Torah

Many Jews and Christians maintain that the Torah we have today represents the words of God as revealed to Moses at Mount Sinai. The Jews were entrusted with obeying and preserving the Torah of Moses. God commanded them not to corrupt His message:

“Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.” [Deuteronomy 12:32]

The purpose of this article is to show that far from being the pure word of God, the Torah that we have today has in fact been tampered with by man.

Please note that it is a pillar of faith for us as Muslims to believe that Moses, a great Prophet of God, received revelation. As will soon be demonstrated however, we also believe from both a theological and historical point of view, that the Torah we have today is not the same as what was originally revealed to Moses, peace be upon him.

WHAT IS TORAH

The Old Testament we have today is a collection of books consisting of the Law, stories of the Prophets and various other writings such as the Psalms. The Hebrew word ‘Torah’ literally means instruction or teaching. It is used by Jews and Christians to refer to the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). They believe these were dictated to Moses by God Almighty.

WHICH VERSION OF TORAH

The first problem we must deal with when discussing the Torah is the fact that there are many different versions being used today by Jews and Christians. Here are some examples of texts that contain different versions of the Torah. They are listed in order of oldest surviving manuscript evidence [1]:

  • Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) – These are a collection of texts discovered between 1946 and 1956 inside caves near the Dead Sea. The texts are of great religious significance because they include the earliest known surviving manuscripts of the Old Testament but many are fragmentary. The scrolls date from approximately 150 BCE – 70 CE.
  • Septuagint (LXX) – This is the primary Greek translation of the Old Testament. It was completed by Jewish scholars in the late 2nd century BCE and the oldest manuscript evidence is the 2nd century BCE. Relatively complete manuscripts of the LXX include the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus of the 4th century CE. These are the oldest surviving nearly-complete manuscripts of the Old Testament in any language.
  • Masoretic Text (MT) – This is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Old Testament. The oldest extant manuscripts date from around the 9th century CE. This version is favoured by mainstream Judaism.
  • Samaritan Torah (ST) – This is the Samaritan version of the Torah written in the Samaritan alphabet which is derived from the paleo-Hebrew alphabet used by the Israelite community prior to the Babylonian captivity. The Samaritans represent a sect of Judaism that split off from the mainstream. There are still a few hundred Samaritans living in modern-day Israel. The oldest extant manuscripts date from around the 11th century CE.

The reason why these are classified as different versions, as opposed to different translations, is because there are many thousands of variations that exist between these texts. So how can scholars identify the version of the Torah that is closest to the original Torah given to Moses? Unfortunately it’s not as simple as just taking the version that has the oldest surviving manuscripts. This would be the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS), but the problem is that the DSS are highly fragmentary and only contain small portions of the Torah. Nor can we take the version with the earliest complete manuscript tradition, which would be the Septuagint (LXX), as this contains verses that are different to the earlier DSS. The Masoretic Text (MT), which is very late in terms of manuscripts compared to the LXX, actually agrees with the DSS in some places where the LXX disagrees. Here are some examples:

Torah variants

In the example above, the 32nd chapter of the Book of Deuteronomy is compared between the DSS, LXX and MT. Two verses are compared, 32:8 and 32:43. Even though we are comparing the same chapter of Deuteronomy, the texts never completely agree in all verses. Sometimes the DSS agree with the MT over the LXX, as in verse 32:43 [2], and sometimes the DSS agree with the LXX over the MT, as in verse 32:8 [3].

Unfortunately no one knows with certainty which version is the closest to the original Torah given to Moses. The proof of this is the way in which scholars of the Bible construct modern translations. Every modern translation of the Bible is essentially an eclectic translation because it combines from the different versions of the Torah. Sometimes scholars go with manuscripts of the MT, sometimes the LXX and sometimes the ST. By borrowing from the different manuscripts they are essentially creating a new Torah that never existed before!

SOME EXAMPLES OF TEXTUAL VARIATIONS

There are thousands of variations that exist between the different versions. Most are minor variations such as the spelling of words, grammatical constructions and discrepancies in numbers. Let’s take a look at some examples by comparing the Septuagint Torah (LXX), Masoretic Torah (MT) and Samaritan Torah (ST):

Genesis 5:31

LXX: All the days of Lamech were 753 years…

MT: All the days of Lamech were 777 years…

ST: All the days of Lamech were 653 years…

Exodus 12:40

LXX: Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt and Canaan was 430 years.

MT: Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt [only] was 430 years.

ST: (Same as LXX)

However, there are also variants that are significant. Here are some examples:

Genesis 16:12

LXX: [Ishmael] shall be a wild man…

MT: [Ishmael] shall be a wild man…

ST: [Ishmael] shall be a fruitful man…

In the verses above, it makes a big difference whether Ishmael is described as being wild (a possibly derogatory term) versus fruitful (which is a positive statement and would support the prophecy in Torah about Ishmael being made a great nation, see Genesis 17:20).

Deuteronomy 32:8

LXX: …when He [God] separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God.

MT: …when He [God] divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel.

ST: (Same as MT)

In the verses above, it appears that either the authors behind the Masoretic Text and Samaritan Torah changed the reference to “sons of Israel” to make the Torah more Israelite-centric, or the author of the Septuagint changed the reference to “angels of God” to make the Torah less Israelite-centric.

Before anyone makes the claim that they have the original Torah, they must first deal with the problem of establishing which version of the Torah, if any, is authoritative.

CONTRADICTIONS

Even if we could somehow resolve the problem of which version of the Torah is authoritative, we would still have the problem of contradictions within the text. Here is one example:

It is clear from the account of Hagar and Ishmael in Genesis 21:14-19 that Ishmael was a young child, perhaps a baby, when they were sent into the desert:

Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.

When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes.

Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob.

God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.

Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

[Genesis 21:14-19]

It is possible to calculate the approximate age of Ishmael when he was sent into the desert with his mother. According to Genesis 16:16, Abraham was 86 years old when Ishmael was born:

Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

And according to Genesis 21:5, Abraham was one hundred years old when Isaac was born:

Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

It follows that Ishmael was already fourteen years old when his younger brother Isaac was born. According to Genesis 21:8-10 the desert incident took place after Isaac was weaned:

The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son…”

According to tradition, Isaac was two years old when he was weaned. Three years is the age of weaning mentioned in 2 Chronicles 31:16 and 2 Maccabees 7:27. Thus, it follows that when Hagar and Ishmael were taken away Ishmael was a fully grown teenager, around sixteen or seventeen years old. The problem is that the profile of Ishmael in Genesis 21:14-19 is a small child and not a fully grown teenager:

  • Remember that it is Hagar that carried all the supplies into the desert (Genesis 21:14). If Ishmael were a teenager then surely Abraham would have made him carry at least some of the supplies to lessen the burden on his mother.
  • She put the boy under the bush (Genesis 21:15). Now the original Hebrew used is the word “shalak” which has the meaning ‘to throw, cast, hurl, fling’ acording to Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon. One does not “throw”, “cast”, “hurl” or “fling” a teenager, especially when they are a woman and suffering from the fatigue of a harsh desert environment.
  • Even though it was Ishmael that was crying, God consoles the mother (Genesis 21:17). This could be taken to imply that Ishmael was too young to converse with.
  • She is asked to lift up the boy (Genesis 21:18). Again, one would not expect a woman suffering from the fatigue of a harsh desert environment to be able to lift up a fully grown teenager.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the Septuagint version of the Torah has the following for Genesis 21:14:

And Abraam rose up in the morning and took loaves and a skin of water, and gave them to Agar, and he put the child on her shoulder, and sent her away, and she having departed wandered in the wilderness near the well of the oath.

There is simply no way that a woman would be able to carry both the supplies and a fully grown teenager on her shoulders, so the Septuagint is even more explicit in conveying that Ishmael was a young child when he was sent into the desert.

All of these points imply that Ishmael was a small child and not a fully grown teenager, so there is a clear contradiction in the text.

If the original Torah is divinely inspired and has been preserved, then we should not expect find any contradictions within the text as God’s words are perfect. Since there are contradictions present in the text then this represents additional evidence that the Torah has been corrupted.

NO EXPLICIT CLAIMS OF MOSAIC AUTHORSHIP

Jews and Christians believe that the Torah we have today represents the original words of God as dictated to Moses, who wrote them down. What we find when we examine the different versions of the Torah is that there is no claim within the Torah itself that Moses wrote all 5 books. To the contrary, there are strong indications that they were written by someone other than Moses.

For example, there is a consistent use of the third person narrative throughout the Book of Exodus:

Then He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. [Exodus 3:6]

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” [Exodus 3:14]

Clearly, a third person such as a scribe or chronicler wrote these accounts, and not Moses himself. If Moses had been the writer then we would see the first person narrative being used.

Another issue is that of anachronisms. These are details that do not fit in with the supposed time of writing. For example, here the death of Moses happens before the book of Deuteronomy ends:

Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. [Deuteronomy 34:7]

Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. [Deuteronomy 34:10]

Here, there is the statement that Moses is the most humble person on earth:

Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. [Numbers 12:3]

Now, this would be a very odd statement indeed if Moses himself were its author, as it would mean he was boasting about his own humility.

TRANSMISSION PROBLEMS

There is a 1,000 year missing link in the transmission of the Torah. The Dead Sea Scrolls, the earliest manuscript evidence that we have for the Torah, date from around 150 BCE – 70 CE. The scrolls include fragments of all 5 books of the Torah. When we consider that Moses lived around 1300 BCE this means that we don’t have any manuscript evidence until around 1000 years after Moses.

Moreover, within the Old Testament itself there is strong evidence of transmission breaks:

Transmission break #1 – Sometime between Moses (approx. 1300 BCE) and King Josiah (approx. 600 BCE)

Hilkiah the high priest discovers the lost Torah:

Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read it. [2 Kings 22:8]

King Josiah tears his clothes when he learns of this:

When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. [2 Kings 22:11]

Now this is the key point. After reading the Torah, they proceed to remove all aspects of idolatry and the occult:

Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfil the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the Lord. [2 Kings 23:24]

Now, if the Torah had never been lost, then they would have all known about the prohibition on idolatry in Deuteronomy 12:2. Clearly, they had not seen the Torah in a very long time.

Transmission break #2 – Sometime between King Josiah (approx. 600 BCE) and Ezra (approx. 400 BCE)

After the return to Jerusalem from exile, Ezra the scribe reads the Torah to the Israelites:

All the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel. [Nehemiah 8:1]

He reads to them details of how they are to celebrate a particular festival:

They found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month [Nehemiah 8:14]

We are told that they had not celebrated the festival in this manner for a very long time:

The whole company that had returned from exile built temporary shelters and lived in them. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great. [Nehemiah 8:17]

Whatever Ezra had been a scribe of before had not included important parts of the Torah. This is because the commandments for the celebration are found in Leviticus 23:42. Clearly then they had not seen the book of Leviticus in a very long time.

MORAL FLAWS AT ODDS WITH THE PURPOSE OF TORAH

The Old Testament paints a very noble and honourable concept of Prophethood:

“…Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” [2 Chronicles 20:20]

 “Although the Lord sent prophets to the people to bring them back to him, and though they testified against them, they would not listen.” [2 Chronicles 24:19]

Unfortunately the Torah presents the Prophets in an extremely negative light. No sin is too great for them to commit, nor is any vice beyond their lowly desires (you can read more about this here).

Therefore, believing that the modern Torah is uncorrupted would mean that we accept that the great Prophets of God are corrupted. This is not a viable position given the noble profile of Prophethood as defined in the Old Testament itself.

NEW TESTAMENT AUTHORS AFFIRM CORRUPTION OF THE TORAH

When you read a number of Torah citations in the New Testament, the New Testament writers are actually quoting from the Greek version of the Torah, the Septuagint. Here is one example:

And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” [Hebrews 1:6]

The above quotation is made by Paul in the New Testament and is citing Deuteronomy 32:43. Let’s compare this verse in the Masoretic and Septuagint versions of the Torah (please click on picture to enlarge):

MT vs LXX

Notice that the Masoretic Text has no mention of angels worshipping God, this is missing in this version of the Torah. However the Greek Septuagint does contain the quote. This is just one example of many where the New Testament authors favoured the Greek Septuagint over the Hebrew Masoretic Text. Most of the Old Testament was written originally in Hebrew, so it may come as a surprise to Christian readers to learn that this Greek version of the Old Testament, rather than a Hebrew text, is referenced in the New Testament. The question then naturally arises, where is this original Hebrew text that the Greek Septuagint is based on? From the point of view of Christians, this original Hebrew text must be important if the inspired writers of the New Testament chose to quote from the Septuagint. The answer is that we have lost this earlier Hebrew text. We have lost a version of the Torah that the New Testament authors believed were the inspired words of God.

JUDE AND THE LOST BOOK OF ENOCH

One of the startling discoveries among the Dead Sea Scrolls were the presence of apocryphal texts not found in the modern Old Testament. In 1956, during the excavation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a book called “1 Enoch” (also known as The Book of Enoch) was discovered.

This presents a big problem for those Christians that believe the whole of the Bible to be inspired. The Book of Jude in the New Testament actually quotes from the lost Book of Enoch:

It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” [Jude 1:14-15]

The above verses, a quotation from Enoch, are not to be found anywhere in the modern Bible. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, Enoch 1:9 says this:

And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of holy ones to execute judgement upon all, and to destroy [all] the ungodly: and to convict all flesh of all the works [of their ungodliness] which they have ungodly committed, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners [have spoken] against Him.

So here we have a situation of a canonical book (Jude) quoting a non-canonical book (Enoch). Either the Old Testament is incomplete or the New Testament author made a mistake in quoting from a non-canonical text. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide which is the case.

HEBREW AS A LOST LANGUAGE

So far we have restricted our discussion to manuscripts and texts. What about Hebrew as a language, is it important that the language has been preserved? The answer is a resounding “Yes”, because you can’t separate language from Scripture. If we were to lose the Hebrew language, then we would also lose the Torah. What use is having the perfect preservation of the content of a Scripture if you have lost the meanings of the words it is written in? You wouldn’t be able to properly understand the Scripture; it would be like having a lock without the key.

When we examine the Judaic tradition we learn that Hebrew was a dead language from the second century CE until the foundation of Israel. Ever since the spoken usage of Mishnaic Hebrew ended in the second century CE, Hebrew had not been spoken as a mother tongue [4].

Even though the Torah was originally revealed to Moses over three thousand years ago, the first Hebrew lexicon wasn’t created until the tenth century [5] – some three hundred years after the Qur’anic revelation. They don’t have any dictionaries older than that. They have oral traditions, such as the Mishnah, where they studied the Torah and the meanings of words, but they did not have a systematic lexicography that the Muslims have. This idea seems to have been borrowed from the Muslims. It’s a known fact that in Hebrew studies, Hebrew scholars are forced to go to classical Arabic dictionaries to see what the Arabs had to say about the roots of words. This is because Arabic and Hebrew are both Semitic languages and share many words with similar meaning. This allows Hebrew scholars to get a more ancient understanding of their own root structures [6].

WHAT THE QUR’AN HAS TO SAY ABOUT THE TORAH

Indeed, We sent down the Torah, in which was guidance and light. The prophets who submitted [to Allah] judged by it for the Jews, as did the rabbis and scholars by that with which they were entrusted of the Scripture of Allah, and they were witnesses thereto… [Chapter 5, verse 44]

And when the anger subsided in Moses, he took up the tablets; and in their inscription was guidance and mercy for those who are fearful of their Lord. [Chapter 7, verse 154]

The verses above show that the Qur’an speaks of the original revelation given to Moses, peace be upon him, in an extremely positive light. The original Torah is described as being “guidance”, “light” and a “mercy”, just as all divinely inspired Scriptures are. The Qur’an also confirms that the Israelites, who were entrusted with safeguarding the Torah, were responsible for corrupting it:

So woe to those who write the “scripture” with their own hands, then say, “This is from Allah ,” in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn. [Chapter 2, verse 79]

This verse of the Qur’an would have sounded like a conspiracy theory to most Jews and Christians living in the 7th century. Today there is a remarkable convergence of what the Qur’an says about the Torah and what modern scholarship says. Today we see this Qur’anic verse with its historical insight vindicated by the Dead Sea scrolls and other manuscript discoveries. Today various Biblical scholars are affirming that people wrote it with their own hands and attributed it to Moses and thus to God.

CONCLUSION

I invite my fellow Jews and Christians to ponder the following point. If God wanted you, and indeed the whole of mankind, to have the original Torah, then why didn’t He preserve it? As has been demonstrated, textual variants, contradictions and unknown authorship are just some of the serious issues that plague the modern versions of the Torah. Therefore we can only conclude that the modern day Torah is not the pure word of God as originally revealed to Moses, peace be upon him, but rather has been tampered with by man.

The answer to the question of why God did not preserve the original revelation given to Moses is that it was only ever meant to be a time bound message which served as a temporary placeholder until the coming of the Qur’an. It is only the Qur’an, God Almighty’s last and final revelation to mankind, that is timeless. God has promised mankind that He will protect and preserve the Qur’an:

“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.” [Qur’an, chapter 15, verse 9]

Readers are invited to learn more about the miraculous preservation of the Qur’an here.

References

1 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_manuscript#Extant_Tanakh_manuscripts

2 – Deut. 32:43 in the LXX contains the text “And let all the angels of God be strong in him” which is not found in either the DSS or MT. See – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint#Dead_Sea_Scrolls

3 – Deut. 32:8 in the MT reads as “…the sons of Israel” whereas the DSS and LXX read as “… the angels of God”. See footnote in NIV Bible – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+32%3A8&version=NIV

4 – A Short History of the Hebrew Language, Chaim Rabin, Jewish Agency and Alpha Press, Jerusalem, 1973.

5 – Sa’adyah Gaon (892 – 942) a religious leader in present-day Iraq, author of the first grammar and dictionary of the Hebrew language.

6 – Kaltner, John, The Use of Arabic in Biblical Hebrew Lexicography (Washington, D.C.: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1996).

Written by Many Prophets One Message
A CALL TO THE TRUTH

    34 Comments

  1. momodou manneh May 31, 2014 at 10:32 am Reply

    Really an eye~opener… I have to admit that these informations (which have to do with textual variants cus the others I have encountered them) really amazed me because I spend most of my time surfing the internet, and I do see christian websites debasing Islam from this angle of the preservation of the Quran. Most of their arguments are really bogus. This article will help me refute their claims that the Bible is preserved especially my jehovah witness friends who believe that the bible is the most authoritative book on Earth. May Allah Bless you my Brothers.

  2. Cumar Warsame (or Stephen Thompson) July 31, 2014 at 3:00 am Reply

    Deuteronomy 32:8 the original is likely to be “sons of God.” This could refer to the people of Israel (as God’s chosen people) or angels as in Job 1. Like most of the variations mentioned above these are small and meaningless. They have no affect of what we believe as Christians . Even they are minute when compared with the variations in the text of the Qur’an –

    • manyprophetsonemessage July 31, 2014 at 1:04 pm Reply

      With all due respect, I think you’re missing the point. The Qur’an primary method of preservation has, and always will be, through memorisation. So if any minor variants do exist in the written manuscripts, which is possible due to human errors when copying manuscripts by hand, these are easily corrected by comparing what has been written with what has been memorised.

      Therefore in order to prove that the Qur’an has been corrupted, you have to show that this system of memorisation is unreliable. The burden of evidence is not in your favour though, as it’s estimated that there are over 10 million Muslims alive today who have perfectly memorised the entire Qur’an in Arabic. These Muslims herald from different parts of the world, many not even speak a word of Arabic, and yet they all recite the exact same Qur’an. This oral tradition goes back to the time of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, in an unbroken chain. The link you posted regurgitates the same old missionary arguments, many of which are covered in the link I already posted on the miraculous preservation of the Qur’an.

      The same cannot be said of the Torah. The preservation of the different versions of the Torah we have today has been primarily through writing, not memorisation, and the physical evidence shows that it has become corrupted. I will illustrate my point with a simple example. Which Torah do you consider to be authorative – the Masoretic Text or the Greek Septuagint?

      • Rik Cornelissen November 17, 2014 at 11:16 pm Reply

        Counter question:
        Which Quran do you consider authorative, an Arabic Quran or the Authorized English Sahih-international…?

        Different book, but the same question!

        • manyprophetsonemessage November 18, 2014 at 1:05 pm Reply

          The Arabic is authorative because it is the original revelation of Allah to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The English translation, or any other translation for that matter, can never be authorative so long as we have the original Arabic.

          Now, if we happened to lose the original Arabic, and the earliest complete version available were a translation in another language, then it would be up for debate as to which version should be authorative. This is the situation we find ourselves in with the Torah. So different book, different question.

  3. Rik Cornelissen November 17, 2014 at 10:52 pm Reply

    LS!

    There is a big problem with your way of reasoning with concern to the Torah being corrupted, and in fact I often see this faulty way of reasoning among Muslims… Koran 2:79 clearly speaks about human-fabricated writings, attributed to God for the purpose of obtaining some worldly gain. This can not point to the Torah for the simple reason that Koran 2:75 refers to the Jews having posession of the ‘kalama Allahi’ (the Words of God) which in the Sahih-international translation (verse 2:75) is even referred to as being the Torah (which by itself is a VERY faulty translation because of Koran 3:7! With this translation, Sahih turns a non-specific verse into a specific verse: the -original- Torah contained the ‘Words of God’ but the ‘Words of God’ are not necesarilly the Torah!!! )… But, although by itself, the translation is faulty we can agree that what is meant(!) in verse 2:75 with ‘kalama Allahi’ may (or: should) be understood as the revelation as given to the Prophet Mozes… This automatically leads to the conclusion that verse 2:79 CAN NOT refer to the corruption of the Torah, because even still today a remainder of the ‘Words of God’ can be found in the Pentateuch – one good example is Deuteronomy 6:4, the Shema… It seems impossible to me that any Muslim would state that the very notion of Tawheed, as stated from the perspective of the Prophet Mozes in his addressing the Banu Israil (Hear Israel: The Lord, our God, the Lord is one) is written down, merely by human hands and than attributed to God to obtain some small (worldly) gain thereby – no monotheist in his/her right senses would/should doubt deut. 6:4 being part of the original Torah… The Torah corrupted? Well, ‘whatever’ but even if such is the case, than still some ‘leftovers’ of the original message (and thus! of the ‘kalama Allahi’ as directed to the Prophet Mozes) are there to be found, therefore 2:79 CAN NOT refer to the corruption of the Torah, that is a grose oversimplification of meaning of this verse, because it implies rejecting the very ‘Words of God’ which are still present in the book! Furthermore: one only has to read Koran 2:89 to, once more, see what is wrong with this interpretation of 2:79. (Sahih 2:89 translation: And when there came to them a Book from Allah confirming that which was with them – although before they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieved – but [then] when there came to them that which they recognized, they disbelieved in it; so the curse of Allah will be upon the disbelievers.) “Confirming that which was with them” – where does this point at? It points at the Torah and the Nebiim as the Jews had it, at the time of the revelation of verse 2:89, simply because it can not point to anything else – not from a historical perspective and not from a Koranic perspective! Verse 2:79 points at (many of the books of) the Ketoebiim, of which even the Rabbis admit that they were written under ‘less inspiration’ and which were only added to the canon around the time of the Prophet Jesus (believed to be fully implemented by the year 90 CE). Fact of the matter is that, by now, we know that a lot can be sad about an evolution the Jewish books underwent (traces of Jahwist traditions, Elohist traditions, Priestly traditions and so on, all combined into one set of books called ‘Torah’) and that one of the most striking things that come to mind when looking at these facts is that THE KORAN KEEPS SO REMARKABLY QUIET about these matters… So: apparently it is either not so very important from a religious perspective OR the entity that brought the Koran into this world was, so it seems, unaware of this (now) apparent evolution of these books!!! The latter option would raise very serious questions about the nature/identity of this entity because, according to Koran 20:52 God doesn’t make mistakes nor does he forget – or would you like to state otherwise just to make your point??? I, for myself, opt for the first of the 2 forementioned options but anyway it becomes obvious that the Islamic point of view on Tahrif is becoming obsolete – and rapidly obsolete, indeed!!! The Quran is the most genius thing ever put on paper, already because the book has been fooling almost everyone for over 1400 years now – and the best way to NEVER come to a better/deeper/true understanding of the Book is to ‘just’ put it opposed to the older books in a ‘my Book is better than yours’ -manner…

    Just my 2 cents! 😉

    • manyprophetsonemessage November 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm Reply

      You are wasting your time trying to create a defense for the reliability of the Torah using the Qur’an. As Muslims we take our understanding of the Qur’an from the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his Companions. Let’s see what their understanding of the Qur’an is:

      Narrated Ubaidullah: Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Why do you ask the people of the scripture about anything while your Book (Quran) which has been revealed to Allah’s Apostle is newer and the latest? You read it pure, undistorted and unchanged, and Allah has told you that the people of the scripture (Jews and Christians) changed their scripture and distorted it, and wrote the scripture with their own hands and said, ‘It is from Allah,’ to sell it for a little gain. Does not the knowledge which has come to you prevent you from asking them about anything? No, by Allah, we have never seen any man from them asking you regarding what has been revealed to you!” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 92, Number 461)

      Even without this explanation, the context of verse 2:79 is clearly the Israelites, because verses 2:40 all the way to 2:93 are about the Israelites. So anyone who says it does not apply to the Torah is taking it out of context. 2:79 is stated in general terms because it also serves as a warning to those in the future who may be tempted to try and corrupt other scriptures of God. This is just part of the miraculous nature of the Qur’an’s use of language.

      Your understanding of 2:75 is flawed. This is talking about the Jews of the past distorting the words of Allah (“…a party of them used to hear the words of Allah”), not those at the time of Prophet Muhamamd (pbuh).

      No Muslim believes that the whole of the Torah is corrupted, rather certain parts of it. The Qur’an even alludes to this (“…and have forgotten a portion”):

      So for their breaking of the covenant We cursed them and made their hearts hard. They distort words from their [proper] usages and have forgotten a portion of that of which they were reminded. And you will still observe deceit among them, except a few of them. But pardon them and overlook [their misdeeds]. Indeed, Allah loves the doers of good. [5:13]

      Finally, the Qur’an does indeed make mention of the evolution of the Torah:

      Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him – it is those who will be the successful. [7:157]

      Notice the words “in what they have of the Torah”, which implies that what they had at the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had undergone changes since its original revelation to Moses (pbuh). This could include any other books that had potentially been divinely revealed after Moses and also fabricated added by man.

      • Rik Cornelissen November 19, 2014 at 2:44 am Reply

        With all due respect, but not in any way did a try to create a defense for the reliability of the Torah; not by using the Koran nor in any other way, for that matter…. In fact, I mentioned the evolution of the original Torah by mentioning the merging of the Jahwist, the Elohist, the Priestly and at least one other tradition (of which the name has escaped me) into the Torah (or 3 Torah-versions, if you like) as we know it today… So, basically: I’m not defending the Torah in any way – why would I? What I’m saying is that using Koran 2:79 to explain that the Torah is corrupted fails as a valid argument because the Torah as it was known during the Days of the Prophet Mohammed still contained a remainder of the ‘kalama Allahi’ (the ‘Words of Gods’) mentioned in Koran 2:75 – there’s widespread agreement that the ‘kalama Allahi’ mentioned in this verse are meant to be understood as ‘the Torah’, whether the Torah at some point(s) has become corrupted or not…

        Now, the verse mentioned by you, 7:157, only proves this point since the verse explicitly mentions “… in what they have of the Torah…” which tells us that, according to the Koran, there still was a remainder of the ‘kalama Allahi’ (‘Words of God’) to be found in the Torah as it was known at the moment of revelation of Koran-verse 7:157. This makes it impossible to maintain that verse 2:79 points to the Torah as it was known during the days of the Prophet Mohammed because it still contained ‘kalama Allahi’ (‘Words of God’) which, by default, are not ‘words written by man and attributed to God for some small worldly gain’ where Koran 2:79 speaks of…

        The Torah may very well be corrupted, but even if so this simply is not what Koran 2:79 speaks about: the corruption of the ‘Words of God’ is quite a different thing from the invention of a man-written Book, attributed to God to obtain a small gain…

        So: Koran 2:79 is NOT about the corruption of the Torah – it CAN NOT be, if for only one reason, it is the Koran itself which makes this very clear: Koran 7:157!

        That does not mean that I’m defending the Torah, because I’m not but there simply is no logic in your argument.

        Now, according your argument referring to (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 92, Number 461):

        First of all: you say that, as Muslims, you take your understanding of the Quran from the Prophet and his companions and, to me, that sounds fair enough – makes sense, in fact! If Christians would use the same logic, than come the next day, they would actually cease to be Christians -not sure how to exactly call them than- because Christians, in my perception, take the word of Paul over the word of Jesus (which always appears as very strange to me, to be honest!). But having read your quote of (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 92, Number 461) I have to ask you, in all honesty: what do we learn from this what we did not already know from the Quran itself? To me, this basically is a summary of what is in the Quran so why turn to Sahih Bukhari for this – with all respect but, I mean, it does not explain(!) anything?!? And, most definitely, it does not -in any way- connects Koran 2:79 with the corruption of the Torah!

        The Jews changed their canon (supposively finished around 90 CE) by adding part 3 of the Tenakh, ‘Ketuvim’… As I already stated in my previous reaction: even the Rabbis admit that these books were written under ‘lesser inspiration’…

        Ask yourself: ‘lesser inspiration’, now what exactly is that? It is like your 14-old daughter coming home and saying: “Daddy, I’m pregnant but don’t be bothered to much, because I am only a little bit pregnant…”

        ‘Being inspired’ or ‘being under inspiration’ is like ‘being pregnant’: either you are OR you are not. The fact that the Rabbis have admitted through time that the ‘writings’ (Ketuvim) came into being under a ‘lesser form’ of inspiration already tells it all… Well, maybe not all, but certainly it tells a lot!

        These books were added and made changes to the religious practices of the Jews, ‘accidentally’ during a period when the priests and scribes of the 2nd. Temple were collaborating with the Roman polytheists, which brought them (the priests) worldly gain and pleasures – theological, historical, documented facts!!!

        But, furthermore, in Ketuvim they also ranked books like Daniel, Proverbs, Psalms and Job… Psalms and David, under ‘lesser inspiration’? David was not just a Prophet according to the Koran, he was a Rasul (messenger) – so, the Rabbis have been denying Prophets, at least from around 90 CE and then on…!

        About distortion: this may very well point to the Torah, be it either aurally or in writing (or both) but still the argument with concern to Koran 2:79 fails: distortion suggests changing/alteration/mutilation, up to some degree, of the ‘Words of God’ (the original Torah) which most definitely is something different than ‘men-written books attributed to God for worldly gain’… In fact, it’s much more likely that distortion refers to Koran 2:75, because that is exactly what the verse tells…

        Than: “wrote the scripture with their own hands and said, ‘It is from Allah,’ to sell it for a little gain”… Again, impossible that this points to the Torah, much more likely that it points to either the implementation of (parts of) Ketuvim or of lot of the books, letters and writings found in the New Testament! Lot of the books, not all? No, because Koran 7:157 “… of what they have of the Torah and the Gospel…”. Since the Jews deny Jesus, what ‘they have’ of the Gospel (Injil) must to be found in the New Testament (or: at least with the Christians, in apocrypha etc…). If you read in the New Testament, Matthew 5:17-20 than you can find a strong argument posited by (or: attributed to) Jesus against the scribes and Farizees, from out of which the later Rabbis came who implemented the Ketuvim into the Jewish canon. Not only implemented these Rabbis men-written books, they also denied by placing them into the Ketuvim-section of the Tenakh, several Prophets (or at least: the books they attribute to them – Proverbs is associated with Solomon, Psalms with David, Daniel -though not mentioned in the Quran- is at least partially acceptable, Job is very well known from the Quran but he wasn’t a Israelite/Jew)… Prophet Jesus warns against this: “The law and the Prophets” etc… Mat.5-17-20, completely congruent with the teachings of the Quran!

        But concerning the NT, like you said: would not be very logic because of the Koranic text of chapter 2:40 up to verse 93 – but still there is a point to this, as you will read further on!

        So, yes! You are completely right: Koran 2:79 must point to the Israelites, who ever said it didn’t??? Fact of the matter is that the Tenakh is the final canon of the Israelites:
        The first part is the Torah, and it is an article of faith of Islam to believe in all of the revealed books (yes, I know: in their original form). The original Torah is not men-written, it’s the ‘Words of God’ as revealed to the Prophet Moses. Since 7:157 Koran makes it clear that not all of these words were lost (Deut. 6:4 is a good example, as an extra argument) it is even against the Word of God as written in the Quran to state that Koran 2:79 points to the Torah because that would undeniably mean rejecting the ‘Words of God’ Himself, even if there were only two of them left – you don’t know, I don’t know, no-one knows… If you ever happen to stumble upon an original Torah, please let me know – I’m very curious…

        Than, part 2 of the Tenakh, Nebiim: in Nebiim one finds what Islam calls Prophets, not Messengers – warners! So, if you find pornography, atrocities and whatsoever there??? May very well be, but if everything went according the Law of God during those days, than these people wouldn’t have been in need of any warner(s) would they?!? So, if anything, the presence of all these horrible things mentioned in these books make a fairly strong argument in favor of the validity of these books, rather than against them! It consists of books about Prophets appointing peoples rotten behavior, telling them that it’s better for them to cease and return to the straight path…

        So, you said: “So anyone who says it does not apply to the Torah is taking it out of context”

        Well, the simple mention -see above- of the Nebiim (the Prophets) already proves your statement wrong:
        you state yourself that the Jews AND the Christians are the People of the Book, since Christians are explicitly included that means with ‘the Book’ you are referring to the Bible, so the Tenakh AND the New Testament – because a Christian without the last part of ‘the Book’ -the NT- would basically be a Jew. Therefore, since you are stating that 2:79 refers to the israelites you are saying that it is the non-Christian part of ‘the Book’ so either Torah or Nebiim or Ketuvim (the latter since 90 CE, so well before the revelation of the Koran).

        Torah is impossible to be meant, as already thoroughly explained, therefore the Tenakh as a whole can not be meant either (same reason: denying [‘leftovers of’- no disrespect intended] the ‘Words of God’) so what’s left? Nebiim (Prophets) or Ketuvim…

        ‘Nebiim’ means ‘Prophets’, ‘Ketuvim’ means books or scripture; even the Rabbis admit that the books in Ketuvim are of ‘lesser inspiration’ than the two other segments of the Tenakh: ‘Torah’ being the Word of God via the Prophet Moses and ‘Nebiim’ the words of (some of) the Prophets, inspired by God through the Ruach haKodesh and written down by others… Literally?Honestly, I don’t know, I wasn’t there at the time 😉

        Besides that, by placing certain books in the Ketuvim they basically denied the Prophet-hood of a certain Islamic Messenger (David) and some Prophets. So yes, they (the Jews) changed the books, added to the books (for the wrong reasons) and so on…All traceable in history

        Jesus even warned against the activities of scribes and Farizees in the NT where he confirms the validity of the Law and the Prophets: he came to confirm what was before it of the Torah (and the Prophets before him confirmed the Torah, so he confirmed them too!) Sounds familiar?

        Koran, 7:157 “…what they have of the Torah and the Gospel…”
        Koran 5:46! If matthew 5:17-20 is not part of the original Gospel/Injil or is at least a direct reference to it than, I tell you frankly, there never was one…!

        And after that, Paul came to tell people that he knew better what Jesus was trying to say than Jesus, the Prophet, himself…

        Seen from this perspective (mat. 5:17-20) it is interesting to know that it is known that as early as 130 BCE there was tampering with the Jewish canon concerning what came to be Ketuvim; again check matthew 5:20, where is spoken of the lack of righteousness of the scribes and the Farizees… Who add books to religious canons? Religious scribes do and in the case of the Jews, Farizees did as well!

        Koran 2:79 points to Ketuvim! This follows from internal logic within the Koran as well as from historical knowledge for those who -at first glance- fail to see this internal logic within the Koran and care to search/check for this knowledge…

        One remark concerning Koran 2:75:
        My understanding of this verse is not flawed at all but, in this particular context, the only important thing is that it mentions ‘kalama Allahi’ (‘Words of God’) which is widely agreed upon that is to be understood as ‘the Torah’ (Tawrat).
        Therefore it is impossible that the book which is mentioned in Koran 2:79 is meant to be understood as the Torah. That was the only reason for me to bring up 2:75…

        Lastly:
        You said that the Koran actually makes mention of the evolution of the Torah and you refer to 7:157. But what 7:157 says is “…what they have of the Torah and the Gospel…” which implies that what ‘they have’ is not what there once was – it implies that there is something they do NOT have of the Torah. But the traces of evolution that are found in the Torah strongly suggest that it is a hybrid book which merges several different traditions into one volume. Several stories are repeated in slightly variant narratives which sometimes even contradict each other…

        But if you tell different versions of the same story, instead of the one original story, the volume after evolution/adapting increases – but according to the logic derived from Koran 7:157 the actual Torah should be bigger in volume than the one we have today because the verse makes clear “…what they have of the Torah…” which can only mean that there is also a part that ‘they’ (we) DONT have 😉

        Bottom-line: you cannot claim that an increase-in-volume-through-evolution can be explained by a verse that can only mean that in the original volume were things that are NOT in the volume of the book as ‘they had it’ (or:we have it today)… So, at best 7:157 might indicate that, over time the content of the Torah diminished somewhat but not in any way does it even come close to describing the sort of evolution modern-day scholars claim to have found strong evidence of… Rather the opposite, I would say!

        Does this mean that I try to tell you that the Torah is not corrupted or something like that? Not at all!
        Only, this (2:79) is not the way for you to prove it – it’s not even a way to make it appear likely!

        You said:
        “Even without this explanation, the context of verse 2:79 is clearly the Israelites, because verses 2:40 all the way to 2:93 are about the Israelites. So anyone who says it does not apply to the Torah is taking it out of context.”

        And I tell you again: the Quran is a superb Book which can not be understood to a certain extent if you reduce your level of thinking about the Book to the level of:
        verse 2:79 says that ‘they’ wrote a book with their own hands, attributing it to God to, thereby, obtain a small gain… etc… (interpretation of meaning) so, well, that must mean that the Torah is corrupted than…

        I most certainly did not claim that the verse 2:79 is not about the Israelites. Of course it is about the Israelites!
        More specifically: it is about certain Israelites, not all of them. Fact of the matter is that there is móre to the Israelites and their religious books than just the Torah. Even the Talmud would easier come to mind when reading 2:79 than the Torah.

        To sum it up: pointing to the Torah when reading Koran 2:79 is nothing but guessing or wishful thinking or both…

        • manyprophetsonemessage November 19, 2014 at 2:06 pm Reply

          You are posting way too much information to have any kind of meaningful discussion. Please can you write more concisely, and let’s take this one step at a time.

          We both agree that 2:75 is talking about the Torah. But 2:79 is also talking about the same Torah, because it’s a continuation of 2:75. The verse starts with the prefix “fa”, which is used in Arabic to connect words and phrases. Linguistically and contextually this is the only understanding that makes sense.

          You can sum up 2:75 and 2:79 together as:

          The Israelites received the Torah from Allah, some of them distorted it, woe to the Israelites (and anyone else for that matter) who distort the books of Allah for profit.

          Again I repeat, the companions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) understood the verses exactly as I’m explaining them. They learnt the Qur’an directly from him and were exposed to his explanations of it. Why should Muslims take your understanding over theirs?

  4. Rik Cornelissen November 19, 2014 at 2:49 am Reply

    I made a very annoying typing-error in the first paragraph… Instead of writing in the plural form, of course I meant to write ‘Words of God’, if you please will excuse me for that…

  5. Rik Cornelissen November 19, 2014 at 5:12 pm Reply

    2:79 is connected, via the ‘So’/’Fa’ to 2:78, for the simple reason that if there are no people who are ‘unlettered’ (which can mean illiterate and/or unscolared with the same net-result) than there is no use to write a book which you attribute to God to thereby gain a small price…

    Simple: because than no-one could be fooled by such a book…

    Who wrote that book? Well, according to the internal logic within the verses apparently the same people (or: members of the same group of people) who already, before that, distorted the ‘Words of God’ (which are in the Torah, everyone agrees upon) willingly and knowingly (2:75).

    And so I tell you again: distort the ‘Words of God’ can in NO WAY be explained as ‘write a book with your own hands and attribute it to God’…

    Furthermore: 2:75 speaks of ‘Words of God’ (and we agree that this means ‘the Torah’) but both 2:78 and 2:79 speak about Kitab, ‘book’… Sahih makes a distinction between ‘Scripture’ in 2:78 (please take note of the capital S) and “scripture” (figurative, or ‘not-real-scripture’)…

    Why is this important? Because these people were Israelites who thought to know the Jewish Scripture, tells the Quran. And the Jewish Scripture consisted of Torah and Nebiim UNTIL A BOOK WAS ADDED and this is a HISTORICAL FACT.

    So, historically and (Jewish) theologically AND Koranically (because I may assume that God knows both history and the Jewish Scripture better than I do!) verse 2:79 explains that a certain group of people wrote a new book, which they presented as Scripture while it was not to a group of people who thought to know, but actually didn’t know the actual Scripture, being Thorah and the Prophets! (Nebiim). So which book was it? It was Ketuvim, or at least a signifcant part of it called Megillot.

    Your short summary doesn’t work, because it makes clear that you make ‘to distort’ equal to ‘to write with your own hand’ – and that is not the meaning of ‘to distort’, plain and simple, period.

    So, your question:
    Why should Muslims take your understanding over theirs?

    – Because the Quran tells you the facts!
    – Because history shows it, same facts!
    – Because I explained it to you in detail, based on arguments and sound reasoning.
    But most of all:
    – Because you can see for yourself, after all you can “Read!”, right? Well than, do so!

    • manyprophetsonemessage November 19, 2014 at 7:07 pm Reply

      I better understand your position now, thanks for the clarification.

      Your major issue seems to be that you are making a distinction between the words of God (2:75) and books of God (2:79) and concluding that they cannot both refer to the same entity. If we examine the Qur’an we find that these can refer to one and the same thing, for example the Qur’an itself is referred to by many different labels:

      Statement/saying – 52:34
      Remembrance – 15:9
      Words of Allah – 9:6
      Book – 2:2

      How do you know what the original Jewish Scriptures did and did not consist of? You’re making bold statements and claiming historical certainty, but in order to do so we’d need to possess the original (or at least early) scripture and compare it with the different versions of the scripture at different stages in history. As my article shows, the surviving manuscripts we have are dated very late in history. There can be no certainty on this question, only estimates and best guesses.

      You stated:

      “a certain group of people wrote a new book, which they presented as Scripture while it was not to a group of people who thought to know, but actually didn’t know the actual Scripture, being Thorah and the Prophets! (Nebiim)”

      The creation of a false book can indeed fall under corrupting the revelation of God, and is in scope of this verse. I never said it wasn’t. But you can’t say that this verse does not refer to Torah at all. In light of the hadith of Ibn Abbas that I provided, for me (or any Muslim for that matter) to take your interpretation seriously, you’d need to show that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), a companion of his, or at least a classical scholar took your understanding. Can you do so?

  6. Rik Cornelissen November 19, 2014 at 8:09 pm Reply

    No, I don’t think I can, if I could we wouldn’t have this discussion, right? :-)

    I still am of the opinion, though, that the Hadith you presented tells nothing at all about this specific issue. Please mind: I am not saying that the Torah is not corrupted, but I’m merely saying that Quran 2:79 doesn’t point to this issue.

    It’s very hard for me to see why the Hadith you presented would shed more light on this subject because all it does -in my perception- is sum up some verses related to the People of the Book as a reason for not asking them certain things. Basically: I am missing the explanation, it’s just a few verses, used to justify a certain statement – no offense intended with that, just being honest…

    Early in your reaction you write “Your major issue seems to be that you are making a distinction between the words of God (2:75) and books of God (2:79) and concluding that they cannot both refer to the same entity.”

    But the whole issue is that (2:79) speaks NOT about “books of God (2:79)” but about ‘a book of men, presented as a Book of God’ and it’s exactly because of this that 2:75 and 2:79 CAN NOT refer to the same entity…

    It is:
    The Torah, (in it’s original form) the ‘Words of God’ (2:75)
    versus
    A fully men-written book, (falsely) attributed to God (2:79)

    I am not telling you this, but the Quran is!!! That’s the whole point… And no Hadith can change this, these 2 can never be the same entity!

    Anyway, thank you for your time and effort!
    And, BTW, I do like your website!

    Rik

    • manyprophetsonemessage November 20, 2014 at 9:38 am Reply

      Ibn Abbas said in his commentary on Surah 2:78:

      ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbaas said, “O the group of Muslims! How can you ask the people of the Scriptures about anything while your Book which Allah has revealed to your Prophet contains the most recent news from Allah and is pure and not distorted? Allah has told you that the people of the Scriptures have changed some of Allah’s Books and distorted it and wrote something with their own hands and said, ‘This is from Allah, so as to have a minor gain for it. Won’t the knowledge that has come to you stop you from asking them? No, by Allah, we have never seen a man from them asking you about that (the Book Al-Qur’an ) which has been revealed to you. [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 614]

      Ibn Abbas said in his commentary on Surah 2:79:

      (Therefore woe) severe punishment, and it is said this means: a valley in Hell (be unto those who write the Scripture with their hands) change the description and traits of Muhammad (pbuh) in the Book (and then say, ” This is) in the Book that has come (from Allah ” , that they may purchase) through changing and altering it (a small gain therewith) a small gain in terms of means of subsistence and surplus of property. (Woe unto them) theirs is a severe punishment (for what their hands have written) have altered (and woe unto them) and theirs is a severe punishment (for what they earn thereby) of unlawful earnings and bribes. [Ibn Abbaas, Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs, Commentary on Surah 2:79]

      From the first narration, notice the words:

      “your Book which Allah has revealed to your Prophet contains the most recent news from Allah and is pure and not distorted”

      This implies the Jews’ book from Allah, the Torah, is impure and distorted.

      Also:

      “the people of the Scriptures have changed some of Allah’s Books and distorted it”

      So it’s explicitly clear to me that Ibn Abbas’ explanation of 2:78 is regarding the Torah.

      From the second narration, notice the words:

      “change the description and traits of Muhammad (pbuh) in the Book”

      This would make no sense if the book were not from Allah. For the book to contain prophecies about Muhammad (pbuh) must mean it’s divinely inspired, i.e. the Torah, and he’s saying that they removed some of these descriptions about him from the Torah.

      There are a multitude of evidences from other companions and early scholars that I could include, but so highly regarded is Ibn Abbas (arguably the greatest exegist after Prophet Muhammad pbuh) that his testimony alone suffices.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, and also thanks for your positive feedback about the website.

      • Rik Cornelissen November 20, 2014 at 6:32 pm Reply

        You said:
        “….
        From the first narration, notice the words:

        “your Book which Allah has revealed to your Prophet contains the most recent news from Allah and is pure and not distorted”

        This implies the Jews’ book from Allah, the Torah, is impure and distorted.
        …”

        With all respect, but I think I ‘fullheartedly’ “admitted” this, there’s no point in stressing this: we agree on this! (“admitted” between quotation-marks, because it doesn’t feel to me as if I have to ´admit´ this)

        So, I tell you:
        The Torah is impure and distorted!
        Sincerely, we agree.

        But: that’s not the point…

        Than, you said:
        ———————
        “Also:

        “the people of the Scriptures have changed some of Allah’s Books and distorted it”

        So it’s explicitly clear to me that Ibn Abbas’ explanation of 2:78 is regarding the Torah.”
        ———————-

        It says, specifically that ‘the People of the Scriptures’ changed SOME BOOKS (notice the plural!) and DISTORTED it.

        Since there is reference to the People of the Book, we can only come to the conclusion that Ibn Abbas speaks of a wider range of Books than the Torah.

        First:
        there is the book of Psalms (distorted or not)/Zaboor which is nowadays in ‘Ketuvim’ (which basically means the Jews are denying a Messenger!) and was NEVER part of the Torah but belongs, undeniably(!) to the Jewish Scripture!
        Second:
        there is the remainder of the Injil (see Koran 7:157), which is to be found in the Christian part of the Book, most defenitely not in the Tenakh (or Old Testament).

        Sahih-translation actually shows this understanding by translating ‘kitab’ in 2:78 as ‘Scripture’ (the capital S shows the respect for the mentioned Book(s) or Scripture(s) -distorted or not!- while 2:79 mentions ‘kitab’ as ‘”scripture”‘, so no capital S AND quotation-marks for unusual-meaning: ‘not-real-scripture’!

        Again, I stress: it is very hard (basically: not!) to accept that a Book which the Quran refers to as ‘Words of God’ (2:75), in 2:78 without a doubt part of the mentioned ‘kitab’ (‘Scripture’) is identical to the men-written book (‘kitab’, “scripture”) mentioned in 2:79.

        There is absolutely NO logic in that whatsoever(!) and that is from a strictly Quranic point of view, even… I am certainly not alone in that; the Sahih-translation shows it too, though it does so implicitly!

        See for yourself:
        2:75 “kalama Allahi” (‘Words of God’) equals “Tawrat” (wrong way of translating from Sahih BTW, because this concflicts with Koran 3:7 -making 2:75 more specific than it actually is, but never the less, everyone agrees anyway: ‘kalama Allahi’ equals the original Torah)
        2:78 ‘kitab’ translated as ‘Scripture’
        2:79 ‘kitab’ translated as ‘”scripture”‘

        One simply can not maintain this point of view, simply because it conflicts with historical facts concerning the evolution of the Jewish Scripture/scripture as a whole (and yes, this are historical facts: besides that they admit it themselves, Josephus refers to it, the Catholic church admits it, certain events described in the books make it clear based on secular historical knowledge, etc… – and the Quran tells you so, you only have to want to see it!) Furthermore, the Sahih-translators also see a difference between the ‘kitab’/’Scripture’ (which MUST contain the Torah!) of 2:78 and the ‘kitab’/'”scripture”‘ of 2:79… Of course they do – they have to because it is simple common-sense, based on the internal logic of the verses!

        Than, you said:
        ————————————
        “From the second narration, notice the words:

        “change the description and traits of Muhammad (pbuh) in the Book”

        This would make no sense if the book were not from Allah. For the book to contain prophecies about Muhammad (pbuh) must mean it’s divinely inspired, i.e. the Torah, and he’s saying that they removed some of these descriptions about him from the Torah.”
        ————————————-
        Again, this is too simple an explanation of the meaning!
        First of all, the Quran mentions that the Prophet Mohammed is mentioned in the Books of both Jews and Christians, see Koran 7:157 “… of what they have of Torah and Gospel…”
        (please take note: I am fully aware that ‘the Gospels’ do not equal ‘Injil’, and ‘NT’ does not equal ‘Injil’ either!)

        It is so very simple:
        please show me of what they have of the Gospel in the (remainder of the) Torah!!! If you think this is strange, than you are right: of course it is!

        But basically this is what you (and as you explain it, according to you, Ibn Abbas as well) actually are saying.

        Because: in the Book (the Bible as a whole) there are three parts which are under ‘Divine Inspiration’ in the meaning of ‘revelation of a Book’, being:
        – the Torah (distorted or not, that’s not the issue)
        – the Psalms/Zaboor (distorted or not, that’s not the issue)
        – remainder(s) of the Injil in the NT (distorted or not, that’s not the issue)
        Furthermore, there is the ‘Nebiim’, the Prophets (distorted or not, that’s not the issue), which were under ‘Divine Inspiration’ as well, though they fall outside the scope of this discussion, for more than 1 reason, the main one being here that they are supposed to be ‘Nabi’ instead of ‘Rasul’ (sorry, don’t know the correct Arabic plurals)…

        So, if you reduce the meaning of ‘Book’ in your quote to the Torah, than this leads to the inevitable conclusion that you are stating that both Psalms/Zaboor and Gospel/Injil are part of the Torah – which they obviously are not, nor were they ever (distortion or not, that is of no importance here)…

        Remark: please note, not in any way do I think that you actually believe/think this is the case, but your way of reasoning DOES actually imply that Zaboor and Injil are part of the Torah…

        Therefore, ‘in the Book’ can not point to just the Torah as you say it does, it points to the Book of ‘the People of the Book’ which are the Jews and the Christians.
        So when reading “change the description and traits of Muhammad (pbuh) in the Book”, ‘Book’ can only be explained as ‘Bible’ as a whole… Koran 7:157 makes this even more clear: both in the Torah AND the Injil – so: in both the Jewish and the (solely) Christian parts of ‘the Book’!

        But, having written all of this:
        This still completely ignores my statement that ‘to distort (to misshape, to misrepresent, to pervert, to deform) the Words of God’ is an entirely different thing than ‘write a book yourself and attribute it to God’, because in the latter, there is NO trace of Divinity to be found whatsoever, while in the former, there undeniably is…

        One can not equal that what originally came from God (distorted or not) with that what entirely originates from men.
        I can not make it more clear than this: that is a VERY BAD THING to do!!!

        In all honesty: I think you are misinterpreting Ibn Abbas – and I also think you are, by far, not the only person who does!

  7. Rik Cornelissen November 22, 2014 at 6:10 pm Reply

    Completely overlooked this argument, when writing my last reaction but there is very clear evidence that Nebiim (distorted or not) must belong to the (Jewish) ‘Scripture’ mentioned in Quran 2:78!

    The Book of Isaiah (because of chapter 42!)
    You even posted that video about it…

    But you also said this:
    “This would make no sense if the book were not from Allah. For the book to contain prophecies about Muhammad (pbuh) must mean it’s divinely inspired, i.e. the Torah, and he’s saying that they removed some of these descriptions about him from the Torah.”

    Isaiah is in Nebiim (‘the Prophets’), so you’re contradicting yourself… It is one or the other, you can not have it both!

    One can not uphold the classical interpretation of Quran 2:79, it goes against the Book, the Quran itself.

    I think I have found something very interesting, I’ll make a separate comment about it, to not mix things up!

    • manyprophetsonemessage November 22, 2014 at 10:32 pm Reply

      There would only be a contradiction if I said:

      – The Torah is 100% corrupted
      – Or, Isaiah is not part of the Torah

      The Qur’an teaches that not all of the Torah is corrupted (at worst a subset is), and the companions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) referred to Isaiah as “Torah”. The NT also refers to the Psalms as “Torah”. The term ‘Torah’ can therefore be both specific (5 books of Moses) and general in meaning (the Hebrew word ‘Torah’ means “teaching” or “instruction”). So Isaiah can be classified as a book of a Prophet and Torah. These two categorisations are not mutually exclusive! If you read my article on Muhammad (pbuh) in the Bible then you will correctly understand my position.

      I reiterate, if you can bring me a statement of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) or a companion which states that 2:79 is not Torah in any way, shape or form, then as Muslims we will re-consider our position and take your interpretation seriously. Tom, Dick and Harry coming up with a brand new interpretation nearly 1,500 years later is not going to change our classical understanding of the Qur’an :-).

      • Rik Cornelissen November 23, 2014 at 6:55 am Reply

        I’ve been working on a different comment than this one all night but I became hesitant to post it, partially because it grew so large that I had to split it in 2 pieces and partially because I thought it might be ‘too much’ for you, so suddenly.

        I have to thank you so very much though, because you -literally!- made me see ‘the light’, because of this discussion. As it happens, my sister’s name is ‘Light’ (in Arabic, not posting it here because that would make her very identifiable but you can take my word on it; from the root shin-ayn-lam, found in Quran 19:4, uniquely) and that is not a coincidence, I can tell you (although ‘Nur’ would have been more precise, but in my language there is no distinction between those 2 words)…

        As it happens, I have only become utterly convinced -totally, that is!- that in fact 2:79 can NOT refer to the Torah…
        I will try to summarize what I have written and post it here, than.

        ————————————–

        In reply to your latest reaction:
        With respect, but I know all of this. There are a number of problems with the things you mentioned, though:

        1)
        Since you confirm that the Quran teaches that not ALL of the Torah is corrupted 2:79 CAN NOT refer to the Torah. The ‘Words of God’ do not equal ‘words written by the hands of men which they than attributed to God’ – saying so is plain blasphemous, period. (!)
        2)
        Isaiah is, nor was, ever part of the Torah. Whether the companions referred to it as such (or not) does not change that fact. On top of that: since you invited me to produce a hadith concerning [Torah and 2:79] I invite you to produce a statement of the Prophet or one of the companions where they deal with the Prophet Isaiah and/or the book of Isaiah.
        Somehow I think you are not going to find it, but if you do: bring it on and I deal with it, no problem – I am 100% sure!
        A bold statement?
        Not even…
        It is a ‘clear Book’, so once you see it, it is crystal clear – it becomes like a ‘city build on a mountain, it can not be hidden…’ (freely to the book of Matthew, Sermon on the mount):
        3)
        The NT CAN NOT be used as an argument because that is a collection of books and letters which contain a grose amount of lies and distortions. Since the Quran makes a distinction between Zabur and Torah, between you and me: we both know this is a non-argument!
        LOL! I can almost hear you think: “in your previous point you referred to Matthew so you are [censored] …”
        No, I am not, because of Mat. 5:17-20; if there would be only one reason to NOT throw the NT in the carbage-can than these 4 verses are it!
        4)
        I know that there is made reference to the whole Jewish canon as ‘Torah’ by (some, not all) Jews (and therefor also by others). That doesn’t make this right, though. In fact, this is part of the distortion that took place. The Torah (Tawrat!) refers to the ‘Words of God’ as revealed to the Prophet Moses (Quran 5:44 – “… and light…” 😉 – , 2:75), so any words attributed to a Prophet (any Prophet, but here: Isaiah) who, unmistakably, lived more than half a millennium (very roughly) AFTER the death of Prophet Moses CAN NOT be considered part of the Torah. Basically: one can have a discussion about this with a person from any ‘walk of life’ – but NOT with a Muslim!
        Why not? The Torah was revealed to Prophet Moses, Zaboor (Psalms) was revealed to Prophet David, Isaiah lived a few hundred years after the dead of the Prophet David, hence: Isaiah can NOT be part -in any way- of the Torah, when you look at it from a Quranic perspective. Any explanation that would do so, would also lead to the conclusion that the Quran contradicts itself and that is impossible: the Quran explicitly states that it does NOT contradict itself!
        5)
        There’s still another reason why not the whole Tenakh can be rightfully called Torah: the presence of the third section in the TeNaKh: ‘Kh’ is the ‘Ketuvim’-part, which is -admitted by the Rabbis- written under a ‘lesser degree’ of Divine inspiration, whatever that is supposed to mean. Either you are inspired or you are not – ‘lesser inspiration’ is like ‘a little bit pregnant’: nonsense… ‘Ketuvim’ is completely of human origin, at least the Megillot are! Anyway, books of human origin can never be part of the Divine ‘instruction'(!) what the Torah is told us the be: exactly that, the Divine Instruction for righteous living, a guide to the straight path… But there are also Psalms, Job and Proverbs (Wisdom of Solomo) in the ‘Ketuvim’, you will say – well, doesn’t the Quran say that they changed words from there proper places? The Rabbis deny, by telling that ‘Ketuvim’ is under ‘lesser inspiration’ at least the Revelation of Psalms and they are denying both Solomo and Job as Prophets…
        I deny that the Quran refers to the whole Jewish canon as the ‘Torah’ – people do, but not the Quran; impossible, because it would lead to contradiction in the Quran – and there is NO contradiction in the Quran.
        Again: 100% sure, so ‘bring it on’!
        6)
        your line of reasoning with concern to the Torah is comparable with what a Christian does if he ‘proves’ to you that the NT is the ‘inspired Word of God’ because the Quran mentions ‘the Gospel’ as a revelation from God: you know AND I know, that Injil is not the same as ‘the Gospel’, is not 1 of the 4 Gospels and is not the New Testament (also referred to as ‘the Gospel’) – so it is with the Torah; don’t try to fool me and -more importantly!- don’t fool yourself! I’m sorry I have to be this blunt, but the ugly truth is still better than a beautiful lie…

        ————————————–

        I already told you, I don’t think I can bring up such a statement and -for myself- I don’t need it because, frankly, it’s of no importance whatsoever – whether I would find one, or not. I already knew that before our discussion but by now I am so utterly convinced that I DON’T NEED to waste my time on that.
        I have seen ‘the light’, remember? 😉

        ————————————–

        Please don’t be fooled by my name, but I am not one of ‘Tom, Dick and Harry’ nor am I new to Quranic teachings. The religious teachings I got from my dad are best described as ‘Many Prophets, one Message’ :-)
        In fact: he tried to tell me a long time ago (+-1990), what you (accidentally) made me see – but I didn’t want to listen to him, I even called him ‘arrogant’ and I used exactly your argument: these people (Muslims) take ‘their Book’ very serious and you are telling me that you, on your own, know things better – while they have a history of 1400+ years of accumulative thinking and reasoning about it?!? Please note: my dad was deeply in love with the Quran – never said one wrong word about it, not once! (LOL!: in contrast to the NT, he utterly refused to speak to/with me about that – and for good reason, I know now)…

        But you know what? I was young and foolish and he was completely and utterly right – he most definitely was not part of the tribe of ‘Tom, Dick and Harry’ :-)

        ————————————–

        I strongly suggest that you take a look at Quran 5:44 and take notice of the mention of ‘Torah’ and the ‘Scripture of Allah’ next to each other in a single verse… But the whole verse is of extreme importance (of course, they all are in some way, but this one is…. And read 5:46 as well, small effort)

        Than, while you are at it, also read 5:32 and check Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a, up to the end, so including the Mishnah and the gemara-part (it’s about stoning etc…) because there is a reference to a ‘Ketuvim’-book there, which always appeared as ‘very strange’ to me.
        Keep in mind that stoning was abolished around 30CE by the same Sanhedrin – against the instruction(!) of the Torah.

        Please note: nothing Jewish about me, it’s the only Talmud-item I actually know and I only read it because people ask about the striking simularity with Quran 5:32 – and after all, we have to “Read!” and search for knowledge, don’t we?…

        What has all of that got to do with Quran 2:79 and the Torah? Everything, because some verses of the Quran can not be explained by itself but only by other verses….

        Quran:
        (1:6,7)
        2:75
        2:78
        2:79
        (5:32)
        5:44
        5:46
        7:157
        and the (notorious) 3:7

        NT, Matthew:
        5:17-20
        ————————————–

        I am sorry: it grew out to be a much longer comment as intended, but that may be inherent to the topic…

        I hope you accept that, though we may not agree, I am not mocking you or anything; there is a point to all of this and, in a way, Isaiah is the key because it can prove a point.

        So if you could please read the verses mentioned here above and let me know when you have done so, than I will try to make you see. One warning, though: if you will get my point, I don’t think there’s a way back – once you ‘see’ it, you will think different than before about the authority of, for example, Ibn Abbas or Ibn Kathir (or al-Ghazali, for that matter).

        For now -here it is dawn- but, goodnight!
        Sincerely,
        Rik

        • manyprophetsonemessage November 23, 2014 at 10:45 am Reply

          Do you accept that the Qur’an describes itself as both the words of Allah (e.g. 9:6) and a book (e.g. 2:2)?

  8. Rik Cornelissen November 24, 2014 at 12:57 pm Reply

    LOL! The only way you can compare the Bible and the Quran directly, as books, is to conclude that they both have a front- and a back-cover 😉

    Tenakh: Torah, Nebiim and Ketuvim
    Tenakh: also referred to as ‘Miqra’, ‘Miqra’ means ‘writing’
    Ketuvim: means ‘scriptures’ or ‘books’
    ‘Torah’ for ‘Tenakh’ is nonsense, rubbish…
    It’s like calling an aeroplane a wing because it has 2!
    Biblia means ‘books’; in fact a lot of different books from a lot of different authors, which were written over a period of some 1500 years.

    ———————————————————-
    Yes, the Quran describes itself as the ‘words of Allah’.
    Yes, the Quran calls itself ‘book’!
    ‘The clear Book’, ‘the Book about which there is no doubt’, etc…

    Of course it does…

    Having said that, I’ve noticed something because of your question!
    If you would please read Quran 3:7 and see for yourself that the verse clearly speaks in forms of ‘past tense’ (all translations do, anyway) about the revelation of ‘the Book’ and, also, that the verse -clearly!- explains that the Book which is spoken about is NOT a clear Book at all…

    And since we both agree that the Quran doesn’t contradict itself, the question arises which Book this verse actually speaks about.

    Pointing to the Quran as being this Book would inevitably lead to the conclusion that -in that case- the Quran is contradicting itself. The Book mentioned in 3:7 is anything BUT a clear Book…

    Muhsin Khan (not my favorite translator, BTW) uses even the word “…unclear…”

    And we both know and accept, that the Quran does NOT contradict itself…. People do, but not the Quran 😉

    So, read the midsection of the verse and read 2:79 again…
    Pointing to the Torah because of 2:79 is, as Sahih translates it: “… they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]….”

    2:79 is unspecific:
    “So woe to those who…”:
    Who are ‘those’?
    Unspecific!

    “write the “scripture”…”:
    Which scripture or book?
    Unspecific!

    “…with their own hands, then say, “This is from Allah ,…” Specific!
    Fully men-written, falsely attributed to God…
    NOT ‘kalama Allahi’!

    So, which book?
    We DON’T KNOW!

    Which book(s) MOST DEFINITELY not?
    The Torah!
    because -distorted or not- it still contains remainders of the ‘kalama Allahi’ – and 2:79 is, about this, very specific indeed.

    The WHOLE book mentioned is men-written, not just some parts of the book, but the BOOK itself:
    very specific!!!

    So, IMPOSSIBLE that this points to the Torah, not according to me but according to the Quran!!!!

    You’ve (implicitly) pointed this out yourself, BTW:
    “The Qur’an teaches that not all of the Torah is corrupted (at worst a subset is),….”

    ———————————————————-

    Well…
    Can you show me a dictionary that makes clear that ‘to distort’ is synonymous with ‘to write a book with your own hands and falsely attribute it to God’?

    Because you’ve been carefully avoiding this point but it is the core of the matter, when it comes to a [2:79 and the Torah]-discussion…

    And can you produce a saying of Prophet Mohammed or a companion were one of them addresses the topic of the Book of Isaiah?

    ———————————————————-

    More importantly: have you read those indicated verses?
    Since I answered your question:
    yes, the Quran describes itself as a Book, but not ‘just’ as a Book, no: ‘the clear Book’, ‘the Book about which there is no doubt’

    Which is so very true, once you see it – it is history that proves it: a very clear Book!

    • manyprophetsonemessage November 24, 2014 at 1:51 pm Reply

      One step at a time please.

      Since we agree the Qur’an can be described as both the words of Allah and a book, and since Allah revealed His words to Moses, and the Israelites at some point recorded those words in written form, then it follows that the Torah can also be described as Allah’s words and a book. Neither of us should have any disagreement here, right?

      So on that (hopefully) reasonable assumption, earlier you said:

      The ‘Words of God’ do not equal ‘words written by the hands of men which they than attributed to God’.

      They absolutely can, allow me to explain. At some point when the Israelites started transmitting Allah’s words in written form, a party of them corrupted the text and attributed it to Allah. This would not be difficult to achieve given that the masses back then were illiterate and the elite among the Jews such as the learned Rabbis had control of the Torah. Therefore the book of Torah, which was originally 100% the pure words of Allah, became corrupted.

      Why is this explanation and understanding incompatible with 2:75 and 2:79?

  9. Rik Cornelissen November 25, 2014 at 6:38 am Reply

    Thank you for your answer!

    Again, it has become a very long reaction but I can not help this, really, comes with the topic…

    And all of this about one verse…
    Imagine if we’d take 2 at a time!
    :-)

    We agree on the first part, up to “reasonable assumption”, as long as we also can agree that -at least for now- ‘Torah’ should be limited to ‘Pentateuch’, or maybe I should say: that it most definitely should NOT be understood as TeNaKh.

    Why (not)?
    From a Quranic perspective it is strange to define Torah as equal to Tenakh because that would lead to the conclusion that Zabur, which is assumed to be the Psalms revealed to David (in undistorted form), would be part of the Torah, which is revealed to the Prophet Moses – that doesn’t really ‘work’ does it?

    Please, forget about Isaiah – anyway, I will for now
    ————————————————————————-
    First, about Rabbis:
    You have a wrong understanding of the role of the ‘learned Rabbis’…
    Didn’t I ask you to read these verses?

    I did so because I have ‘seen the Light'(!), remember? :-)
    This may sound haughty or arrogant to you, but at this point in time, I am somewhat ahead of you – I told you I am not of the tribe of ‘Tom, Dick and Harry’:

    5:44)
    “Indeed, We sent down the Torah, in which was guidance and light. The prophets who submitted [to Allah ] judged by it for the Jews, as did the rabbis and scholars by that with which they were entrusted of the Scripture of Allah , and they were witnesses thereto. So do not fear the people but fear Me, and do not exchange My verses for a small price. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are the disbelievers.”

    “…as did the rabbis and scholars by that with which they were entrusted of the Scripture of Allah , and they were witnesses thereto….”

    The Rabbis followed what they had, like the Prophets did before them; major difference is that the Rabbis didn’t have the undistorted ‘Scripture of Allah’…
    They judged according to what they were entrusted with of the ‘Scripture of Allah’ -and that does NOT mean just the Torah, I can tell you!- and they did that with integrity: “…they were witnesses thereto…”

    What this basically comes down to, is that the ‘Scripture of Allah’ already was corrupt (or: incomplete – explanation is in “…entrusted…”) before there were learned Rabbis… 😉
    And that is not me telling you, but that is the Quran telling me – by just reading the Book…

    Please take notice of something else:
    In your comment you, more or less, equal Israelites to Jews.
    This understanding is NOT correct.
    First there were Israelites (from somewhere around 1200BCE), than their descendants became Jews; somewhere, roughly, around 500 BCE.
    If you look at 5:44 than you see that the verse clearly states that the Prophets judged according to the Torah, over the JEWS … That suggests (to say the least) that until fairly late in history the Torah (no!: the Scripture of Allah 😉 ) remained in tact because the Prophets judged by this Scripture. The Quran also mentions Banu Israil, but here it specifically refers to the descendants of Prophet Jacob as Jews – so the Quran seems to aknowledge the (historical) difference between Israelites and Jews. Jews came after Israelites…

    In fact: the only Jewish Prophet that MIGHT(!) be excluded from what the Quran is telling us here, is Prophet Jesus…
    Might…!
    After all, he was the last Prophet descending from Prophet Jacob, so Quran 5:44 leaves us no choice than to come to this conclusion. According to 5:44 the Prophets judged the jews according the Torah, Prophet Jesus was a Jew, confirming the Torah, so around 30 or 40 CE the Torah was still in its original form…

    I am not telling you this, the Quran is….

    I suggest that now you read Mat. 5:17-20 and start realizing that ‘Nebiim’ just might be part of the Scripture of Allah mentioned in 5:44…

    So, how about them Dead Sea Scrolls :-)

    Anyway:
    In answer to your question:
    “Why is this explanation and understanding incompatible with 2:75 and 2:79?”

    1) Because it is impossible according Quran 5:44 that the Israelites corrupted the Torah, because the Jews were Judged by the Prophets according the Torah – if the Israelites already had corrupted the Torah, these Prophets could not have done so…
    2) The Rabbis judged with integrity according that of what they were entrusted with: “… they were witnesses thereto…” – that does not really sound like the Quran tells us they were distorting the Torah: it tells us they only HAD distorted Scripture of Allah. The distortion already happened before there were Rabbis :-)
    3) To distort or to corrupt an already existing entity is not equal to write something yourself than ascribe it to God for the wrong reason and (material gain!)

    The books didn’t became corrupted, slowly over time, this was a very deliberate action, performed in a fairly short period of time. Fact of history, backed up by the Quran (or: fact of the Quran, backed up by history)…

    ————————————————————————-
    Than:
    Besides what I just have written before, and I am sorry I have to say this: but I strongly disagree!

    So, no!
    The ‘words of men, etc…’ do not, can not and will not equal the ‘Words of God’.

    It is so very simple:
    (2:79)
    The book (it says ‘kitab’ – a whole book) is brought into this world by the actions of men with the INTENTION of earning some gain and THEREFOR it is falsely attributed to God.
    The description of the book in 2:79 completely excludes the possibility of any form of revelation involved with regard to the book mentioned – hence: it CAN NOT BE the torah!

    The ‘classical explanation’ leads to contradiction in the Quran if you take a closer look at it and, thus, it can not be correct because the Quran does not contradict itself. Besides that: it contradicts certain historical facts – but these facts and the Quran are very congruent when taking a closer look at both…

    I’m sorry, but I have to ask you this:
    why do I have to explain this to a Muslim, of all people? (Any Muslim BTW, it’s not the first time I’ve been confronted with 2:79 in a discussion!)

    ————————————————————————-
    Plain rationality:
    I explain via a completely hypothetical example:

    Suppose, for political and/or religious reasons, a rich evangelist would offer a worldly gain to change the general public’s perception of Islam ….

    First possibility:
    Than, if someone, to obtain this gain would publish an altered text as found in the Quran (with altered words, added verses, removed verses, change in the order of some Sura’s, things like that but at the same time would leave a significant part of the corpus intact) he/she would have distorted/corrupted the Quran and, thus, the ‘kalama Allahi’ (because the Quran contains the ‘Words of God’ like the original Torah did, as well as the distorted Torah -still to some extent- does…)

    This book would not be the Quran, but neither would it be fully the ‘word of men’, because for a very big part (or even, completely) this book would (still) contain the ‘Words of God’.

    This man has not actually written this book, basically he could have completely xeroxed it, even without the need of a pen (or a keyboard etc), just after some copy/paste… I would say: especially with the Quran this would be possible because of the significant number of repetitions it contains. Even added verses wouldn’t appear untrustworthy in the eye of the general public – although it could even be done without added verses…

    Analogue to 2:79:
    No Muslim, than, could (or, at least: should!) use words along the line of:
    “This men has written a book with his own hand and falsely attributed it to God, etc…” to describe such a book because that would mean he’d be denying God’s words (that are still so very present in this book)
    Or more precise: he would be attributing the ‘Words of God’ to men, because he would be oversimplifying things…

    One can even produce such a book with the use of ONLY ‘kalama Allahi’… It would be a corruption, a distortion – no more, no less – of something what already was in existence…

    This works also for the Torah, because the Quran (which is in its original form) does NOT state that the Torah is fully written by men.You’ve pointed this out yourself, BTW:
    “The Qur’an teaches that not all of the Torah is corrupted (at worst a subset is),….”

    Second possibility:
    Now, someone else, who also wants a little gain, decides to write a completely new volume, completely by himself and portrays it as Quran part II

    That you and I know this wouldn’t work towards Muslims doesn’t matter at all, because the book is aimed at changing the view of the general public of Islam and/or Muslims.

    And what does the general public know about Islamic Scripture? Basically, the vast majority doesn’t know anything or very little – at best: “… they are just guessing…” (2:78)
    So, this could actually work (somehow -gut feeling- I think this would work better in the US than in Europe)

    Yes, I know about the challenge 😉 but please do realize that there are more than a few Americans who are convinced that Jesus was a native English speaker, so they might just be fooled in believing that… Anyway, I think you get my drift!?!

    Now, how could one describe this piece of writing?
    Analogue to 2:79:
    Every Muslim could use words along the line of:
    “This men has written a book with his own hand and falsely attributed it to God, etc…” and, in fact, that would be exactly right – precisely what happened.

    Bottom-line:
    The book mentioned in the second possibility could be flushed straight down the toilet without any pain, but the book mentioned in the first possibility would still be needed to be handled with care and respect and being disposed of in a much more subtle manner, because it would still contain the words and signs of God…

    That’s the difference!

    • manyprophetsonemessage November 25, 2014 at 7:57 am Reply

      If Torah is exclusively the 5 books of Moses then why do Jews today call the Talmud the oral Torah ;-). If they can accept teachings written by their scholars over a millennia later as being part of the canon of Torah then surely teachings brought by genuine Prophets of Allah can be as well. Just some food for thought.

      In any case, it’s first principles of discussion that both parties have to agree on terms and definitions. If I were to have this discussion with a Christian we could at least agree on some basic principles. Since we can’t do that I don’t see any point in continuing this exchange. I certainly don’t have time to dissect the mountains of text you bring with each post. From what I’ve analysed I’ve seen nothing that disturbs the classical understanding of the Qur’an.

      Thank you for your time and the discussion. You are welcome to have the final word.

      • Rik Cornelissen November 25, 2014 at 3:22 pm Reply

        Well, thank you Sir!

        about Torah & Talmud:
        I don’t think I denied the existence of oral teachings among the Jews which are not in the (written) Torah, but since we were discussing a book (2:79, is it the Torah or not) there seemed hardly any point in introducing the existence of an oral tradition into the discussion. On top of that, since this oral tradition is now written down, it isn’t oral anymore…

        And yes, I know I referred to Sanhedrin 37a (which is Talmud) but specifically because it has a reference to a ‘Ketuvim’-book, which would be an anachronism since Talmud is the ‘oral Torah’ which is assumed to originate from the times of Prophet Moses. At least this specific, complete(!) part (S.37a) of Talmud can therefore not be a part of the (original) ‘oral Torah’, and that is of great significance for this discussion (Quran 5:32, 5:44, …)!

        After having received my teachings, I was told what I’ve tried to explain (partially – there is more :-) ) here and, basically, my attitude towards it was comparable with your point of view now: I chose to defend the classical interpretation! Big difference between you and me being, that the ‘classical interpretation’ undoubtedly is of greater importance to you, than it is to me… Still I chose to defend it!

        Well: I was wrong and not afraid to admit it!

        I should have realized already at that time that the man who was telling me, knew the Bible by heart at age 12 and the Quran (in translation, I admit it) some 7 years later and on top of that, had had some 50 years since, to contemplate on things until the time that he tried to tell me these things. This man was not guessing in any way about these matters – I know now for sure! That, however, is a personal matter that I will have to deal with, at some time, for myself…

        I can not expect you, to ‘just’ accept this because I am saying so, when it took me over 20 years to realize, while all this time it was right in front of me and while I even had been informed about it – how is that, for stubbornness?

        So, it is me who has to thank you! Thank you for your time, effort and hospitality here on your website.

        Sincerely,
        Rik Cornelissen

  10. Rik Cornelissen November 25, 2014 at 7:48 am Reply

    I have to make one major correction to what I just have posted!!!

    Reason: not a native English speaker, misunderstood a thing – important for other verses, of course, but not for the basic understanding of things concerning 2:79 and Torah!

    The Rabbis: “… and they were witnesses thereto…”:
    They collectively corrupted the whole canon!

    Of course:
    They collaborated, the villains!
    They were witnesses and they let it happen, out of greater fear for men than for God!
    They actively participated and they let themselves be bribed!
    Total lack of integrity, opposite as I did tell you – it was the whole ruling elite!!!
    This makes the group of Rabbis I had in mind much bigger, than I initially understood but time nor place of things are significantly changed by it…

    I had already found the main criminal, or at least one of them (yes, a Rabbi) and even his name, and I understood it as he sort of fooled his peers, my mistake!

    I really need to correct one statement I made: the books became corrupted before there were ‘learned Rabbis’…..
    Fact is: it were the first Rabbis, collectively…
    “…not of those who have evoked [Your] anger…”

    Sincere apologize for that!

    But: it only makes the whole thing more logical than it already was and fairly precisely traceable trough time!!!

    LOL! So much light, I need sunglasses :-)

    • manyprophetsonemessage November 25, 2014 at 8:07 am Reply

      If one thinks they have all the light perhaps they become blinded to the truth 😉

  11. Sumaiya Shafeek May 25, 2015 at 4:47 pm Reply

    Assalmualaikum. Very interesting argument. The writer won, I think.
    I have a question. I know that Islam preaches the purest form of
    monotheism. What is the difference in types of monotheism between Islam and Judaism?

    • manyprophetsonemessage May 25, 2015 at 8:13 pm Reply

      Wa alaykum as-salaam wrwb.

      From my knowledge, at a high level they are similar – one God that should be worshipped alone without partner, God is not a man or anything else in the creation, etc. However, as part of the corruption of the Jewish Scriptures it seems that the pure monotheism of Judaism, as it would have been revealed to Moses (pbuh), has been compromised. This is apparent when we examine the details:

      God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgement among the gods [Psalm 82:1]

      But when the Moabites came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and fought them until they fled. And the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites. They destroyed the towns, and each man threw a stone on every good field until it was covered. They stopped up all the springs and cut down every good tree. Only Kir Hareseth was left with its stones in place, but men armed with slings surrounded it and attacked it. When the king of Moab saw that the battle had gone against him, he took with him seven hundred swordsmen to break through to the king of Edom, but they failed. Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land. [2 Kings 3:24-27]

      In the first quote above, there is mention of an assembly of gods that God Almighty presides in. Even worse is the second quote, which talks of a battle between the Israelites and a idolatrous people known as the Moabites. The Moabites are on the backfoot and on the verge of defeat. As a last resort and out of desperation the Moabites make a human sacrifice to a polytheistic god which resulted in “great fury” against Israel which caused the Israelites to retreat.

      • Sumaiya Shafeek May 28, 2015 at 5:01 pm Reply

        JezkAllah for your reply. I have been asking this in many sites but I have been ignored. I feel that Allah sbt, would have made the concept of God in islam unique and distint from other religions. Can you please outline the differences in the concept of God between islam and the present jews/ Judaism.
        Can I please have access to all email, so that I clear a few doubts inshaAllah.

    • manyprophetsonemessage May 30, 2015 at 10:35 pm Reply

      Wa alaykum as-salam sister. I have emailed you my personal contact details.

  12. Yusuf Ibrahim December 24, 2015 at 9:10 pm Reply

    Asalamu alaykum, While reading the whole set of comments from both the original author and Rik. It was interesting. I would like to point something out.
    Rik might have had a point but gathering long set of arguments makes it point towards nothing. On the other hand The author was precise in his comment. May Allah increase him and all of us in knowledge.

    I want to add to the argument with my humble thinking.

    Az-Zuhri said that Ubadydullah bin Abdullah narrated that Ibn Abbas said, “O Muslims! How could you ask the People of the Book about anything, while the Book of Allah (Qur’an) that He revealed to His Prophet is the most recent Book from Him and you still read it fresh and young Allah told you that the People of the Book altered the Book of Allah, changed it and wrote another book with their own hands. They then said, `This book is from Allah,’ so that they acquired a small profit by it. Hasn’t the knowledge that came to you prohibited you from asking them By Allah! We have not seen any of them asking you about what was revealed to you.” This Hadith was also collected by Al-Bukhari.

    From this we get series of thing the people of the book did.
    1. They Changed it.
    2. They Altered it
    3. They wrote a book and claimed it is from Allah.

    These three point explains it all. They change the words that wasn’t pleasing to them. They replaced it for something they prefer for a worldly gain.
    They Altered verses also like the ones talking of the Prophet (saw).

    And lastly they wrote a book claiming that it is from Allah.
    From this i can say the Gospels of John, Mathew, Mark, Luke and letters of Paul fall into these category. These aren’t the Injeel revealed to Jesus(pbuh). Although they may contain some sayings of Jesus and some of what might of been revealed to him. The original revelation isnt available now or during the time of the prophet. This is writing something and claiming that it’s from God.

    Note: This is just what I thought of and not an authoritative opinion. May Allah forgive me of I am wrong and increase us in Knowledge.
    **********

    I would like to present more hadeeth that proves that the people of the book distorted their books.

    Al-Hakim related in Al-Mustadrak the following Hadith…
    Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Abdullah As-Saffar told us: Ahmad Ibn Mahdi Ibn Rustum Al-Asfahani told us: Mu’azh Ibn Hisham Ad-Distwani told us: my father told me: Al-Qasim Ibn ‘Awf Ash-Shaybani told me: Mu’azh Ibn Jabal – radiya Allahu ‘anhu – told us that he went to Sham and saw the Christians prostrate to their Bishops and priests and saw the Jews prostrate to their Rabbis and scholars. He said, “Why do you do this?” they answered, “This is the greeting of Prophets (peace be upon him)”. I said, “We better do this to our Prophet”. Allah’s Prophet – salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam – said, ” They lied about their Prophets just as they distorted their Book . If I were to command anyone to prostrate to anyone, I would command woman to prostrate to her husband for his great right upon her. No woman will taste the sweetness of Faith till she does her husband’s rights even if he asks herself while she is on a Qutub” (Al-Hakim commented, “This hadith is authentic according to standards of Al-Bukhari and Muslim, but they did not relate it” This hadith was also related by At-Tabarani in “Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir” vol. 8, p.31 but it includes An-Nahhas Ibn Fahm who is a weak narrator.)

    Notice the statement of the prophet (saw) that: ” They lied about their Prophets just as they distorted their Book”

    The Prophet peace be upon him elaborates more…

    The Bani Israel wrote a book, they followed it and left the Torah. (This hadith was reported in Tabarani’s Al Mu’jam Al Awsat and was authenticated by
    Sheikh Nasr Al Deen Al Albani in his Silsila Al Ahaadeeth Al Saheeha , hadith no. 2832.)

    The Prophet peace be upon him also said…

    The Bani Israel as a long time passed and their hearts became hardened, they invented a book from themselves. It took over their hearts and their tongues.
    (This hadith was reported in Al Bayhaqi’s
    Shu’b Al Eemaan, Volume 2, no.439. Sheikh Nasr Al Deen Al Albani has authenticated this hadith in his Silsila Al Ahaadeeth Al Saheeha , hadith no. 2694.)

    Lastly, Jazakallahu Khairan to the Brother that runs this blog for I have learnt a lot from him.

  13. Abbas June 24, 2016 at 1:19 am Reply

    Wow! What a website I found. MashaAllah. Now this is called a service to Allah. May He reward you.

    Well I need to ask few things;
    1.) We often discuss Judaism and Islam. I always hear from Jews, Moses was the greatest Messenger and to his prophethood was witnesses, did Muhammad have witnesses?
    2.) We have seen here the different versions of Torah; however, Jews claim Torah was forever and neither Jesus nor Muhammad had the right to bring a new law cause the law of Moses was eternal

    What is your take

    • Many Prophets One Message June 24, 2016 at 4:39 pm Reply

      Ameen. Jazak Allah khayr for your kind words. With regards to your questions:

      1. Sorry I don’t follow, can you please elaborate on what you mean by witnesses?

      2. Isaiah 42 in the Old Testament foretells the comming of an Arabian Prophet who would bring a new law/Torah:

      http://www.manyprophetsonemessage.com/2014/06/28/muhammad-pbuh-and-madinah-in-the-bible/

      “He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope. [Isaiah 42:4]

      Isaiah informs us that this special person will bring forth a new law. The word translated as “teaching” is the Hebrew “Torah” which means instruction or law. Here Isaiah must be referring to a new book of revelation that this special person will be given. Notice that Isaiah states that the islands will put their hope in his law, implying he will bring forth something new, something different, as the Law of Moses already existed at the time Isaiah made this prophecy. Another point is that the islands are said to put their hope in his new Torah in the future tense, again implying it is a new law and therefore can’t be a reference to the Torah of Moses which already existed at the time that Isaiah made this prophecy.”

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