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The Qur'an & the Bible

Updated: Nov 23, 2019


In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful.


I would like to start addressing the issues raised in Gabriel Said Reynold's book "The Qur'an and the Bible: Text and Commentary" (published: 1 Jun 2018). It is a voluminous book which requires a team of Muslim researchers to deal with the issues raised, but I'll make a start for now.


The book starts off by quoting a part of Surah 10:94, translated as:


"So if you are in doubt about what We have sent down to you, ask those who read the Book

[revealed] before you."


The Arabic wording of the full verse is:


فَاِنۡ کُنۡتَ فِیۡ شَکٍّ مِّمَّاۤ اَنۡزَلۡنَاۤ اِلَیۡکَ فَسۡـَٔلِ الَّذِیۡنَ یَقۡرَءُوۡنَ الۡکِتٰبَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِکَ ۚ لَقَدۡ جَآءَکَ الۡحَقُّ مِنۡ رَّبِّکَ فَلَا تَکُوۡنَنَّ مِنَ الۡمُمۡتَرِیۡنَ

The standard Ahmadiyya translation of the verse in full is:


"And if thou art in doubt concerning that which We have sent down to thee, ask those who have been reading the Book before thee. Indeed the truth has come to thee from thy Lord; be not, therefore, of those who doubt."


mirza tahir sahib translates it in Urdu as follows:


پس اگر تُو اس بارہ میں کسی تردّد میں ہو جو ہم نے تیری طرف اتارا ہے تو اُن سے پوچھ لے جو تجھ سے پہلے (بھیجی ہوئی) کتاب پڑھتے ہیں۔ یقیناً حق ہی ہے جو تیرے ربّ کی طرف سے تیرے پاس آیا ہے پس تُو ہرگز شک کرنے والوں میں سے نہ ہو۔


Note that both the translation used by Gabriel S. Reynolds and mirza tahir sahib add the words [revealed] and [which was sent (a translation of the Urdu original)]. This changes the meaning of the verse. Had the Arabic wording being:


فَسۡـَٔلِ الَّذِیۡنَ یَقۡرَءُوۡنَ الۡکِتٰبَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِه


i.e. ask those who have been reciting/reading the Book before IT, then one would be compelled to understand it as translated by the two authors mentioned above. However, the wording as it is in Arabic, advises the readers of the Qur'an to ask those who have been reading/reciting the Qur'an, and thus studying it, before yourself. This is in keeping with standard rules of the acquisition of correct knowledge when a doubt arises about the meaning of a statement made within a Book. It makes no sense to ask someone who studies a different Book which contains differences from the text of the Book you have developed an issue with.


Hence the Urdu translation of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II r.a. states the view I have expressed:


https://www.alislam.org/quran/view/?page=267&region=TS&CR=


He translates it in Urdu to mean: "seek information those who are reading this (same) Book", which is the contextual translation and meaning of the verse. Likewise is the case with his detailed commentary on the verse:


https://www.alislam.org/quran/view/?page=127&region=T3&CR=


In fact, a preceding verse (10:90) refers to the eventual belief of Pharaoh in the God of the Children of Israel as he was drowning. Given that the Bible makes no reference to this unseen/unheard exchange of Pharaoh with God Almighty, how would a Bible reader remove any doubt about this which a student of the Noble Qur'an might develop? I raised this argument with a Russian Christian scholar of (Abrahamic) religions during a seminar at the 'Centre for Muslim Christian Studies' in Oxford UK around 2012, and she erroneously initially thought I was lying to her. However, she changed her attitude afterwards, once my argument sank in.


The beauty of the Qur'an is that it draws the readers in on an issue in which it might appear to be saying a thing which is the same as happens to be in the mind of the reader, but on deeper examination and closer inspection, it says something entirely different. This phenomenon also appeared in the case of [3:49] in which it might at first sight appear to some to be talking about literal miracles, but on closer inspection, it is talking entirely about a spiritual revival, as hinted at in the article entitled 'Miracles & Metaphors'. Hence the need to ponder over the Qur'an carefully and sincerely.


[19:76] Allah increases in guidance those who follow the guidance. [20:47] Peace be upon those who follow the guidance.


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