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Offline Athman

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An Inquiry on People of the Book and their 'Book'
« on: March 05, 2018, 10:39:13 AM »
Salamun Aleikum,

Dear Br. Joseph,

I have an inquiry which comes in two-fold in what is actually of concern.

1) In your opinion, how do you reconcile the fact that the Qur’an/ ‘Dhikr’ has been promised to be preserved (15:9) while the former ‘scriptures’ were somehow ‘allowed’ to be partly interfered with, 5:15 (though not wholly corrupted) albeit being expected to be the ‘judging scriptures’ among the ‘People of the Book’ for all life? I do understand that the Qur’an has to be the Criterion for discernment as ‘muhayminan alaihi.’ (5:48)

2) In your opinion, whom do you consider or believe the Qur'an to be expecting be judging by their Book (Taurat/Injeel) in 'our' time? Is it any one claiming to be Jew/Christian, 'only' the actual Jews/christians among citizens of 'Israel' or there's an overlap?


Regards,

Athman.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: An Inquiry on People of the Book and their 'Book'
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2018, 03:30:56 AM »
Dear brother Athman,

Wa alaikum assalam

Before I respond to your questions directly, please kindly note a link below which may also provide some more insights to my humble perspective.

Are the Previous Scriptures Corrupted or Not - How Do We Interact with it? [1]
http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=1264

Please kindly see my responses to your questions in brown italics

1) In your opinion, how do you reconcile the fact that the Qur’an/ ‘Dhikr’ has been promised to be preserved (15:9) while the former ‘scriptures’ were somehow ‘allowed’ to be partly interfered with, 5:15 (though not wholly corrupted) albeit being expected to be the ‘judging scriptures’ among the ‘People of the Book’ for all life? I do understand that the Qur’an has to be the Criterion for discernment as ‘muhayminan alaihi.’ (5:48)

In my humble opinion, the first point to note is that by merely 'protecting the remembrance (dhikr)' (15:9) of a revelation in the form of a Scripture does not guarantee that errant theologies will not find currency. This can be observed in both the 'tradionalist' and the 'Quranist' circles where one arguably finds notable divergences from the essence of the Scripture despite the guarantee of verse 15:9.

So by the mere possibility that the mode of preservation and transmission of the previous scriptures may have differed slightly (one was afforded direct protection of the remembrance by God), this does not place any particular religious group at a great disadvantage, especially when the Quran deems the previous Scriptures credible and fit for guidance (28:48-49). [2]

Secondly, more often than not, it is what is being 'read into' the Scripture that is more relevant.

Thirdly, as I have noted in many of my writings, there was also an attempt to 'conceal' (takhfuna - 5:15) the Scripture in the past and not only write additional material and pass it off as Scripture (2:79). Consequently, this could imply that guidance is not necessarily ‘lost’, as much as it has at times been concealed from the masses or errant theological statements inserted [3]. However, from a Quranic perspective at least, this does not leave the previous Scriptures without credibility or the truth undiscernible.

Therefore, as experience has taught us, no community including the Islamic community, was at a distinct disadvantage as can be observed even by the practices of the masses today. A protected 'dhikr' (in the case of the Quran) arguably does not guarantee pure theology, albeit it does allow the ability to revert to the primary source if extant theological shackles do not inhibit the desire.

However, having noted the guiles of many a Quranist approach with arguably even more diverse and outlandish interpretations than the tradionalists they often criticise, I am not even convinced that having the primary source to one's avail creates that much of an advantage, bar to a few.

Hence, the reconciliation for me isn't difficult.


2) In your opinion, whom do you consider or believe the Qur'an to be expecting be judging by their Book (Taurat/Injeel) in 'our' time? Is it any one claiming to be Jew/Christian, 'only' the actual Jews/christians among citizens of 'Israel' or there's an overlap?

Arguably, 'our time' is not so much different to the time when the Arabian prophet was preaching the Quran to his people. Even though Quranic instruction pointed the People of the Book to judge by their own Scriptures, errant theologies still existed. This is clear from the errant beliefs amongst certain factions of the People of the Book (9:30) that were in situ, despite the presence of their Scriptures.

Therefore, if the Quran deemed it appropriate to expect the People of the Book to judge by their Books, with the implication that their errant theologies were being 'read into the Scripture without warrant' at the time of revelation and that they could be corrected, then the same Scriptures should arguably be able to accomplish the task today. The proviso being, that they are read properly without bias and in truth. If anything, given the immense scholarship work that has already been accomplished on the previous Scriptures including historical finds and the plethora of information that is available at ease with the help of technology, this task should be arguably easier than for the communities of yore.

Therefore, any adherent of the Jewish or Christian faith is arguably expected to judge by their Scriptures in truth and is expected not to 'read' errant theologies or practices into their religion.

Finally, as you have correctly noted, the Quran still remains the ‘muhayminan’ (5:48) over the previous Scriptures.

I hope that helps, God willing.
Joseph


REFERENCES:

[1] Are the Previous Scriptures Corrupted or Not - How Do We Interact with it?
http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=1264
[2] The TWO GUIDES - THE QURAN AND THE BIBLE
https://www.facebook.com/joseph.a.islam/posts/300599863410481
[3] THE BIBLE DOES NOT TEACH THE 'TRINITY'
http://quransmessage.com/articles/trinity%20FM3.htm
[4] LAMBASTING THE BIBLE
http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=146
[5] 'BETWEEN HIS HANDS' OR 'BEFORE IT' (MA BAYNA YADAYHI)
http://quransmessage.com/articles/between%20hands%20or%20before%20it%20FM3.htm




'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Athman

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Re: An Inquiry on People of the Book and their 'Book'
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2018, 01:17:49 PM »
Salaam,

Dear Br. Joseph,

Thanks for your response and the references. They actually do help. I also appreciate your dedicated precious time to address my inquiry. However, I still do have some unsettled concerns. I hope you will still spare some time to address.

With such a proviso as you share above (from an unbiased standpoint and as confirmed sooth) and with the Qur’an as the ‘final criterion,’ the ‘Scriptures’ would still be expected to be ‘guidance’ for the ‘People of the Book’ despite the errant theologies, the obfuscated pieces and those non-scriptural annexes advanced in the name of Scripture. I also agree that by Allah’s pledge to ‘protect’ the Qur’an/’Dhikr’ in the Qur’an, errant theologies by ‘individuals’ and various factions developing as a result are not something guaranteed not to happen for those Qur’an ‘believers.’ Thus, yes, no specific religious group can somehow be termed disadvantaged.

However, the gist of my inquiry lies at the fact that while the Qur’an’s majority extant copies are arguably of the protected original manuscript, the previous ‘scriptures’ haven’t survived the same, albeit not wholly corrupted. ‘In this,’ the Qur’an and the ‘scriptures’ can’t compare. With that, can one posit that the ‘promise’ for the Quran’s divine protection (15:9) was in one way actioned via the transmission method (memorization alongside writing) while some other less effective method was used for the previous ‘scriptures,’ by its contemporaries, in the main, being Allah’s plan, probably as a test, that they (previous scriptures) get slightly 'interfered' with? Otherwise, could there be some reason as to why the Qur’an survived ‘originality’ of ‘matn’ (script) and 'remembrance,' with such a promise (15:9)?
 
I also agree that in that respect, “ 'our time' is not so much different to the time when the Arabian prophet was preaching the Quran to his people.

By referring to ‘our time,’ I am concerned about the fact that ‘Christianity’ and ‘Judaism’ faiths are now spread worldwide. I wasn’t sure if it is the ‘Israelites’ that are expected to be judging by the ‘scriptures’ (Book & Injeel) or it is any claimed Jew/Christian. This is with a view that though the Qur’an(Mohammad) was first meant to be a warning to the ‘Mother of the cities’ and those surrounding it(42:7, 6:92), as the primary audience, it is to be the guidance for all/'whole world'(4:174) being the ‘final’ protected scripture while on the other hand, the ‘scriptures’ (Moses, Jesus) were meant for the 'Israelites' (43:59,3:49,3:93,5:110)-unless am missing some point.

Otherwise, if it is any ‘self-proclaimed’ adherent of the two faiths that is expected to judge by ‘their scriptures,’ should it imply that ‘anyone’ can choose to be Christian/Jew or Muslim and thus judge with the ‘scriptures’ or Qur’an, respectively, with Qur’an as the final criterion? And thus, can the ‘previous scriptures’ also be regarded as meant for all/whole world with a proviso that they be read with no bias and in truth, and with the Qur’an as the final criterion?


Regards,

Athman.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: An Inquiry on People of the Book and their 'Book'
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2018, 11:05:11 PM »
Dear brother Athman,

Wa alaikum assalam

Please may I kindly request that you accept my response as my last to you on this matter. I respectfully would not seek to have a protracted discussion on this matter beyond what I have shared. I trust this will be kindly agreeable with you.

Please kindly note my responses in brown italics below.

By referring to ‘our time,’ I am concerned about the fact that ‘Christianity’ and ‘Judaism’ faiths are now spread worldwide.

There should be no specific concern. It is noteworthy that Christianity and Judaism had also spread worldwide at the time of the ministry of Prophet Muhammad. The Jews were in diaspora, and the Christians with all the various theological leans / denominations had also spread wide by the 6th century AD.

I wasn’t sure if it is the ‘Israelites’ that are expected to be judging by the ‘scriptures’ (Book & Injeel) or it is any claimed Jew/Christian.

Firstly, it is a separate debate what it means to be a ‘Christian’ from a Quranic perspective. Are the Gospels to be read separately from the Old Testament or as a continuation of it? Many Christians today (and arguably at the time of Prophet Muhammad’s ministry), believe that the New Testament is part of a ‘New Covenant’ and thus replaces (supercedes) the Old Testament in toto. They do not practice many of the observances of the Jews (such as the Sabbath / abstaining from consuming Pork etc).

From a Quran’s perspective, Jesus came to the Israelites [1] and arguably, never preached abandonment of the old laws / observances. Therefore, from a Quranic perspective, there is an argument that the ‘Injeel’ given to Prophet Jesus should be read as a continuation of the older Scriptures and the observances still apply to those that claim to follow him.

What actually happens today is quite a different matter as is the case with Islam. There are numerous denominations in Christianity as there are sects in Islam. For example, the Seventh-day churches do not abandon the concept of a Sabbath, Unitarian Christians see God as one entity dismissing the Trinity and believing Jesus not to be a deity and a normal human being. Methodists, Adventists may abstain or prohibit alcohol. Therefore, it all depends how the Bible is being interpreted and by whom.

Therefore from a Quran’s perspective, anyone claiming to be a Jew or a Christian should be reading their Scripture in ‘truth’.


This is with a view that though the Qur’an(Mohammad) was first meant to be a warning to the ‘Mother of the cities’ and those surrounding it(42:7, 6:92), as the primary audience, it is to be the guidance for all/'whole world'(4:174) being the ‘final’ protected scripture while on the other hand, the ‘scriptures’ (Moses, Jesus) were meant for the 'Israelites' (43:59,3:49,3:93,5:110)-unless am missing some point.

The Torah given to Prophet Moses was indeed revealed to the Israelites and Prophet Jesus also preached to them. However, this did not mean that the gentile (non-Jewish) faction that followed Prophet Jesus subsequently, relying on the Gospels given to him, could not discern the truth or follow proper religion.

Certainly by the 6th century when the Quran was revealed, there was an expectation by the Quran that those that claimed to be ‘Christians’ should be able to judge by their revealed Scriptures in truth. It is also quite probable, that the Quran was primarily referring to the Christians and Jews that it came into contact with, but also addressed these factions widely. For example, we know that the belief that Ezra being the son of God (9:30) was not a mainstream Jewish belief and not all Christians believed in God’s multiple essences as ‘Three’ (4:171).


Otherwise, if it is any ‘self-proclaimed’ adherent of the two faiths that is expected to judge by ‘their scriptures,’ should it imply that ‘anyone’ can choose to be Christian/Jew or Muslim and thus judge with the ‘scriptures’ or Qur’an, respectively, with Qur’an as the final criterion? And thus, can the ‘previous scriptures’ also be regarded as meant for all/whole world with a proviso that they be read with no bias and in truth, and with the Qur’an as the final criterion?

As I mentioned earlier, irrespective of the plethora of denominations and theological leans, the Torah was revealed for the Israelites and the Injeel given to Prophet Jesus, was arguably a continuation of the Torah and to be followed as such.

The only Scripture that can be considered to be revealed for all mankind arguably remains the Quran (“…that the Messenger may be a bearer of witness to you, and you may be bearers of witness to the people…” 22:78). However, this does not dismiss the notion that the Old / New Testament remains a source of guidance particularly for those that are born into the Judeo-Christian teachings, as long as it is read in truth. [2], [3]

Therefore, it is my humble view from the Quran, that those wanting to follow the Abrahamic faith (from outside the 3 major religions), should lean towards accepting the Quran as the final criterion and following its edicts in truth.


I hope this helps, God willing,
Joseph


REFERENCES:

[1] WAS PROPHET JESUS (pbuh) SENT TO THE GENTILES?
http://quransmessage.com/articles/jesus%20ministry%20FM3.htm
[2] Studying the Bible as Another Source for Guidance
https://www.facebook.com/joseph.a.islam/posts/396647927139007
[3] The Two Guides
https://www.facebook.com/joseph.a.islam/posts/300599863410481


 
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Athman

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Re: An Inquiry on People of the Book and their 'Book'
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2018, 07:25:12 AM »
Salaam Br. Joseph,

Thanks for your additional comments. Sincerely noted and appreciated. Thanks also for your dedicated time and energy on this matter.

Regards,
Athman.