The Qur’an believed in the textual veracity and authority of the Holy Scriptures…but couldn’t preserve them…
Is the Bible the true authentic word of God and is using it as a criterion to judge Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)?
In the first place, it is the Qur’an and Muhammad who assumed (correctly we might add) that the Holy Bible is the preserved Word of God which can and should be used to determine whether Muhammad is a false prophet:
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 wafers. S. 10:94
Here, the Qur’an clearly says that if a person (Muhammad included) has doubts concerning the revelation, i.e. s/he has questions concerning the contents of the Muslim scripture, then they are to consult with the Jews and Christians and their Book since they are the communities which the Qur’an recognizes as having an authoritative, divinely-revealed Scripture. It is at this point that we would expect the Qur’an to exhort individuals to consult the Muslim revelation as opposed to the previous Scripture, yet that is not what we see. More importantly, this verse would be absolutely meaningless if the author(s) had felt that the previous Scriptures were corrupted since such a witness would be suspect and could not provide any verification for anything that the Muslim book claims.
The following verses further substantiate that the author(s) of the Qur’an believed in the textual veracity and authority of the Holy Scriptures:
He has sent down upon you the Book with the truth, confirming what is between its/his hands (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi), and He sent down the Torah and the Gospel before this, as guidance to the people, and He sent down the Salvation/Criterion (al-Furqan). As for those who disbelieve in God's signs, for them awaits a terrible chastisement; God is All-mighty, the Avenger. S. 3:3-4
Yet how will they make thee their judge seeing THEY HAVE the Torah, wherein is God's judgment, then thereafter turn their backs? They are not believers. Surely We sent down the Torah, wherein is guidance and light; thereby the Prophets who had surrendered themselves gave judgment for those of Jewry, as did the masters and the rabbis, following such portion of God's Book as they were given to keep and were witnesses to. So fear not men, but fear you Me; and sell not My signs for a little price. Whoso judges not according to what God has sent down - they are the unbelievers. And therein We prescribed for them: 'A life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds retaliation'; but whosoever forgoes it as a freewill offering, that shall be for him an expiation. Whoso judges not according to what God has sent down -- they are the evildoers…And We have sent down to thee the Book with the truth, confirming the Book that is between it’s/his hands and preserving/witnessing to it (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi mina al-kitabi wa-muhayminan alayhi)… S. 5:43-45, 48
Here, command is given to the Jews of Muhammad’s day to consult the Torah, the Book of God, since it contains God’s judgment. It even quotes a verse from that very Torah which helps us to identify it, a citation which can still be found today:
"But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise." Exodus 21:23-25
Muhammad also praised a copy of the Torah which the Jews handed to him to consult concerning a legal matter:
Narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar: A group of Jews came and invited the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) to Quff. So he visited them in their school. They said: AbulQasim, one of our men has committed fornication with a woman; so pronounce judgment upon them. They placed a cushion for the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) who sat on it and said: Bring the Torah. It was then brought. He then withdrew the cushion from beneath him and placed the Torah on it saying: I believed in thee and in Him Who revealed thee. He then said: Bring me one who is learned among you. Then a young man was brought. The transmitter then mentioned the rest of the tradition of stoning similar to the one transmitted by Malik from Nafi' (No. 4431)." (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38, Number 4434)
It is obvious from all of these citations that Muhammad believed that the Scriptures which the Jews and Christians possessed at his time were the preserved Word of God and could be consulted in order to see what God’s true emissaries taught concerning God, Christ, salvation, inspiration etc.
The Qur’an also attests that Jesus came to confirm and uphold the very Scriptures which were accessible to him at that time:
And he will teach him the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel, to be an apostle to the Children of Israel, "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird, by Allah’s leave. I will also heal the blind and the leper, and bring to life the dead, by Allah’s leave. I will inform you of what things you eat, and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. And I confirm the Torah that is between my hands (Wa musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya mina al-tawrati), and to make lawful to you certain things that before were forbidden unto you. I have come to you with a sign from your Lord; so fear you God, and obey you me. S. 3:48-50
Sunni commentator Ibn Kathir explains that,
<the Tawrah and the Injil>. The Tawrah is the Book THAT ALLAH SENT DOWN TO MUSA, son of Imran, while the Injil is what Allah sent down to Isa, son of Maryam, peace be upon them, AND ISA MEMORIZED BOTH BOOKS…
<If you believe. And I have come confirming that which was before me of the Tawrah,> affirming the Tawrah AND UPHOLDING IT," (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged – Suraht Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Suraht An-Nisa, Verse 147, Abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; March 2000, first edition], Volume 2, Parts 3, 4 & 5, pp. 163, 165; source)
Nor is this the only place where the Qur’an asserts that Jesus testified to authority and authenticity of the Holy Scriptures in his possession:
And in their footsteps we sent Jesus son of Mary confirming the Torah between his hands (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi mina al-tawrati) and we gave to him the Gospel, wherein IS guidance and light, and confirming the Torah between his hands (wa musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi mina al-tawrati), as a guidance and an admonition to the pious. Let the People of the Gospel judge according to what God has sent down therein. Whoever does not judge according to what God has sent down, such are the rebellious. S. 5:46-47
And when Jesus son of Mary said, 'Children of Israel, I am indeed the Messenger of God to you, confirming the Torah that is between my hands (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya mina al-tawrati), and giving good tidings of a Messenger who shall come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.' Then, when he brought them the clear signs, they said, 'This is a manifest sorcery.' S. 61:6
Ibn Kathir wrote the following concerning Q. 5:46:
<'Isa, son of Maryam, confirming the Tawrah that had come before him,> meaning, he believed in it AND RULED BY IT…
<and confirmation of the Tawrah that had come before it,> meaning, HE ADHERED TO THE TAWRAH, except for the few instances that clarified the truth where the Children of Israel differed. Allah states in another Ayah that 'Isa said to the Children of Israel,… <…and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you.>
So the scholars say that the Injil abrogated some of the rulings of the Tawrah… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged – Suraht An-Nisa, Verse 148 to the end of Suraht Al-An'am [January 2000, first edition], Volume 3, Parts 6, 7 & 8, pp. 193-194; source)
And here are his comments in respect to Q. 61:6:
‘Isa said, "The Tawrah conveyed the glad tidings of my coming, and my coming CONFIRMS THE TRUTH OF THE TAWRAH…" (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Volume 9, Suraht Al-Jathiyah to the end of Suraht Al-Munafiqun [Sept. 2000, #1 edition], p. 617; source)
The Qur’an even claims that Jesus’ own holy mother, the blessed Mary, bore witness and believed the Scriptures in her possession:
And Mary, Imran's daughter, who guarded her virginity, so We breathed into her of Our Spirit, and she confirmed the Words of her Lord and His Books, and became one of the obedient. S. 66:12
Hence, Jesus (as well as his blessed mother) memorized, confirmed, and adhered to the Scriptures, specifically the Torah, which were extant at his time. In light of the evidence furnished by the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) discovery in 1947, where ancient copies of the Hebrew Scriptures that were written before the time of Christ were found, we know for certain that Jesus was reading and testifying that the very Scriptures we possess today are the inspired, preserved Word of God since the DSS are virtual identical to the Hebrew Bible we currently possess.
Yet if Muslim still wish to say that the Scriptures are corrupted then they must be consistent and accept that Allah did nothing to correct his messenger Jesus but commanded him to bear witness to Books which were not completely reliable and authentic.
With the foregoing in view this means that when the Qur’an claims that Muhammad was inspired in the same way that the previous prophets were:
We have revealed to thee as We revealed to Noah, and the Prophets after him, and We revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, Jesus and Job, Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and We gave to David Psalms, and Messengers We have already told thee of before, and Messengers We have not told thee of; and unto Moses God spoke directly -- S. 4:163-164
We are to consult the Scriptures to see if this is the case. When we do, however, it is clear that Muhammad was not inspired the way the true prophets and apostles were. No wonder Muslims want to undermine the Qur’anic witness to the authority of God’s true Word, the Holy Bible, since he can clearly see the dilemma this poses for Muhammad’s credibility!
For a thorough refutation of Muslim’s desperate and failed attempt to disprove that their own scripture and traditions confirm and accept the absolute authority of the Holy Bible we suggest reading the articles that are available at this page.