Correspondence: The Holy Quran and Old Scriptures

by Muhammad Manzur Ilahi

The Light (Pakistan), 15th June 1922 Issue (Vol. 1, No. 13, pp. 3–4)

The Editor
The Light

A correspondent of The Epiphany dated May 20th, 1922 asserts that the Holy Quran testifies the truth of the Old and the New Testaments as they are at present in the hands of Jews and Christians and that by the

“supposed corruption of scriptures”

is only meant

“corruption of meaning” (Tahrif-i-Manawi).

“Some sects of Islam, either from ignorance or wickedness,”

differ from this idea, but in the opinion of the said correspondent,

“how impossible it would be for such people to alter the text of the Quran.”

Leaving the Christian correspondent’s kind words of “ignorant” and “wicked” for the followers of Islam who differ from him in opinion, I must remind him that the followers of a Book are more suitable to put the correct meaning of a word used in their Holy Books than bigoted and narrow-minded outsiders.

The Quran nowhere testifies the authenticity of the Books in the hands of Jews and Christians, the writers of which themselves never claimed their Divine origin. For instance, Luke says:

“Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,

Even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word.

It seemed good to me also: — having had per­fect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,          

That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed” (Luke, 1:1-4).

In the above [quotation], the writer of this Gospel does not claim its Divine origin but plainly sets forth the reasons which prompted him to write this book, which are:

  1. the example of other writers of Jesus’s life;
  2. his consciousness of possessing “perfect understanding of all things from the very first”;
  3. to import reliable information to Theophilus with a view to establishing him in the faith.

This shows that the writer of this Gospel did not stand in need of any verbal inspiration from God, as he was already in possession of perfect understanding of all things from the very first.”

Now, who will call such a book

“Divine revelation from God to Isa [Jesus], son of Mary”

the author of which even did not claim its origin through inspiration from God? Could the Holy Quran testify such unreliable book as a revelation from God?

I need not go in detail regarding each book of the New Testament, as the reader can judge for himself that these are four different biographies of Jesus written by four different uninspired persons at different times and none of them claimed its Divine origin.

As regards the Old Testament, of Deuteronomy, the book is said to be revelations of Moses [AS], and one finds from the style and manner of writing that Moses [AS] could not be its writer. After opening the subject by a short dramatic discourse, the writer introduces Moses [AS] in the act of speaking; and when he has made Moses [AS] finish his harangue, the writer resumes his own part, and speaks until he brings Moses [AS] forward again; and finally, the book ends with an account of the death, funeral, and character of Moses [AS], circumstances which it cannot be presumed Moses [AS] could describe.

The writer says,

“and no man knoweth where the sepulchre of Moses is unto this day,”

evidently referring to a much later period than that of Moses [AS].

I wonder that such untrustworthy books are pressed upon Muslims as revelations from God to the great prophets like Moses [AS] and Jesus [AS]. I will deal with the testimony of the Quran to the Torah, the Zabour [Zabur], and the Injil [Gospels] or other revelations in your next [issue].

Muhammad Manzur Ilahi