Faith without proof, beliefs without substantiation To many in the Muslim world of today, it is an article of faith to believe that God has sent His messages to humankind in all times. From the Scholar to the layperson in Muslim circles, it is widely accepted that such Divine Laws have been, from time to time, communicated to all the people of the world. God’s ambassadors received them through revelation and delivered them to their people.
However after their demise their followers, chiefly their leaders having vested interests, tampered with the Laws with excision and deletion of what was found detrimental to their interests. And then interpolated their own whims in the word of God. Thus it is conventionally held that God did send messengers in all ages but man changed His message.
God then sent another emissary to revive the original and/or to add new laws. This process of corruption of God’s word on part of man, and renewal of messages on part of God continued, till the revelation of the Qur’an, whose protection and preservation is not entrusted to man but is upon God Himself.
Some traditions imply that God sent one hundred and twenty four thousand messengers, while it can be observed that Muslim school children all over the world are taught in their religious curriculum, that God revealed four heavenly books. Namely Taurat, revealed to Prophet Moses, Zaboor, revealed to David, Injeel given to Jesus and finally the Qur’an revealed to Muhammed (peace be upon all of them) one thousand and four hundred years ago. The Qur’an, being the last and the final of the series of the revealed Books of Allah. It is maintained that previous messages got changed, while the Qur’an is the last and final message and cannot be tampered with.
The above cited beliefs are held by the majority of Muslims, for some reason endorsed in Muslim schools all over the world, and are even taught in prominent institutions in the West.
Propaganda of Christian Missionaries Interestingly the Christian Missionaries would say to the Muslims, that when the Qur’an talks about the Taurat and the Injeel, then these are to be found in the extant versions of the Bible. To them, Taurat consists of the first five books of the Old Testament, while the Injeel is contained in the New Testament.
In Christian Missionary literature aimed at converting Muslims, such vocabulary is to be found in abundant measure i.e. that as the Muslim holy Book itself testifies to the validity of the Judeo-Christian divine writs, therefore the Muslims should take Biblical claims and prophecies seriously.
Sadly, over the years a trend has emerged and a number of Muslim publications also seem to endorse this view, and I have personally heard and read many a Muslim Scholars, quoting references from the Bible and labelling such as coming from the Taurat and the Injeel.
Here we will highlight the Qur’anic position as to the origin of Allah’s Book and see whether the Qur’an justifies the common view that Allah revealed a number of heavenly books, which were tampered by human hands, necessitating God’s sending another one, and finally culminating in the Qur’an – we need to examine the Qur’anic text and see whether it has sanctioned this notion.
The Qur’an is the final and absolute authority for Islam No doubt, whenever some ideas are attributed to Islam, then we need to understand what the authority is for those matters? Is something Islamic just because a majority of people accept it to be as such? Or is a notion “Islamic” because famous personalities deem it to be as such? What exactly is the authority for terming anything as Islamic or non Islamic?
A careful perusal of The Qur’an reveals this authority to be none else but the revelation of Allah, .i.e. The Qur`an itself. Whatever it is that Revelation ratifies is valid as an Islamic concept, what it refutes is not.
“Surely this Qur’an guides to that which is most upright.” 17:9
As the guidance of the Qur’an is in its own words ‘most upright’, therefore it is the authority for determining right from wrong. Also see 6:19, 25:30 50:45 and more. The Qur`an has the final and absolute authority for all matters attributed to Islam. Over the years, many concepts concerning Islam have become commonplace amongst the wider Muslim and non-Muslim communities, and the tendency has been to accept them blindly, without verifying whether the common wisdom has been sanctioned by the Qur’anic text or not.
Same has been the case with the notion of “Divine Books”. Throughout the Muslim world, the masses are educated that Allah (God) revealed a number of heavenly Scriptures. God Almighty kept sending messages, but his creation kept changing them! Finally God sent the Qur’an, and made its preservation incumbent upon Himself since 1400 years.
Let us go back to the Qur`an, the final and absolute source and authority for Islam and undertake an evaluation of such a view, to see if it is consistent with the Qur`an or refuted by it, bearing in mind that it is Qur’anic guidance that matters to true Muslims and not popular dogma?
The Book of Allah is one Book called Al Kitab and the same was revealed on every Prophet throughout the ages While it is correct to say that Divine laws were delivered to humankind of all times and in all locations, as The Book points out:
“..and there was never a nation, but a Warner dwelled among them.” 35:24
However it is not correct to assert that Allah sent a series of Books containing His word, which were tampered and changed by vested interests. Although within the majority of Muslims, conventionally it is understood that there are many versions of God’s word.
What is the truth behind such beliefs? Does the Qur`an also state this? Does the Qur`an say that Allah revealed many books which were changed with time? Let us see some Qur`anic ayat and explore them to this effect. I have quoted English translations and highlighted Arabic words. For those who can understand or identify Arabic words, please verify these references in Arabic, if you are able to:
“Mankind was one single nation, and Allah raised NABIYEEN (PROPHETS) giving glad tidings and warnings; AND WITH THEM HE SENT AL-KITAB (THE BOOK) in truth, to judge between people in matters wherein they differed; but the People of the Book, after the clear Signs came to them, did not differ among themselves, except through selfish contumacy. Allah by His Grace Guided the believers to the Truth, concerning that wherein they differed. For Allah guided whom He will to a path that is straight.” 2:213
It should be observed that in the above ayah, the word Nabiyeen, i.e. Prophets is in plural, while the word Al-Kitab, i.e. The Book is in singular. The ayah is clear in stating that all Prophets received one Book, and not many different books. Furthermore we read:
“These were the people to whom We gave AL-KITAB (THE BOOK), and AL-HUKM (THE GOVERNMENT), and AN-NABUWAH (THE PROPHECY) : if these (their descendants) reject them, Behold! We shall entrust their charge to a new people who reject them not.” 6:89
The context of the above ayah mentions eighteen Prophets by name, which include Musa (Moses), Essa (Jesus), Ibraheem (Abraham) etc. and ayah 6:89 categorically states that all of them were given Al-Kitab or THE BOOK. Had God revealed a number of different books on his prophets for different times and locations then the verses should cite the term books, and not the Book. This is crystal clear. The Arabic word Kutub, which means books is not present with a plural mention of prophets. The notion of four heavenly books, Taurat, Zaboor, Injeel and Qur’an, however is not confirmed in the ayaat, rather we are informed that every Prophet and messenger received what is known as Al-Kitab, or The Book.
Muhammad (peace be upon him) was given the same Book containing the same laws as previous messengers. It is evident by pondering on Qur`anic ayaat that Al-Kitab (The Book) has existed in all times. It was not something particular to Muhammmad (p) only, but messengers before him received the same, and he too received and confirmed the same Book. Al-Kitab or The Book is identified as:
“That is Al-Kitab (The Book), there is no doubt in it, is a guide to those who guard.” 2:2
The word Al-Kitab in 2:2, is the same in 2:213 and 6:89 etc. Infact this word consistently occurs more than two hundred and thirty times in the Book itself, thus denoting that Allah did not reveal many books, but just one Book called Al-Kitab.
Al-Kitab or The Book of Allah has existed in ALL TIMES it is only ONE BOOK that Allah revealed to all his messengers and has existed in all times and eras. Following ayah states this lucidly:
Say: “Do ye see what it is ye invoke besides Allah? Show me what it is they have created on earth, or have they a share in the heavens? Bring me a book before this (book), or any remnant of knowledge (ye may have), if ye are telling the truth!” 46:4
Note, in the above ayah, Allah challenges human beings to come with a Book BEFORE THIS BOOK. This establishes that Al-Kitab has existed in all times and Allah’s Book is one Book, which He consistently addresses as The Book. There is no ayah in the Book which categorically states that some messengers were sent with time bound revelations, and that they were specific to the circumstances of an era.
We do not find ANY EVIDENCE to this effect. What is included in Al-Kitab is applicable in ALL TIMES and eras Not only in the present/future but in the past as well.
The same Book but different names and attributes The widely accepted view that Taurat, Injeel Zaboor, and Qur’an were seperate books is not sanctioned by the Qur’an, but these words do occur in its text. So what to make of them? Actually, the reality is that Al-Kitab or The Book has many attributes, which are mistakenly understood as seperate divine books. E.g. in Sura 15, it is said:
“Lo! We, even We, revealed AZ-ZIKR (The Reminder), and lo! We verily are its Guardian.” 15:9
In the above ayah it is stated that Allah has revealed something called Az-Zikr. Now we do not find a seperate divine book in this world called Az-Zikr, but Zikr which literally means reminder or remembrance is simply another attribute of Al-Kitab. Similarly Al-Qur’an lit. The Reading is another attribute of the Book. In the same way there are other attributes like At-Taurat (The Law), Az-Zaboor (The fragment), Al Injeel (The Good News), Al Burhan (The Proof), As-Sultan (The Authority), An-Noor (The Light), Al-Hikmah (The Wisdom) and many more.
There are above forty five attributes of The Book in The Book itself. These different attributes do not imply seperate books, but are functions or facets of the same Book, Al-Kitab. Erroneously some Muslims take these to mean seperate books, but remain uncertain to their whereabouts and mischieviously some evangelicals make them believe as a proslyteism ploy that these Qur’anic terms refer to their Old Testament and New Testament writings.
On the same footing we find above attributes of Allah in His Book. Now these 99 or so attributes do not prove 99 separate Gods, but they are attributes or qualities of the One and only God!
More than 45 attributes of The Book do not prove that there are 45 or so heavenly Books, but there is only one Book of Allah which has existed in all times and which was revealed on all the messengers, starting from Noah and ending with Muhammad (peace be upon them all).
All the messengers of Allah received one and the same Book, called Al-Kitab, and we nowadays have the same with ourselves. The following ayah states this clearly:
“Certainly We sent Our MESSENGERS with clear arguments, and sent down with them AL-KITAB/THE BOOK and the balance that men may conduct themselves with equity;” 57:25
To be noted is the fact that in 57:25 the word Rusul (messengers) is the plural form of Rasool (messenger) while the definite noun Al-Kitab (The Book) is in singular. Simply stated All messengers received The Book. Just like in 2:213 we read that all Nabiyeen (Prophets) got The Book.
Al-Kitab or The Book is not just any other book, but a particular one consistent throughout the ages In Arabic Grammar if the letter Alif and Lam occur before a word they make that word definite. e.g. In Arabic Bayt means a house, but Al-Bayt means The House, referring to one particular and specific dwelling. Similarly, Kitab means a Book, referring to any Book, but when Allah uses the word Al-Kitab or The Book to refer to his revelation, then it is one specific Book that is being mentioned, and not just any book.
Al-Qur’an (The Reading) is a Reading of The Book This Al-Kitab was revealed to all prophets and messengers and we also have this with us today, and is more popularly known as Al-Qur’an. The difference between Al-Kitab and Al-Qur`an also needs to be understood. The word Qur`an comes from Qara`a which means to read, to announce, to proclaim. Thus Qur`an is the oral and proclaimed form of Al-Kitab.
In written or transcribed format (on paper, on memory of human beings, or on computer disk etc), the transcribed form is The Book, while when the Book is read to mankind it is Al-Qur`an, i.e. The Reading. This difference is highlighted in 10:37.
The Book of Moses As stated, traditionally it is understood that Musa (Moses) received a Book called Torah from God. This again is nowhere stated in the Book. The word Musa is mentioned in the Book 136 times and Taurat is mentioned 18 times, and in no single
statement have these two words come together.
But about Musa, we read that he received the same as all other prophets, The Book, i.e. Al-Kitab from Allah:
“And when We gave Musa, AL-KITAB (THE BOOK) and AL-FURQAN (THE CRITERION) that you might walk aright.” 2:53
There is no ayah in the Qur’an which says that Moses got the Torah, as is popular in Judeo Christian nomenclature. The above ayah also indicates that Moses got Al-Furqan, i.e. the criterion from Allah.
Now we can see that Al-Furqan is also revealed on Muhammad in (25:1), and does not imply something special for Musa or any other messenger only. What is overlooked, is the fact that all these are attributes of one and the same, Al-Kitab of Allah, which has existed without any change whatsoever in all times and eras.
The view that human beings changed the word of Allah is not supported by the ayat:
“The word of thy Lord doth find its fulfilment in truth and in justice: None can change His words: for He is the one who heareth and knoweth all.” 6:115
Conclusion Thus we can conclude from the above ayaat that: According to 2:213, 57: 25, Allah revealed only one book – Al-Kitab or “The Book” on all his Anbiya (Prophets) and Mursaleen (messengers).
Verses 6:89-92 give 18 Prophets by name and they are said to receive Al-Kitab (The Book) and not Kutub (books) . 46:4 shows that Allah challenges people to bring a book or remnants of knowledge BEFORE his Book- This proves that Allah`s Book has existed in all times.
There is no statement in the Book that Moses received the Torah, though this is widely believed among Muslims and non Muslims as well. In fact he received Al-Kitab, just like all other messengers.
Just like a number of attributes of Allah, e.g. Rahmaan (Most Gracious), Raheem (Most Merciful), etc. do not sanction the concept of a number of Gods, similarly when Allah mentions the revelation of Taurat, Injeel, Zikr, Furqan, Qur`an Burhan, Sultan, Noor, etc then this does not mean that all these are names of seperately revealed books. These are simply attributes or facets of the one and the same, Al-Kitab.
When Allah mentions that He revealed Zikr (remembrance) (15:9) then we do not find a Divinely revealed book seperate from Qur’an, but this another of its attrbute, as are Furqan (Criterion), Burhan (proof), Noor (light), Hikmah (Wisdom) so on and so forth.
Verse 6:115 declares that no one can change the words of Allah. The Book that Musa received was not changed, because it is the same Book that Ibraheem received, that Essa received and that finally Muhammad received and which is in the possession of the Muslims today. Hence “..Laa mubadillah li kalimaatih..” None can change his words is a true and valid statement for all times.
Even logical thought repels the notion of a number of books revealed by Allah that got changed with time. When Allah, who is beyond time and space, descibes His creation, then the knowledge of his creation will not be the same as that of the Creator.
The word of the creation has to be AFTER the word of the Creator, and not before. Al-Kitab, is Kalaam Allah and it exists with the knowledge of Allah. To say that that the Creators words were changed by the creation is to display a weak image of the Creator. What kind of a God is He who sends a Book but people are strong enough to change it?
Nowhere in the Qur`an is it stated that people changed Allah’s words. They hid it, intermixed it with their traditions (as is being done with the Muslims, the actual message of the Qur`an given a back seat in favor of stories and fabrications), but could not change the contents of Al-Kitab, which has been extant in all times.
Allah revealed only Al-Kitab or THE BOOK upon all His messengers. His Book is and always has been ONE BOOK and has existed in ALL TIMES. This theme is consistently to be found in the Qur`an. Those who study the Qur’an are urged to reflect on the above conclusions and engage with the author for any questions that may arise as a result of their Qur’anic study.
Q. It is nice to read your research paper and it appealed. There are strong points to ponder. But as usual our ages old conception of Religion is forcing us to put some questions. My only question with you is: What about the narration of words, “Amanto billahe malekatehi, wa Kutubehi wa Rusulehi ……?” Here the word Kutub is used and it is said that without having Imaan on all KUTUB (not only ONE) we cannot be a Muslim.
A. The word Kutub (books) is the plural form of Kitab (book) has occured in the Qur’an as well. However we should not draw a conclusion by looking at just isolated occurences of the word, namely that since the word Kutub has occured therefore this means that Allah has revealed a number of Books, external to Al-Kitab or THE BOOK, belief on which is mandatory.
The manner of Qur’anic study that Allah has given to us HIMSELF, is Tasreef ul Ayaat i.e. Inflection of Signs. Quranic Ayaat discuss a subject not in an isolated way in a particular chapter, but expound a theme throughout the Book.
E.g. if one wishes to study Talaq (Divorce), or Nikah (Marriage), then s/he will have to collate, and cross reference all Quranic passages where the words as well as the general theme related to the subject have occured. You won’t find one chapter on Marriage only, but will discover that the subject is discussed in numerous Suras, hence cross referencing the subject is required.
This manner of study is indicated by Allah Himself in numerous verses (6:65, 6:104, 25:33 etc), and thus it is Allah – Himself who becomes the teacher of the Qur’an in His first person speech. One the same principle, we should see how Allah defines Kutub in His revelation. We find the definition in Sura Al Bayinnah:
“A messenger from Allah, rehearsing pages kept pure. In them (those pages) are books right and straight.” 98:2-3
The ayaat mention that the messenger recites Suhufun Mutahara (pure PAGES) in which are Kutub-un qayima, i.e. established BOOKS. Where are the Kutub or the books to be found? The ayah unambigously states that they are WITHIN Suhuf (pages).
Note the words: Fihaa Kutubun Qayima. We see that within the pages of the Qur`an (Al-Kitab) are ayaat (Signs, statements or verses), and it is the Ayaat the messenger rehearsed (2:129), hence Kutub are Ayaat in the Book. Every ayah of the Qur`an is a kitab, collectively kutub.
This shows that Kutub mentioned in verses like 2:285 are not outside of The Book but are within it.
Another principle for Qur’anic study requiring attention is that there is no contradiction in the Qur’an (4:82). Any understanding that is not coming from Allah with be contradictory – what is from Him, won’t be.
Allah does not say at one place that He revealed The Book (in singular), while “books”, (in plural) at the other. Kutub are explained in Sura 98 to be WITHIN the pages of the Book itself and not outside. So belief in Kutub means belief in all the Kutub within Suhufan mutahara i.e.pure pages of the Quran.
Q. Quran states “wa ataina Daoouda Zaboora…” in the Sura that deals with the Meeraj which begins “Subhanal lazee asra bey abdihi…”. David was indeed given a specific Book. No doubt, all the Kitaabs come from the same One Book “Ummul Kitaab” and the essential message is one and the same which we must stress. I agree with your thrust but find that trying to deny the existence of prior Books to prior Prophets not merited.
A. Just like Musa (p) and Muhammad’s (p) reception of Al Furqan (The criterion) in 2:53 and 25:1 respectively does not mean that Al Furqan is a separate heavenly Book, Dawood’s reception of Zaboor (Lit. Piece or Fragment) should not be understood as Zaboor being a distinct Book with separate features instead of another attribute from the numerous attributes of Al Kitab or THE BOOK itself.
Please refer to 16:44 where Rusul (pl. of Rasool) are mentioned to come with Zubur (pl. of Zaboor). Does it mean that ALL messengers were given separate books called Zubur? No. We are informed that ALL of them were given Al Kitab (2:213), hence Zaboor is a facet or qualitative description of Al Kitab and not something external to it.
In 64:8 it is mentioned that Allah has revealed Noor (Lit. Light, illumination).
Do we find a heavenly book in the world by the name of Noor? The proper noun used for Allah’s communication to Humankind is Al Kitab or THE BOOK, and repeatedly we are informed that ALL PROPHETS, were given THE SAME BOOK, and we too should reflect on it today for seeking divine guidance, and its reading confirms what is “between the two hands” i.e. in our possession (10:37).
Consider the following clear-cut reminders:
“And with them (all the Prophets) He sent THE BOOK in truth…” 2:213
“We gave Moses THE BOOK and followed him up with a succession of messengers….” 2:87
“And We gave them (Moosa and Haroon) THE BOOK which helps to make things clear….” 37:117
“He (Jesus) said: Surely I am a servant of Allah; He has given me THE BOOK ….” 19:30
“These (18 Prophets) were the men to whom We gave THE BOOK….” 6:89
“Those to whom We have given THE BOOK study it as it should be studied….”2:121
Those who conceal the clear (Signs) We have sent down, and the Guidance, after We have made it clear for the people in THE BOOK…2:159
The above leave no doubt that the communication of Allah to Humankind IN ALL TIMES is something called THE BOOK, and was given to ALL Prophets. Allah informs us that He revealed THE BOOK. He could say ‘books’, but that is not the case.
The feature of Al Kitab or The Book is that it contains the clarification for ALL THINGS requiring divine guidance in the Human sphere:
“And We have sent down to thee THE BOOK explaining all things, a Guide, a Mercy, and Glad Tidings to Muslims.” 16:89
We should reflect as to why the author has not termed His message to His ambassadors as ‘books’, but as ‘The Book’. No only this, we find numerous Ayaat REFUTING the notion of ‘a number of books’ being sent down by God to guide humankind:
“What! have We given them a Book before this, to which they are holding fast?” 43:21
“…..Then bring ye your Book if ye be truthful!” 37:157
“Or have We given them a Book from which they (can derive) clear (evidence)?- Nay, the wrong-doers promise each other nothing but delusions.” 35:40
“Say: “Then bring ye a Book from God, which is a better guide…”28:49
“..Bring me a book before this, or any remnant of knowledge, if ye are telling the truth!” 46:4
“And We have not given them Books which they could study….” 34:44
The Ayaat are unambigous in their meaning and not liable to multiple interpretation. If we accept Al Furqan (The criterion), Al Noor (The light) , Al Hikmah (The wisdom) , Al Ajeeb (The Amazing) , Al Majeed (The majestic), Al Azeem (The glorious) to be ATTRIBUTES of The Book, just like Al Qur’an (The reading) is an attributive quality, then why the difficulty in comprehending other attributes?
I think the reason behind this difficulty is those who style themselves as Muslims today are believing in this un Quranic notion of multiple books because of the following reasons:
1) The bulk of Muslims today have disengaged themselves from studying the Qur’an. They are made to believe that it is the job of the ‘Scholar’, and not the commoner to understand and declare God’s will. Even when people do open the Book, they approach it with preconceived ideas, and seek to interpret the Book to view a reflection of their existing beliefs rather than the intention of the text.
2) The Jews and Christians seek legitimacy for the Bible from the mouth of the Muslims and would have them believe that when the Qur’an talks about “The Book”, then the reference is to the Bible.
Hence the simple minded Muslim is led to believe that since the Qur’an endorses the Judeo-Christian writs, therefore Muslims should take Biblical claims seriously. Christian Missionary literature aimed at converting Muslims to Christianity is based on this very premise.
They want the Muslims to believe in the Bible because acc. to them the Bible is the Taurat, Injeel and Zaboor that the Qur’an talks about! One Missionary tactic is known as “contextualisation”, whereby missionary literature and methods are used looking at the religious or cultural context of the target group to be recruited. For the Arabs,
Christian Missionaries have designed versions of the New testament which even begin with Qur’anic phrases like ‘Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Raheem‘. With the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. On face value these will appear to the reader to be an Islamic publication but careful reading will reveal that one is going through the Bible!
The view requires careful explication in the light of Qur’anic verses, and an objective examination of the Bible itself.
Q. how does your thesis stand beside what is known (through history and particularly linguistics) about the Hebrew and Christian biblical texts? I’m not talking about the arguments of missionaries here, but the study of biblical texts by sincere scientific and rational methods in Universities around the world.”
A. The Jewish & Christian texts are not what their believers claim them to be. Please consider the following:
The first 5 books of the Old Testament, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy are popularly known to be the “Pentatauch” or the “Torah”, whose authorship is attributed to Moses by Fundamentalist Bible believers.
When the Jews & Christians refer to the “Taurat” to the Muslims, they means the 5 books of the Old Testament. Day before yesterday I attended a lecture organised by Oxford University Pakistani students society, here in Oxford, where Karen Armstrong, reknown writer on comparative religion, was speaking.
During question time, the attention of the speaker was drawn to numerous Old Testament statements, where the Hebrew God commands the massacre and killing of numerous men women and children e.g.
” . . neither shall thine eye pity him (the apostate), neither shalt thou spare him, neither shalt thou conceal him: “But thou shalt SURELY KILL HIM: thine hand shall be first upon him TO PUT HIM TO DEATH . . .DEUTERONOMY I 3 -8 9
“Now therefore KILL every male among the little ones, and KILL every woman (female) that hath known man by lying (having sex) with him. “But keep ALIVE for yourselves all the GIRLS and all the women who are VIRGINS.” NUMBERS 31:17-18
“And the Jews salvaged for themselves 32,000 virgins, verse 35
But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou (o Jews) shall save alive NOTHING that BREATHES. DEUTERONOMY 20:16
‘And they (the Jews) UTTERLY DESTROYED all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep, and ASS, with the edge of the sword ” JOSHUA 6:21
“He (Joshua) let NONE remain alive.” Joshua 10:28
I asked her how could all this be coming from a merciful God? I wanted to know from her (she being a former Roman Catholic nun) why is God commanding that women and children be killed? Apostates put to death and similar atrocities?
To this she gave a vague and ambiguous reply acknowledging the existence of such statements in the”Torah” but to her some Jewish scholars have called to focus on the word of God rather than commentary!?.
I must admit that I didn’t get a clear answer to my question , because the common Christian claim is that Jesus is God in human flesh and they relate numerous OT verses with Jesus, denoting him to be the speaker in them. If Jesus is God, then Is he commanding the massacre of non Jews in such OT passages??
How can he remain the “prince of peace” if his behaviour is of such a high level of intolerance and bigotry (assuming he is the God mentioned in the Old Testament)? To the staunch Christian, the entire Bible, from genesis to Revelation, is the inspired word of God.
In her book, Islam a Short History (and also in her lecture), Karen Armstrong maintained that the Quran frequently refers to the books of the Jews and the Christians as true (to be kept in mind that this in’t true), and also called upon Muslims ‘not to convert the Christians’ rather introduce secularism in their societies.
We won’t go into examining the nature of God, the human relationships advocated, and the description of natural laws revealed in these books (chapters), as these are lengthy subjects, but we need to consider if Moses is the author. In The 5th book we read
“So Moses . . . DIED . . . And he (God Almighty) BURIED HIM (Moses) … he was 120 years old when he DIED … And there arose not a prophet SINCE in Israel like unto Moses …” (Deut. 34:5-10).
Could Moses have written his own obituary before his death? Looks like it is a 3rd person who is writing these narratives, and not Moses.
Examining the origin of the Christian Gospels, Ahmed Deedat, Muslim Scholar of Comparative religion writes:
“What about the so-called New Testament? Why does every Gospel begin with the introduction — ACCORDING TO … ACCORDING TO. Why “according to?” Because not a single one of the vaunted four thousand copies extant carries its author’s autograph! Hence the supposition “according to!” Even the internal evidence proves that Matthew was not the author of the first Gospel which bears his name. “And as Jesus passed forth thence, HE (JESUS) saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and HE (JESUS) saith unto HIM (MATTHEW), follow ME (JESUS) And HE (MATTHEW) arose, and followed HIM (JESUS).” (Matthew 9:9) Without any stretch of the imagination, one can see that the “He’s” and the “Him’s” of the above narration do not refer to Jesus or Matthew as its author, but some third person writing what he saw and heard — a hearsay account. If we cannot even attribute this “book of dreams” (as the first Gospel is also described) to the disciple Matthew, how can we accept it as the Word of God? ” (Ahmed Deedat – Is the Bible God’s Word?)
The origin and legitimacy of the Bible is a vast subject, dealt with by numerous scholars, both Muslim and non Muslim, but for the student of the Qur’an, having established that the extant versions of the Bible are not what the Judeo-Christian proponents claim them to be, and not certainly anything endorsed in the Qur’an, what is important is to understand what is meant by the Qur’anic terms Taurat, Injeel, Zaboor etc, and how these relate to us today.
Further Study Readers will also find the following as useful for further research on the topic:
1. Videos of lectures delivered by Muslim Scholar Mohammad Shaikh of International Islamic Propagation Center on related topics. These lectures were the principle inspiration for this essay.
Al-Kitab (The Book)
Al-Qur’an (The Reading)
Taurat & Injeel (Good News)
2. Muhammad Fuad Abdul Baqi: “Al Muajim Al Mufharis Lil Alfaz Al Qur’an Al Kareem.”
3. Hans Wehr: “A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic.”
4. The Bible, King James Version
5. Abdullah Yusuf Ali: “An English Interpretation of The Holy Qur’an.”
6. Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall: “The Meaning of The Glorious Qur’an.”
7. Muhammad Hussain Shakir: “Translation of Holy Qur’an”
8. AJ Arberry: “The Koran Interpreted”
9. Ahmed Deedat: “Is the Bible God’s Word?”
10. Ahmed Deedat: “New Deceit in Christian Evangelism.”
11. Richard Elliot Freidman: “Who wrote the Bible?”
12. Karen Armstrong: “The Bible”