بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
How many divine books were sent by God?
It is commonly believed by muslims that there are four divinely sent books. Earlier than these four books, some booklets were sent down which are known as ‘suhuf’. ‘Suhuf'(plural of Sahifa) are generally thought to be smaller in volume than a full fledged divine book. It is not very clear which prophets were given ‘suhuf;, though many people think that prophet Ibrahim (a.s) was one of them. The reason for sending booklets was that, in earlier times, the society was not mature enough to need a full fledged divine book. The first divine book is thought to be Taurat/Torah given to Prophet Moosa (a.s), after that Psalms/Zaboor to Prophet Dawood (a.s) then Injeel/Gospel was given to Prophet Essa (a.s), and then last and the final one, Quran to propeht Mohammad (pbuh). The final book is believed to be global in scope i.e covering all mankind and is sent as a guidance for all eternity. While some also believe that during the 23 years period in which the last book was being revealed, due to changing circumstances, some ayahs of the book were abrogated. The present day Bible is thought to be the altered version of previously sent divine books of Torah/Taurat, Gospel/Injeel and Psalm/Zaboor. Present day Bible is composed of two main parts known as Old Testament and New Testament. Both Old and New Testaments comprise several chapters which are called books. Torah is believed to be comprising the first five books of Old testament called Pentateuch. These first five books are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The New Testament of present day Bible is generally considered to be altered version of Al-Injeel/Gospel. Zaboor/Psalm is thought to be first book of the (“Writings”), the third section of the Hebrew Bible, and thus a book of the Christian Old Testament.
We will review all these beliefs in the light of ayahs of Al-Kitab in this post.
First we will explore the concept that why there should be different books sent for guidance of mankind. Was the content different or the language of revelation different? Was it Allah’s practice to give details of names and places in earlier books and later He changed his practice in the last book? Were the other books revealed in different languages to match the language of the nation and the prophet? As prophets were sent to all the nations, were divine books sent in all languages of the world? Were the conditions of the world changing rapidly earlier, lets say in a period of time between 4000 to 1500 years ago, to warrant sending various books and booklets and making different Sharia’s/ways for different messengers. If the earlier divine books were not able to handle changing times and circumstances how come the final divine book was being able to handle all times to come while we know that conditions change more rapidly in later times than in earlier times.
Keeping these questions in mind, lets analyze the ayahs of Al-Kitab, to find out if the revelation and the book, which God gave to mankind is one or many? All the prophets and messengers were given the same Sharia/way or different sharias/ways according to their books? Does the book of Allah has only one name or many attributes similar to Allah’s who has many attributes/(Siffati names) such as Ar-Rahman (The Gracious), Ar-Raheem (The Merciful), Al-Wadood (the Loving) etc.
The names of the prophets who were given Al-Kitab/the Book are given in below ayahs:
6:83-90 وَتِلْكَ حُجَّتُنَا آتَيْنَاهَا إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَلَىٰ قَوْمِهِ ۚ نَرْفَعُ دَرَجَاتٍ مَّن نَّشَاءُ ۗ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ حَكِيمٌ عَلِيمٌ وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ إِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ ۚ كُلًّا هَدَيْنَا ۚ وَنُوحًا هَدَيْنَا مِن قَبْلُ ۖ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِهِ دَاوُودَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ وَأَيُّوبَ وَيُوسُفَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَهَارُونَ ۚ وَكَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ وَزَكَرِيَّا وَيَحْيَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَإِلْيَاسَ ۖ كُلٌّ مِّنَ الصَّالِحِينَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَالْيَسَعَ وَيُونُسَ وَلُوطًا ۚ وَكُلًّا فَضَّلْنَا عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ وَمِنْ آبَائِهِمْ وَذُرِّيَّاتِهِمْ وَإِخْوَانِهِمْ ۖ وَاجْتَبَيْنَاهُمْ وَهَدَيْنَاهُمْ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ ذَٰلِكَ هُدَى اللَّهِ يَهْدِي بِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ ۚ وَلَوْ أَشْرَكُوا لَحَبِطَ عَنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحُكْمَ وَالنُّبُوَّةَ ۚ فَإِن يَكْفُرْ بِهَا هَٰؤُلَاءِ فَقَدْ وَكَّلْنَا بِهَا قَوْمًا لَّيْسُوا بِهَا بِكَافِرِينَ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللَّهُ ۖ فَبِهُدَاهُمُ اقْتَدِهْ ۗ قُل لَّا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا ۖ إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرَىٰ لِلْعَالَمِينَ
That was our reasoning, which We gave to Ibraheem against his people. We raise whom We will, degree after degree, for your Lord is full of wisdom and knowledge. We gave him Ishaq and Yaqub: all guided: and before him, We guided Nooh, and among his progeny, Dauood, Suleman, Ayub, Yousuf, Moosa, and Haroon: thus do We reward the Mohsineen (those who do good). And Zakariya and Yahya, and Essa, and Ilyas: all in the ranks of the righteous. And Isma’il and Yas’a, and Yunus, and Lut: and to all We gave favor above the worlds. And from among their fathers, and progeny and brethren: We chose them, and we guided them to a straight path. That is the guidance of Allah: He guides with it to whom He pleases among His servants. If they were to join partners with Him, all that they did would be vain for them. These were those whom We gave The Book, and Authority, and Prophet hood: if these (their descendants) reject them, Behold! We shall entrust their charge to a nation (new people) who do not reject with them. Those were the people who received Allah’s guidance: Thus you (the messenger), follow the guidance they received; Say: “No reward for this do I ask of you: This is no less than a message/reminder for all worlds.”
The names of the prophets who received Al-Kitab/The Book are given in above ayahs and the messenger is ordered to follow the guidance they had received. The Book was given to all prophets from Nooh (a.s) onwards. Can we differentiate between what was given to some of the prophets mentioned above or say that some were given a different book or a different edition of the book ? Please see below ayahs:
2:136-7 قُولُوا آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَمَا أُوتِيَ النَّبِيُّونَ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ فَإِنْ آمَنُوا بِمِثْلِ مَا آمَنتُم بِهِ فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوا ۖ وَّإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا هُمْ فِي شِقَاقٍ ۖ فَسَيَكْفِيكَهُمُ اللَّهُ ۚ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
Say: “We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Ibraheem, Isma’il, Ishaq, Yaqoob , and the tribes, and that given to Moosa and Essa, and that given to prophets from their Lord: we make no difference between any one of them: And we are Muslims/Submitters. So if they believe as you believe, they are indeed on the right path; but if they turn back, it is they who are in schism; but Allah will suffice thee as against them, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.
The kalima/saying of Muslims is that we make no difference in the messengers and what is given to them. And in the above ayat Allah insists to believe as such. in order to get guidance.
10:94 فَإِن كُنتَ فِي شَكٍّ مِّمَّا أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ فَاسْأَلِ الَّذِينَ يَقْرَءُونَ الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِكَ ۚ لَقَدْ جَاءَكَ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُمْتَرِينَ
Thus, if you (the Messenger) are in doubt from what We have revealed to you, then ask those who are reading Al-Kitab/The Book from before you, definitely there has come to you the truth from your Lord, so do not become from the doubtful ones.
People have been reading Al-Kitab before the messenger (pbuh) times, as evident in the first set of ayahs, that all prophets of Allah have been given Al-Kitab/the Book.
2:213 كَانَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ النَّبِيِّينَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فِيمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ ۚ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ فِيهِ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ أُوتُوهُ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ ۖ فَهَدَى اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ مِنَ الْحَقِّ بِإِذْنِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
Mankind is one single nation, and Allah sent Messengers with glad tidings and warnings; and with them He sent the Book in truth, to judge between mankind in matters wherein they differed; but the People of the Book, after the clear Signs came to them, did not differ among themselves, except through selfish contumacy. Allah by His Grace guided the believers to the Truth, concerning that wherein they differed. For Allah guides whom He will to a path that is straight.
Please note in above ayat, it is mentioned that Allah sent the prophets and sent with them Al-Kitab/the Book to order justly among the mankind.
The below ayat informs that on the day of judgement the one book (al-kitab) will be placed and all prophets and witnesses will testify from it. Had there been different books in different prophet eras, how could they be a witness to a different book then?
39:69 وَأَشْرَقَتِ الْأَرْضُ بِنُورِ رَبِّهَا وَوُضِعَ الْكِتَابُ وَجِيءَ بِالنَّبِيِّينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُم بِالْحَقِّ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ
And the Earth will shine with the Light/Glory of its Lord: The Book will be placed; the prophets and the witnesses will be brought forward and a just decision pronounced between them; and they will not be wronged (in the least).
The ‘shuraka’/partners in Din/Judgment are those who promote the concept that there were different books sent according to the needs of earlier time and there were different sharias for the earlier messengers (42:21). However please see below Ayat:
42:13 شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا وَصَّىٰ بِهِ نُوحًا وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ ۖ أَنْ أَقِيمُوا الدِّينَ وَلَا تَتَفَرَّقُوا فِيهِ ۚ كَبُرَ عَلَى الْمُشْرِكِينَ مَا تَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَيْهِ ۚ اللَّهُ يَجْتَبِي إِلَيْهِ مَن يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي إِلَيْهِ مَن يُنِيبُ
The same Sharah (Shariat) He has established for you which He enjoined on Nooh – that We have sent by inspiration to you (Mohammad) – and that which We enjoined on Ibrahim, Moosa, and Essa: that you should remain steadfast in Din/Judgment, and make no differentiations therein: to those who join others with Allah, hard is the (way) to which you call them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him).
The messenger informs that this (Quran) is the reminder with him and the reminder of those before him.
21:24 أَمِ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِهِ آلِهَةً ۖ قُلْ هَاتُوا بُرْهَانَكُمْ ۖ هَٰذَا ذِكْرُ مَن مَّعِيَ وَذِكْرُ مَن قَبْلِي ۗ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ الْحَقَّ ۖ فَهُم مُّعْرِضُونَ
Or have they taken other gods besides Him? Say, “Bring your proof, this is the reminder with me and the reminder of those before me.” But most of them know not the Truth, and so turn away.
Allah has protected the Zikr (15:9). Therefore the Zikr before and with the Messenger are the same and that’s what the messenger is emphasizing.
2:4 وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ وَبِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ
And who believe in the Revelation sent to you, and sent before you, and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter.
What is revealed on the Messenger (pbuh) is the same as what had been revealed to other messengers before him.
Is Anything different said or given to the Messenger (pbuh) than earlier messengers? The below ayat negates this concept:
41:43 مَا يُقَالُ لَكَ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ قِيلَ لِلرُّسُلِ مِن قَبْلِكَ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَذُو مَغْفِرَةٍ وَذُو عِقَابٍ أَلِيمٍ
“Nothing is said to You (Mohammad) that was not said to the messengers before you: verily your Lord has at His command (all) forgiveness as well as the most grievous vengeance.”
The Messenger (pbuh) confirms that he does not bring anything new which the earlier messengers did not bring:
46:9 قُلْ مَا كُنتُ بِدْعًا مِّنْ الرُّسُلِ وَمَا أَدْرِي مَا يُفْعَلُ بِي وَلَا بِكُمْ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَى إِلَيَّ وَمَا أَنَا إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ
“Say (O’ Mohammad) “I am no bringer of new doctrine among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I follow but that which is revealed to me by inspiration; I am but a warner open and clear.”
2:8 ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ
That is the Book, there is no doubt in it, a guidance for those who take guard/fear (Allah)
When Quran mentions Al-Kitab, the Book is meant which is generally known to people as Al-Quran. Muslims adhere to Al-Kitab. Is it not surprising then why the term ‘Ahlal-Kitab’ should be used for two other groups instead, for the people who are holding on to this Book? When Allah specifically orders, not to say that Al-Kitab was sent to two groups before us.
6:156 أَن تَقُولُوا إِنَّمَا أُنزِلَ الْكِتَابُ عَلَىٰ طَائِفَتَيْنِ مِن قَبْلِنَا وَإِن كُنَّا عَن دِرَاسَتِهِمْ لَغَافِلِينَ
‘Do you say surely, Al-Kitab/The Book was revealed on the two groups before us, and that we remain unaware about their studies.’
Worth mentioning is that no body can alter Allah’s Book (6:34). The concept that before this Book, other books were sent by Allah which were altered, cannot be true because Allah declares that his Kalima cannot be changed (6:115).
6:34 وَلَقَدْ كُذِّبَتْ رُسُلٌ مِّن قَبْلِكَ فَصَبَرُوا عَلَىٰ مَا كُذِّبُوا وَأُوذُوا حَتَّىٰ أَتَاهُمْ نَصْرُنَا ۚ
وَلَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَلَقَدْ جَاءَكَ مِن نَّبَإِ الْمُرْسَلِينَ
‘Rejected were the messengers before you. With patience they bore their rejection and their persecution, until Our aid reached them. there is none that can alter the Words of Allah. Already you have received some account of those messengers.’
Therefore if the other books were Allah’s books, they could not have been altered because Allah protects his Kalima and Zikr/Remembrance (15:9).
What happened was that these nations put Allah’s book on their back and wrote books with their own hands and attributed those to be from inspiration of God (2:79). These other Books even have the names of human authors on them (Gospel by Luke, Mark etc). Whoever adheres to Al-Kitab should therefore be called Ahlal Kitab and not the people who were supposed to have different version of the Book at some earlier time. For example, as long as the people following prophet Essa adhered to Al-Kitab, they were Ahlal Kitab/People of the Book. However when they put Al-Kitab on their back and instead adopted a book they wrote themselves, they no longer are Ahlal Kitab. Present day Ahlal Kitab are the people who adhere to Al-Kitab/the Book.
Attributes of Quran
As Allah has 99 beautiful attributes (e.g Rehman, Rahim, Wadood etc), so does Quran has several attributes. Some of these attributes which are mentioned in the Book are given below:
- Quran, Reading
- Kitab Book
- Taurat Law
- Injeel Good News
- Zaboor Piece
- Furqan Criteria
- Burhan Proof
- Hikma Wisdom
- Wahi Inspiration
- Majeed Glorious
- Noor Light
- Ahsan ul Hadith Best narration
- Ahsan ul Qasa Best of relationship
- Moizza Sermon
- Zikr Remembrance
- Alwah Tablets
- Qual Saying
- Haq Truth
- Ilm Knowledge
- Kalam Word
- Suhuf Pages
The Revelation and Al-Kitab is given to all prophets and messengers, however, some attributes of the Revelation are associated with the names of certain messengers, such as:
Al-Kitab, Al-Furquan, Alwah, Suhuf, associated with Prophet Moosa (a.s), 7:145,
(2:53 وَإِذْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ وَالْفُرْقَانَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ )
(53:36 أَمْ لَمْ يُنَبَّأْ بِمَا فِي صُحُفِ مُوسَىٰ)
Taurat, Injeel, Al-Kitab, Al-Hikma, with prophet Essa (a.s) (3:45-48 وَيُعَلِّمُهُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَالتَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنجِيلَ )
Zubur with Dawood (a.s), 17:55
Al-Kitab, Suhuf, Al-Hikma with Ibraheem (a.s) (87:19 صُحُفِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ )
(4:54 أَمْ يَحْسُدُونَ النَّاسَ عَلَىٰ مَا آتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ ۖ فَقَدْ آتَيْنَا آلَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَآتَيْنَاهُم مُّلْكًا عَظِيمًا)
Point to note is that, it is not stated in the Book, that Taurat was given to Moosa (a.s) and that 4 books were sent by Allah.
7:145 وَكَتَبْنَا لَهُ فِي الْأَلْوَاحِ مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مَّوْعِظَةً وَتَفْصِيلًا لِّكُلِّ شَيْءٍ فَخُذْهَا بِقُوَّةٍ وَأْمُرْ قَوْمَكَ يَأْخُذُوا بِأَحْسَنِهَا ۚ سَأُرِيكُمْ دَارَ الْفَاسِقِينَ
“ And We wrote for him in the Alwah/the tablets, sermon from everything and explanation for everything. So hold fast to it with strength, and order your people that they should hold it beautifully soon I will show you the circles of dissolute/Immoral people.
The Quran is protected in the tablets. The memory held in human mind is like a tablet. The collective remembrance of the believers preserve the Book, as there is no standard calibrated version of the Book (Al-Quran) in existence.
85:21-22 بَلْ هُوَ قُرْآنٌ مَّجِيدٌ فِي لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوظٍ
But this is a glorious Quran/reading, In a loh/tablet preserved.
23:49 وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَهْتَدُونَ
And without doubt, We gave Moosa, Al-Kitab/ The Book so that they may be guided.
56:77-78 إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ فِي كِتَابٍ مَّكْنُونٍ
That this is indeed a Qur’an (a Reading) most honorable, in a Book/writing well-guarded
The reading (Quran) is well guarded in writing (Book)
28:48 فَلَمَّا جَاءَهُمُ الْحَقُّ مِنْ عِندِنَا قَالُوا لَوْلَا أُوتِيَ مِثْلَ مَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ ۚ أَوَلَمْ يَكْفُرُوا بِمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ مِن قَبْلُ ۖ قَالُوا سِحْرَانِ تَظَاهَرَا وَقَالُوا إِنَّا بِكُلٍّ كَافِرُونَ
When the truth came to them from Our nearness, they said why is not given similar to what was given to Moosa/Moses; do they not reject with what was given to Moosa from before. They said these two are magics backing each other. And they said surely we reject with all of them.
When the Messenger delivers message from the Book of Allah, unbelievers of the message, say that why is this Book (Quran) not like what was given to Moosa (in their minds, like Bible, containing details of events, names of peoples etc). Allah asks didn’t you reject and hid what was given to Moosa (The same Al-Kitab was given to Moosa but they instead attributed different Book/Bible to Moosa).
The two magics; one is the Spirit coming from Reading of the Book (Al-Quran) and the other which is between the hands confirming it (The Book), they collaborate each other and the rejecters, reject both of them.
28:49 قُلْ فَأْتُوا بِكِتَابٍ مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ هُوَ أَهْدَىٰ مِنْهُمَا أَتَّبِعْهُ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
Say ,so come with a Kitab/Book from the nearness of Allah, which is more in guidance than both of them. I would follow it, if you are truthful
The challenge to them is to bring a book from Allah, (not from human authors) which is better in guidance than both the Book and the Spirit. (The Book of Allah provides guidance with the Spirit (Ar-Rooh) of the Book, not with man written exegeses/tafseers)
34:31 وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَن نُّؤْمِنَ بِهَٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ وَلَا بِالَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ ۗ وَلَوْ تَرَىٰ إِذِ الظَّالِمُونَ مَوْقُوفُونَ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ يَرْجِعُ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ الْقَوْلَ يَقُولُ الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا لَوْلَا أَنتُمْ لَكُنَّا مُؤْمِنِينَ
The rejecters say. “We shall neither believe with this Al-Quran/the Reading nor with what is between his hands“. If you could only see when the wrong-doers will be made to stand before their Lord, throwing back the word (of blame) on one another! Those who were weak, would say to the arrogant ones. “Had it not been for you, we should certainly have been believers!”
The rejecters don’t believe with Al-Quran (the Reading) and what is between the hands (The Book).
46:12 وَمِن قَبْلِهِ كِتَابُ مُوسَىٰ إِمَامًا وَرَحْمَةً ۚ وَهَٰذَا كِتَابٌ مُّصَدِّقٌ لِّسَانًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّيُنذِرَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُحْسِنِينَ
And book of Moosa/Moses from before was Imam/leader and mercy and this Kitab/Book is confirming in the Arabic Language, so as to warn those who are oppressors and a good news for those who are good doers.
Book of Moosa exists from before as we saw in this post that the attribute of Revelation ‘Al-Kitab’ is associated with Prophet Moosa (a.s) and the Book was given to all prophets. Now this book (Quran) which is between our hands confirms this understanding in Arabic (meaning that the Spirit of the Book comes down with Arabic). When we read the ayahs given in this post in Arabic we come to know that this Book was given to all the prophets and people were reading Al-Kitab in all times. While had we not read the above ayahs in Arabic, some translations of these ayahs presented a different picture, for example the word ‘Baina Yadahi (بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ) is translated differently as ‘before it’ giving the impression of different books existing before Al-Kitab/the Book.
14:4 وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمْ ۖ فَيُضِلُّ اللَّهُ مَن يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
We have not sent a Messenger except in the language of his people, in order to make clear to them. Thus Allah leaves straying those whom He pleases: and He is exalted in power, full of wisdom.
Allah sends messengers to make clear to them the Spirit of the Book of Allah in their own language. Allah has sent messengers in all communities. He has not given them a separate book in all languages of the world. Messengers deliver the sermons and Spirit of the message of Allah from Al-Kitab (which is in Arabic language) and clarifies for them this understanding in the language of their nations.
4:136 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا آمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَالْكِتَابِ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَالْكِتَابِ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ مِن قَبْلُ ۚ وَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا
O you people who believe! Believe in Allah and His messenger, and the Book which He sent down to His messenger and the Book which He sent down before. If any one denies Allah, His angels, His Books, His messengers, and the Day of Judgment, verily he went far, far astray.
Al-Kitab/the Book existed in all times and given to all prophets. Allah ask believers to believe in the the book revealed to the messenger and the book revealed before him which is the same book given to all messengers. Please note that Allah did not say that believe in this Book and the books (in plural) sent before this book. Messenger and people should not doubt about Al-Kitab. People have been reading Al-Kitab before the Messenger (pbuh), as evident in the below Ayat:
10:94 فَإِن كُنتَ فِي شَكٍّ مِّمَّا أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ فَاسْأَلِ الَّذِينَ يَقْرَءُونَ الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِكَ ۚ لَقَدْ جَاءَكَ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُمْتَرِينَ
Thus, if you (the Messenger) is in doubt from what We have revealed to you, then ask those who are reading Al-Kitab/The Book from before you, definitely there has come to you the truth from your Lord, so do not become from the doubtful ones.
10:37 وَمَا كَانَ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ أَن يُفْتَرَىٰ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلَٰكِن تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَتَفْصِيلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ مِن رَّبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
And this Al-Quran / The Reading is not that can be produced from other than Allah, but it is a confirmation, that is between his two hands and the explanation of Al-Kitab / The Book there is no doubt in it from the Lord of the worlds.
This Reading/Al-Quran confirms what is between the hands, and it details the Book/Al-Kitab.
43:21 أَمْ آتَيْنَاهُمْ كِتَابًا مِّن قَبْلِهِ فَهُم بِهِ مُسْتَمْسِكُونَ
‘Have We given them a book before this, and they are upholding it?’
In below ayat, Allah challenges that if there was a book before it (Quran) then bring it forth or bring some remnants of this knowledge. Had present day Bible an altered version of Allah’s Book, then it could have been presented as the older book and remnant of knowledge as response to this challenge. So, the below Ayat confirms that present day Bible is not an altered from of Al-Kitab.
4:46 قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُم مَّا تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَرُونِي مَاذَا خَلَقُوا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ أَمْ لَهُمْ شِرْكٌ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ ۖ ائْتُونِي بِكِتَابٍ مِّن قَبْلِ هَٰذَا أَوْ أَثَارَةٍ مِّنْ عِلْمٍ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
Say: “Do you see what it is you call besides Allah? Show me what it is they have created on earth, or have they a share in the heavens. Bring me a Book before this, or any remnant of knowledge (you may have), if you are telling the truth!
Taurat and Injeel:
In order to know what At-Taurant and Al-Injeel are, lets see what Al-Kitab says about them in below Ayahs:
3:7 هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ۖ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ ۗ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۗ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا ۗ وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ
It is He who has revealed Al-Kitab / The Book over you. In it are muhkamat ayahs ( signs containing orders). They are the mother of Al-Kitab / The Book, and others are mutashabehat / resembling (Ayahs / signs). So in whose heart is deviation, they follow what resembles from it, seeking Fitna/captivation and its interpretation and no one knows its interpretation except Allah. Those who are stable in knowledge they say we believe with it, all is from the nearness of our Lord. And none remembers except those who posses the core.
From the above Ayat we come to know that Al-Kitab/the Book contains two type of ayahs. One type is ‘Muhkamat’ i.e containing orders of Allah.
5:43 وَكَيْفَ يُحَكِّمُونَكَ وَعِندَهُمُ التَّوْرَاةُ فِيهَا حُكْمُ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يَتَوَلَّوْنَ مِن بَعْدِ ذَٰلِكَ ۚ وَمَا أُولَٰئِكَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ
And how can they make you (Mohammad pbuh) a judge? As they have the At-Taurat with them, in it is hukum / order of Allah. Then after that they turn away and they are not with the believers.
We come to know that At-Taurat has the Hukum/Orders of Allah. From Ayat 3:7 and 5:43, we can deduce that the Ayahs of Al-Kitab containing Hukum/orders of Allah are referred to as At-Taurat.
5:44 إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا التَّوْرَاةَ فِيهَا هُدًى وَنُورٌ ۚ يَحْكُمُ بِهَا النَّبِيُّونَ الَّذِينَ أَسْلَمُوا لِلَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالرَّبَّانِيُّونَ وَالْأَحْبَارُ بِمَا اسْتُحْفِظُوا مِن كِتَابِ اللَّهِ وَكَانُوا عَلَيْهِ شُهَدَاءَ ۚ فَلَا تَخْشَوُا النَّاسَ وَاخْشَوْنِ وَلَا تَشْتَرُوا بِآيَاتِي ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۚ وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
Surely We have revealed the Taurat: therein is guidance and light. By it the prophets who were submitters to Allah’s Will, governed for the people who were Jews and the Rabbis and the Ahbar / the scholars: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s book, and they were witnesses to it: therefore fear not people, but fear me, and sell not my signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah has revealed, they are the rejectors.
At-Taurat (Ayahs containing orders of Allah) has guidance and light. The prophets ordered with At-Taurat and they were entrusted with the protection of the Book of Allah.
5:46 وَقَفَّيْنَا عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِم بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ ۖ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْإِنجِيلَ فِيهِ هُدًى وَنُورٌ وَمُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَهُدًى وَمَوْعِظَةً لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ
And We made the following in their footsteps by Essa, son of Marium, verifying what was between his hands from the Taurat and We gave him the Injeel in which is guidance and light, and verifying what was between his hands from the Taurat and a guidance and an sermon for those who guard (against evil).
Injeel is stated as having guidance and light and a sermon for the Mutaqqin/those who take guard. Prophet Essa A.S is associated with the attribute of Al-Kitab, Al- Injeel, which is guidance, light and sermon.
Also please note for Al-Quran:
3:138 هَٰذَا بَيَانٌ لِّلنَّاسِ وَهُدًى وَمَوْعِظَةٌ لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ
This is a statement for mankind, a guidance and sermon to those who take guard!
Allah is asking Ahle-Injeel (people of Gospel) to order by Injeel. Per religious leaders’ interpretation, if Al-Injeel is cancelled when Al-Quran is revealed, then why this order is in Al-Quran. This is possible only if Al-Anjeel is not a different book, but an attribute of the same Book.
5:47 وَلْيَحْكُمْ أَهْلُ الْإِنجِيلِ بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ ۚ وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
‘Let the people of the Injeel judge/govern by what Allah has revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by what Allah has revealed, they are wrongdoers/Fasiqeen.’
5:68 قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَسْتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَيْءٍ حَتَّىٰ تُقِيمُوا التَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنجِيلَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُم مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ ۗ وَلَيَزِيدَنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنْهُم مَّا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ طُغْيَانًا وَكُفْرًا ۖ فَلَا تَأْسَ عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ
Say O’ Ahlal-Kitab / People of the Book you are not on anything/ unless you establish At-Taurat and Al-Injeel and what is revealed from your Lord to all of you. And what is revealed from your Lord to you (the messenger) definitely increases amongst the majority of them in rebellion and rejection. Then you do not greave over the people who reject
Again in the above Ayat, the Ahlal Kitab are asked to establish Taurat and Injeel. If as per common belief, old sharias/old Books are cancelled, how come Allah and his messenger would ask to establish them. This wont be possible unless Al-Injeel and At-Taurat are attributes of the same revelation, Al-Kitab. Second part of the ayat can be practically confirmed on ground that this revelation will increase the majority of people in rebellion and they will not believe in it that Taurat and Injeel are not different books but attributes of Al-Kitab. If we consider in this ayat, Taurat and Injeel as Bible or Bible when it was revealed in original form, how can the people establish it when Quran it self challenges to bring any remnant of knowledge of previous books (4:46), meaning there does not exists any.
3:65 يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لِمَ تُحَاجُّونَ فِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمَا أُنزِلَتِ التَّوْرَاةُ وَالْإِنجِيلُ إِلَّا مِن بَعْدِهِ ۚ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ
O’ People of the Book! Why you dispute in Ibrahim, when the Taurat/Law and the Injeel/Gospel were not revealed but after him? Do you not understand?
Ibrahim as described in Al-Quran is the Idol Breaker and his Muqam/place is clarified Ayahs (3:97). You cannot reach or touch the spirit of the revelation unless you cleanse your self of the filth of idols (56:79). So the first step in the path of the Book and revelation is Ibrahim. You cannot attain the sprit of the Book, until you clean yourself of previous Idols held in high esteem in your Nafs/psyche. After these idols are broken, understanding of Taurat i.e the orders of Allah and Injeel i.e guidance, light and sermon can be attained.
16:123 ثُمَّ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ أَنِ اتَّبِعْ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
“Then We inspired thee (Mohammad), Follow the religion of Ibrahim the True in Faith, and he was not from the Polytheists.”
The Messenger confirms that God has guided him to the straight path of the religion of Ibrahim. So, is it possible that last Messenger with the greatest Book detailing all orders of the religion, was asked to follow the religion of Ibrahim, who was not given this Book? Can we imagine that the last messenger with the final Book was actually following the religion of Ibrahim (a.s) who had a supposedly different sharia and different book?
3:3-4 نَزَّلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَأَنزَلَ التَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنجِيلَ مِن قَبْلُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَأَنزَلَ الْفُرْقَانَ ۗ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ ذُو انتِقَامٍ
It is He Who sent down to you, in truth, the Book, confirming what is between his hands and He sent down the Taurat and the Injeel. before this, for guidance to mankind, and He sent the Furqan/criterion (of judgment between right and wrong).Then those who reject Faith with the Ayahs/ Signs of Allah will suffer the severest penalty, and Allah is exalted in might, Lord of retribution.
Allah sent down the Book which confirms the written Word between the hands and He sent down the Taurat (orders of Allah) and the Injeel (guidance, light and sermon) from before and he sent down Al-Furqan (the criteria to judge).
If we visualize the above Ayat on individual basis, whenever Allah reveals the Book on a Bashar (human) messenger, the Al-Taurat i.e orders of Allah have already been existing for all times on Earth for the believers. Injeel i.e the light, guidance and sermons exists as well. With this revealed book on him, the Bashar/human messenger can use the Furqan/criteria to judge between truth and falsehood and order with the Taurat and sermon with Injeel as previous messengers have done so in their times.
Zaboor means piece, the plural is Zubur meaning pieces and this is also an attribute of the revelation and Al-Kitab. This attribute is associated by name with prophet Dawood (a.s).
17:55 وَرَبُّكَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۗ وَلَقَدْ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَ النَّبِيِّينَ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۖ وَآتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ زَبُورًا
And your Lord knows better all that are in the heavens and in the earth. We did bestowed on some prophets more than on others and We gave Zaboor/Piece to Dawood.
The Az-Zikr (the remembrance) is also an attribute of Al-Kitab and is protected by Allah.
15:9 إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
Indeed, We have sent down the Remembrance; and indeed we are the guardians for it.
21:105 وَلَقَدْ كَتَبْنَا فِي الزَّبُورِ مِن بَعْدِ الذِّكْرِ أَنَّ الْأَرْضَ يَرِثُهَا عِبَادِيَ الصَّالِحُونَ
And indeed we wrote in Zaboor after the Zikr that My servants the righteous, shall inherit the earth.
Az-Zikr is written in Zaboor/Piece
26:192-197 وَإِنَّهُ لَتَنزِيلُ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ نَزَلَ بِهِ الرُّوحُ الْأَمِينُ عَلَىٰ قَلْبِكَ لِتَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُنذِرِينَ بِلِسَانٍ عَرَبِيٍّ مُّبِينٍ وَإِنَّهُ لَفِي زُبُرِ الْأَوَّلِينَ أَوَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُمْ آيَةً أَن يَعْلَمَهُ عُلَمَاءُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ
This is a revelation from the Lord of the Worlds. Sent down the Ruh-ul-Ameen/Honest Spirit with it. On your heart, so that you may be of the warners, with the clear Arabic language. Verily, it is in the Zubur/Pieces of earlier people. Is it not an ayat/sign for them that the scholars of the Bani Israel know it.
The revelation, which the Honest Spirit (Rooh ul Ameen) brought on the messenger’s heart, came with clear Arabic and this indeed was in the pieces of the earlier people.
35:25 وَإِن يُكَذِّبُوكَ فَقَدْ كَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ جَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَبِالزُّبُرِ وَبِالْكِتَابِ الْمُنِيرِ
And if they reject thee, so did their predecessors, to whom came their messengers with Bayyinat/Clear Signs, Zubur/Pieces and with the Book of enlightenment.
Unbelievers will however reject this as were the previous messengers who came with clarity, and Zubur/pieces and with enlightened Book.
16:44 بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالزُّبُرِ ۗ وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
(We sent them) with Bayyinat/Clear Signs and Zubur/Pieces; and We have sent down unto you the Zikr/remembrance that you explain clearly to men what is sent for them, and that they may reflect on it.
6:91 وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ إِذْ قَالُوا مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ بَشَرٍ مِّن شَيْءٍ ۗ قُلْ مَنْ أَنزَلَ الْكِتَابَ الَّذِي جَاءَ بِهِ مُوسَىٰ نُورًا وَهُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ ۖ تَجْعَلُونَهُ قَرَاطِيسَ تُبْدُونَهَا وَتُخْفُونَ كَثِيرًا ۖ وَعُلِّمْتُم مَّا لَمْ تَعْلَمُوا أَنتُمْ وَلَا آبَاؤُكُمْ ۖ قُلِ اللَّهُ ۖ ثُمَّ ذَرْهُمْ فِي خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُونَ
They did not value Allah as He should be valued. When they said, “Allah did not reveal anything to a bashar/human.” Say, “Who then sent down the Book which Moosa brought, with light and guidance for the people?” You made it to pieces of paper, you show something while concealing a lot of it. You were taught what you never knew-you and your parents. Say, “Allah (revealed it),” then leave them in their heedlessness, playing.
The revelation from Allah has been put down on pieces of papers by people.
Books of Allah:
The plural of Kitab/book is Kutub/books in Arabic.
2:285 آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ ۚ وَقَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ
The messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the believers. All of them believe in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers. “We make no distinction (they say) between any of His messengers.” And they say. “We hear, and we obey. (We seek) your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the destiny.”
The above ayat mentions books. Lets see what could be meant by books of Allah:
98:2-3 رَسُولٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ يَتْلُو صُحُفًا مُّطَهَّرَةً فِيهَا كُتُبٌ قَيِّمَةٌ
A messenger from Allah, reading pages purified. Wherein (these pages) are books established.
The books of Allah are established within the purified pages and the messenger reads from these pages. The suras/chapters of Al-Kitab are referred in plural form as books/kutub.
– بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ The Arabic words ‘Baina Yadaihi’ means ‘between his hands’. Does not mean ‘Before it’ as found in some translations.
- Part of the lecture of Scholar Mr. Ahmed Deedat informing about Bible is not actually Injeel or Taurat
Lecture by Scholar Br. Mohammad Shaikh on Al-Kitab/The Book: