in the scriptures revealed by God is the third article of Islamic faith.
We can identify four main reasons for the revelation of
(1) The scripture revealed to a prophet is a point
of reference to learn the religion and obligations towards God and fellow human
beings. God reveals Himself and explains the purpose of human creation through
(2) By referring to it, 'disputes and differences
between its followers in matter of religious belief and practice or in matters
of social practice could be settled.
(3) The scriptures are meant to keep the religion
safe from corruption and deterioration, at least for some time after the death
of the prophet. At the present time, the Quran revealed to our Prophet Muhammad,
may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, is the only scripture to remain
safe from corruption.
(4) It is God’s proof against human beings. They
are not allowed to oppose or overstep it.
A Muslim firmly believes that divinely revealed books were
actually revealed by the Compassionate God to His prophets to guide mankind. The
Quran is not the only spoken Word of God, but God also spoke to prophets before
"…and to Moses God spoke directly." (Quran 4:164)
God describes true believers are those who:
"…believe in what has been sent down to you (Muhammad) and
what has been sent down before you…" (Quran 2:4)
The most important and central message of all
scriptures was to worship God and God alone.
"And we sent never a prophet before you except that we
revealed to him, saying, ‘there is no God but I, so worship Me.’" (Quran 21:25)
Islam is more inclusive in the holy revelations it
affirms than any other heavenly religion in its present form.
Muslims uphold and respect the following scriptures:
(i) The Quran itself, revealed to the Prophet
(ii) The Torah (Tawrah in Arabic) revealed
to the Prophet Moses (different from the Old Testament read today).
(iii) The Gospel (Injeel in Arabic) revealed
to Prophet Jesus (different from the New Testament read in churches today).
(iv) The Psalms (Zaboor in Arabic) of David.
(v) The Scrolls (Suhuf in Arabic) of Moses
Third, Muslims believe whatever is true in them and has neither
been altered or deliberately misconstrued.
Fourth, Islam affirms that God revealed the Quran as a
witness over the previous scriptures and confirmation of them, because He says
"And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book (the Quran)
in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it and trustworthy in
highness and a witness over it (the collection of old scriptures)…" (Quran 5:48)
Meaning the Quran confirms whatever is true in previous
scriptures and rejects whatever alterations and changes human hands have made to
Original Scriptures and the Bible
We must distinguish between two matters: the original
Torah, Gospel, and Psalms and the present day Bible. The originals
were God’s revelation, but the present day Bible does not have
the exact original scripture.
No divine scripture exists today in the original
language it was revealed in, except the Quran. The Bible was not revealed in
English. Different books of today’s Bible are at best tertiary translations
and different versions exist. These multiple translations were done by people
whose knowledge, skill, or honesty is not known. As a result, some bibles are
larger than others and have contradictions and internal inconsistencies! No
originals exist. The Quran, on the other hand, is the only scripture in
existence today in its original language and words. Not one letter of the
Quran has been changed since its revelation. It is internally consistent with
no contradictions. It is today as it was revealed 1400 years ago, transmitted
by a rock-solid tradition of memorization and writing. Unlike other sacred
texts, the entire Quran has been memorized by almost every Islamic scholar and
hundreds of thousands of ordinary Muslims, generation after generation!
The previous scriptures essentially consist of:
(i) Stories of man’s creation and earlier
nations, prophesies of what was to come like signs before the Judgment Day,
appearance of new prophets, and other news.
The stories, prophecies, and
news in the Bible read in churches and synagogues today are partly true and
partly false. These books consist of some translated fragments of the original
scripture revealed by God, words of some prophets, mixed with explanations of
scholars, errors of scribes, and outright malicious insertions and deletions. Quran,
the final and trustworthy scripture, helps us sort out fact from fiction. For
a Muslim, it is the criterion to judge the truth from the falsehood in these
stories. For example, the Bible still contains some clear passages pointing to
God’s unity. Also,
some prophecies regarding the Prophet Muhammad are found in the Bible as well.
Yet, there are passages, even whole books, almost entirely recognized to be
forgeries and the handiwork of men.
(ii) Law and rulings, the allowed and prohibited,
like the Law of Moses.
If we were to assume
the law, that is the lawful and the prohibited, contained in the previous books
did not suffer corruption, the Quran still abrogates those rulings, it cancels
the old law which was suitable for its time and is no longer applicable today.
For example, the old laws pertaining to diet, ritual prayer, fasting,
inheritance, marriage and divorce have been cancelled (or, in many cases, reaffirmed)
by the Islamic Law.
The Holy Quran
The Quran is different from other scriptures in the
(1) The Quran is miraculous and inimitable. Nothing
similar to it can be produced by human beings.
(2) After the Quran, no more scriptures will be
revealed by God. Just as the Prophet Muhammad is the last prophet, the Quran
is the last scripture.
(3) God has taken it upon Himself to protect the Quran
from alteration, to safeguard it from corruption, and to preserve it from
distortion. On the other hand, previous scriptures suffered alteration and
distortion and do not remain in their originally revealed form.
(4) The Quran, for one, confirms early scriptures
and, for another, is a trustworthy witness over them.
(5) The Quran abrogates them, meaning it cancels
the rulings of the previous scriptures and renders them inapplicable. The
Law of the old scriptures is no longer applicable; the previous rulings have
been abrogated with the new Law of Islam.