Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Revisiting the Issue of Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah’s Comments
Regarding the Text of the Torah One More Time

Being Another Refutation of a Dawagandist’s Shoddy and Shallow Logic

Sam Shamoun

Bassam Zawadi has recently produced a second appendix where he once again tries to address my rebuttal to his claims concerning the Islamic view of the text of the Torah.

Zawadi wonders how my citations from Ibn Kathir which indicate that Jesus confirmed the Torah refute his argument. Does Zawadi even remember what he initially wrote? I was responding to his misuse of Ibn Kathir to prove that Jesus confirmed the Torah merely by fulfilling the prophecies concerning his advent. The comments of Ibn Kathir indicate that Jesus did more than simply fulfill the predictions made about him in the Torah since he was also sent to testify that the Torah which the Jews possessed was the uncorrupt Word of God. More on this shortly.

Zawadi then mentions his assertion that it is possible that Jesus “memorized, affirmed and upheld the truth found (sic) in the Torah,” by which he apparently means that Jesus only confirmed those parts of the Torah which remained uncorrupt. However, that IS NOT what the Quran says! Here, once again, is what the Quran actually teaches:

And when Jesus son of Mary said: O Children of Israel! Lo! I am the messenger of Allah unto you, confirming the Torah which is between my hands (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya min al-tawrati), and bringing good tidings of a messenger who cometh after me, whose name is the Praised One. Yet when he hath come unto them with clear proofs, they say: This is mere magic. S. 61:6

Jesus is said to have confirmed the Torah between his hands, period! The Quran nowhere says or even suggests that Jesus confirmed only a part of the Torah. That is simply Zawadi’s own spin on the Quranic verses since he is forced to twist and pervert his own scripture in order to make it agree with his assumption of Bible corruption.

He further argues that Jesus was taught the Torah by Allah and did not go by the textually pure Torah of his time. This again misses the point and completely ignores what the Quran actually says.

And he will teach him the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel, to be an apostle to the Children of Israel, "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird, by Allah’s leave. I will also heal the blind and the leper, and bring to life the dead, by Allah’s leave. I will inform you of what things you eat, and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. And I confirm the Torah that is between my hands (Wa musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya mina al-tawrati), and to make lawful to you certain things that before were forbidden unto you. I have come to you with a sign from your Lord; so fear you God, and obey you me. S. 3:48-50

In this specific passage we are clearly told that Jesus announced to the children of Israel that he came to confirm the Torah in his possession and make lawful some of that which had previously been made unlawful. This makes it blatantly obvious that the Torah that Allah had Jesus memorize was the same Torah in the possession of the Jews. Otherwise how could the Jews know whether Jesus was actually confirming the Torah if the Torah he had learned was something different from what they possessed? Does Zawadi even make sense at this point?

More importantly, where does the Quran say that Jesus ever denied that the Torah which the Jews possessed was not the original one or that he didn't come to confirm all of it but only the truth that still could be found in the Torah? Zawadi is simply making things up as he goes along.

And if Zawadi is truly consistent then the following tradition should convince him that Muhammad acknowledged the authenticity and divine authority of the religious Scriptures that the Jews possessed:

“… 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; bold and underline emphasis ours)

This was the perfect time for Muhammad to have said that he didn’t believe that the Torah that he held was completely reliable. Instead, Muhammad praises, confirms and judges by the Torah in the possession of the Jews!

And yet, unfortunately, even this tradition is not good enough to convince Zawadi that his own prophet and religious scripture upheld/uphold the veracity and authenticity of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures. This, however, merely exposes his inconsistency since Zawadi’s comments concerning Jesus not going by the Torah of his time assumes that if he did do so then this would establish that the Torah in the possession of the Jews was reliable. Therefore, since Muhammad did go by the Torah which was in the possession of the Jews this means that Zawadi should accept the fact that his own prophet actually believed that the original Torah remained uncorrupt and was in the possession of the Jews of his time!

This pretty much proves that Zawadi has made up his mind already and no amount of evidence will convince him otherwise.

Zawadi claims that I only mentioned one of the ways that the Arabic word for confirm, saddaqa, is used in the Quran. He then appeals to Moiz Amjad’s argument that Muhammad “confirmed” the previous Scriptures by fulfilling the prophecies made about him.

It seems that the examples that I gave went over Zawadi’s head since if he actually understood my point he would see that Amjad’s explanation is untenable. Take, for instance, the following citation which I provided:

And Mary, Imran's daughter, who guarded her virginity, so We breathed into her of Our Spirit, and she confirmed (saddaqat) the Words of her Lord and His Books, and became one of the obedient. S. 66:12

Here is a text which is similar to what the Quran says concerning Jesus and Muhammad confirming the Torah. Mary, just like her glorious Son and Muhammad after her, confirmed not only the words of her Lord but also his Books.

Now are we to really assume that what this really means is that Mary confirmed God’s Books by fulfilling the prophecies made about her? Or should we take this to mean that she confirmed God’s words and Books by fully embracing and believing in them? The following expositor provides an answer:

(And Mary, daughter of Imran, whose body was chaste, therefore We breathed therein something of Our Spirit) and so Gabriel breathed inside her garment and she became pregnant with Jesus. (And she put faith in the words of her Lord) she BELIEVED in what Gabriel told her that he was the Messenger of Allah entrusted with giving her a holy son (and His Scriptures) and she also BELIEVED in His Scriptures: the Torah, the Gospel and all other Scriptures; it is also said this means: she BELIEVED in the words of her Lord that Jesus the son of Mary will come into being by Allah saying "Be!" and he became a human being, and she also BELIEVED in His Scripture: the Gospel, (and was of the obedient) in times of hardship and comfort; and it is also said that this means: and she was obedient to He Who is far transcendent and majestic'. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs; bold and capital emphasis ours)

In a similar fashion, Jesus (and Muhammad also) didn’t simply confirm the previous Scriptures by fulfilling all of the prophecies made about him but by also bearing witness that the Scriptures which were in circulation at that time were the original, uncorrupt revelations from God. The following citation brings this point out more clearly:

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; by which the Prophets who had surrendered themselves judged the Jews, 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. S. 5:43-46

Here Muhammad tells the Jews of his day that they should judge by their Torah instead of coming to him for judgment. He then gives them a reason why they should do so, namely, the prophets themselves judged by the Torah. Muhammad’s point is that if the Torah was good enough for the prophets to judge by then it most certainly is good enough for the Jews of his day to do the same.

Muhammad then goes on to mention that God sent Jesus with the Gospel to confirm the Torah which was between his hands. It is apparent from the immediate context that by confirmation Muhammad meant that Jesus, like the prophets who came before him, believed in, affirmed, and judged by the Torah since it is the Book of God. Therefore, the word saddaqa in this particular context cannot mean what Amjad and Zawadi wish it to mean.

More importantly, Amjad’s interpretation makes absolutely no sense since it expects us to believe that God took the trouble to preserve all the prophecies of Muhammad but didn’t bother to preserve the Scriptures themselves!

Besides, fulfilling prophecy is not really confirming it. That is a different category altogether. I can predict that there will be a major earthquake in the next decade in the USA which would be a mere guess. If it comes true, does that mean I am a prophet? Does the fulfillment confirm my guess as divine prophecy? No, only an authoritative source can confirm something, not a merely apparent “fulfillment” which can be coincidence. Confirmation is a concept that needs an established authority in order to confer authority on an earlier statement. Muslims like to assume that divine authority for the Quran and thus call it confirmation, but that is begging the question. The earlier prophecies were authoritative because they came from God, they do not need confirmation by a “higher” authority. It is the Quran that needs confirmation, proving its authority. The Torah and the Gospel do not need confirmation from the Quran. Yes, Jesus fulfilled many prophecies, but that does in no way confirm the Quran, nor is Jesus or the Torah in need of confirmation. Jesus fulfilled those prophecies because God is true to his promises. The Quran can recognize that this happened, but cannot derive an authority “from this observation” which is obviously the purpose of the claims in this regard.

And since Zawadi wasn’t satisfied with all of the examples I gave regarding the meaning of saddaqa here are a few more:

thou hast confirmed (saddaqta) the vision; even so We recompense the good-doers. S. 37:105

Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son was his way of demonstrating his absolute faith that the vision he received was from God, e.g. his actions proved that he truly believed that God had spoken to him in a dream.

This is precisely what the Quran is saying regarding Jesus confirming the Torah. The author(s) was/were claiming that Christ was sent to testify that the Scriptures in his possession were completely reliable since they were the very Words that God had revealed to his people.

saying, 'What, shall we forsake our gods for a poet possessed?' No indeed; but he brought the truth, and confirmed (wa saddaqa) the Envoys. S. 37:36-37

It would simply be a stretch to say that what this verse is saying is that Muhammad merely confirmed only parts of the message of the prophets, but not all of it since not all that they had to say was true. After all, Muhammad is commanded to say that he believes in all of Allah’s messengers, even those that are not mentioned in the Quran:

The Messenger believes in what was sent down to him from his Lord, and the believers; each one believes in God and His angels, and in His Books and His Messengers; we make no division between any one of His Messengers. They say, 'We hear, and obey. Our Lord, grant us Thy forgiveness; unto Thee is the homecoming.' S. 2:285

We have revealed to thee as We revealed to Noah, and the Prophets after him, and We revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, Jesus and Job, Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and We gave to David Psalms, and Messengers We have already told thee of before, and Messengers We have not told thee of; and unto Moses God spoke directly -- S. 4:163-164

Therefore, saddaqa or “confirm” can only mean that Muhammad completely trusted and believed the prophets, specifically their message.

And:

And he who has come with the very truth and confirms (saddaqa) it, those they are the godfearing. S. 39:33

Note the explanation given by the following expositors:

And he who brings the truth - and that is the Prophet (s) - and [those] who confirm it, namely, the believers (here alladhi, 'he who', has the significance of alladhina, 'those who') those, they are the ones who guard themselves, against idolatry. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; bold emphasis ours)

And whoso bringeth the Truth) the Qur'an and the profession of Allah's divine Oneness, i.e. Muhammad (and believeth therein) and those who believe in him, i.e. Abu Bakr and his fellow believers. (Such are the dutiful) such are those who ward off disbelief, idolatry and indecent acts. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs; bold emphasis ours)

Does Zawadi really want us to believe that what this text is actually saying is that Muslims are called to believe or confirm only a portion of the truth brought by Muhammad? Isn’t it obvious that saddaqa means that Muslims are to believe and accept that the Quran is the truth revealed from Allah (as mistaken as that may be)?

The word is also used for the person who fails to confirm Allah’s message:

upon that day unto thy Lord shall be the driving. For he confirmed (saddaqa) it not, and did not pray, but he cried it lies, and he turned away, S. 75:30-32

What the foregoing examples conclusively show is that just as John had absolute belief in Jesus’ person and mission, just as Mary believed all of God’s words and Scriptures, just as Abraham confirmed the vision he received by believing that it was from God, just as Muhammad believed in all of God’s prophets, without making a distinction between any of them, and just as Muslims are called to fully affirm their faith in the last day and in the Quran’s message, the Quran likewise teaches the absolute veracity and textual integrity of the Holy Bible (even though in reality it contradicts its message). The Muslim scripture clearly attests that both Jesus and Muhammad were sent to bear witness that the Scriptures which the believing communities possessed were the original, uncorrupt revelations which God had sent down.

Thus, the evidence from the Quran conclusively shows that the word saddaqa does not mean whatever Zawadi wants it to mean.

Now doesn’t this indicate that Zawadi refuses to accept the facts and is willing to pervert the plain meaning of his own sources in order to avoid having to admit the obvious, i.e. Muhammad is a false prophet and an antichrist according to the very Scriptures which he himself believed were revealed from God? Doesn’t this show that Zawadi knows that if he accepts what the Quran actually teaches about the previous Books he will then be forced to reject Muhammad as a deceiver who contradicted the message and teaching of those very Scriptures which he expressly testified to be the Word of God?

Zawadi introduces a red herring by claiming that I have no manuscript evidence to prove that the entire Old Testament in the possession of the Jews during the time of Jesus is exactly the same as the Old Testament that Christians have today. He argues that the Dead Sea Scrolls only contain fragments of the various OT Books and that it doesn’t include the book of Esther.

Do I really need to spell everything out for Zawadi before he gets the point? Doesn’t he realize that despite the fragmentary nature of the Dead Sea Scrolls these manuscripts provide evidence that the only Torah, the only Scriptures, which the Jews have always possessed are the Books of the OT? Can’t he see that the evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls proves that Jesus confirmed the OT Books as the Word of God, thereby refuting the Muslim assertion that the Torah which the Quran speaks of is something other than the Pentateuch which we still find in the Hebrew Bible that we currently possess?

Does he also not understand that the Quran’s assertion that Muhammad confirmed the Scriptures in the possession of the Jews and Christians of his time further establishes the fact that the Books which Jesus had access to are virtually identically to what we currently possess? Is he not aware that we have copies of the Jewish-Christian Books that were written after Christ and before Muhammad’s advent, which help us identify for certain what the Scriptures during the time of Jesus looked like?

After all, if Muhammad confirmed that the Jews had access to the same Scriptures which the prophets before him bore witness to and judged by then this means that whatever the Jews of his time possessed would be identical to the writings that Jesus had access to.

And seeing that the copies which we have do not differ from the Books which we currently possess, and are actually the same manuscripts that scholars use to produce our current Bibles, doesn’t this convincingly establish beyond any reasonable doubt that Jesus essentially confirmed the very Scriptures in our possession today?

Zawadi further argues that it is possible that the OT was corrupted before the time of Christ! Again, doesn’t Zawadi see that if this is the case then the Quran is mistaken or, worse still, Allah is a deceiver and liar since he had both Jesus and Muhammad testify that the Scriptures in the possession of the Jews of their day were the true revealed Words of God when in reality they were not?

Is it really that hard for Zawadi to comprehend all of this?

I omit the rest of Zawadi’s nonsense concerning the meaning of “confirm” or his differentiating between the true Torah from the Old Testament since I have already refuted that both here and in my previous discussions.

Zawadi now seeks to address al-Bukhari’s reference from Ibn Abbas that none of the revealed Books of God can be corrupted. He argues that al-Bukhari’s inclusion of this statement doesn’t necessarily mean he believed it. However, this overlooks the fact that Muslim scholars assert that al-Bukhari was the most careful collector of Muslim traditions, omitting thousands of hadiths that did not meet his strict specifications of authenticity. This is why these scholars agree that there are no errors or faults in al-Bukhari’s collection:

It has been UNANIMOUSLY AGREED that Imam Bukhari's work is the most authentic of all the other works in Hadith literature PUT TOGETHER. The authenticity of Al-Bukhari's work is such that the religious learned scholars of Islam said concerning him: "The most authentic book after the Book of Allah (i.e., Al-Qur'an) is Sahih Al-Bukhari." …

Before he recorded each Hadith he would make ablution and offer two Rak’at prayer and supplicate his Lord (Allah). Many religious scholars of Islam tried to find fault in the great remarkable collection- Sahih Al-Bukhari, BUT WITHOUT SUCCESS. It is for this reason, they UNANIMOUSLY AGREED that the most authentic book after the Book of Allah IS Sahih Al-Bukhari. (Translation of the Meanings of Sahih Al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, translated by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Formerly Director, University Hospital, Islamic University, Al-Madina Al-Munawwara (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), [Dar-us-Salam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh-Saudi Arabia, July, 1997], Volume 1, pp. 18-19; bold and capital emphasis ours)

In light of this we would expect that al-Bukhari would not include anything which he suspected was fraudulent or that didn’t meet his criteria for authenticity. Therefore, since he did include the report from Ibn Abbas this means that it must have met al-Bukhari’s very strict specifications and that he was obviously fully convinced of its reliability.

This helps explain why Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, Ibn Taymiyyah’s premiere disciple, cited this very narration as evidence that al-Bukhari was one of the Muslim scholars who did not believe that the text of the inspired Scriptures were corrupted:

On the other side, another party of hadith and fiqh scholars said: these changes took place during its interpretation and not during the process of its revelation. This is the view of Abi Abdullah Muhammad bin Ishmael Al-Bukhari who said in his hadith collection:

“No one can corrupt the text by removing any of Allah’s words from his Books, but they corrupted it by misinterpreting it.” (Al-Jawziyyah, Ighathat Al Lahfan, Volume 2, p. 351; bold and italic emphasis ours)

This further explains why other Muslims such as both Ibn ‘Atiyya and Ibn Kathir quoted this report without questioning its authenticity:

… The Andalusian interpreter Ibn ‘Atiyya stated that Tahrif means "to change or transfer something from its original character to another" and that Ibn ‘Abbas held that the Jewish (and possibly the Christian, by implication) corruption and change was to be found in exegesis, the letter of the Torah surviving intact, although a second school of scholars maintained that the letters themselves had been changed on the basis that although the Jews had been asked to safeguard the Torah, unlike the Qur’an it was not safeguarded by God Himself. (Dr. Muhammad Abu Laylah, The Qur’an and the Gospels – A Comparative Study [Al-Falah Foundation for Translation, Publication & Distribution, Third edition, 2005], pp. 145-146; bold and underline emphasis ours)

And:

Mujahid, Ash-Sha'bi, Al-Hassan, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi' bin Anas said that,

<who distort the Book with their tongues.>

means, "They alter (Allah's Words)."

Al-Bukhari reported that Ibn 'Abbas said that the Ayah means they alter and add although none among Allah's creation can remove the words of Allah from His books, they alter and distort their apparent meanings. Wahb bin Munabbih said, "The Tawrah and Injil remain as Allah revealed them, and no letter in them was removed. However, the people misguide others by addition and false interpretation, relying on books that they wrote themselves." Then,

<they say: "This is from Allah," but it is not from Allah;>

As for Allah's books, they are still preserved and cannot be changed." Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this statement… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir – Abridged, Volume 2, Parts 3, 4 & 5, Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, verse 147 [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First Edition: March 2000], p. 196; bold emphasis ours)

It seems that all of these men had enough sense to see that al-Bukhari would not have included this statement if he didn’t fully agree with it.

What makes this all more ironic is what Zawadi says next:

He placed it as a footnote and not as a full isnad. I have cited Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani as saying that the isnaad is not fully connected to Ibn Abbass. If the isnaad is not fully connected then how could Bukhari have believed in it when it doesn't even meet his own standards of hadith criticism? Bukhari was so strict in his hadith criticism that he even rejected hadeeth that would have been acceptable to have been included in Saheeh Muslim! So how could he have believed in this narration?

It is amazing how Zawadi doesn’t realize how his own statements pretty much confirm that al-Bukhari believed in the veracity of this statement! Can’t Zawadi see that his comments here actually prove that al-Bukhari must have believed that this report from Ibn Abbas was authentic otherwise he would not have included it seeing that he was so strict that he even rejected hadiths that made it in Sahih Muslim? Is Zawadi really that blind and incapable of understanding how his own statements end up backfiring against him?

Zawadi then gets desperate and claims that al-Bukhari may have actually been speaking of the preserved tablet in heaven, i.e. that the original texts which exist with Allah in the heavenly tablet cannot be corrupted!

This again shows that Zawadi is incapable of understanding what he reads. Here is how we know for certain that al-Bukhari wasn’t speaking of the preserved tablet but of the actual Scriptures in the possession of the Jews and Christians:

LV. The words of Allah Almighty, "It is indeed a Glorious Qur'an preserved on a Tablet." (85:21-22)

"By the Mount and an Inscribed Book" (52:1-2): Qatada said that "mastur" means "written". "Yasturun" (68:1) means "they inscribe", and the Umm al-Kitab (43:4) is the whole of the Qur'an and its source. [He said that] "ma talfizu" (50:18) means: "He does not say anything but that it is written against him." Ibn 'Abbas said, "Both good and evil are recorded," and "yuharrufuna" (4:46) means "they remove". NO ONE REMOVES THE WORDS OF ONE OF THE BOOKS OF ALLAH ALMIGHTY, BUT THEY TWIST THEM, INTEPRETING THEM IMPROPERLY. "Dirasatihim: (6:156) means "their recitation" "Wa'iyya" (69:12) is preserving, "ta'iha" (69:12) means to "preserve it". "This Qur'an has been revealed to me by inspiration that I may warn you," meaning the people of Makka, "and all whom it reaches"(6:19) meaning this Qur'an, so he is its warner. (Aisha Bewley, Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, 100. Book of Tawhid (the belief that Allah is One in His Essence, Attributes and Actions; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Al-Bukhari’s point that the people did not remove any words from any of the Books of Allah but that they twisted their meanings and improperly interpreted them only makes sense if he is referring to the actual Scriptures in the possession of the Jews and Christians. It makes absolutely no sense if this is referring to the preserved tablet since the Jews and Christians did not have access to this tablet and therefore could not misinterpret what is contained in it.

Moreover, both al-Jawziyyah and Ibn ‘Atiyya understood that al-Bukhari’s statements refer to the Scriptures in the possession of the Jews, not to what is contained in the heavenly tablet. Here, once again, are their comments:

On the other side, another party of hadith and fiqh scholars said: these changes took place during its interpretation and not during the process of its revelation. This is the view of Abi Abdullah Muhammad bin Ishmael Al-Bukhari who said in his hadith collection:

“No one can corrupt the text by removing any of Allah’s words from his Books, but they corrupted it by misinterpreting it.” (Al-Jawziyya, Ighathat Al Lahfan, Volume 2, p. 351; bold and italic emphasis ours)

And:

… The Andalusian interpreter Ibn ‘Atiyya stated that Tahrif means “to change or transfer something from its original character to another” and that Ibn ‘Abbas held that the Jewish (and possibly the Christian, by implication) corruption and change was to be found in exegesis, the letter of the Torah surviving intact, although a second school of scholars maintained that the letters themselves had been changed on the basis that although the Jews had been asked to safeguard the Torah, unlike the Qur’an it was not safeguarded by God Himself. (Abu Laylah, The Qur’an and the Gospels – A Comparative Study, pp. 145-146; bold and italic emphasis ours)

So much for Zawadi’s reply.

Zawadi tries to undermine ar-Razi’s testimony to the impossibility of the Scriptures being corrupted by claiming that this assertion is based solely on his own reasoning since ar-Razi doesn’t appeal to any Quranic texts or hadith to prove his point. Zawadi also tries to discount his opinion on the grounds that it comes over 500 years after Muhammad’s death.

It is rather unfortunate that Zawadi can’t see how his statements expose just how inconsistent he truly is. Here he calls into question what ar-Razi has to say but elsewhere he appeals to the reasoning he employed in his explanation of Q. 5:17 to prove that the Quran is correct in saying that Christians believe that Allah is Jesus the Son of Mary!

Moreover, this ignores the fact that ar-Razi’s view is backed up by statements from the Quran, Muhammad, and other Muslim scholars. As al-Jawziyyah explains:

On the other side, another party of hadith and fiqh scholars said: these changes took place during its interpretation and not during the process of its revelation. This is the view of Abi Abdullah Muhammad bin Ishmael Al-Bukhari who said in his hadith collection:

“No one can corrupt the text by removing any of Allah’s words from his Books, but they corrupted it by misinterpreting it.”

Al-Razi also agrees with this opinion. In his commentary he said:

There is a difference of opinions regarding this matter among some of the respectable scholars. Some of these scholars said: the manuscript copies of the Torah were distributed everywhere and no one knows the exact number of these copies except Allah. It is impossible to have a conspiracy to change or alter the word of God in all of these copies without missing any copy. Such a conspiracy will not be logical or possible. And when Allah told his messenger (Muhammad) to ask the Jews to bring their Torah and read it concerning the stoning command they were not able to change this command from their copies, that is why they covered up the stoning verse while they were reading it to the prophet. It was then when Abdullah Ibn Salam requested that they remove their hand so that the verse became clear. If they have changed or altered the Torah then this verse would have been one of the important verses to be altered by the Jews.

Also, whenever the prophet would ask them (the Jews) concerning the prophecies about him in the Torah they were not able to remove them either, and they would respond by stating that they are not about him and they are still waiting for the prophet in their Torah.

Abu Dawood narrated in his collection that Ibn Umar said:

A group of Jewish people invited the messenger of Allah to a house. When he came, they asked him: O Abu Qassim, one of our men committed adultery with a woman, what is your judgment against him? So they placed a pillow and asked the messenger of Allah to set on it. Then the messenger of Allah proceeded to say: bring me the Torah. When they brought it, he removed the pillow from underneath him and placed the Torah on it and said: I BELIEVE IN YOU AND IN THE ONE WHO REVEALED YOU, then said: bring me one of you who have the most knowledge. So they brought him a young man who told him the story of the stoning.

The scholars said: if the Torah was corrupted he would not have placed it on the pillow and he would not have said: I believe in you and in the one who revealed you. This group of scholars also said: Allah said:

"And the word of your Lord has been accomplished truly and justly; there is none who can change His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing."

And the Torah is Allah’s word. (Ighathat Al Lahfan, Volume 2, p. 351; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Thus, we have the Quran, Muhammad, and scholars like al-Bukhari agreeing with ar-Razi that the Torah cannot be corrupted!

It is interesting that al-Jawziyyah mentions Muslim authorities appealing to Q. 6:115 to prove that the Torah could not be corrupted since it is the Word of Allah when you have Muslim dawagandists like Zawadi trying to argue otherwise!

This isn’t the only place where the Quran says this:

Recite what has been revealed to thee of the Book of thy Lord; no man can change His words. Apart from Him, thou wilt find no refuge. S. 18:27

These particular texts are important for Muslims since they prove that Muhammad believed that none of the inspired Scriptures of God can be corrupted in light of the fact that they are all supposed to be the revealed Words of God! This explains why scholars such as al-Bukhari believed that Books such as the Torah and the Gospel could not be changed when the Quran clearly testifies that they are the revealed Words of God.

Since Zawadi has demonstrated that he has a hard time comprehending basic formal logic we are going to have to break this down for him.

  1. None can change the Words of God.
  2. The Torah, Psalms/Zubur, Gospel/Injil etc., are the Words of God.
  3. Therefore, no one is able to change or corrupt these Books.
  4. This means that these Books must still be in existence.
  5. These particular Books were entrusted to the Jews and Christians.
  6. This means that these communities must have the original uncorrupt revelations that God sent down in their possessions.
  7. However, the only Scriptures that these respective communities have are the Books of the Holy Bible.
  8. Therefore, the writings of both the Old and New Testaments must be the original, uncorrupt Words which God sent down!

Here is Zawadi’s reply to my comment concerning his use of specific Islamic narrations which mention passages from the Torah which do not exist:

Again, we are not debating whether the Islamic claim is true or not, but are debating what the Islamic claim is!

Zawadi again shows that he doesn’t understand the issues and can’t comprehend the point. Therefore, let me break it down for him:

  1. The Quran claims that Jesus and Muhammad confirmed the Torah in their possession.
  2. We have copies of and quotations from the Torah, some of which predate the time of Christ and Muhammad.
  3. The Quran also claims that the Words of God cannot be changed.
  4. Since the Torah is the Word of God it can never be corrupted.
  5. Therefore, the Islamic claim is that the Torah remains in its true, uncorrupt, pristine form.
  6. None of the extant manuscripts of the Torah contain the verses that are found in the specific hadiths which Zawadi quoted from.
  7. Therefore, these narratives cannot be relied upon since they clearly go against the express witness of the Quran and the manuscript evidence.

Conveniently, Zawadi brushes aside all the evidence I presented from his own Islamic sources that document the gross textual corruptions that has taken place to the Quran by claiming that this is nothing more than a red herring! Not only does this indicate that Zawadi can’t deal with the evidence but it also shows that he has no clue what a red herring is.

It is not a red herring to document the blatant inconsistency of a person’s position. If Zawadi is going to question the authority of the previous Scriptures on the basis of some narrations which claim that there were verses in the Torah that no longer exist today then Zawadi must reject the Quran since these same reports acknowledge that there are verses and chapters missing from the Islamic scripture!

Zawadi then invites his readers to watch his debate with Nabeel Qureshi concerning the preservation (or lack thereof) of the Quran. We also highly encourage the readers to watch this exchange since they will hear Zawadi basically admitting that there are missing Quranic verses as well as variant and conflicting readings which he conveniently claims were all part of the will of Allah!

We further recommend that the readers consult the following series of articles since I refute Zawadi’s desperate explanation and defense of the textual corruptions and variant readings of the Quran:

http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/anonymousquran1.html
http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/anonymousquran2.html
http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/anonymousquran3.html
http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/anonymousquran_excursus.html

Moreover, if Zawadi really thinks he won this debate with Nabeel Qureshi then I openly challenge him to debate me on this very same topic.

In conclusion, Zawadi once again ends up embarrassing himself by producing such a shoddy “rebuttal” which fails to understand and adequately address my points. Zawadi needs to face reality and come to terms with the fact that his own prophet and scripture confirm that the Holy Bible which we currently possess is the very revelation which God gave to his prophets and messengers. As such, Muhammad is one of the false prophets and antichrists which the inspired Scriptures warned of since he contradicts the essential doctrines of the very writings which he himself believed were revealed by God.