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Posts Tagged ‘Textual Criticism

Does the Quran say that The Bible could not have been corrupted ?

with 40 comments

This very good question was sent to me in an email by my friend Andrew. I asked and got his permission to use the question as a basis of a separate post, since I believe it is an important question that needs to be addressed.

Here is what Andrew said: >

I came across something in the Qu’ran I thought was remarkable. We have had everal discussions about the validity of the biblical testimony. What I did not realize is that the Qu’ran claims Allah’s inspiration of the Torah (2:87), Psalms (4:163), and Gospel (3:3 &
5:46). The Qu’ran also says that the words of Allah can never be altered
(6:34, 6:115, & 10:64). How does this fit into the context of our discussions?

> Andrew



Looking at the original Arabic text of the Quran, which is very precise in its use of words, you will find three different Arabic words and phrases used to describe what English translations refer to as ‘words of God’,

  1. Word of Allah and Words of Allah : Arabic [Kalimatu Allah and Kalimat (pl) Allah]
  2. Speech of Allah conveyed to his messengers: [Kalamu Allah]
  3. Scriptures/Book(s) revealed : [Kitab Allah, Kutub Allah]

1: Although the generic Arabic term ‘word’ can mean any part of speech, the Phrase: {Word(s) of Allah}, as used in the Quran, always refers to the Decrees that God makes, When Allah decrees something, He says ‘Be’ and it is. This is attested to In Islam and also in the Bible.

Phrase 2: {Scriptures}: The words revealed by God in Scriptures are referred to everywhere in the Quran as: ‘Books’ or {Kitab or Kutub}. The Torah, The Injil (Gospel) and The Quran are always described in The Quran as such, and NEVER as ‘The Word(s) of Allah’.

Phrase 3: {Kalamu Allah} usually refers to speech of God to His messengers, including the original Scriptures.

All three verses in your question use the phrases ‘Word of Allah’ or ‘Words of Allah’ which means his Decrees. Nowhere in the Quran does it say ‘None can alter the Scriptures’ or non can alter the ‘Speech of Allah’ or any thing close to this meaning.

Here are the verses you quoted in your Question, translated literally:

[Quran 6:34]:
Messengers indeed have been denied before thee, and they were patient under the denial and the persecution till Our succour reached them. There is none to alter the Words of Allah. Already there hath reached thee of the tidings of the messengers (We sent before).

The above verse is a reference to the Decree that God will always make his messengers victorious over their adversaries

[Quran 6:115]:
And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can change His Words. And He is the All¬Hearer, the All¬Knower.(115)

Again, this is the most literal translation, and is a clear indication that the Words of Allah refers to what He decreed.

[Quran 10:62-64]:
Behold! verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve; (62) Those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil― (63) 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. (64)

Yet again, this is an obvious reference to the Decree of Allah that His party shall not grieve.

There are other important examples of the usage of ‘Word of Allah’ in the Quran: Jesus is called the word of Allah because God said ‘Be” and he was created:

Allah says about Jesus in Surah 4 [Quran 4:171] :
O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One God. Far is it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender. (171).

And Allah said of Jesus and Adam:

[Quran 3:58]
Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is. {58}

And about Mary, mother of Jesus, Allah says:

[Quran 66:12]:
And Mary, daughter of Imran, whose body was chaste, therefor We breathed therein something of Our Spirit. And she put faith in the words of her Lord and His Books, and was of the obedient. (12)

Notice how the Quran says that Mary had put faith in her Lord’s words and His Books, the words conveyed to her by the Angles. The words of Allah are therefore distinct from the Scriptures in the Quranic narration.

  • Usage of Phrase 2: Scriptures/ Books of Allah:

When The Quran speaks of the Scriptures and Books of Allah (Phrase 2) it clearly states that it can be changed:

[Quran 3:79]
Therefore woe be unto those who write the Scripture with their hands and then say, “This is from Allah,” that they may purchase a small gain therewith. Woe unto them for that their hands have written, and woe unto them for that they earn thereby. (79)

And in Surah 5, Allah says:

[]Quran 5: 13-14]:
And because of their breaking their covenant, We have cursed them and made hard their hearts. They change words from their context and forget a part of that whereof they were admonished. Thou wilt not cease to discover treachery from all save a few of them. But bear with them and pardon them. Lo! Allah loveth the kindly. (13) And with those who say: “Lo! we are Christians,” We made a covenant, but they forgot a part of that whereof they were admonished. Therefor We have stirred up enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection, when Allah will inform them of their handiwork. (14)

You can see here that when mentioning the Scriptures/ Books, God says that people sometimes do write their own material instead of the Book of Allah and leave out or forget other parts.

What the Quran said 14 centuries ago, about changes to The Bible, is now undisputed common knowledge. There is hardly anyone who denies that changes were made to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. People might argue about the extent and significance of these changes, but the fact that, there were deliberate changes, is virtually unchallenged.

In fact, in the English language, “word” can also mean “promise”, as in: ‘Andrew is a guy who keeps his word‘. People can obviously misquote Andrew, but he still keeps his “word”.

Allah Knoweth Best.

Best Regards

Written by Rasheed Gadir

June 5, 2008 at 4:41 pm