Part 2 – Is the charge of corruption consistent with the teaching of the Qu’ran?
What does the Qu’ran say?
We first note the verses that tell us that both the Tawrat (Torah), and Injil (Gospel) are revealed, preserved and authoritative.
- Revealed – Q 3:3,4
- Preserved – Q 6:114,115; 7:157
- Note in 7:157, the verb ‘they find written’. I am told by the scholars¹ that this is in the imperfect tense, meaning present or future, telling us that the Torah and Gospel were preserved intact in the days of the messenger of Islam.
- Authoritative – Q 5:43,47,68
Then there are verses that have been commonly said to speak of corruption, but only a handful contain the verbs ‘tahrif’ and ‘tabdil’. These are verbs which specifically mean alteration, and these we need to examine in more detail:
- Q 2:59 and Q 2:75
- Both are a part of a longer passage about the children of Israel in the time of Moses. Muqatil ibn Sulayman (d. 767) and al-Tabari (d.923) understood these verses to mean that Moses came to the people with the word from Allah, but instead of saying that word, they said something else. Neither commentary had anything to do with the changing the Torah itself. [Tafsir Muqatil … vol.1 pg109,116; Jami’ al-bayan … vol.2 pg 112,244]
- Q 2:211
- The object of the verb ‘changes’ (yubaddil) isn’t clear. What is ‘Allah’s blessing’? Muqatil thought it was the messenger of Islam, while al-Tabari understood it to be Islam itself. In either case, they both wrote that the Jews of Medina, “disbelieved in Muhammad” in the 7th century. [Tafsir Muqatil … vol.1 pg180; Jami’ al-bayan … vol.4 pg 272]
- Q 4:46, Q 5:13, Q 5:41
- Again, these three verses refer to various encounters between the messenger of Islam and the Jews of Medina. Both Muqatil and al-Tabari understood 4:46 to mean that the Jews spoke in a disrespectful way toward Islam and its messenger. [Tafsir … vol.1, 376; Jami’ … vol.8, 433]
- In reference to 5:13, Muqatil writes:
- “This is about how Allah, powerful and exalted, made a covenant with Banu Isra’il in the Torah that they would believe in Muhammad, may the prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, and to give credence to him. He is written with them in the Torah. Then when Allah, powerful and exalted, sent him, they disbelieved in him and envied him, and said, “This one isnot from the descendents of Ishaq, but rather he is from the descendents of Isma’il”. [Tafsir … vol.1, 461]
- To explain 5:41, both commentators tell the story of the messenger of Islam going to the Jewish house of study in Medina to ask whether the Torah condemned adulterers to death by stoning. This was affirmed, at which point he exclaims, according to al-Tabari, “O Allah, I am the first to revive your command”. We must note though, that in this the Torah is portrayed as an intact, available source of authority. [Jami’ … vol.10, 305]
Finally, in Q 10:94 the messenger of Islam is specifically told to authenticate any revelations he has received from the earlier Scriptures. This presumes that all the earlier Scriptures were intact and unchanged at this point in time.
Q 10:94 expects you to not only take the previous Scriptures as reliable, but to use them as the foundation and basis upon which to judge further revelations.
If you have any evidence that those things set out above are untrue, or you can present to me any solid data that the previous Scriptures were tampered with prior to the 7th Century, then leave me a comment below.
1 – Gordon Nickel – The Gentle Answer