Responding to Bassam Zawadis desperate tirade against the Holy Bible
In this article (*), Bassam Zawadi tries to prove that one of Islams leading expositors, Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi, believed that Jews and Christians corrupted the text of the Holy Bible.
In a recent article which we published (*) we quoted another renowned Muslim scholar, the student of Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah who refers to ar-Razi as one of those who did not believe in the textual corruption of the Holy Bible, specifically the Torah.
Bassam wrote a reply where he accused one of his greatest Salafi scholars of misrepresenting the views of ar-Razi:
First of all, we want Shamoun to name these scholars that Ibnul Qayyim is referring to and ensure us that he didn't mistakenly misrepresent their position as he did with Imam Razi's. (Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah and the Text of the Torah: Further exposing the shoddy scholarship of a Muslim Apologist"; source)
In this article we are going to address Zawadis abuse and misuse of ar-Razi, and actually show that even the very source that Zawadi references admits that ar-Razi did not believe in the textual corruption of the Holy Bible. We will use Zawadis own author to prove that Ibn Qayyim was correct and that it is Zawadi that is wrong either because he cannot comprehend what he reads or because he has no hesitation to lie and distort sources in order to prove his case.
Zawadi says concerning ar-Razi that,
First of all we have to realize that Imam ar-Razi condemned certain parts of the Gospel...
Imam ar-Razi in his book Al-Matalib Al-'Aliya in the section on Prophethood says: "The influence of the original teachings of Jesus was very limited because he never preached the doctrine which the Christians ascribe to him. The idea of Father and so and the notion of Trinity are the worst kind of atheism and polytheism and are certainly the result of ignorance. Such heretical teachings can't be ascribed to a great prophet like Jesus who was free of all such sinful errors. We are therefore certain that Jesus could have not preached this impure doctrine. He originally taught monotheism but not Trinity as the Christians assert. These teachings of Jesus did not (widely) spread owing to many historical factors. His message thus remained very limited."(Cited here)
Realize how Imam ar-Razi condemns the use of the word 'Father' that Christians use. But this is also used in the Gospel. This is an indirect condemnation from Imam ar-Razi on the present day Gospels.
First, note the question-begging:
Such HERETICAL teachings CANT be ascribed to a great prophet like Jesus who was free of all such SINFUL ERRORS. We are therefore CERTAIN that Jesus COULD HAVE NOT preached this IMPURE doctrine. He ORIGINALLY taught monotheism but not Trinity as the Christians assert.
Ar-Razi, much like Zawadi, has assumed that the following unproven assertions are definitely true:
Yet here not only does the Quran contradict the NT Writings, it further conflicts with the express teachings of the OT that God is a spiritual Father,
"Then say to Pharaoh, This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, "Let my son go, so he may worship me." But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son." Exodus 4:22-23
"But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name." Isaiah 63:16
And that he has a Divine Son who is equal with him,
"Nor have I learned wisdom, Yet the knowledge of Holy Ones (qadoshim) I know. Who went up to heaven, and cometh down? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound waters in a garment? Who established all ends of the earth? What [is] His name? and what His SON'S name? Surely thou knowest!" Proverbs 30:3-4 Youngs Literal Translation
And that the Messiah is the Son whom Yahweh has given to reign on Davids throne as the Mighty God forever:
"For to us a Child is born (yalad yullad), to us A SON is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this." Isaiah 9:6-7
Zawadi and other Muslim apologists want us to really believe that both the Hebrew Bible and the Greek Christian Scriptures have been corrupted, despite their amazing agreement in regard to theology, christology etc., and to rather accept the Quran as a divinely revealed and preserved book even though it contradicts both the Old and New Testaments concerning these very same issues!
For more on these topics we recommend the following articles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
We will have more to say about the circular reasoning of Muslim apologetics at the conclusion of our discussion.
Moreover, it does not follow from ar-Razis comments that he thought that the Gospels were corrupted. On the contrary, he may have assumed that certain Biblical statements concerning Gods Fatherhood and Jesus Sonship were being misunderstood and/or misinterpreted by Christians who used these verses to prove their belief in the Trinity and the Divinity of Christ. In fact, as we shall shortly see this is precisely what ar-Razi believed concerning the Scriptures, especially the Torah, e.g. the Jews changed the meaning of their Scriptures even though the text remained intact. Zawadi is therefore guilty of committing a non sequitur and simply shows just how desperate he is to prove that some of Islams renowned scholars believed that the Bible has been corrupted.
Imam ar-Razi said else where
As for the third evidence it is with reference to what is maintained in the Torah and gospels concerning the Prophethood of Muhammad. The objection to this evidence (on the Jewish and Christian side) is whether you (Muslims) say that the description of Muhammad was written in these books in detail; namely that Allah Almighty, made manifest that he shall come in the coming years and in such and such country, a person whose description shall be such and such, and so know you that he is my messenger. On the one hand; or they say: 'No, but rather Allah has merely referred to him briefly, without specification due to time, place or personality.' And so if you hold on to the first claim it false and faulty: (O, you Muslims.)"
That is because we (Jews and Christians) find that the T and the G are empty of such claims; and must not be said that the Jews and the Christians have compared[sic, meant to say corrupted] two scriptures; because we (Jews and Christians) say that these two scriptures and [sic] well-known in the east and the west; and such as these books cannot, in any way be overtaken by corruption exactly as in the case of the Qur'an. Alternatively: If you (Muslims) hold on to the second claim, even if we suppose that you are right to hold that view, then this cannot be taken as a proof in support of Prophethood; or perhaps it may only allude the coming of a virtuous and noble person. Or even if it is alluding to a Prophethood, it is not necessarily indicating the Prophethood of Muhammad, since it may also foretell the advent of another messenger, other than Muhammad. (Fakhar ad-Din ar-Razi, Muhassal Afkar Al-Mutaqadimin Wal Mut'akhrin (Cairo, Maktabat al-Kuliyyat al-Azhariyya) p. 211 and Fakhr ar-Razi, Mafatih Al-Ghayb, Cairo, Dar al-Ghad al-'Arabi, 1412 A.H. 1991 A.D. vol.3, pp.186 f, vol.9, 233, cited here)
Notice that Imam ar-Razi said...
it is with reference to what is maintained in the Torah and Gospels concerning the Prophethood of Muhammad.
If Imam ar-Razi truly believed that the text of the Torah and Gospels has been preserved then he wouldn't have uttered that statement. The fact that he believes some parts of the Prophet Muhammad's descriptions and traits were maintained in the Torah and Gospels actually shows that he doesn't believe that all of them were. Thus he indirectly shows us that he believes that the Torah and Gospels were textually corrupted.
Notice how Zawadi perverts and distorts the meaning of ar-Razi. The translation does not speak of "some parts were maintained". Zawadi invented the words "some parts" when he interpreted Razis statement. The text as it stands does not say anything was removed or omitted or got lost. It does not say "what REMAINED" (i.e. something was lost) but "what IS MAINTAINED in" which does not imply there was more originally. The word "maintained" simply means "claimed" or "stated"; unless Zawadi now wants to accuse his own source of mistranslating the Arabic text.
In other words, not only is Zawadi again begging the question he even has the audacity to read into ar-Razis words his assumption of Biblical corruption since nothing that ar-Razi stated here shows that he believed that the texts of the Torah and the Gospel have undergone changes and modifications. In fact, ar-Razi isnt even giving his opinion at this point, but commenting on what the Jews and Christians were saying in response to the Muslim assertion that the Holy Bible contains detailed prophecies of Muhammad.
In fact, ar-Razis comments concerning what the Torah and Gospel record concerning Muhammad actually proves that he believed that these Scriptures still contained such predictions, and therefore were not corrupted, which explains why he raises the objections of the Jews and Christians against this Muslim claim. After all, why would the Jews and Christians raise these objections if Muslims werent pointing to alleged prophecies of Muhammad from the very Scriptures which these Jews and Christians possessed? And if they were pointing to so-called predictions then this means that the Muslims took for granted that these were the very same Scriptures mentioned in the Quran, the very Torah and the Gospel which the Islamic text says contained such prophecies.
Ar-Razi even quotes the response of the Jews and Christians that their Scriptures could not have been corrupted and that the so-called prophecies of Muhammad could not have been omitted since the inspired Writings had spread and were well-known all throughout the east and west:
That is because we (Jews and Christians) find that the T and the G are empty of such claims; and must not be said that the Jews and the Christians have corrupted two scriptures; because we (Jews and Christians) say that these two scriptures are well-known in the east and the west; and such as these books cannot, in any way be overtaken by corruption exactly as in the case of the Qur'an
In other words, it would not be possible for prophecies of Muhammad to have been removed since this would require that the Jews and Christians have access to all the Biblical manuscripts all over the then known world in order to remove these alleged predictions. This would further mean that the Jews and Christians would have to know of Muhammad beforehand and also agree to come together in order to corrupt their Writings so as to remove any mention of this false prophet. The readers should see just how nonsensical this position truly is and the desperate lengths that Zawadi and his cronies will go to in order to defend the indefensible.
More importantly Zawadi fails to contend with the fact that his own book testifies that Jesus memorized and confirmed the Scriptures in his possession:
And he will teach him the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel, to be an apostle to the Children of Israel, "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird, by Allahs leave. I will also heal the blind and the leper, and bring to life the dead, by Allahs leave. I will inform you of what things you eat, and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. And I confirm the Torah that is between my hands (Wa musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya mina al-tawrati), and to make lawful to you certain things that before were forbidden unto you. I have come to you with a sign from your Lord; so fear you God, and obey you me. S. 3:48-50
And when Jesus son of Mary said, 'Children of Israel, I am indeed the Messenger of God to you, confirming the Torah that is between my hands (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya mina al-tawrati), and giving good tidings of a Messenger who shall come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.' Then, when he brought them the clear signs, they said, 'This is a manifest sorcery.' S. 61:6
Here is how renowned Sunni commentator Ibn Kathir explains these verses,
<the Tawrah and the Injil>. The Tawrah is the Book THAT ALLAH SENT DOWN TO MUSA, son of Imran, while the Injil is what Allah sent down to Isa, son of Maryam, peace be upon them, AND ISA MEMORIZED BOTH BOOKS
<If you believe. And I have come confirming that which was before me of the Tawrah,> affirming the Tawrah AND UPHOLDING IT," (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147, Abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; March 2000, first edition], Volume 2, Parts 3, 4 & 5, pp. 163, 165; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Isa said, "The Tawrah conveyed the glad tidings of my coming, and my coming CONFIRMS THE TRUTH OF THE TAWRAH " (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Volume 9, Surat Al-Jathiyah to the end of Surat Al-Munafiqun [September 2000, first edition], p. 617; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)
This shows that the OT Writings have been preserved since in 1947 copies of the Hebrew Bible called the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) were found, all of which predate the birth of Christ. These copies are virtually identical with the OT Scriptures we possess today, which means that Jesus was basically confirming the very Hebrew Bible we currently possess. The DSS further demonstrate that the text of the inspired Writings has remained essentially intact, obviously as the result of the providence of God.
Now if there were many detailed predictions of Muhammad then surely we would find evidence for this in the writings of the DSS. Moreover, all the extant manuscripts (mss) of the Hebrew Scriptures which were written during and after the time of Christ would contain traces of such prophecies since all of these manuscripts virtually read the same, and no variant reading calls into question the textual integrity of the OT. At the very least, even if these predictions were removed from some of the manuscripts there would be dozens, if not hundreds, of other manuscripts that would still contain them. This is precisely why the Jews and Christians responded that it is not possible for these alleged prophecies of Muhammad to be completely removed when the Scriptures were well known all throughout the east and west.
Hence, this conclusively shows that the Holy Bible does not contain any prediction of Muhammad, except for those statements which warn of false prophets. This also discredits all of Zawadis examples from the hadith literature where Muslims are citing alleged Bible passages which mention Muhammad or give detailed descriptions of him, but that are not found in the extant Scriptures that we possess, since these are nothing more than forged statements which certain unscrupulous Muslims composed in order to prove that the previous Writings announced the coming of this false prophet.
To argue otherwise means that Allah either deceived Jesus in confirming the Scriptures which we still have access to, since these Writings do not contain such predictions. Or that Allah himself was ignorant of the contents of the Hebrew Bible and so mistakenly had Jesus memorize and verify a corrupted text!
Imam ar-Razi in his commentary on Surah 4, verse 46 makes it crystal clear that he supported textual corruption of the previous scriptures...
In regards to Allah's statement "They pervert the words from their proper places" (Surah 4:46), it means that they mention the corrupted interpretations for those verses, and there is no proof that they take the actual statements out of the book.
And as for the verse in Surah 5:41, this is evidence that they have combined between the two (textual corruption and misinterpreting the text), they used to mention their corrupted interpretations, and they also used to remove the statements from the book. Allah's statement "They pervert words" indicates misinterpreting the text and Allah's statement "after their being put in their right places" indicates that the statements were removed from the book.(Fakhar ad-Din ar-Razi, Tafsir Al Kabir, Commentary on Surah 4:46, Source)
Imam ar-Razi has spoken and made it clear. Yes indeed, Imam ar-Razi at times has said that certain verses like Surah 4:46 does not indicate textual corruption but only misinterpreting the text. However, we must not forget that Imam ar-Razi has also stated that verses such as Surah 5:41 do teach that textual corruption has been made. Case closed.
Ar-Razi has spoken and yet what he says here still fails to establish Zawadis assertion. The most that ar-Razis comments prove is that certain Jews during Muhammads time had corrupted their particular copies of the Scriptures. Yet what do you do with the rest of the Jews and all the Christians who also had copies of the Hebrew Bible in their possession and would not agree with these Jews to change their sacred texts?
In fact, if Zawadi bothered to even read the immediate contexts of these particular passages he would have seen that they DO NOT support textual corruption in the least:
Some of the Jews pervert words from their meanings saying, 'We have heard and we disobey' and 'Hear, and be thou not given to hear' and 'Observe us,' twisting with their tongues and traducing religion. If they had said, 'We have heard and obey' and 'Hear' and 'Regard us,' it would have been better for them, and more upright; but God has cursed them for their unbelief so they believe not except a few. You who have been given the Book, believe in what We have sent down, confirming what is with you, before We obliterate faces, and turn them upon their backs, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-men, and God's command is done. S. 4:46-47
Here the Quran claims that it came to confirm and bear witness to, not expose, the revelation that was with the Jews. And here is the context of Q. 5:41
Yet how will they make thee their judge seeing THEY HAVE the Torah, wherein is God's judgment, then thereafter turn their backs? They are not believers. Surely We sent down the Torah, wherein is guidance and light; thereby the Prophets who had surrendered themselves gave judgment for those of Jewry, as did the masters and the rabbis, following such portion of God's Book as they were given to keep and were witnesses to. So fear not men, but fear you Me; and sell not My signs for a little price. Whoso judges not according to what God has sent down - they are the unbelievers. And therein We prescribed for them: 'A life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds retaliation'; but whosoever forgoes it as a freewill offering, that shall be for him an expiation. Whoso judges not according to what God has sent down -- they are the evildoers. And in their footsteps we sent Jesus son of Mary confirming the Torah between his hands (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi mina al-tawrati) and we gave to him the Gospel, wherein IS guidance and light, and confirming the Torah between his hands (wa musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi mina al-tawrati), as a guidance and an admonition to the pious. Let the People of the Gospel judge according to what God has sent down therein. Whoever does not judge according to what God has sent down, such are the rebellious. S. 5:43-47
Allah chides the Jews for coming to Muhammad for judgment since they have not had the Torah, the Book of God, which contains Gods judgment. It also quotes a verse from that very Torah which helps us to identify it, a citation which can still be found today:
"But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise." Exodus 21:23-25
It then again has Jesus confirming the Scriptures in his possession. Ibn Kathir explains that,
<'Isa, son of Maryam, confirming the Tawrah that had come before him,> meaning, he believed in it AND RULED BY IT
<and confirmation of the Tawrah that had come before it,> meaning, HE ADHERED TO THE TAWRAH, except for the few instances that clarified the truth where the Children of Israel differed. Allah states in another Ayah that 'Isa said to the Children of Israel < and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you.>
So the scholars say that the Injil abrogated some of the rulings of the Tawrah (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged Surat An-Nisa, Verse 148 to the end of Surat Al-An'am [January 2000, first edition], Volume 3, Parts 6, 7 & 8, pp. 193-194; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)
The preceding leaves absolutely no doubt that the Muslim scripture emphatically and unambiguously testifies that the Torah, as well as the Gospel, has not been corrupted but remains intact and is therefore fully authoritative.
More importantly, the hadiths which the expositors refer to in explaining Q. 5:41 conclusively show that the manner in which these particular Jews changed words from their places is not by corrupting the text, but by withholding information or concealing what their Scriptures taught concerning specific legal punishments:
O Messenger, let them not grieve you, the actions of, those who vie with one another in disbelief, falling headlong into it, in other words, they [who] manifest it at every opportunity, of (min here is explicative) such as say with their mouths, with their tongues (bi-alsinatihim is semantically connected to qalu, [such] as say), We believe but their hearts do not believe, and these are the hypocrites; and from among those of Jewry, there is a folk, who listen to calumny, fabricated by their rabbis, listening acceptingly, listening to, you, on behalf of some, other folk, from among the Jews, who have not come to you: these were the inhabitants of Khaybar, among whom two married persons committed adultery, but whom they did not want to stone. And so they dispatched [men from] Qurayza to ask the Prophet (s) about the ruling concerning the two; perverting words, that are in the Torah, such as the stoning verse, from their contexts, [the contexts] in which God had placed them, that is to say, substituting them, saying, to the ones they dispatched: If you are given this, distorted ruling, that is, flogging, which Muhammad (s) has pronounced for you as a ruling, then take it, accept it; but if you are not given it, and he pronounces some other ruling for you, then beware of accepting it! Whomever God desires to try, to lead astray, you cannot avail him anything against God, by preventing such [a trial]. Those are they whose hearts God did not desire to purify, of unbelief, for had He desired it, you would have [been able to do something for them]; theirs shall be degradation in this world, humiliation, by being disgraced and subjected to the jizya, and in the Hereafter theirs shall be a great chastisement. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; italic and underline emphasis ours)
(O Messenger! Let not them grieve thee who vie one with another in the race to disbelief ) [5:41-47]. Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn al-Hasan al-Hiri informed us by dictation> Abu Muhammad, the chamberlain of Ibn Ahmad al-Tusi> Muhammad ibn Hammad al-Abiwardi> Abu Mu'awiyah> al-A'mash> 'Abd Allah ibn Murrah> al-Bara' ibn 'Azib who said: "One day, the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, passed by a Jewish man who had just been flogged and had his face darkened with coal. He summoned the Jews and asked them: 'Is this what your Scripture decrees as punishment for the adulterer?' 'Yes!' they replied. He then summoned one of their doctors and asked him: 'I implore you by Allah who has sent the Torah to Moses, is this what your Scripture decrees as punishment for the adulterer'. He said: 'No! And if you had not implored me by Allah, I would not tell you. Our Scripture rules that the punishment of the adulterer is stoning. But it became widespread among our notables. Initially, when one of the notables committed adultery, we left him unpunished while we applied stoning on the communality in cases of adultery. Then we decided to look for a punishment that was applied on both the notables and communality of people. And so we agreed on darkening the face with coal and flogging to replace stoning'. The Messenger of Allah said: 'O Allah! I am the first to reapply your command after they had suspended it'. And he ordered that the Jewish man be stoned. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed (O Messenger! Let not them grieve thee who vie one with another in the race to disbelief) up to His words (If this be given unto you, receive it ), they said: 'Go to Muhammad; if he directs you to flog the adulterer and darken his face with coal and apply flogging, then follow him. But do not follow him if he directs you to apply stoning on him'. Up to His words (Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are disbelievers) [5:44]. He said: 'This relates to the Jews'. Up to His words (Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are wrong-doers) [5:45]. He said: 'This relates to the Christians'. ('Ali ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi, Asbab al-Nuzul; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)
It was reported that this part of the Ayah was revealed about some Jews who committed murder and who said to each other, "Let us ask Muhammad to judge between us, and if he decides that we pay the Diyah, accept his judgement. If he decides on capital punishment, do not accept his judgement."' The correct opinion is that this Ayah was revealed about the two Jews who committed adultery. The Jews changed the law they had in their Book from Allah on the matter of punishment for adultery, from stoning to death, to a hundred flogs and making the offenders ride a donkey facing the back of the donkey. When this incident of adultery occurred after the Hijrah, they said to each other, "Let us go to Muhammad and seek his judgement. If he gives a ruling of flogging, then implement his decision and make it a proof for you with Allah. This way, one of Allah's Prophets will have upheld this ruling amongst you. But if he decides that the punishment should be stoning to death, then do not accept his decision." There are several Hadiths mentioning this story. Malik reported that Nafi` said that `Abdullah bin `Umar said, "The Jews came to Allah's Messenger and mentioned that a man and a woman from them committed adultery. Allah's Messenger said to them
<<What do find of the ruling about stoning in the Tawrah>> They said, `We only find that they should be exposed and flogged.' `Abdullah bin Salam said, `You lie. The Tawrah mentions stoning, so bring the Tawrah.' They brought the Tawrah and opened it but one of them hid the verse about stoning with his hand and recited what is before and after that verse. `Abdullah bin Salam said to him, `Remove your hand,' and he removed it, thus uncovering the verse about stoning. So they said, He (`Abdullah bin Salam) has said the truth, O Muhammad! It is the verse about stoning. The Messenger of Allah decided that the adulterers be stoned to death and his command was carried out. I saw that man shading the woman from the stones with his body." Al-Bukhari and Muslim also collected this Hadith and this is the wording collected by Al-Bukhari. In another narration by Al-Bukhari, the Prophet said to the Jews
<<What would you do in this case>> They said, "We would humiliate and expose them." The Prophet recited
<<Bring here the Tawrah and recite it, if you are truthful.>> So they brought a man who was blind in one eye and who was respected among them and said to him, "Read (from the Tawrah)." So he read until he reached a certain verse and then covered it with his hand. He was told, "Remove your hand," and it was the verse about stoning. So that man said, "O Muhammad! This is the verse about stoning, and we had hid its knowledge among us." So the Messenger ordered that the two adulterers be stoned, and they were stoned. Muslim recorded that a Jewish man and a Jewish woman were brought before Allah's Messenger because they committed adultery. The Messenger of Allah went to the Jews and asked them
<<What is the ruling that you find in the Tawrah for adultery?>> They said, "We expose them, carry them (on donkeys) backwards and parade them in public." The Prophet recited
<<Bring here the Tawrah and recite it, if you are truthful.>> So they brought the Tawrah and read from it until the reader reached the verse about stoning. Then he placed his hand on that verse and read what was before and after it. `Abdullah bin Salam, who was with the Messenger of Allah , said, "Order him to remove his hand," and he removed his hand and under it was the verse about stoning. So the Messenger of Allah commanded that the adulterers be stoned, and they were stoned. `Abdullah bin `Umar said, "I was among those who stoned them and I saw the man shading the woman from the stones with his body." Abu Dawud recorded that Ibn `Umar said, "Some Jews came to the Messenger of Allah and invited him to go to the Quff area. So he went to the house of Al-Midras and they said, O Abu Al-Qasim! A man from us committed adultery with a woman, so decide on their matter. They arranged a pillow for the Messenger of Allah and he sat on it and said
<<Bring the Tawrah to me.>> He was brought the Tawrah and he removed the pillow from under him and placed the Tawrah on it, saying
<<I trust you and He Who revealed it to you.>> He then said
<<Bring me your most knowledgeable person.>> So he was brought a young man and then he mentioned the rest of the story that Malik narrated from Nafi`. These Hadiths state that the Messenger of Allah issued a decision that conforms with the ruling in the Tawrah, not to honor the Jews in what they believe in, for the Jews were commanded to follow the Law of Muhammad only. Rather, the Prophet did this because Allah commanded him to do so. He asked them about the ruling of stoning in the Tawrah to make them admit to what the Tawrah contains and what they collaborated to hide, deny and exclude from implementing for all that time. They had to admit to what they did, although they did it while having knowledge of the correct ruling (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 5:41; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Not only did Muhammad appeal to what was written in the Torah which he had access to he even placed it on a cushion out of respect for it and testified that he had complete and absolute faith in its authenticity and authority!
Thus, all of these narratives prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the meaning of this Quranic verse is that the Jews changed words from their places by way of concealment and misinterpretation, not by corrupting the texts of their sacred writings.
And seeing that Zawadi has been basically parroting the book by Dr. Muhammad Abu Laylah it is now time to turn our attention to this book to see what this author actually said regarding ar-Razis position:
Ar-Razi, in his commentary offered various explanations of how corruption of the Torah could have taken place, but concluded that although the Quranic verses might refer to textual change IT WAS PREFERABLE to consider it as a matter of exegesis. His view that the Torah had been transmitted through an unbroken chain of authorities is contrary to common Muslim belief and to the argument put forward in Al-Faisal. (Laylah, The Quran and the Gospels A Comparative Study [Al-Falah Foundation for Translation, Publication & Distribution, Third edition, 2005], Chapter Five:, p. 147; source; capital and underline emphasis ours)
Ar-Razi, too, addressed himself to the same problem, although he was inclined to think that corruption WAS A MATTER OF EXEGESIS WHICH HAD MISREPRESENTED THE WORD OF GOD, he was prepared to countenance the possibility that A GROUP OF PEOPLE had connived to distort the Gospel at an early date, and had subsequently introduced the text to an audience who had accepted it out of ignorance. (Ibid., p. 162; underline emphasis ours)
Even though ar-Razi may have conceded that a group of Christians could have distorted the Gospel early on this could not be possible since the Gospels from the very beginning started circulating all over the Roman empire and no one group had access to all of these copies.
And seeing that even this source agrees with the comments made by Ibn Qayyim that ar-Razi, much like al-Bukhari, preferred to believe that the corruption which the Quran mentions refers to the interpretation, and not to the text, of the Holy Scriptures how then could Zawadi accuse Ibn Qayyim of misrepresenting ar-Razis position?
In other words, doesnt the very source which Zawadi consulted regarding ar-Razis position actually prove that Ibn Qayyim was correct concerning ar-Razi believing in the textual integrity of the Torah when Zawadis own reference acknowledges that the latter explained the corruption of the Holly Bible in terms of misinterpretation? Why, then, is Zawadi whining and complaining?
Zawadi is not entirely at fault, however, since even Abu Laylah tries to spin ar-Razis comments in order to make them comport with his a priori position that the major Muslim scholars all agreed that the Jews and Christians corrupted the text of the Holy Bible.
What makes this all the more amazing is that Abu Laylah quotes Ibn Hazm who admitted that there was a group of Muslims who did not believe that the texts of the Torah and the Gospel were corrupted, thereby agreeing with the comments made by Ibn Qayyim concerning this very issue:
Interestingly enough Ibn Hazm addressed himself to precisely this area of difficulty in his objections to a small Muslim group who acknowledged Isnad with reference to the Jewish and Christian scriptures. He would appear to have had no direct contact with this group, nor to have seen any of their writings if such existed, stating simply that "we have been told (about them)" and from this they would seem to have exerted insignificant contemporary influence.
The reference to them in Al-Faisal, being of such importance to Ibn Hazms own attitude to the four gospels, is worth quoting at length: "We have been told of A NUMBER of Muslims who, out of ignorance, deny that the Torah and Injil have been corrupted at the hands of Jews and Christians. The reason which caused them (this group of Muslims) to maintain this is their lack of knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah [sic]."
He then refers to the Quranic passage which mentions the corruption, which will be discussed in detail later in this book, and continues: "We say to those Muslims who hold their (Jewish and Christian) transmission has come through an unbroken chain of authorities and is necessarily true knowledge which can be taken as evidence, that no doubt Jews and Christians would agree that what they received and reported of Moses and Jesus contains no reference to Muhammad and no prophecies of his prophethood. If they (the group of Muslims) acknowledge such reports in part, they must also acknowledge them in full, whether they like it or not. If they think them (Jews and Christians) are liars in some of their reports but not in others they are guilty of obstinate contradiction. It is impossible that the tradition which comes through a single channel can be partly true and partly false we do not know how a Muslim could make it lawful to deny the corruption of their Torah and Injil while he hears the speech of God telling him that Muhammad was foretold in both sacred books, and nothing like that exists in the books in the hands of the Jews and Christians which they claim to be the Torah and Injil. It is necessary that those ignorant Muslims should either believe the word of their God that Jews and Christians have changed the Torah and Injil, or that they should become fools and unbelievers in Gods word. If this is so, the evidence of corruption we have shown in those books must be raised against all of them together what we have discovered as evidence of the corruption and lies in the four gospels are clear to the extent that if there was no scriptural evidence of the extent to which Jews and Christians have corrupted their texts we could be as sure of their distortion as we would be of the evidence of our senses." (Laylah, The Quran and the Gospels A Comparative Study, Chapter Five, pp. 132-134; source; capital and underline emphasis ours)
Note the question begging that we saw earlier in the case of ar-Razi. Ibn Hazm assumes that since the Quran refers to prophecies of Muhammad which are not found in the Torah and Gospel this must therefore mean that the Jews and Christians corrupted their books! It seemed to have never dawned on him that it is the Quran that is wrong since it is not the word of God and that the author of the Muslim book erroneously assumed that the previous Scriptures contained predictions of Muhammad when they do not.
With that said, even though Ibn Hazm tried to discredit the witness of his fellow Muslims by accusing them of being ignorant, which is nothing more than an ad hominem, his testimony shows that there have been Muslims who did believe that the Holy Bible remained intact. In light of this candid admission, this means that Ibn al-Qayyim was also correct that there were certain Muslims such as al-Bukhari who believed that the Biblical text remained uncorrupted.
Before we conclude we want to make this one fact clear: As far as Jews, Christians and textual critics are concerned it really doesnt matter what the Quran says about the authority and authenticity of the Holy Bible. After all, just because the Quran says that the Holy Bible is the preserved Word of God doesnt mean that it is. It simply means that the author of the Quran thought that the Bible was Gods Word and that it had been preserved, even though it may actually be the case that the Bible is not the Word of God and/or has not been accurately preserved. The Qurans position regarding the previous Scriptures only has relevance for those Muslims like Zawadi who have come to erroneously believe in its alleged divine authority.
And Ibn Hazm was right on one thing. The Muslims who admit that the text of the Holy Bible remains uncorrupted are obliged to believe everything that it says, which means that they must reject Muhammad as an imposter for contradicting the very inspired Scriptures which he himself testified are the revelations of God.
So much for Zawadis desperate tirade against the Holy Bible and against his own Muslim scholars. Zawadis "rebuttals" only make it more obvious that the Islamic corpus is filled with contradictions and errors and that Islams best scholars cant agree with one another but are often refuting each other.
Lord Jesus willing, more refutations to Zawadis fluff and bluster to follow shortly.
The Qur'an About the Bible
Rebuttals to Bassam Zawadi
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page