The Way of Truth
Study 1: TRUSTWORTHINESS OF AL-KITAB
Our intention in this course is to study Al-Kitab, the Word of Allah. We will be looking at the various Scriptures that Allah has given to man through the prophets. We will look first at the Taurat given through Prophet Musa (pbuh). This contains the history of creation of the world and man. It also contains the history of man’s fall into sin, and the giving of the first law to Prophet Musa. We will be looking also at the Zabur given through Prophet Dawud (pbuh). In the Zabur we will read beautiful words telling how great Allah is in majesty. We shall also see the intimate relationship the man of faith can have with Allah. We shall examine also the holy Injil containing the life and teachings of Isa al-Masih. We will also be looking at other books given by Allah at different times through different prophets. However, before we actually begin our study, we have some other very important matters to deal with.
First comes the question, Why should we study these Scriptures? What benefits are there and what can be gained from such study? The answer to this is simple. First of all, Allah has commanded such study. As Allah says in the Taurat,
These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:6,7)
Thus, Allah has given us the direct command to study His Word, to meditate on it and to teach it to our families. To fail to study the Word of Allah would be disobedience to His clear command. Secondly, Allah has also made a beautiful promise to those who study His Word and follow it. Allah has said that the one who meditates on his Word and does it will be prosperous in all he does and Allah will give him success (Book of the Prophets, Joshua 1:8). Thus, we see the teaching of Al-Kitab that he who ignores Allah’s Word brings on himself Allah’s curse while he who studies and follows Al-Kitab will receive Allah’s blessing.
Another matter that demands our attention before we go on to the actual study of Al-Kitab is the question whether it is trustworthy and reliable or not. It is sometimes stated that one or more of Allah’s revealed Scriptures, once pure and reliable, has been corrupted and its original meaning lost. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Allah has preserved the message of all those books pure and uncorrupted in the original languages. We will be spending the rest of this study looking at the various reasons why this is unquestionably the truth.
First and most importantly, this is the clear teaching of Al-Kitab itself. Allah the all-powerful and almighty has stated plainly in His Word that He Himself will protect and preserve His own Word from change or corruption. In the Injil it is written “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Mt.24:35). Similar statements are found elsewhere in other books of Scripture such as that in the prophet Shaya’s book,
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. (Shaya 40:8)
“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “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 the LORD. (Shaya 59:21)
Moreover, Allah has given terrible warning in His Word concerning the curse that would fall on any man that did try to corrupt His Word. Thus, we find in the Taurat that following written:
“Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2).
In the Proverbs given by inspiration to the Prophet Sulayman (pbuh), we find similar words,
“Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” (Prov.30:6).
Finally, in the Injil we see the following warning written.
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. 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. (Revelation 22:18,19)
The commands and warnings against changing the Word of Allah is also corroborated by the Quran. It is clearly stated that Allah is all-powerful and His Word cannot be changed. The following verses are examples of such statements:
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. (Surah 6:115)
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. (10:64)
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. (18:27)
Because the Word of Allah cannot be changed it is also written in the Quran that the true believer is enjoined to believe in all the Scriptures,
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. (42:15)
Lo! We did reveal the Taurat, wherein is guidance and a light, by which the prophets who surrendered (unto Allah) judged the Jews, and the rabbis and the priests (judged) by such of Allah’s Scripture as they were bidden to observe, and thereunto were they witnesses. So fear not mankind, but fear Me. And My revelations for a little gain. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed such are disbelievers. (5:44)
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. (5:68)
Indeed, the Prophet is even told to go to those who have received Scripture before him when he is in doubt about any matter,
And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers. And be not thou of those who deny the revelations of Allah, for then wert thou of the losers. (10:94,95).
Such would certainly not be the case if those receiving the Scriptures before him had corrupted them. Thus, it is clearly seen that at the time the Quran was written the previous Scriptures were held as reliable for guidance and faithful as Allah’s revealed Word. Let us look next at the history of Al-Kitab.
As we have seen, at the time of the Hijra the previous Scriptures were yet intact and uncorrupted. At that time the Injil had been 600 years in existence, the Zabur 1600 years and the Taurat 2000 years. It is an example of the power and mercy of Allah that these Scriptures were able to remain pure for such a long period. During that period of hundreds of years the various Scriptures were not only preserved in the original languages but also translated into many other languages. These copies and translations were carried to different countries throughout the world and were carefully memorized and preserved.
Many of these early copies of Scripture still exist in museums and libraries throughout the world. Indeed, there are over 5,000 ancient copies still available today. These copies are both in the original languages and in various translations. Many of these are open for public viewing in such places as the British Museum (Department of Manuscripts) as well as in museums and libraries in Palestine, Scotland, Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Russia and the U.S.A. As would be expected, most of the manuscripts were discovered close to the places where the Scriptures were actually given, such as Palestine, Egypt, Turkey, Greece and Italy.
It is another witness to the power and might of Allah that these thousands of ancient manuscripts from all over the ancient world agree with one another in message and substance. These ancient manuscripts have then served as the basis for modern translations of the Scriptures. At present, the Scriptures have been translated into over 1,000 languages, all translations being based on these ancient manuscripts.
Many of the ancient manuscripts were written 300-400 years before the Hijra. Thus, we see that by the mercy and grace of almighty Allah, the same Scriptures that the Quran commands faith in and calls trustworthy are available for our study today. Praise Allah who is able to preserve and protect what He has given.
Give two reasons why it is important that we study the Word of Allah?
3. Through which prophet was the Taurat revealed?
4. The Zabur was revealed through which prophet?
5. According to the Injil (Matthew 24:35) can the Word of Allah be destroyed?
a. Yes b. No.
6. At the time of the Hijra the Taurat was how old?
7. The earliest manuscripts of the Taurat, Zabur and Injil still existing were written –
a. Hundreds of years before the Hijra
b. About the time of the hijra
c. Long after the hijra
8. The Taurat, Zabur and Injil have been translated into how many languages?
a. Under 100
b. About 500
c. Over 1,000
9. According to the scripture of Prophet Sulayman (Proverbs 30:6) what will happen to anyone who tried to alter the Word of Allah?
10. Do you think Allah is powerful enough to preserve His own Word?
a. Yes. b. No.