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Offline Mubashir

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Previous Scriptures and the Qur'an
« on: November 07, 2011, 06:21:22 PM »
Dear Br Joe and friends,

With respect to life to come, after giving good news to those who believe and do good and bad news to those that do not, we read in the Qur'an:

"87:18 Verily, [all] this has indeed been [said] in the earlier revelations" (87:19) the revelations/scriptures of Abraham and Moses.

What is the concept of life in the hereafter in the Bible and particularly the scriptures of Moses? Do we read verses in it that speak of an after life with consequences? Do those scriptures speak of a Day of Judgement and accountability?

Seems from the above that Abraham was also recipient of a scripture. Does the Bible speak about it?

While speaking of earlier scriptures, we are told in the Qur'an that Allah gave "Injeel" to Jesus. Does that mean it was in the same form as the Qur'an where Allah speaks directly to man or does that refer to "inspiration" which Jesus conveyed orally to his people? In the New Testament Books we find stories about Jesus written down by men but not a Qur'an-like Book where Allah talks directly to His Messenger and his audience?

Thanks.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Previous Scriptures and the Qur'an
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2011, 05:27:06 AM »
Peace Mubashir,

ANSWER TO QUESTION 1:

The concept of answerability and judgement is well attested in the Bible (Both OT and NT).

Ezekiel 44:12 (KJB)
"Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity"

Matthew 25:46 (KJB)
"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal"


ANSWER TO QUESTION 2:

'Suhuf' are written pieces of paper / parchments or of a skin and something collected between two boards. It is usually better rendered as scrolls.

The Quran speaks of the existence of the 'suhuf' of Prophet Abraham without giving any indication as to when they existed. What is interesting to note is that the Quran does not speak about its possible alteration at the hands of previous followers of scriptures. Nor does it mention any human accretions as it does with the case of the Torah and Bible.

This leads me to consider the possibility that the 'Suhuf' of Abraham was (a) not an extant text even at the time of the Prophet or (b) That it was a scripture that existed but was regarded as non canon (Apocrypha - such as the Testament of Abraham) by both the Jews and Christians followers.  However, there is every likelihood based on its mention in the Quran along with the suhuf of Prophet Moses, (87:19), that it was an extant literature at the time of the Prophet but later became lost or faded from memory.

Some scholars have surmised that this 'Suhuf' could be a reference to certain literature such as the Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Formation) or other non-canonical works as the Testament of Abraham mentioned above.


ANSWER TO QUESTION 3:

With regards the Injeel, it has never been described by the Quran as a 'kitab' or 'suhuf'. In fact, a couple of times it is not even recognised as 'scripture' in the same sense as the Torah or Quran (Possibly a reference to major law bearing scriptures).

046:012
"And before this (Arabic: wamin qablihi), was the Book (kitab) of Moses as a guide and a mercy: And this Book (kitab) confirms (it) in the Arabic tongue; to warn those that do wrong and as glad tidings to those who do right"

The above verse seems to negate that there was a 'kitab' before the Quran other than the Torah.

This is also confirmed in 11:17 and in 46.30 where the Jinn also seem to have heard the Quran as a 'dialog in truth' but after the one given to Prophet Moses.

It can be argued from the Quran that the Injeel comprises the 'teachings' and 'wisdom' imparted by Prophet Jesus. This was then later communicated by Prophet Jesus's disciples to later compilers on their behalf.

However, it is important to note that whatever the 'nature' of the injeel, the Quran confirms (musaddiqan) whatever essence of the Christian writings was extant at the time of revelation of the Quran. This does not seem to imply that the Injeel that was in the possession of the Christians at the time of the Prophet was corrupted beyond recognition as is sometimes asserted by Muslims.

003:003-4
"He revealed to you the Book in truth confirming that which is between his hands (Arabic: ma bayna yadayhi) (i.e. authenticating what is present with it of the Torah and Bible) and He revealed the Torah and the Gospel before this as a guidance for mankind; and He revealed the criterion. Indeed, those who disbelieve in the verses of God, for them is a severe punishment and God Almighty is all able to retribute"

Please note the relationship of the scriptures. The Quran confirms the inherent veracity of the previous scriptures that was existing at the time of revelation while leaving itself as the criterion to judge right from wrong (furqan).

Prophet Jesus clearly had inspired wisdom from a young age and he taught this wisdom confirming the Torah that was with him. It seems likely to me that these teachings were later communicated and compiled and became known as the Injeel (Gospels).


Please see the following related article:

'BETWEEN HIS HANDS' OR 'BEFORE IT' (MA BAYNA YADAYHI)
http://www.quransmessage.com/articles/between%20hands%20or%20before%20it%20FM3.htm


I hope this helps.

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

Offline Mubashir

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Re: Previous Scriptures and the Qur'an
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2011, 01:48:42 PM »
Peace Br Joe

You said:

Ezekiel 44:12 (KJB)

"Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity"

Can this not refer to punishment in this world (as per His Law of consequences for all nations)? It does not seem to speak of a concept of after life, or the life to come, or a Day of Results/Judgement Day. In the Qur'an the description of life to come, judgement, hell and heaven have been repeatedly given in vivid detail.

I was wondering if, during your studies of the Bible, you found similar material. Do the Jews believe in reserruction and Day of Judgement?

Seems as if what revelation was given to Jesus was named as Injeel. Most or some Muslims think that it was given in a similar form as the Qur'an and they have completely lost it. That does not seem to be the case or the disciples would have mentioned it.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Previous Scriptures and the Qur'an
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2011, 07:01:53 PM »
Dear Mubashir,

Salamun Alaikum.

I agree with your sentiment and I too do not find support from the Quran that the true 'Injeel' was (or is) a lost book.

I said:
"The concept of answerability and judgement is well attested in the Bible (Both OT and NT)"

I quoted Ezekiel 44:12 with respect to the above without any particular lean on whether this was with respect to the punishment meted on earth (Cause and effect) or the Hereafter. I did not intend to share it with a view to support an afterlife.

I partially concur with your sentiments with regards the concept of the after life within the Jewish Tanakh. Albeit, that the Tanakh's focus seems to be on how to live life within God's ordained religion, this does not imply that it is devoid of a concept of the afterlife despite the dearth of direct verses.

Yes indeed, the Tanakh does not focus on the after-life whereas the NT and in particular, the Quran provides ample verses that do. However, the concept of an afterlife has been discussed throughout antiquity by the Jewish sages.
 
The same questions of God's plan, purpose are still as fundamental for Judaism as it is for Christianity or Islam (Term Islam - as commonly understood).

Personally, I do find support for a concept of afterlife in the Jewish Tanakh. We even note a question posed by Prophet Job.

Job 14:14 (KJV)
"If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come"

In Daniel, I find clear mention of an afterlife.

Daniel 12:2 (KJV)
"And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting * life , and some to shame [and] everlasting * contempt"

* The Hebrew word used is 'owlam' which means everlasting, a long duration, perpetual, eternity.

The concept of an afterlife also seems to be something familiar to Prophet David:

Psalm 17:15 (KJV)
"As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness"

I am truly of the opinion that a dearth of direct narratives in the OT dealing with an afterlife should not be equated with an absence of the concept altogether. Indeed, the focus of the OT is on the living and how to live life in accordance with God's laws. But there is a purpose which I feel even the OT recognises.

I hope the above verses and clarification helps.

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