3.4 Books of God
"(Muslims) believe in that which
has been revealed to thee (O Muhammad) and that which was revealed before
thee." (The Holy Quran 2:4)
"He has revealed to thee (O
Muhammad) the Book with truth, verifying that which is before it,
and He revealed the Torah and the Gospel before, a guidance for the
people, and He sent the Discrimination (the Quran)." (3:3)
What is a Book of God?
To the various Prophets that God sent for people's guidance, He revealed
His teachings. The Prophets made this revelation public, and their followers
learnt it and passed it down to their children, and they in turn passed
it down to the next generation, and so on. This is how we come to have
the 'scriptures' or 'holy books' of various religions today. Islam calls
the original revelations of the Prophets as "Books of God"
because they were meant to be preserved in a collected form (whether
orally or written, or both).
Please name some of the Books of God which exist today?
The revelations granted by God to the Prophets before the Holy Prophet
Muhammad, such as Moses, Jesus, Krishna, and Buddha, cannot be found
today in their full and original form. However, the presentday scriptures
of the followers of these great prophets do contain some fragments of
the original teachings, although they are mixed up with later additions
and interpretations. Some of these scriptures are: the Torah of the
Jews, the Gospels of the Christians, the Vedas of the Hindus, and the
Zend Avesta of the Zoroastrians.
On the other hand, the word of God that came to the Holy Prophet Muhammad
is to be found fully intact and completely preserved in the Muslim scripture,
which is known as the Quran.
Do Muslims have to believe in Divine scriptures other than their own?
Muslims have to believe that the original teachings of all the Prophets,
including Moses, Jesus, the Prophets of India, those of China, etc.,
were revealed by God. On that basis, they respect the scriptures of
other religions because some of the original revelations can still be
found in them. So Muslims are required to believe that the religions
that came before Islam, such as Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism,
etc., contain many truths, even as they exist today.
In what relation does the Holy Quran stand to other Divine Scriptures?
The Holy Quran claims to be:
|| a "verifier" of previous scriptures: "a
Book from Allah verifying that which they have" (2:89).|
|| a "guardian" over them (5:48).|
|| a "judge" to decide their differences: "We
have not revealed to thee the Book except that thou may make clear
to them that wherein they differ" (16:64).|
|| to "make manifest" and to "perfect"
their teachings (26:1; 5:3).
Please explain the four points above a little further.
|| The Holy Quran verifies that all the scriptures revealed to
various nations of the world are of Divine origin.|
|| It has guarded and preserved those of their original teachings
that were of permanent application, after these had become obscure
due to loss and alteration in their texts.|
|| All scriptures were from God, but they had changed so much
as to become totally different from each other, even in terms
of their basic teachings. The Holy Quran came as a "judge"
to decide these differences, and to sort out the original teachings
from later changes.|
|| The Holy Quran shed full light on all essentials of faith,
many of which had not been fully dealt with in the earlier scriptures.
It also replaced those of their teachings which were only local
or temporary by perfect and universal teachings applicable to
all nations and all times.