|This is an opinion article from a user of WikiChristian.|
While modern Muslims believe the Torah, Psalms, and Gospel are corrupted from their original revelation, we find no such teaching in original Islam. Rather, the Qur'an teaches these books were true, did not contradict the Qur'an, and prophesied about himself. This belief changed when Muslims realized the Qur'an and Bible disagreed.
Most Muslims will say the Qur'an only refers to the Torah, Psalms, and the Gospels, but the Qur'an's meaning is obscure and could mean the entire Old and New Testaments. This article will use Bible as short to mean whatever the Qur'an meant.
History of Corruption
The first known Muslim to recognize the contradictions between the Bible and the Qur'an was Ibn Khazem (?-1064 CE), vizier of Spain and writer against Christians. Thus for four hundred years there was no reference to the idea. He concluded that because they were in disagreement, the Bible (containing the Torah, Zabur, and Injil) must be wrong. However, knowing that the Qur'an told Muhammad "believe in what hath been revealed to thee and what (scripture) was revealed before thee (the Torah and the Injil)." Qur'an Surah 4.162 He concluded, "Therefore, the present text must have been falsified by the Christians after the time of Muhammad."
Some scholars, such as Al Ghazzali (?-1111 CE), disagreed. Ibn Kathir (1301-1372) wrote that the Jews did not alter the Torah, only their interpretation of the Torah:
The phrase "[they] displace words from (their) right places" means that they mistinterpret them and understand them in a way that Allaah did not intend, doing this deliberately and inventing lies against Allaah.
However, in the following two hundred years, most scholars came to agree with Ibn Khazem, but they pushed the date of change earlier, previous to the time of Muhammad. Paul and Constantine were often blamed. In more modern times, the belief of such conspiracy has been downplayed and replaced with the idea that corruption came through many small changes by many copyists in the second and third centuries CE for the Injil. The corruption of the Torah and Zabur was moved back to before Jesus' time, before the earliest manuscripts known today. Today, the corruption of the holy books is a virtually undisputed belief.
The Qur'an "Confirms" the Bible
The first set of references cite the Qur'an as "confirming" the Bible. If the Bible had been corrupted already and no one knew its real message anymore, there would be nothing to confirm. It does no good to confirm something that does not exist. It cannot confirm it in the minds of the original Israelites to whom it was revealed because they are not alive to hear the Qur'an.
Yusuf Ali's translation is used except as noted. For brevity, the entire verse is not quoted. The excluded text never changes the meaning of the included text.
- And believe in what I reveal, confirming the revelation which is with you. 2.41
- Yet they reject all besides, even if it be Truth confirming what is with them. 2.91
- And when there came to them a messenger from Allah, confirming what was with them, a party of the people of the Book threw away the Book of Allah behind their backs 2.101
- He brings down the (revelation) to thy heart by Allah's will, a confirmation of what went before, and guidance and glad tidings for those who believe. 2.97
- It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it 3.3
- I give you a Book and Wisdom; then comes to you a messenger, confirming what is with you; do ye believe in him and render him help. 3.81
- O ye unto whom the Scripture hath been given! Believe in what We have revealed confirming that which ye possess. Pickthall 4.47
- We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it. 5.48
- This is a Book which We have sent down, bringing blessings, and confirming (the revelations) which came before it. 6.92
- This Qur'an is not such as can be produced by other than Allah; on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book. 10.37
- It is not a tale invented, but a confirmation of what went before it. 12.111
- He has come with the (very) Truth, and he confirms (the Message of) the messengers (before him). 37.37
- And before this, was the Book of Moses as a guide and a mercy: And this Book confirms (it) in the Arabic tongue. 46.12
- We have heard a Book revealed after Moses, confirming what came before it. 46.30}}
Commands to Believe in the Bible
The following verses command those who hear the Qur'an to believe in the Bible, which they could not do if the Bible was corrupted.
- We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, from their Lord. 3.84
- Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and the scripture which He hath sent to His Messenger and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). 4.136
- Dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, "We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you 29.46}}
Jews and Christians to Use the Bible
- Do ye enjoin right conduct on the people, and forget (To practise it) yourselves, and yet ye study the Scripture? 2.44
- Bring ye the Law and study it, if ye be men of truth. 3.93
- Why do they (Jews) come to thee for decision, when they have (their own) law before them?- therein is the (plain) command of Allah. 5.43
- Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. 5.47
- 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. 5.68
- Is he not acquainted with what is in the Books of Moses? 53.36
The context of the preceding verse is speaking to an unrighteous Jew, meaning that had he study Torah, he would not be unrighteous.
- Those who follow the messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the Gospel (which are) with them. 7.157
The preceding verse states that Jews and Christians have the Bible in their possession. There is disagreement among translations whether the phrase "with them" should exist. This does not change the conclusion of the verse because it speaks in the present, and they could not find Muhammad in the Torah and Gospel if it were not with them.
- 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. 2.136
The preceding verse tells Muslims to find common ground with Jews and Christians because of the Bible. This would be a strange thing to do if the Bible was corrupted.
- We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him 5.46
This states the Torah or Old Testament was uncorrupted at the time of Jesus.
- If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee. 10.95
- Has not a Clear Sign come to them of all that was in the former Books of revelation? 20.133
- Without doubt it is (announced) in the mystic Books of former peoples. Is it not a Sign to them that the Learned of the Children of Israel knew it (as true)? 26.196-197''
No Book can Be Changed
The Qur'an says that God protects the Qur'an from being corrupted. Some Christians claim that the Qur'an is speaking of the Bible as well.
The ahadith report the Bible is not corrupted as well.
Alleged References to the Corruption
Muslims cite several verses as saying that the Bible was corrupted. However, these verses clearly refer to verbally changing Bible, either by their hypocrisy, actually misquoting the Bible, or simply disagreeing with what Muhammad thought the Bible says. Also, the people the Qur'an refers to are still alive at the time of the Qur'an's speaking, whereas those who corrupted the Bible must have been long dead.
- But the transgressors changed the word from that which had been given them. 2.59
The preceding verse may or may not refer to the Jews. Also, Moses was still alive here and would have corrected the corruption, if it was not oral.
- Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say:"This is from Allah." 2.79
- [To Jews and Christians] Who is more unjust than those who conceal the testimony they have from Allah? 2.140
- There is among them a section who distort the Book with their tongues: (As they read) you would think it is a part of the Book, but it is no part of the Book; and they say, "That is from Allah," but it is not from Allah: It is they who tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it! 3.78
They change the words from their (right) places and forget a good part of the message that was sent them, nor wilt thou cease to find them. 5.13
Corruption after Muhammad
A possible way to avoid contradiction to say the Bible was corrupted after the Qur'an was written. However, this is impossible also. Many manuscripts of the Bible are dated before Muhammad, enough to reconstruct the entire Old and New Testament.