I understand that besides the Quran, Muslims also have other books which are regarded as scripture. Is that true?
Yes, besides the Quran, Muslims also have the Taurat, which refers to the first five books of the Old Testament, Zabur, which refers to the Psalms and Injil, which refers to the gospels, all of which we also regard as our holy scriptures.
Do Muslims also read these other scripture besides the Quran?
I would say that most Muslims would only read the Quran.
Why is that?
We believe that the Quran is the perfect and final revelation and therefore it is sufficient to just read the Quran.
Didn’t the Quran ask Muslims to say “we believe in what was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the patriarchs and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and we make no distinction between any of them.”
Yes, what you mentioned is in the Quran.
In order to believe in something, don’t you have to read them first? Didn’t the Quran also instruct Muslims not to make any distinction between the different scriptures as to which is better?
That’s right. The reason why we don’t read them is that we think the other scriptures that we have today are no longer in their original form. Through the centuries people have changed the text.
Did the Quran teach that these other scriptures have been changed?
There is a verse in the Quran that says “and among them are those who twist the scripture with their tongues that you may think it from the scripture when it is not from the scripture.”
I believe the above verse from the Quran talks about people twisting the scripture with their tongues and misinterpreting scripture rather than corrupting the text.
How about this other verse from the Quran which says “so woe to those who write the scripture with their own hands and then say this is from God that they may exchange it for a little price.
The above verse talks about people who write false scripture rather than corrupt true scriptures.
Didn’t the Quran say other messengers before you were rejected but they endured rejection and persecution until our help came to them? There can be no change to God’s words.
I have always thought that Allah will protect only the Quran from corruption.
Actually in this verse God told Prophet Muhammad about the other messengers
before him and how God was able to protect his word given by these messengers. These scriptures therefore refer to those revealed before the Quran.
I see. Most Muslims continue to believe that only the Quran is free from corruption.
Do Muslims believe that the other scriptures were corrupted before or after the time of Prophet Muhammad?
Muslims believe that they were corrupted before the time of the Prophet.
If the scriptures were corrupted before the time of Prophet Muhammad, why would Allah tell Prophet Muhammad to dispute not with the people of the book (referring to Jews and Christians and say to them “we believe in that which has been revealed to us (that is the Quran) and revealed to you (that is the Bible).”
You are saying that if Prophet Muhammad believed in the Bible, it could not have been in a corrupted state during his time?
Then perhaps it was corrupted after the time of Prophet Muhammad.
This is also not possible. We possess complete manuscripts of both the Old and New Testaments that existed hundreds of years before Prophet Muhammad was born and these manuscripts have very little difference with the Bibles we have today.
What manuscripts are these?
For example, the dead sea scrolls are dated around 150 bc, centuries before the time of Prophet Muhammad. This allows us to compare the Old Testament more than 2000 years ago to the ones we have today and the two are virtually identical.
What about the New Testament?
We have the complete text of the New Testament dated around 350 AD called the Codex Sinaiticus. This was even before the time of Prophet Muhammad. The similarity of this manuscript with the New Testament we have today also proves that the New Testament could not have been corrupted after the time of Prophet Muhammad.
I see. So there is no reason to believe that the Bible has been corrupted?
That’s right. Perhaps you would understand this better if you could take hold of a copy of the Bible and start reading it.