the criterion (for judgment), and a Light and a Message for those who would do right” (Al-Anbiya 21:48 cp Al-Baqarrah 2:53)

(d) ” a light and guidance to man (i.e. a decision for all matters), and a guidance and a mercy.

> “Say: “Who then sent down the Book which Moses brought? a light and guidance to man” (Al-An’am 6:91 cp Al-An’am 6:154)

3. Other passages refer to the inspiration, authority and proper use of the Scriptures then in the possession of “the People of the Book”.

(a) Muhammad‘s inspiration was in line with the former prophets

> “We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms” (An-Nisa 4:163).

(b) They have already the Taurat through which God judges the Jews:

> “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 Allah’s will, by the rabbis and the doctors of law: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s book, and they were witnesses thereto” (Al-Maidah 5:44)

(c) Christians are to judge Muhammad’s claims by their genuine book:

> “Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein” (Al-Maidah 5:47)

{d} Jews and Christians are said to be diligent readers of their Scriptures:

> “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” (Yunus 10:94)

> “The Jews say: “The Christians have naught (to stand) upon; and the Christians say: “The Jews have naught (To stand) upon.” Yet they (Profess to) study the (same) Book.” (Al-Baqarrah 2:113 cp Al-Imran 3:113)

(e) The Jews have inherited their book:

> “But truly those who have inherited the Book after them are in suspicious (disquieting) doubt concerning  it.”

(f) Jews and Christians are required not only to accept the Quran, but to believe in and observe the Taurat and Injil also.

> “Say: “O People of the Book! ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord.” (Al-Maidah 5:68)

The general tenor of all these passages, scattered throughout the Quran, establishes beyond question the fact that the earlier books were held by Muhammad to be genuine and authoritative, because of their divine origin. Indeed, his main argument with “the People of the Book” is just this accept the Quran also, because it confirms what was sent down before it:

> “O ye People of the Book! believe in what We have (now) revealed, confirming what was (already) with you” (An-Nisa 4:47)

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