By Sam Shamoun
We resume our discussion.
Like the Quran, the hadiths bear witness to the availability and textual reliability of the previous Scriptures during Muhammad’s time. Note, for example, what the following narration states:
Narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar:
A group of Jews came and invited the Messenger of Allah to Quff. So he visited them in their school.
They said: AbulQasim, one of our men has committed fornication with a woman; so pronounce judgment upon them. They placed a cushion for the Messenger of Allah who sat on it and said: Bring the Torah. It was then brought. He then withdrew the cushion from beneath him and placed the Torah on it saying: I believed in thee and in Him Who revealed thee.
He then said: Bring me one who is learned among you. Then a young man was brought. The transmitter then mentioned the rest of the tradition of stoning similar to the one transmitted by Malik from Nafi' (No. 4431).
Grade: Hasan (Al-Albani)
Reference: Sunan Abi Dawud 4449
In-book reference: Book 40, Hadith 99
Muhammad takes a hold of the very copy of the Torah in the possession of the Jews, places it on the judge’s cushion in order to implement its judgments and rulings, and confirms his trust and belief in its being the revelation that God sent down to the children of Israel.
Muhammad’s reverence of the Torah explains why he could speak of the Jews and Christians of his time still possessing the Torah and the Gospel:
The ahadith concur in that they testify that the Jews and Christians still possessed the genuine, uncorrupt Scriptures from their Lord:
41 Chapters on Knowledge
(5) Chapter: What Has Been Related About Knowledge Leaving
Narrated Jubair bin Nufair:
from Abu Ad-Darda who said: "We were with the Prophet when he raised his sight to the sky, then he said: 'This is the time when knowledge is to be taken from the people, until what remains of it shall not amount to anything." So Ziyad bin Labid Al-Ansari said: 'How will it be taken from us while we recite the Qur'an. By Allah we recite it, and our women and children recite it?' He said: 'May you be bereaved of your mother O Ziyad! I used to consider you among the Fuqaha of the people of Al-Madinah. The Tawrah and Injil ARE WITH THE JEWS AND CHRISTIANS, but what do they avail of them?'" Jubair said: "So I met 'Ubadah bin As-Samit and said to him: 'Have you not heard what your brother Abu Ad-Darda said?' Then I informed him of what Abu Ad-Darda said. He said: 'Abu Ad-Darda spoke the truth. If you wish, we shall narrated to you about the first knowledge to be removed from the people: It is Khushu', soon you will enter the congregational Masjid, but not see any man in it with Khushu'.'"
Grade: SAHIH (Darussalam)
Reference: Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2653
In-book reference: Book 41, Hadith 9
English translation: Vol. 5, Book 39, Hadith 2653 (Sunnah.com; capital, italicized and underline emphasis ours)
This wasn’t the only time that Muhammad bore witness to the textual reliability of the Scriptures which the Jews and Christians possessed:
The apostle wrote to the Jews of Khaybar according to what a freedman of the family of Zayd b. Thabit told me from ‘Ikrima or from Sa‘id b. Jubayr from Ibn ‘Abbas: ‘In the name of God the compassionate the merciful from Muhammad the apostle of God friend and brother of Moses WHO CONFIRMS WHAT MOSES BROUGHT. God says to you, O scripture folk, and you will find it in your scripture "Muhammad is the apostle of God; and those with him are severe against the unbelievers, merciful among themselves. Thou seest them bowing, falling prostrate seeking bounty and acceptance from God. The mark of their prostrations is on their foreheads. That is their likeness in the Torah and in the Gospel like a seed which sends forth its shoot and strengthens it and it becomes thick and rises straight upon its stalk delighting the sowers that He may anger the unbelievers with them. God has promised those who believe and do well forgiveness and a great reward." I adjure you by God, AND BY WHAT HE HAS SENT DOWN TO YOU, by the manna and quails He gave as food to your tribes before you, and by His drying up the sea for your fathers when He delivered them from Pharaoh and his works, that you tell me, DO YOU FIND IN WHAT HE SENT DOWN TO YOU that you should believe in Muhammad? IF YOU DO NOT FIND THAT IN YOUR SCRIPTURE THEN THERE IS NO COMPULSION UPON YOU. "The right path has become plainly distinguished from error" so I call you to God and His Prophet’ (313). (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], p. 256; capital emphasis ours)
According to what I heard from ‘Ikrima, freedman of Ibn ‘Abbas or from Sa‘id b. Jubayr from Ibn ‘Abbas, Jews used to hope that the apostle would be a help to them against Aus and Khazraj before his mission began; and when God sent him from among the Arabs they disbelieved in him and contradicted what they had formerly said about him. Mu‘adh b. Jabal and Bishr b. al-Bara’ b. Ma‘rur brother of B. Salama said to them: ‘O Jews, fear God and become Muslims, for you used to hope for Muhammad’s help against us when we were polytheists and to tell us that he would be sent and describe him to us.’ Salam b. Mishkam, one of the B. al-Nadir, said, ‘He has not brought us anything we recognize and he is not the one we spoke of to you.’ So God sent down about that saying of theirs: ‘And when a book comes to them from God CONFIRMING what they have, though beforehand they were asking for help against those who disbelieve, when there came to them what they knew, they disbelieved in it, so God’s curse rests on the unbelievers.’ (Ibid., p. 257; bold, italicized and underline emphasis ours)
Rafi b. Haritha and Sallam b. Mishkam and Malik b. al-Sayf and Rafi b. Huraymila came to him [Muhammad] and said: ‘Do you not allege that you follow the religion of Abraham and believe in the Torah WHICH WE HAVE and testify that it is the truth from God?’ He replied, ‘CERTAINLY, but you have sinned and broken the covenant CONTAINED THEREIN and concealed what you were ordered to make plain to men, and I dissociate myself from your sin.’ They said, ‘We hold by WHAT WE HAVE. We live according to the guidance and the truth and we do not believe in you and we will not follow you.’ So God sent down concerning them: ‘Say, O Scripture folk, you have no standing until you observe the Torah and the Gospel and what has been sent down from your Lord. What has been sent down to thee from thy Lord will assuredly increase many of them in error and unbelief. But be not sad because of the unbelieving people.’ (Ibid., p. 268; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Now this places Muslims in a major dilemma since the only Scriptures that would have been in the possession of Jews and Christians of Muhammad’s day are the sacred writings that make up the Holy Bible. And yet these are the same inspired revelations, which affirm the necessity and centrality of blood sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins, as can be seen from the following references:
“And it came to pass on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. Then he said to Aaron, ‘Take a young calf for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the Lord. To the children of Israel you shall speak, saying, ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering, and a calf and a lamb—both a year old without blemish—for a burnt offering, also an ox and a ram for peace offerings to sacrifice before the Lord, and a grain offering mixed with oil. For today the Lord will appear to you. They brought that which Moses commanded before the tent of meeting, and the entire congregation drew near and stood before the Lord. Moses said, ‘This is the thing which the Lord commanded that you should do; then the glory of the Lord shall appear to you.’ Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Go to the altar, and offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people, and offer the sacrifice of the people, and make atonement for them, as the Lord commanded.’” Leviticus 9:1-7
“Their brothers the Levites also were appointed for all kinds of service to the tabernacle of the house of God. But Aaron and his sons were making sacrifices on the altar of the burnt offering and on the altar of incense for all the work of the Most Holy Place and to make atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded.” 1 Chronicles 6:48-49
“So King Hezekiah got up early and gathered the officials of the city and went up to the house of the Lord. And he brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven male goats for a sin offering for the kingdom, sanctuary, and Judah. Then he commanded the priests, the sons of Aaron, to offer them up on the altar of the Lord. So they slaughtered the bulls, and the priests took their blood and sprinkled it on the altar and then slaughtered the rams and sprinkled their blood on the altar. They did the same for the lambs. And they brought the male goats for a sin offering before the king and the assembly, and they placed their hands on the goats. And the priests slaughtered them and purified the altar with their blood to provide atoning reconciliation for all Israel because the king said that the burnt offering and sin offering would be for all Israel.” 2 Chronicles 29:20-24
“For the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I have therefore given it to you [to be placed] upon the altar, to atone for your souls. For it is the blood that atones for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11
For the soul of the flesh: of every creature is dependent upon the blood, and therefore, I have given it to atone for the soul of man. [In this way,] one “soul” [namely, the blood of a sacrifice] shall come and atone for another soul. (The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary)
See also the entire chapter of Leviticus 16 for the sacrifices which God prescribed for the day of atonement, the day in which all of Israel’s sins would be atoned for so that they could continue to live under God’s mercy and favor.
The NT is in perfect agreement with the Hebrew Bible concerning the role that blood plays in procuring salvation and reconciliation:
“And according to the law almost everything must be cleansed with blood; without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22
In fact, the message of the NT is that all of the OT sacrifices foreshadowed the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross, which was a sacrifice that he offered in order to make atonement for the sins of God’s people, thereby perfectly reconciling them with God forever and ever:
“As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take and eat. This is My body.’ Then He took the cup, and after He gave thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’” Matthew 26:26-28 – cf. Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 – cf. Matthew 20:28
“This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. The bread which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.” John 6:50-51
“whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith, in His blood, for a demonstration of His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins previously committed,” Romans 3:25
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, being now justified by His blood, shall we be saved from wrath through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, how much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. Furthermore, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:1, 8-11
“Now, brothers, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which you have received, and in which you stand. Through it you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: how Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and was seen by Cephas, and then by the twelve. Then He was seen by over five hundred brothers at once, of whom the greater part remain to this present time, though some have passed away. Then He was seen by James and then by all the apostles. Last of all, He was seen by me also, as by one born at the wrong time.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
“to the praise of the glory of His grace which He graciously bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace,” Ephesians 1:6-7
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels to suffer death, crowned with glory and honor, so that He, by the grace of God, should experience death for everyone… Therefore, in all things it was necessary for Him to be made like His brothers, so that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:9, 17
“And the former priests were numerous because they were hindered from serving because of death. But He, because He lives forever, has an everlasting priesthood. Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, because He at all times lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, for He is holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and is higher than the heavens. Unlike those high priests, He does not need to offer daily sacrifices—first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for He did this once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints men who are weak as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints a Son who is made perfect forever.” Hebrews 7:23-28
“It was therefore necessary that the replicas of heavenly things be cleansed with these sacrifices, but that the heavenly things themselves be cleansed with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter holy places made with hands, which are patterned after the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. Nor did He enter to offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. For then He would have had to suffer repeatedly since the world was created, but now He has appeared once at the end of the ages to put away sin by sacrificing Himself. As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this comes the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to save those who eagerly wait for Him.” Hebrews 9:23-28
“By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… For by one offering He has forever perfected those who are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:10, 14
“For you know that you were not redeemed from your vain way of life inherited from your fathers with perishable things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18-19
“For to this you were called, because Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘He committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.’ When He was reviled, He did not revile back; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but He entrusted Himself to Him who judges righteously. He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness. ‘By His wounds you were healed.’ For you were as sheep going astray, but now have been returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:21-24
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin… My little children, I am writing these things to you, so that you do not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 1:7, 2:1-2
“In this way the love of God was revealed to us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10
Therefore, since these happen to be the very Scriptures which the Quran confirms to be true and reliable, this means that it has to be in complete agreement with the message of these inspired writings concerning the necessity and centrality of blood sacrifices for atonement. There is simply no way around this fact.
Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptural citations taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible.