We have seen that both the Qur’an and the Sunnah confirm that the Bible (Taurat, Zabur and Injil that make up al Kitab) has not been changed or corrupted (see here and here). But the question still remains whether the Bible/al Kitab is superseded, annulled, cancelled or replaced by the Qur’an. What does the Qur’an itself say about this idea?
To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety… Surah 5:48 Al-Ma’ida (The Table)
And before this (Qur’an) was the Book of Moses as a guide and a mercy; and this book (Qur’an) confirms (it) in the Arabic tongue. Surah (46):12 Al-Ahqaf (The Dunes)
And this is a book (Qur’an) which We have sent down, bringing blessings and confirming (the revelations) which came before it. Surah (6):92 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
That which We have revealed to thee of the Book is the Truth,- confirming what was (revealed) before it: Surah 35:31 (The Angels)
These ayat speak about the Qur’an confirming (not superseding, overriding or replacing) the earlier message of the Bible (al Kitab). In other words, these ayat are not saying that believers should set aside the early revelation and only study the later revelation. Believers should also study and know the earlier revelation.
This is also confirmed by the ayat that tell us that there is ‘no distinction’ between the different revelations. Here are two such ayat that I have noticed:
The Apostle believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in God, His angels, His books, and His apostles. “We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His apostles.” And they say: “We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.” (Surat 2:285 – The Cow)
Say ye: “We believe in God, 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 God (in Islam).” (Surat 2:136 – The Cow)
The first ayah tells us that there is no distinction between the apostles – they all should be listened to and the second says there is no difference between the revelations given by the different prophets – they all should be accepted. In none of these ayat is there any suggestion that the earlier revelation should be disregarded because the later revelation has superseded it.
And this pattern fits with the example and teaching of Isa al Masih (PBUH). He himself did not say the earliest revelations of Taurat and then Zabur were cancelled. In fact he taught the opposite. Notice the respect and continual and ongoing attention he pays to the Taurat of Musa in his own teaching in the Injil
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law (i.e. Taurat) or the Prophets (i.e. Zabur); I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20)
In fact, to properly understand his teaching he taught that one must first go to the Taurat and then the Zabur. Here is how he taught his own disciples:
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses (i.e. Taurat), the Prophets and the Psalms (i.e. Zabur).” (Luke 24:44)
Isa al Masih (PBUH) did not attempt to bypass earlier revelation. In fact he started from there in his teaching and guidance. This is why we also follow his example by starting from the beginning of Taurat to give the foundation to understand the Injil.