We saw that the Qur’an says that the Taurat, Zabur and Injil of the Bible (al kitab) are not corrupted. The Qur’an clearly states that the followers of Injil still possessed Allah’s message during Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) time. He lived around 600 CE so there could have been no corruption before that date. At the same time, many thousands of manuscripts exist today that scribes wrote long before that time. So we also know that no one corrupted the Injil after the Prophet Muhammad’s time.
The Qur’an also declares that the Injil’s original message was Allah’s very Words. The Qur’an then states that no one can change or corrupt His Words. Since both of these statements are true it means that no one could have corrupted the Words of al-Kitab (Taurat, Zabur and Injil=Bible).
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the Bible
Here we study what the hadiths and sunnah say on this topic. These 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 Pre-Islamic 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 96, No. 89
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 4449.
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 undisputed hadiths tell us about the attitude of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to the Bible. 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. Rather, he remained indifferent (neither confirming nor denying) to their Arabic interpretation of it. The next two hadiths state that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used the Taurat to arbitrate decisions. The last hadith reveals that the Taurat was used to verify Prophet Muhammad’s statement about the day of man’s creation (i.e.,that it was on a Friday). In this case, the Taurat was used to check the teaching of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself. For the early believers to use the Taurat in such a way means it must have been authentic.
None of these hadiths even hint that the companions of the Prophet treated the Bible text as corrupted or changed.
Earliest manuscripts of Injil (New Testament)
I own a book about the earliest New Testament (Injil) manuscripts. 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 CE). Some have speculated that he might have altered the text of the Bible. To test this idea we simply compare the texts before Constantine (since we have them) with the later texts. But they show no differences. Constantine did not change the text of the Bible.
Similarly, these and other Bible manuscripts were made long before the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Thousands of manuscripts exist from before 600 CE around the world. Some were copied hundreds of years before the Prophet lived, and we still have them today. The hadiths show that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companions used the Bible they had in 600 CE as an authentic text. If those were authentic and all copies are virtually identical, then the Bible text could not have changed.
Even the idea of Christians changing these texts makes no sense. It would not have been possible for the scattered people to agree on the changes. Even if those in Arabia had made changes, the difference between their copies and those of their brothers, say in Syria and Europe, would become obvious. But the manuscript copies are the same across the world, and back in time. The Qur’an and hadiths both clearly support the Biblical text as it existed in 600 CE. The Bible used today is based on manuscripts that come long before this time as well as after it. These manuscripts are essentially identical. Therefore, today’s Bible could not have been corrupted. The timeline below illustrates this, showing how the text base of the Bible pre-dates 600 CE.
Earliest Manuscripts of the Taurat and Zabur
The earliest manuscript copies of the Taurat and Zabur date from even earlier. Collections of scrolls were found in 1948 by the Dead Sea and are known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls make up the entire Taurat and Zabur and they date from 200-100 BCE. This means that we have copies of the Taurat from before both prophets Isa al Masih (PBUH) and Muhammad (PBUH). They both publicly used and approved the Taurat and Zabur that they had. Thus we have the assurance that these first books of the prophets are also not corrupted. We explore what all this means about the reliability (or unchangedness) of al kitab from a scientific point-of-view 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 is uncorrupted and unchanged. Why not understand the message of Allah, beginning with the Sign of Adam?