The Sacred Books

The falsification of the Bible
In six different Surāhs, Jews and, to a lesser extent, Christians are accused of not following their Holy Scriptures:

  • Al-Baqarah 2:41-42,59,79,140-143,146,159,174
  • Āli-’Imrān 3:71,78,178
  • An-Nisā’ 4:46
  • Al-Mā’ida 5:13-15,41
  • Al-An`ām 6:91
  • Al-Ar'āf 7:162,165.

In the Arabic language, eight different verbs are used in these texts:
  • `Ahfa , to refuse to recite: Al-Mā’ida 5:5; Al-An`ām 6:91
  • 'Ishtara , to make a cheap imitation: Al-Baqarah 2:79
  • 'Albasa , to disguise the truth with lies: Al-Baqarah 2: 42; Āli-’Imrān 3:71
  • Baddala , to replace, to change for other words: Al-Baqarah 2:58; Al-Ar’āf 7:162
  • Katama , to hide. This verb is used most frequently than the others: Al-Baqarah 2:42,140,146,159,174; Āli-’Imrān 3:71,187
  • Lawa , to roll the tongue: Āli-’Imrān 3:78; An-Nisā’ 4:46
  • Nasa , to forget: Al-Mā’ida 5:13; Al-Ar’āf 7:165.

Some of these Āyats give some information about what has been done, namely:
  • The Jews concealed the fact that Prophet Ibrāhīm (pbuh) was a Muslim.
  • They did not agree on the Qibla.
  • They did not read out the Tawrat correctly.
  • They misinterpreted it.
  • They sealed a scroll.
  • They wrote a book and claimed that this book was the "Word of Allāh."
  • They put other books on the same level with the Tawrat, Zabūr and Injīl.

These verbs do not mean that the text of the Tawrat itself, but that some Jews have preached it in a wrong way!
However, there are four Āyats where the verb harrafa is used (to distort, to pervert):
  • Al-Baqarah 2:75
  • An-Nisā’ 4:46
  • Al-Mā’ida 5:13
  • Al-Mā’ida 5:41

The question is whether this perversion (tahrif) applies to the text itself or to its meaning. In other words, what has been distorted: the text itself, or only the way it was interpreted? Let us have a closer look at these Āyats
Can you expect that they believe you when a party of them heard the Word of Allāh, then twisted it after they understood it, and they know (the consequences of that? (Al- Baqarah 2:75).

This Āyat specifies that the Jews changed the text after they had read it. It implies that they had the correct text in front if them but changed the way they read it. This is why the Bible is called here “the Word of Allāh.

The corruption was made only by “some of them” and does not even refer to Christians! Therefore there must be today a majority of believers who still has and follows the genuine, unchanged text!
Of the Jews there are those who displace words from their right places and say: "We hear and we disobey"; and "Here, may not hear": and "Ra`ina"; with a twist of their tongues and a slander to faith. If only they had said: "We hear and we obey"; and "Do hear"; and "Do look at us": it would have been better for them, and more proper; but Allāh has cursed them for their unbelief; and but few of them will believe (An-Nisā’ 4:46).

Again, the distortion refers to a portion of the Jews, not the Christians. The sentence “They displace words from their right places” indicates a distortion of the interpretation.
But because of their breach of their Covenant, We cursed them, and made their hearts grow hard: they change the words from their right places and forget a good part of the Message that was sent them, nor wilt thou cease to find them, -- barring a few-ever bent on new deceits: but forgive them, and overlook their misdeeds: for Allāh loves those who are kind (Al-Mā’ida 5:13).

In this very similar statement, the critic of changings also applies to the Jews, and not to the Christians.
The sentence "They change the words from their right places and forget a good part of the Message that was sent them” indicates a biased interpretation of the text by taking the message out of its context.

You will find the same facts in Al-Mā’ida 5:41

O Messenger! Let not those grieve thee who race each other into Unbelief: Whether it be among those who say: "We believe" with their lips but whose hearts have no faith; or it be among the Jews, -- men who will listen to any lie, -- will listen even to others who have never so much as come to thee. They change the words from their right times and places; they say "If ye are given this, take it, but if not, beware:" If anyone's trial is intended by Allāh, you have no authority in the least for him against Allah. For such it is not Allāh 's will to purify their hearts. For them there is disgrace in this world, and in the Hereafter a heavy punishment.

Mentions of the Bible in the Qur’ān:
And He has revealed to you the Scripture with truth, confirming that which was revealed before it, even as He revealed the Torah and the Gospel, previously as a Guidance to mankind (Āli-’Imrān 3:4).

Here, the Bible is a guidance for mankind, i.e. for all people and not just the Jews and Christians.

The word “guidance” (hudan is the answer to the daily prayer for guidance ih'dinā Sirata al-mus'taqīma, "guide us in the right way"). In other words: reading the Bible will show us which way is the right one.
And in their footsteps We sent Jesus son of Mary, confirming that which was (revealed) before him, and We bestowed on him the Gospel, which is guidance and light, confirming that was (revealed) before it in the Torah – a guidance and an admonition to the God fearing (Al-Mā’ida 5:46).

The word hudan is also used here for both the Tawrat and Injīl.

Therefore it is said in Al- Baqarah 2:2:
This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah.

In other words: The Bible (the use of dhālika shows that the reference is not made to the Qur’ān but to the Bible) is a book, there is no doubt in it, i,.e, it is a reliable guide (hudan) for the righteous, the same people mentioned in Al-Mā’ida 5:46.

This is why all Muslims are exhorted to believe in the Bible, whereas “to believe” means: to read and implement!
O you who believe! Believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Scripture He has revealed to His Messenger and the Scripture He has revealed before (you). Whoever disbelieves in Allah and His angels and His Scriptures and His Messengers and the Last Day, he assuredly has gone far astray (An-Nisā’ 4:136).
O People of the Book! You have no ground to stand upon unless you obey all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord (Al-Mā’ida 5:68).

This is why is it said in so many Āyat that the Qur’ān has been given to confirm the Bible.
  • Al-Baqarah 2:41,89,91,101
  • An-Nisā’ 4:47
  • Al-Mā’ida 5:48
  • Al-An`ām 6:92
  • Fātir 35:31
  • Al-Ahqāf 46:12,30 etc.