I have many Muslim friends. Because I am also a believer in Allah (God), and a follower of the Injil (Gospel), I have many conversations with these friends about beliefs and faith. In a real sense, there is so much we have in common. Yet, almost without exception, I hear the claim that the Injil (and Zabur and Taurat of the Bible) is corrupted and changed. Therefore, they tell me, its message today has degraded and it contains errors from what the prophets and disciples first wrote. This means that we cannot trust the Bible as read today to reveal Allah’s truth.
But when I read the Qur’an I do not find this attitude so common today. In fact, it startled me how seriously the Holy Qur’an takes the Bible. I want to briefly show what I mean. (In English I use Yusuf Ali’s translation of the Holy Qu’ran).
What the Qur’an says about the Bible (al Kitab)
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.” It is the revelation that cometh to thee from thy Lord, that increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy.Surah 5:68 Maida (The Table) (See also 4:136)
If thou art 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.Surah 10:94 Yunus (Jonah)
Note that this declares that the revelation given to the ‘People of the Book’ (Christians and Jews) came from Allah. Most people say this applies only to the original revelation given. Since the original has been corrupted this does not apply to the Bible today. But the ayah in Yunus talks about those who ‘have been reading’ (in the present tense not past tense as in ‘had read’) the Bible. It is not talking about the original revelation, but the scriptures during the time when the Qur’an was revealed. This was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during the years around 600 CE. So this passage approves the Bible (Taurat, Zabur and Injil) as it existed in 600 CE. Other passages are similar. Consider:
And before thee also the apostles We sent were but men, to whom We granted inspiration: if ye realise this not, ask of those who possess the Message.Surah 16:43 An-Nahl (the Bee)
Before thee, also, the apostles We sent were but men, to whom We granted inspiration: If ye realise this not, ask of those who possess the Message.Surah 21:7 Al-Anbiya’ (The Prophets)
These ayah speak of the apostles that preceded the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). But, crucially, they affirm that the followers of the apostles/prophets who received earlier messages from God (the Christians and Jews) still possessed those messages in 600 CE. The revelation as originally given had remained uncorrupted by the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) time.
The Holy Quran says that Allah’s Words are Unchangeable
But in a stronger sense, the Holy Qur’an does not support even the possibility of al kitab’s corruption/change. Keep in mind Maida 5:68 (The Law …The Gospel … is revelation that has come from the LORD), and consider the following:
Rejected were the apostles before thee: with patience and constancy they bore their rejection and their wrongs, until Our aid did reach them: there is none that can alter the words (and decrees) of Allah. Already hast thou received some account of those apostles.Surah 6:34 Al-An‘am (Cattle)
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.Surah 6:115 Al-An‘am (Cattle)
For them are glad tidings, in the life of the present and in the Hereafter; no change can there be in the words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme felicity.Surah 10:64 Yunus (Jonah)
And recite (and teach) what has been revealed to thee of the Book of thy Lord: none can change His Words,Surah 18:27 Al-Kahf (The Cave)
Allah gave revelation to the prophets preceding Muhammad (PBUH), as Maida 5:68-69 said. These ayah, many times over, say very clearly that no one can change Allah’s Words. How then can mere men have changed or corrupted the words of Taurat, Zabur and Injil (al-kitab = Bible)? It would require a denial of the Qur’an itself to believe that men have changed or corrupted the Bible.
Read and Study all the Books
In fact, the Qur’an does not support the judging of various revelations from God as better or worse than others.
Say ye: “We believe in Allah, 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 Allah (in Islam).” .Surah 2:136 Al-Baqara (The Cow) (See also 2:285)
So we should treat all the revelations the same. This would have to include our study of them. In other words, we should study all the Books. In fact, I urge Christians to study the Qur’an as I urge Muslims to study the Bible.
Studying these books takes time and courage. You will have lots of questions. Surely though this is worthwhile to do – to learn from all the books which the prophets have revealed. It has taken time and courage for me to study all the Holy Books. It has raised many questions in my mind. But it has been a rewarding experience and I have felt Allah’s blessing on me in it. I hope you will continue to explore some of the other articles on this website. Perhaps a good place to start is to learn from hadiths what the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) thought of the books of the Bible. The link to this article is here. Perhaps you have an interest in how scholars determine the reliability of all ancient books. To understand whether the Bible is reliable or not from this scientific point-of-view see the article here.
Learn the Taurat starting at its beginning with the Sign of Adam.