The Testimony of the Quran
LESSON ONE: THE QURAN’S TESTIMONY ABOUT PREVIOUS SCRIPTURES
In this study we will be examining various Quranic passages dealing with the Taurat of Musa (pbuh), the Zabur of Dawud (pbuh), and the Injil of ‘Isa al-Masih. Our goal will be to discover what the Quran says about the purpose, reliability and present state of those various scriptures. We shall also be looking at the testimony of those scriptures themselves on this very important topic.
1. The Quran’s testimony that the Word of Allah is unchangeable.
a. 6:115- 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.
1) In what two ways is the Word of Allah complete?
2) Who is able to change the Word of Allah?
3) Would Allah know if anyone tried to change His Word? Why?
b. 10:64- 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.
1) What glad tidings do believers have?
2) If the Word of Allah could be changed and corrupted, could anyone ever depend on that Word?
c. 18:27- And recite (and teach) what has been revealed to thee of the Book of thy Lord: none can change His Words, and none wilt thou find as a refuge other than Him.
2. Commands from the the previous scriptures forbidding any attempt to change the Word of Allah.
a. Deuteronomy 4:2 – Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of Allah your God that I give you.
b. Proverbs 30:5,6- “Every word of Allah is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6 Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
c. Revelation 22:18,19- I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, Allah will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, Allah will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
With such commands as the above given by Allah in His Word, do you think it likely that those who follow that Word would want to change it? Explain.
3. Testimony of the previous scriptures concerning Allah’s ability to keep His Word free from change and corruption.
a. Shaya 40:8- The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.”
b. Shaya 59:21- “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says Allah. “My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,” says Allah.
c. Matthew 24:35- Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
How much agreement is there between the testimony of the Quran and that of the previous scriptures on Allah’s ability to keep His word pure and uncorrupted?
4. Testimony of the Quran concerning the purpose and content of the Taurat.
a. 2:53- And remember We gave Musa the Scripture and the Criterion (Between right and wrong): There was a chance for you to be guided aright.
Why was the Scripture given to Musa?
b. 5:44- It was We who revealed the Taurat (to Musa): therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the prophets who bowed (as in Islam) to God’s will, by the rabbis and the doctors of law: for to them was entrusted the protection of God’s book, and they were witnesses thereto: therefore fear not men, but fear me, and sell not my signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what God hath revealed, they are (no better than) Unbelievers.
1) What does the Taurat contain?
2) What is the one called who does not judge by what Allah has revealed in His Scripture?
c. 21:48- In the past We granted to Musa and Harun the criterion (for judgment), and a Light and a Message for those who would do right,-
1) What is the Taurat called in this passage?
2) What is the Taurat said to contain?
3) Who is the Taurat for?
d. 40:53- We did aforetime give Musa the (Book of) Guidance, and We gave the book in inheritance to the Children of Israel,- e. 46:12- And before this, was the Book of Musa as a guide and a mercy: And this Book confirms (it) in the Arabic tongue; to admonish the unjust, and as Glad Tidings to those who do right.
5. Testimony of the Quran concerning the purpose and content of the Injil.
a. 3:3,4- It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Taurat (of Musa) and the Injil (of Isa) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong).
1) The Injil, like the Taurat, was given why?
2) What will happen to those who disbelieve in the Word of Allah?
b. 5:46,47- And in their footsteps We sent Isa the son of Maryam, confirming the Taurat that had come before him: We sent him the Injil: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Taurat that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.
1) What does the Injil contain?
2) What is the relationship between the Injil and the Taurat?
6. Testimony of the previous scriptures concerning the purpose, content, and use of the Word of Allah.
a. Joshua 1:8 – Do not let this Book of the Taurat depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for Allah your God will be with you wherever you go.”
1) The Book of the Taurat is not to be ignored; rather, what are we to do with it day and night?
2) If we obey and live by the Word of Allah, what is the result?
b. Zabur 119:130 – The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
1) the Word of Allah gives what to the reader?
2) What does Scripture give to the simple?
c) 2 Timothy 3:16,17 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of Allah may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The Word of Allah is given for what four uses?
In conclusion, how would you compare what the Quran says about the purpose, content and use of earlier Scriptures with what the earlier Scriptures teach?
7. Testimony of the Quran concerning abrogation. (There are two main passages on abrogation in the Quran, both of which are given below.)
a. 2:106 – None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah hath power over all things?
b. 16:101 – When We substitute one revelation for another,- and Allah knows best what He reveals (in stages),- they say, “Thou art but a forger”: but most of them understand not.
In these two passages on abrogation is any mention made of Allah having abrogated the Taurat or the Injil?
8. The Quran’s relation to earlier Scriptures.
a. 2:41- And believe in what I reveal, confirming the revelation which is with you, and be not the first to reject Faith therein, nor sell My Signs for a small price; and fear Me, and Me alone.
b. 3:3- It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Taurat (of Musa) and the Injil (of Isa) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong).
c. 6:92- And this is a Book which We have sent down, bringing blessings, and confirming (the revelations) which came before it: that thou mayest warn the mother of cities and all around her. Those who believe in the Hereafter believe in this (Book), and they are constant in guarding their prayers.
d. 10:37- 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 – wherein there is no doubt – from the Lord of the worlds.
e. 35:31- That which We have revealed to thee of the Book is the Truth,- confirming what was (revealed) before it: for Allah is assuredly- with respect to His Servants – well acquainted and Fully Observant.
f. 46:12,30- And before this, was the Book of Musa as a guide and a mercy: And this Book confirms (it) in the Arabic tongue; to admonish the unjust, and as Glad Tidings to those who do right. 30 They said, “O our people! We have heard a Book revealed after Musa, confirming what came before it: it guides (men) to the Truth and to a Straight Path.
g. Do any of the above passages refer to the Quran abrogating or making earlier Scripture obsolete?
h. In the above passages, the Quran is said in each case to be in what relationship with earlier Scriptures?
This is a very important matter to understand. What exactly does it mean for one Scripture to confirm another? The next section deals in some depth with this question.
9. One Scripture confirming another.
You will recall from ‘3a’ above that in Sura 5:46,47 the Injil is said to confirm the Taurat. If we can correctly understand what that means, then we are in a position to understand what it means when the Quran is said to confirm the earlier Scriptures. Let us look at Isa’s treatment of the Taurat and other earlier Scriptures to see what his attitude towards them was and how he confirmed them.
a. Prophet Isa frequently quoted from earlier Scriptures. Read Matthew 4:1-11 to see how Isa conquered the temptations of Satan by quoting the Taurat. — Then Isa was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by Iblis. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of Allah, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Isa answered, “It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of Allah.’ ” 5 Then Iblis took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of Allah,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ” `He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” 7 Isa answered him, “It is also written: `Do not put Allah your God to the test.’ ” 8 Again, Iblis took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Isa said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: `Worship Allah your God, and serve him only.’ ” 11 Then Iblis left him, and angels came and attended him.
1) How many times did Satan tempt Isa?
2) How many times did Isa meet Satan’s temptation by quoting from the Taurat and the Zabur?
b. Isa often based His teaching on passages from earlier Scriptures. Read Luke 4:16-21 — He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Shaya was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
In his teaching in the Jewish synagogue, what did Isa teach from?
c. Isa condemned those who had access to earlier Scripture but remained ignorant of their teaching. Read Matthew 22:23-32 — That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24 “Teacher,” they said, “Musa told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?” 29 Isa replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of Allah. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead–have you not read what Allah said to you, 32 `I am the God of Ibrahim, the God of Ishaq, and the God of Yaqub’ ? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
Answer the following questions:
1) What did Isa say was wrong with the Sadducees?
2) In answering their question, Isa quotes from Exodus 3:6. To what earlier Scripture does the book of Exodus belong?
d. In your own words describe what it does and does not means when one scripture is said to confirm another scripture.
e. What would you then say it means for the Quran to confirm the Taurat and the Injil?
10. Quranic passages on various subjects.
a. The command to obey earlier Scriptures.
5:68- Say: “O People of the Book! Ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Taurat, the Injil, 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. But sorrow thou not over (these) people without Faith.
1) What are the People of the Book to do with the Taurat, Injil and other Scriptures?
2) What will happen to those who do not obey the earlier Scriptures?
b. Dealing with questions concerning the Scripture.
10:95- And be not thou of those who deny the revelations of Allah, for then wert thou of the losers.
1) To whom was this command given?
2) A command is given to consult with whom?
c. The Quran was given for those who did not receive earlier Scripture.
32:3- Or do they say, “He has forged it”? No, it is the Truth from thy Lord, that thou mayest admonish a people to whom no warner has come before thee: in order that they may receive guidance.
d. The Taurat is called the Furqan (Criterion).
1) 2:53- And remember We gave Musa the Scripture and the Criterion (Between right and wrong): There was a chance for you to be guided aright.
2) 21:48- In the past We granted to Musa and Harun the criterion (for judgment), and a Light and a Message for those who would do right,- The word Criterion (Furqan in Arabic) means separation or proof. As used in the Quran, it probably means the discrimination between true and false. Why do you think the Taurat would be referred to as the Furqan?
e. The believer is commanded to believe in all Scriptures.
1) 4:136- O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His Apostle, and the scripture which He hath sent to His Apostle and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). Any who denieth Allah, His angels, His Books, His Apostles, and the Day of Judgment, hath gone far, far astray.
2) 42:15- Now then, for that (reason), call (them to the Faith), and stand steadfast as thou art commanded, nor follow thou their vain desires; but say: “I believe in the Book which Allah has sent down; and I am commanded to judge justly between you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord: for us (is the responsibility for) our deeds, and for you for your deeds. There is no contention between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and to Him is (our) Final Goal.
11. Some personal questions based on your own thinking and opinion.
a. From your experience, what kinds of proof do people give who claim all Scriptures before the Quran have been changed and abrogated?
b. How can we help such people to see the error in their thinking?
c. Read Sura 62:5- The likeness of those who are entrusted with the Taurat of Musa, yet apply it not, is as the likeness of the ass carrying books. Wretched is the likeness of folk who deny the revelations of Allah. And Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.
Those Jews who gave great external honor to the Word of Allah but did not read, understand and obey that Word are compared to what? How much do you think the same kind of error is going on in the world today? Explain.
In closing this study, consider briefly what would be the results if Allah had allowed His Word to be changed. Reflect first on the fact that He has promised in His Word that Scripture cannot be changed. As a result, hundreds of thousands of humble People of the Book today look to the Taurat, the Zabur and the Injil for light and true guidance. If Allah had then allowed those books to be corrupted, what would be the fate of those thousands who live according to their teachings? Clearly, Allah the Merciful and Gracious, the Righteous and Just One, could never allow such a thing to happen.
PRAISE BE TO THE ALMIGHTY GOD WHO GUARDS AND PROTECTS HIS ETERNAL WORD FROM ALL CORRUPTION AND CHANGE
Take a few minutes to pray and thank Allah for His goodness to mankind – to you and to me – for revealing His Word to us. That Word shows us how to live in harmony with others and at peace with Allah and ourselves.