We have seen what the Qur’an says about the Taurat, Zabur & Injil of the Bible (al kitab). We read that the Qur’an states clearly that the followers of Injil still possessed the message from Allah at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), around 600 AD – so it was not corrupted before that date. The Qur’an affirms that the original message in the Injil were Allah’s Words, and that His Words can never be changed. If both of these statements are true it means that it is impossible for people to corrupt the Words of al kitab (Taurat, Zabur and Injil = Bible)
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the Bible
We continue this study by noting what the hadiths and sunnah say on this topic. Notice how the following hadiths affirm the existence and use of the Taurat and Injil in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
“Khadija [his wife] then accompanied him [The Prophet – PBUH] to her cousin Waraqa …, who, during the PreIslamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write.” Al-Bukhari Vol 1, Book 1, No 3
Narrated Abu Huraira: ..The people of the Scripture used to read the Torah in Hebrew and explain it to the Muslims in Arabic. Then Allah’s Apostle said, “Do not believe the people of the Scripture, and do not disbelieve them, but say, ‘We believe in Allah and whatever has been revealed…’ Al-Bukhari Vol 9, Book 93, No. 632
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 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.” … the Verse of Rajm was written there. They said, “Muhammad has told the truth; the Torah has the Verse of Rajm. Al-Bukhari Vol. 4, Book 56, No. 829:
Narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar: ..A group of Jews came and invited the Apostle of Allah (PBUH) to Quff. … They said: ‘AbulQasim, one of our men has committed fornication with a woman; so pronounce judgment upon them’. They placed a cushion for the Apostle of Allah (PBUH) 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.” Sunan Abu Dawud Book 38, No. 4434:
Narrated AbuHurayrah: The Apostle of Allah (PBUH) said: The best day on which the sun has risen is Friday; on it Adam was created, …. Ka’b said: That is one day every year. So I said: It is on every Friday. Ka’b read the Torah and said: The Apostle of Allah (PBUH) has spoken the truth. Sunan Abu Dawud Book 3, No. 1041
These are undisputed hadiths that tell us of the attitude of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to the Bible as it existed in his day. The first hadith informs us that the Injil existed and was available when he first received his call. The second hadith tells us that the Jews read the Taurat in Hebrew to the early Muslim community. The Prophet (PBUH) did not dispute their text, but was indifferent (neither confirming nor denying) to their Arabic interpretation of it. The next two hadiths tell us that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used the Taurat as it existed in his day to arbitrate decisions. The last hadith shows us that the Taurat, as it existed in that day, was used to verify a statement from Prophet Muhammad himself about the day of creation of man (it was on a Friday). In this case, the Taurat was used to check the saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself, so it must have been accepted as authentic for such an important use. In none of these hadiths, do we see any hint that the text of the Bible is treated as corrupted or changed. It is used as is for important applications.
Earliest manuscripts of Injil (New Testament)
I own a book about the earliest New Testament (Injil) documents. It starts with:
“This book provides transcriptions of 69 of the earliest New Testament manuscripts…dated from early 2nd century to beginning of the 4th (100-300AD) … containing about 2/3 of the new Testament text”(P. Comfort, “The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts”. Preface p. 17. 2001 ).
This is significant since these manuscripts come before Roman Emperor Constantine (ca 325 AD) who some have thought might have altered the text of the Bible. If Constantine had corrupted it we would know it by comparing the texts before his time (since we have them) with the texts that come after him. But there are no differences.
Similarly, these and other Bible copies were made long before the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). These and other thousands of manuscripts all from before 600 AD come from diverse parts of the world. Since the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in 600 A.D. used the Bible as it was in his time as authentic, and we have many Bible copies today made hundreds of years before the Prophet lived – and they are the same as today’s Bible, then the Bible certainly has not changed.
The idea of Christians changing these texts makes no sense at all. It would not have been possible for them everywhere to agree on the changes to be made. Even if those in Arabia had made changes, the difference between their copies and those of their brothers, let us say in Syria and Europe, would become obvious. But they are the same across the world, and back in time. Since the Qur’an and hadiths both clearly support the Biblical text as it existed in 600 AD, and since the Bible is based on manuscripts that come long before this time, then the Bible of today is not corrupted. The timeline below illustrates this, showing how the text base of the Bible pre-dates 600 AD.
The earliest manuscipts copies of the Taurat and Zabur date from even earlier. Collections of scrolls, known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, were found in 1948 by the Dead Sea. These scrolls make up the entire Taurat and Zabur and they date from 200-100 BC. This means that we have copies of the Taurat that date even before both prophets Isa al Masih (PBUH) and Muhammad (PBUH). Since they both publicly used and approved the Taurat and Zabur that they had (which was the same as the Dead Sea Scrolls we have today) we have assurance that these first books of the prophets were also not corrupted. I explore what all this means about the reliability (or unchangedness) of al kitab from a scientific point-of-view in my article here.
The testimony of the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) in the hadiths, along with background knowledge of the manuscripts of the Bible, point to the same conclusion as the testimony in the Qur’an – the text of the Bible has not been corrupted or changed.