Do Muslims believe in the Bible?

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Well yes and no. It is a pillar of faith in Islam to believe in the scriptures that Allah (God) revealed to His various Prophets, such as the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel and the Quran. However the scriptures that exist in this day and age have been changed significantly, something that Bible scholars can attest to. So, Muslims believe in the original, unedited scriptures given by God, which were given to people for their time. Muslims believe that the Quran is the final revelation which has been revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) for all of mankind.

Full Answer

Yes. One of the pillars of faith in Islam is the belief in all the scriptures revealed by Allah (God), which means belief in all divinely inspired books that were given to the prophets since the time of Abraham, all the way down to Muhammad (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon them). The two most famous scriptures are the Tawraah (Torah) of Moses (Peace be upon him) and the Injeel (Gospels) of Jesus (Peace be upon him). Both are frequently mentioned in the Quran, as in the chapter Al-’Imraan 3:3 and Al-Maa’idah 5:66. Today these two scriptures form a large portion of the Bible, namely, the first Five books of the Old Testaments and the first Four books of the New Testament.

Muslims believe that the Torah was revealed by Allah (God) to Moses (Peace be Upon Him), and that it was originally in the form of inscriptions on Stone Tablets which were written by Allah himself,

“And We (i.e. Allah) wrote for him (i.e. Moses), upon the tablets, the lesson to be drawn from all things and the explanation of all things, then (bade him): Hold it fast; and command your people to take the better (course made clear) therein. I will show you the abode of the transgressors.” [The Quran: Al-A’raaf, 7:145]

and the Injeel (Gospels) as the revelation to Jesus (Peace be upon him),

“And We sent, following in their footsteps, Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which came before him in the Torah; and We gave him the Gospel (the Injeel), in which was guidance and light and confirming that which preceded it of the Torah as guidance and instruction for the god-fearing” [The Quran: Al-Maa’idah , 5:46]

However, the Muslims, do not believe that the Bible, in its present form with all of the different books that it contains, represents the original scriptures revealed by Allah. Even within Christianity’s different denominations, there is dispute regarding which books are (or are not) from the Bible. A good example of this is the different variations of the books in the Catholic Bible, the Eastern Orthodox Bible and original Hebrew Bible. Furthermore, there was friction within the ranks of Christianity regarding some of the early Christian texts which were found throughout history, such as the Gospel of Barnabas and the other Gospels dubbed as the ‘Apocrypha’, and whether or not they should have been added to the widely accepted books of the Bible.

The Islamic stance regarding the veracity of the previous scriptures is as explained by the Prophet Muhammad (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) in the following narration:

”Whatever the people of the Book [Jews and Christians] tell you, you should not attest to, nor deny, but say: ‘We believe in Allah and what has been revealed to us.”[Bukhari: 4485] [The Quran: Al-Baqarah 2:136]

It is important to understand that Muslims believe that each scripture was given to a specific people for a specific time, and when another scripture arrives, it supersedes the previous one. Generally, it is just the laws that vary from a group to another, but the main message of calling people to believe in and worship the One God remained the same.

After the Injeel (Gospel) was revealed to Jesus for his people, the Quran was revealed to Muhammad (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) as the final revelation to all the nations. The laws which are prescribed in it and the Hadiths (the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad) are not restricted to a specific group of people or a particular race. This is clear in the Quran as in the following verse:

“Say, [O Muhammad], “O mankind, indeed I am the Messenger of Allah to all of you, [from Him] to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is no deity except Him; He gives life and causes death.” So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered prophet, who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him that you may be guided.” [The Quran Al-A’raaf 7:158]

This is contrary to the Torah of Moses (Peace be upon him) and the Gospel of Jesus (Peace be upon him) and their laws, which were given only to the Children of Israel. This claim is based on what is mentioned in the Bible and not only on what the Quran teaches us. In the second book of the Old Testament for example we can clearly see that the law of following the Sabbath was only imposed on the Israelites:

“The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant.” (Exodus 31:16). Also, in the book of 2 Chronicles: “..the covenant of the Lord that he made with the people of Israel.” (2 Chronicles 6:11).

Furthermore, according to the New Testament, Jesus (Peace be upon him) said to a Canaanite woman who had asked him to heal her son from demon possession: ”I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). As it can be seen from these verses from the Bible that the two books, i.e. the Torah and the Gospel were specific to the Israelites and not to all the nations of world. But this does not drive us as Muslims to deny the divine messages to these prophets nor to deny the divine origins of a lot of the books of the Bible. But at the same time we do not hold them to be as holy as the Noble Quran which was divinely revealed to Prophet Muhammad (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him), and we say as Allah has told us in the Quran:

“Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which has been sent down to us and that which has been sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and to Al-Asbaat [the Twelve Tribes of Israel], and that which has been given to Moses and Jesus, and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted (in Islam)” [The Quran: Al-Baqarah 2:136]

In summary, Islam does not deny any of the original previous scriptures that came before the Quran which include the Torah, the Psalms and the Gospel, rather it commands its followers to believe in them. The issue that Islam has with them is the alteration that has occurred over the years. This is something which Biblical scholars can attest to and something which can be seen clearly when the Bibles of Catholics and Protestants are compared. The Islamic belief regarding these scriptures is that they were revealed for specific people and for a specific amount of time and when new revelations arrived, they superseded the old ones. The Quran however has been revealed for all of mankind and is the last revelation that will be received from Allah until the end of times (i.e. Judgement Day), as Allah has said in the Quran:

“And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth.”

[The Quran: Al-Maa’idah 5:48]

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