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Muslim views on the relationship between the Koran and Torah/Old Testament

This is a discussion on Muslim views on the relationship between the Koran and Torah/Old Testament within the Islam in General forums, part of the Main Topics category; Hi there. This is my first post, and feel a bit bad for starting with something that may be controversial... ...

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    Default Muslim views on the relationship between the Koran and Torah/Old Testament

    Hi there. This is my first post, and feel a bit bad for starting with something that may be controversial... but it may not be.

    In the Torah/OT it talks about Arabs as having descended from Abraham's illegitimate child, and then goes onto a rather racist description of them. I know the Qur'an has many similarities to the torrah, and also sees Abraham as an important prophet.

    Does the Qur'an have a similar story about the descendants of Abraham? Is Abraham seen as ethnically Jewish? Is there any Muslim religious story relating to the division between Arab and Jewish people? Is the torah seen as divinely inspired? - If so, why the differences? - If not, why the similarities when it predates the Qur'an?

    If anyone knows what the 'mainstream' Islamic position for these issues is, I'd like to know. If not, all your personal ideas would be great too. I'm completely ignorant on the matter, and google has failed me.

    Some of these threads seem to get rather heated, so sorry if I'm stepping on any toes, it's just a matter that's grabbed my attention.

    Thanks.

    edit: Most people here seem to use Qur'an over Koran. Does this matter?
    Last edited by godf; 23rd May 2008 at 07:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by godf View Post
    Hi there. This is my first post, and feel a bit bad for starting with something that may be controversial... but it may not be.

    In the Torah/OT it talks about Arabs as having descended from Abraham's illegitimate child, and then goes onto a rather racist description of them. I know the Qur'an has many similarities to the torrah, and also sees Abraham as an important prophet.

    Does the Qur'an have a similar story about the descendants of Abraham? Is Abraham seen as ethnically Jewish? Is there any Muslim religious story relating to the division between Arab and Jewish people? Is the torah seen as divinely inspired? - If so, why the differences? - If not, why the similarities when it predates the Qur'an?

    If anyone knows what the 'mainstream' Islamic position for these issues is, I'd like to know. If not, all your personal ideas would be great too. I'm completely ignorant on the matter, and google has failed me.

    Some of these threads seem to get rather heated, so sorry if I'm stepping on any toes, it's just a matter that's grabbed my attention.

    Thanks.

    edit: Most people here seem to use Qur'an over Koran. Does this matter?
    Hi there,

    Please visit www.IslamReligion.com and click on the box entitled LIVE CHAT so you can talk to people whose job is to answer EXACTLY such questions.

    You will always get a response within a couple days (usually within 1 day), and there are a few hours every day where you can just ask questions live.

    Muslims do not believe that Prophet Abraham [as] was a Jew at all. The term "Jew" comes from the term "Judah". According to the Bible, "Judah" was the name of one of Prophet Jacob's sons. And then an area in Palestine was named "Judah" after this son. And then the term "Jewish" originated from that.

    All of this occurred way after Prophet Abraham [as] died. Linguistically, the term "Jew" did NOT EXIST in time of Prophet Abraham [as]. This is not conspiracy theory. It is FACT!

    The Quran says:

    "O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Why do you dispute about Abraham, while the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Have you then no sense? Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Muslim (worshiper of none but Allah alone) and he joined none in worship with Allah." (Quran, 3:65-67)

    The term "Muslim" is just the Arabic term for "submittor", which refers to the one who submits to God. So Abraham [as] was one of those who submitted to God, and he was a haneef (monotheist).

    As for the division of Bani Israel (i.e. the Jews) and the Arabs, then the Islamic belief is that Bani Israel descended from Prophet Isaac [as], and Arabs descended from Prophet Ishmael [as]. Both were great prophets, and so there is no shame in being from either one of them.

    In regards to the Torah, then we believe that it was initially revealed by God Almighty and we thus recognize it as a holy book. However, over the years, the Torah has become corrupted, as the Jewish rabbis manipulated the text, adding and deleting words as they pleased.

    So the Torah we have today has some truth in it (from God) and some falsehood added into it (from the Jewish rabbis). The Quran is the only book which is not corrupted and remains 100% the Uncorrupted Word of God.

    The Torah is in the Old Testament, the Gospels are included in the New Testament, and the Quran is the FINAL TESTAMENT. The reason for any similarities between the Old, New, and Final Testament comes from the fact that they all originated from God.

    God Almighty promised to prevent the Quran from corruption, and therefore Muslims rely on the Quran, the Final Testament, as opposed to the two earlier scriptures which have been since corrupted by men.

    As for the spelling of "Quran", then yes, we prefer Quran as opposed to "koran".

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    Ah. Thanks, that was very helpful.

    Your link didn't seem to work, but I think you covered my questions anyway, or at least led me to the right things to look up myself.

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    Abraham was not a Jew. This is evidenced by the Bible:

    Of Abraham's descendants, the Bible speaks of the Ishmaelites (descendents of Ishmael), Edomites (descendants of Isaac's son Esau), and the Israelites (descendants of Isaac's son Jacob). Only the descendants of Jacob were ever considered Jews. If Abraham, the progenitor of all these groups, was a Jew, wouldn't all of his descendants be considered Jews (ethnically speaking)?

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    I guess ethnicity is a necessarily confused area, that seems based largely on out-dated asssumptions anyway. I was unsure if Muslims thought the Jewish people (so much as such a group can be idenitified) were direct descendants of Abraham or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by godf View Post

    edit: Most people here seem to use Qur'an over Koran. Does this matter?
    "Qur'an" is closer to the Arabic because we dont use the Arabic "K" for the word, but we use a different letter that does not exist in English, which is a bit similar to "Q".

    It's to do with the pronounciation. If you are speaking in Arabic to someone and say "Koran" then no one would know you are talking about the holy book of Islam.

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    Quote Originally Posted by godf View Post
    In the Torah/OT it talks about Arabs as having descended from Abraham's illegitimate child, and then goes onto a rather racist description of them.
    First of all, we don't believe the Prophets had "illegitimate" children. Concubinage (the act of taking a concubine) was an accepted practice in nearly all cultures, including the Semitic. Not to mention that it is not proper to accuse a noble prophet of such sins.

    Second, the jews and christians who use this to attack Islam and the Muslims, seem not to have read their own Bible which makes clear the traditional rights of the first-born son are not affected by the social or marital status of the mother:

    Deuteronomy 21
    15. "If a man with two wives loves one and dislikes the other; and if both bear him sons, but the first-born is of her whom he dislikes:
    16. When he comes to bequeath his property to his sons he may not consider as his first-born the son of the wife whom he dislikes.
    17. On the contrary, he shall recognize as his first-born the son of her whom he dislikes, giving him a double share of whatever he happens to own, since he is the first fruit of his manhood, and to him belong the rights of the first-born."

    So we see that in these verses, the rights of the first-born exist irregardless of the marital status of the parents. So we see that the historic misconception of Muslims as "Saracens" (rejected by Sarah), are false even from their own biblical perspective, or should we say their failure to follow even their own books (which lend testimony to Islam).

    Quote Originally Posted by godf View Post
    Is there any Muslim religious story relating to the division between Arab and Jewish people?
    Certainly the Arabs and ancient Hebrews were regarded as brethren, since both were Semitic. However, it is important to separate the ancient Israelites from the modern Jews, the vast majority of whom have little if any Semitic ancestry.

    Quote Originally Posted by godf View Post
    Is the torah seen as divinely inspired? - If so, why the differences? - If not, why the similarities when it predates the Qur'an?
    The answer to both questions: The Taurat (Torah) was a Book which Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) revealed to His prophet Musa (Moses), peace be upon him. However, with time it became distorted and corrupted, as the rabbis or scribes - even anonymous writers in many cases - added, deleted or modified certain verses.

    This is true merely by reading the Old Testament, which contains a number of contradictions. Here are a few:

    - Did David take with him 700 horsemen (II Samuel 8:4) or 7000 horsemen (I Chronicles 18:4)?

    - Or perhaps did he slay 700 Syrian chariots (II Samuel 10:18) or 7000 chariots (I Chronicles 19:18)?

    - When the flood began, was Noah 500 years old (Genesis 5:32) or 600 years old (Genesis 7:6)?

    - Was Ahaziah 22 years old (II Kings 8:26) or 42 years old (II Chronicles 22:2) when he began his reign?

    - Who told David to number Israel, was it the Lord (II Samuel 24:1) or Satan (I Chronicles 21:1)?

    - Was Michal childless (II Samuel 6:23) or did he have five sons (II Samuel 21:8)?

    etc..

    So it is very clear that the Bible has been distorted by human hands. The authors often contradicted themselves in the course of the same book. I ask you to reflect upon the implications, and compare this to the Holy Qur'an, which has been preserved. The Qur'an which Muslims possess now is the exact same one which existed from the beginning, there were absolutely no changes therein.

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    Don't some say that Hagar was Prophet Ibrahim's wife, not concubine?

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    I don't actually see the OT as true, and always thought the description as to the descent of Arabs was a rather crude racial slur, and a sign of the OT's tribalist nature.

    But I am interested in the view Islam has of the Torah/OT. Is there any consensus as to when it started to be corrupted? Was it seriously corrupted while genuine divine revelation was ongoing? Or was there a point where divine revelation stopped, and corruption/ false revelation began? And when would that point be?

    Judaism seems to view the other Abrahamic religions as distortions. Christianity views Judaism as having been divinely accurate at the time, but that the revelations of Jesus changed man's relationship with God from that point on. Islam's relationship with the others seems more complicated.

    I realise my questions might require a strong knowledge of the Torah/OT as well as Islam, but any further help would be appreciated.

    re Moses: Is the Promised Land seen as promised to Muslims then? I just read:

    In the Qur'an 005:020, 21 (Ahmed Ali) it is written that the Jews are ordained to have Jerusalem as their home [not the line of Ismael as many claim]: "Remember when Moses said to his people: "O my people, remember the favors that God bestowed on you when He appointed apostles from among you, and made you kings and gave you what had never been given to any one in the world. Enter then, my people, the Holy Land that God has ordained from you, and do not turn back, or you will suffer."

    If Jerusalem is seen as rightfully Jewish... why is that? Or is the above just wrong (I had trouble tracking it's sources)?

    I'd always thought the Muslim claim to Palestine/Israel was historical. Or do Muslims actually see themselves as the true heirs of the land promised to Moses?

    Thanks.

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    Default Using Bible to prove Islam

    Some Muslims are of the opinion that Bible contains bits of authentic texts which can be used to invite Non-Muslims to Islam and this particular style of dawah(invitation to Islam) has become popular because very high profile personalities such as Dr.Zakir Naik has utilised this style and gained massive popularity amongst common people. According to Dr.Naik the Bible prophesises the prophethood of Muhammad. This approach to proving the validity of Muhammad's(sallalahu alaihi wassallam) Prophethood is extremely problematic and riddled with contradictions.

    1.First of all,we cant say for sure that there are certain texts in bible which are more authentic than others.There is no basis upon which we can make such a judgment.And saying that 'we believe in some parts of Bible' is a mistake too.The belief in the existence of a Creator,the belief in the Prophethood of Muhammad and the belief that Quran is the miracle bestowed upon Muhammad constitute the Aqeedah or the foundation of belief.In the realm of aqeedah,there is no such thing as 'sometimes we believe and sometimes we dont'.This is a bit like the thinking method of the Maldivian politicians(including the Islamists) who can brazenly make a statement and make a complete u-turn on the next day.Before discussing any subject matter on Aqeedah,it is highly advisable that we get rid ourselves of the 'drug addiction' mode of thinking(more on this later) which we have become used to.The starting point for discussing Aqeedah requires rational thinking,but the Islamists politicians have made Islam appear as irrational a Machiavellian politics.

    2.The Quran is the only proof which can prove which validity of Islamic aqeedah.When we say 'Quran' we are not referring to any specific verse or its meaning,but specific characteristics of the Arabic language manifest in Quran which which makes it stand out from all other literatures.This inimitable characteristic is not found in the Bible and therefore its not a source for us.For example,the meaning of a certain verse in Quran may stress the importance of 'being kind to neighbours' and maybe there is a text in the bible which renders a similar meaning.Again this does not mean there is a similarity between Quran and Bible? As mentioned earlier,the Quranic verse on the issue of being 'kind to neighbours' is composed in a specific style of Arabic language which is inimitable.The inimitable aspect of Quran is the proof of its miracle.There is no such miracle to support the validity of bible.

    3.On the level of Aqeedah,we are not concerned with the meaning of this or that verse or whether a verse mentions about this issue or that issue.On the level of Aqeedah,we should determine which scripture constitute the words of Allah(swt).Once that is established we can look into the meanings of the verses in order to perform our actions or to determine whether a verse is talking about prayer or fasting. Since the Bible didnt pass this test,we are not concerned about the meaning of a specific text contained in it.This is the method of rational thinking.If someone does not believe that 'Addu' exists,there is no point of talking about 'going to Addu'.

    4. Some people think that showing the contradictions contained in the Bible is a good style to invite Christians to Islam.Contradictions in the bible does not constitute the proof of the validity of Islam.A future version of the Bible might even mention 'Muhammad' specifically.So,in order to build our belief on a rock solid foundation,we should do an independent study using conclusive evidence.By the way,scientific findings are not conclusive and therefore cannot be used to measure the validity of Islam.Those who become fascinated with this so called scientific facts in the Quran may claim that they believe in Quran,but reject Hadith because it contradicts science.

    Its always better to use Islam to prove Islam. How can you believe a lie can bring-forth the truth? We with our limited minds cannot know what is true in the Bible. Some Muslims have gone to the extend of saying they believe in some parts of the Bible and disbelieve in some parts. What's this???
    "There can be no peace with the Jews; this is prohibited by Islamic law. It is also prohibited to settle for only one part of Palestine. There can be neither negotiations, co-existence nor normalization of relations with the Jews in Palestine. The Islamic legal rule requires that those of them who are capable of fighting be killed until none survive. Any others should be forced to leave...

    Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman in Amman, Jordan - 1994:

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