No Muslim ever attacked or doubted the authenticity of the Bible until 1046 AD. It was 400 years after the death of Muhammad. Indeed, the scholar Ibn Hazm, who died in Cordoba in 1064, was the very first to accuse the Bible of having been altered.
In his desire to defend Islam against Christianity, he claims to have discovered enormous divergences and contradictions between the Bible and the Koran. Convinced of the truth of the Koran, he had to assert that the Bible could only be erroneous and falsified. He wrote:
“Since the Koran is true, it must be any contradictory text in the Gospel that is false. And since Muhammad urged us to honour the Gospel, therefore, the present text must have been falsified by the Christians after the death of Muhammad.”
(I. DI MATTEO,` It ‘takhrif “od alterazione della Bibbia secondo i Musulmani ‘Bessarione 38 (1922) 64-111; 223-260; `The preteze contradizzioni della Scrittura secondo S. Ibn Hazm’ Bessarione 39 (1923) 77-127, E. FRITSCH, supra, p. 66)
His argument is based on no evidence or historical fact, but only on the basis of his zeal to defend the writings of the Koran. “If we prove to them the falsity of their books, they will have no arguments,” he said. This led him to teach that “except a few extracts kept intact by God to confuse them, Christians no longer have the revealed gospel”.
The testimonies of the Koran and Muhammad
Even though I do not rely on the Koran to prove the truth of the Bible, I find it relevant that the Koran often speaks very favourably of the Bible. He said the Injil contains “the direction and light?” – Surah The Table [Al-Ma ‘Idah], 5. 46. If the gospel had been altered before Mohammed was born how could the Koran say that Mohammed believed the Bible that was circulating in his time was authentic?
In Surah Jonah [Yunus] 10.94 Muhammad (and thus all Muslims) was ordained to consider the Bible as the first source of revelation:
So if you are in doubt, [O Mohammed], about that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you. The truth has certainly come to you from your Lord, so never be among the doubters.
Here, Allah commands Muhammad to consult the Jews and Christians who read the Book, that is, the Bible. This Surah encourages Mohammed, and through him all Muslims to refer to the Bible (Remember that the Christians and Jews share the first part of The Bible, the Old Testament). Alas, many of my Muslim friends tell me that it is no longer necessary to read the Bible, for the Koran, they say, has supplanted it!
If that is really true then what do Muslims do with this Surah?
Dear Muslim friends, what about you? If, in the face of doubt, Mohammed was advised to inquire the people of the Book, it goes without saying that every Muslim in his time and after him had and still has the authorization, if not the obligation, to refer to the Bible.
And We sent not before you except men to whom We revealed [Our message]. So ask the people of the message if you do not know. Surah The Bees [Al-Nahl] 16.43
There are several passages in the Qur’an which confirm that the Torah and the Gospel were available authentic time of Muhammad.
“And discuss only the best way with the people of the Book, except those who are unjust. And say, “We believe in what has been sent down to us and come down to you, while our God and your God is the same, and to Him we submit.” ”
– Surah The Spider [Al-Ankabut], 29.46.
“Say: O people of the Book, you stand on nothing, until you conform to the Torah and the Gospel, and to that which is delivered unto you from your Lord.”
– Surah The Table served [Al-Ma ‘ida] 5.68.
This last Surah illustrates very well the fact that Jews and Christians possessed the Word of God well before the Writings of the Koran. And since God had commanded them to obey this Word, how could they have done so if the Book, the Bible, had not been worthy of trust?
Mohammed had great esteem for the books of Moses, which he read as Ibn Katir (in Arabic: ابن كثير, 18th century scholar) in his commentary on the Qur’an. On this subject he writes:
“From a Abu Dawud, Ibn Umar reported: a group of Jews came to invite the Messenger of Allah to Qu’ff. So he visited them. Once there, they said to him: ‘O Abu Al-Qasim, one of our men committed adultery with a woman. Pronounce your judgment on them. ‘They placed a cushion for the Messenger of Allah who sits on it and says’ Bring the Torah’. They brought it to him. He then removed the cushion from under him and placed the Torah on it saying: ‘I believe in it (the Torah) and in the One who revealed it. ‘”(Http://ibnkathir.atspace.com/ibnkathir/ibnkathir_web/5.13875.html)
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