‘Fight in the Cause of Allah’ – A Revelation!

‘Verily, Allah has purchased from the believers their selves and wealth; for that, theirs shall be Paradise. They fight in the Cause of Allah, killing and being killed – a promise on His part in truth, in the Torah and the Gospel and the Quran.’ 9:111

It is my understanding that the edict to ‘Fight in the Cause of Allah’ is specific to ‘Al-Ardh Al-Muqaddasah/The Sacred Land’ and ‘Al-Bait Al-Haram/The Sacred House’ and is sanctioned only in the presence of a Prophet:

‘And never will your Lord destroy the town until He sends to its Mother Town a Messenger reciting to them Our Verses. And never will We destroy the town unless its people are transgressors.’ 28:59

We are informed in the Quran that the destruction of the disbelievers at the time of Prophets Noah, Lot, Hud, Saleh and Shuaib was an act of divine retribution. We are also informed in the Quran that Prophets Noah, Abraham, Lot, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad were among those Prophets who were the recipients of Scripture. However, according to 9:111 the proclamation to ‘Fight in the Cause of Allah’ is inscribed only in the Torah as revealed to Moses, the Gospel as revealed to Jesus and the Quran as revealed to Muhammad.
The transition from divine retribution to ‘Fight in the Cause of Allah’ is evidenced at the time of Prophet Moses:

‘Like the habitude of the people of Pharaoh and those before them – they cried lies to the revelations of their Lord. Thus, We destroyed them for their sins and drowned the people of Pharaoh; they were all tyrants.’ 8:54

Pharaoh and his people having been drowned Prophet Moses chaperoned the Israelites to ‘The Sacred Land’ where he delivered a clarion call to ‘Fight in the Cause of Allah’:

‘O my people! Enter the Sacred Land which Allah ordained for you and do not retreat’ ‘O Musa! Surely therein are a people of overwhelming power’ 5:21/22

It is my understanding that ‘Allah’, ‘Yod Heh Vav Heh’ or ‘One God’ authorised the Israelites to ‘Fight in the Cause of Allah’ the heathen who occupied ‘The Sacred Land’ and claim what was rightfully theirs to inhabit and for posterity.
The following verse in the Quran which references ‘Fight in the Cause of Allah’ at the time of Prophet Muhammad validates the transition from divine retribution:

‘And if Allah willed He could exact retribution on them; but in order to test some of you by others’ 47:4

The Quran delineates unambiguously the remit of Prophet Muhammad to ‘The Sacred House’:

‘And this is a blessed Book We have sent down confirming what came before it so that you may warn the Mother of Towns and those around it’ 6:92
‘Allah has made the Kabah, the Sacred House, a fulcrum for mankind’ 5:97

The situation that confronted Prophet Muhammad was quite similar to that of Prophet Samuel in that the Muslims like the Israelites were persecuted from their homes and were asked to ‘Fight in the Cause of Allah’.

At the time of Prophet Muhammad:
‘So those who emigrated and were expelled from their homes, and were persecuted in My Cause, and fought and were killed’ 3:195

At the time of Prophet Samuel:
They (Israelites) said: “And why we fight not in the Cause of Allah when certainly expelled are we from our homes and our children?” 2:246

It is my understanding that the edict to ‘Fight in the Cause of Allah’ is applicable only in the presence of a Prophet. There appears to be a predilection in the people amongst whom a Prophet is appointed to split into two distinct groups:

‘Mankind was a single community then Allah sent Prophets with glad tidings and as warners; and He sent down with them the Book with truth to judge betwixt people in matters wherein they differed’ 2:213

It is imperative we acknowledge that it is the prerogative of the ‘One God’ only to sanction ‘Fight in the Cause of Allah’:

‘Verily, your Lord! He knows who strays from His path and He knows the rightly guided.’ 6:117
‘O Prophet! Urge the believers to the fight’ 8:65

However, the Quran does recognise the evolving disposition of man’s intellect and the consequent complexity of the communities he populates:

‘Then We bequeathed the Book to those We chose of Our servants. Of them some who wrong their own selves and of them some who adopt a middle course; and of them some who excel in good deeds by Allah’s permission’ 35:32
‘Allah is He Who has subjected to you what is in the heavens and what is on earth; gathered from Him. Verily, therein are signs for people who reflect.’ 45:13

There are verses in the Quran that are predicated on a specific location and/or to a specific Prophet and verses that can be interpreted in a contemporary context for general application. The Holy Scriptures as revealed to Moses in the Torah, David in the Psalms, Jesus in the Gospels and Muhammad in the Quran reflect and conform to the natural laws manifest in all of creation. Only an ‘Omniscient’ ‘One God’ could ensure that His revelations to the Prophets were relevant to the human condition in this given construct; not in some improbable utopia.

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‘Verses of Violence’

The Noble Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad over a period of 23 years. The positioning of each revelation was by divine ‘dictatum’ but lacked chronology. Therefore, the context to each of the revelations cannot always be relevant to an interpretation. The Noble Quran is a mosaic of verses; it is imperative that we understand the linkages of these verses.
Post an analysis of the Quran the following are some of my observations:

1. Whenever a Prophet is appointed from amongst a people the criteria for adjudicating belief is established through revelations.
2. The pecuniary interest of those in authority is inextricably linked to an enterprise instituted in sacrilege and is the principal subject of the revelations.
3. The Prophet implores the people to repent and to atone but there is a concerted effort by vested interests to persecute him and to subvert the revelations.
4. Failure to comply with the revelations ultimately results in punitive action that is severe and resolute.

We are informed in the Quran:

‘And never will your Lord destroy the town until He sends to its Mother Town a Messenger reciting to them Our Verses. And never will We destroy the town unless its people are transgressors.’ 28:59

And:

‘That was the way of Allah with those from before who passed away. And you will not find any alteration in the way of Allah.’ 48:23

We are also informed in the Quran that Pharaoh was deified by his people:

‘O Chief’s! I know not that you have any god other than me’ 28:38
‘I am your lord, the most high’ 79:24

And this is what happened to the people of Pharaoh:

‘Like the habitude of the people of Pharaoh and those before them – they cried lies to the revelations of their Lord. Thus, We destroyed them for their sins and drowned the people of Pharaoh; they were all transgressors.’ 8:54

Henceforth, if the ‘Children of Israel’ transgress their covenant with ‘Allah’, ‘Yod Heh Vav Heh’ or ‘One God’ because of their veneration of idols and immoral self-indulgence they shall likewise be subject to retribution:

And when Moses said to his people: “O my people! Verily, you have wronged yourselves by worshiping the calf. So turn in repentance to your Creator and kill yourselves; that is better for you with your Creator.” 2:54
When he (Elijah) said to his people: “Will you not fear Allah?” “Will you invoke Ba’al and forsake the Best of Creators,” “Allah, your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers?” 37:124/126
‘And We decreed to the Children of Israel in the Book (Torah): You shall make mischief in the land twice and shall become tyrants and extremely arrogant’ ‘When the first of the two promises came to pass, We send against you servants of Ours possessing severe prowess; penetrating into your habitations’ ‘Then in turn, We made you prevail over them and reinforced you with wealth and children’ ‘When the second promise came to pass, it was for them to humiliate you and enter the mosque; destroy all that you held in esteem’ ‘Maybe your Lord will have mercy on you but if you regress, We will revert’ 17:4/8

The Quran delineates unambiguously the remit of Prophet Muhammad to ‘The Sacred House’:

‘And this is a blessed Book We have sent down confirming what came before it so that you may warn the Mother of Towns and those around it’ 6:92
‘I have been commanded to worship the Lord of this town (Makkah), Who has sanctified it and to Whom belongs everything’ 28:91
‘Allah has made the Kabah, the Sacred House, a fulcrum for mankind’ 5:97

Makkah and the neighbouring towns comprised mainly of the following groups of people:

1. Muslims
2. Hypocrites
3. People of the Scripture – Jews, Christians, Sabians etc.
4. Pagan Arabs

The hypocrites were those who called themselves Muslims but had already moved from a state of belief to disbelief:

When the hypocrites come to you, they say: “We testify that you indeed are the Messenger of Allah.” And Allah knows that you indeed are His Messenger; and Allah testifies that the hypocrites are liars indeed. 63:1
‘The hypocrites, men and women, are of one another; they enjoin the detestable and forbid the virtuous’ 9:67
Do you not see those who turn hypocrites say to their brethren from amongst the People of the Scripture who disbelieve: “If you are expelled, we too will go out with you and we will never obey any one against you; and if you are attacked, we will certainly help you.” But Allah testifies that they are liars indeed. 59:11

I believe that the instance of the appointment of a Prophet is mostly coincidental to a period where the target audience that is the subject of and subject to what is being revealed is unique in its characteristics and a literal application of the same to any contemporary and/or other audience is not the purpose of the revelations.
The following represent some further observations:

1. The presence of a Prophet in the midst of a people is essential to adjudicating by the edicts that are being revealed.
2. It is the generation that is witness to the revelations which is subjected to the penalties for non-compliance and which is inimitably characterised by its desire to indulge in the sacrilege and the immoral.
3. There are revelations that are applicable in a specific location and/or to a specific Prophet and revelations that can be interpreted in a contemporary context for general application.

We are informed in the Quran that there were those amongst the People of the Scripture who intentionally disregarded the revelations and made every effort to undermine Prophet Muhammad.
The obstinately rebellious would eventually be dealt with for their transgressions:

‘Many from amongst the People of the Scripture wish if they could turn you back to disbelief after you have believed, out of envy from their own selves and after the truth has become manifest to them. So forgive and forebear till Allah reveals His command.’ 2:109

Prophet Muhammad is asked to reaffirm the focal tenet of the monotheistic religion as had been practiced by Prophet Moses and Prophet Jesus:

Say: “O People of the Scripture! Come to an utterance equitable between us and you that we worship none but Allah, nor associate with Him anything nor some of us take others as lords.” Then if they turn away, say: “Bear witness that we are Muslims.” 3:64

However, there are those who refuse to listen to his repeated appeals:

‘They take their rabbis and their monks as lords besides Allah, and the Messiah – son of Maryam; and not commanded were they but to worship the One God. No god is there but He; Sacrosanct is He from what they associate as partners.’ 9:31

Prophet Muhammad is asked to enquire about their wilful misconduct:

Say: “O people of the Scripture! Why do you hinder from the path of Allah those who believe, seeking to pervert it while you are witnesses?” 3:99

We are made aware of the wilful misconduct of the priestly classes:

‘Many of the rabbis and the monks devour people’s wealth with deception and hinder them from the path of Allah’ 9:34

The People of the Scripture resident in Makkah and the neighbouring towns are witness to what is being revealed to the Prophet:

‘O People of the Scripture! Why do you disbelieve in the revelations of Allah while you bear witness?’ 3:70

As a consequence of their dogged refusal to alter their behaviour the obstinately rebellious amongst the People of the Scripture are manifestly in breach of their Mosaic covenant with the ‘One God’ and inevitably find themselves the recipients of punitive action:

‘Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day, and do not forbid that which Allah and His Messenger have forbidden; and do not adhere to the religion of truth from amongst the People of the Scripture, until they pay the tax – ready and willing, and they are humbled.’ 9:29

This verse most certainly does not sanction the indiscriminate killing of Jews and Christians within Makkah and its environs or anywhere else at any time. It is a qualified and a measured diktat against those from amongst the People of the Scripture who refused to:

1. Accept the sovereignty of the ‘One God’ as revealed in the Torah and the Gospel:

‘And our God and your God is One’ 29:46

2. Acknowledge as an article of faith the Day of Resurrection.
3. Prohibit that which has been prohibited by the ‘One God’ and the Prophet:

And say: “We believe in that which has been sent down to us and has been sent down to you.” 29:46
‘The food of those given the Scripture is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them; the chaste women from the believers and the chaste women from those given the Scripture before you’ 5:5

These verses make it patently clear that Prophet Muhammad would not have proscribed anything other than that already proscribed by Prophet Moses and Prophet Jesus.
4. ‘Adhere to the religion of truth’ – the religion of Prophet Muhammad and all of the Prophets from afore:

‘He has prescribed for you the religion what He enjoined on Noah, and that which We communicate to you is what We enjoined on Abraham and Moses and Jesus – that be upright with the religion and be not divided in it’ 42:13
Those to whom We gave the Scripture before it (Quran), they believe in it. And when it is recited to them, they say: “We believe in it. Verily, it is the truth from our Lord. Surely, we had been since before it – Muslims.” 28:52/53

Although the verse is an instruction to fight there are stringent qualifications that must be observed and there is even an opportunity to forfeit the punitive action by virtue of the payment of an appropriate tribute.
It is imperative that the text of the Quran especially those verses that are likely to provoke an emotional response are judiciously interpreted and not through the imposition of prejudice. Again, verse 9:29 is directed at a very specific section of the People of the Scripture:

Say: “O people of the Scripture! You have nothing valid till you are upright with the Torah and the Gospel, and what has been sent down to you from you Lord.” And it increases in many of them what has been sent down to you from your Lord – excesses and disbelief. 5:68
But when the truth has come to them from Us, they say: “Why is he not given the like of Moses?” “Did they not disbelieve in what was given before to Moses?” They say: “Two kinds of magic, each supporting the other!” And they say: “In each we indeed disbelieve.” 28:48

It is my understanding that the ‘One God’ had taken the decision to establish in Makkah and its environs the same monotheistic religion that had earlier been established in the Land of Canaan when Prophet Moses communicated what had been revealed to him to the ‘Children of Israel’:

‘O my people! Enter the Sacred Land which Allah ordained for you and do not retreat’ ‘O Musa! Surely therein are a people of overwhelming power’ 5:21/22

The following verses are unequivocal in their intent:

‘And why should not Allah punish them while they hinder from the Sacred Mosque, and not are they its guardians? Verily, its guardians are none but the righteous’ 8:34
‘O you who believe! Verily, the polytheists are immoral. So let them not come near the Sacred Mosque after this year of theirs’ 9:28

The pagan Arabs have repeatedly reneged and are persistent:

‘They are those with whom you made a covenant; then they violate their covenant each time’ 8:56
‘And they will not cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion, if they are able to’ 2:217

Again, the appointment of a Prophet is indicative of a society that is not only intransigent but also in an acute state of constant immoral self-indulgence. The revelations that address such a society cannot be literally juxtaposed in order to adjudicate a contemporaneous and/or other society:
‘Whoever goes aright, goes aright for his own self; and whoever goes astray, goes astray against it. And not will bear a burdened one the burden of another; nor do We inflict punishment until We send a Messenger.’ 17:15
‘And no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another; and if the one heavily burdened calls to his load, not lifted of it will be anything even if he be near of kin’ 35:38

The undermining of the authority of Prophet Muhammad and the reneging of treaties is reiterated:

‘Will you not fight a people that have violated their oaths and colluded to expel the Messenger, and it was them that attacked you in the first instance?’ 9:13

The following proclamation is not just in response to the shenanigans of the pagan Arabs but is also part of the decision to establish the same monotheistic religion that came into being with Prophet Adam:

‘Absolved of obligations are Allah and His Messenger from those of the polytheists with whom a treaty was made’ ‘So roam freely in the land for four months but be aware that you cannot frustrate Allah’ ‘And a pronouncement from Allah and His Messenger to mankind on the day of the Great Pilgrimage that Allah is absolved from the polytheists as is His Messenger’ ‘Except those of the polytheists with whom you did make a treaty and they did not in any way hinder you nor did they assist anyone against you. So fulfil towards them their treaty to the end of its term’ ‘So when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists where you find them; and seize them and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush. But if they repent and establish prayers, and purify their wealth then leave clear their way’ 9:1/5

Fighting is sanctioned expressly against the pagan Arabs in Makkah who are in breach of their treaty with Prophet Muhammad but only up to the point where they either accept the tenets of the monotheistic religion or quit this theatre of war:

‘And if anyone of the polytheists seeks your protection then give him shelter until he hears the word of Allah, then escort him to his place of safety’ 9:6

The Scriptures as revealed to Moses in the Torah, David in the Psalms, Jesus in the Gospels and Muhammad in the Quran reflect and conform to the natural laws manifest in all of creation. Only an ‘Omniscient’ ‘One God’ could ensure that His revelations to the Prophets were relevant to the human condition in this given construct; not in some improbable utopia.

‘No compulsion in the religion’

‘O Children of Adam! When there come to you Messengers from among you delineating unto you My revelations then whoever refrains and reforms, no apprehension on them nor shall they grieve. But those who cry lies to Our revelations and disparage them, they are dwellers of the Fire; they shall abide therein forever.’ 7:35/36

Does this verse imply that the obligation to adhere to the edicts of the ‘One God’ as revealed to Prophet Moses in the Torah, Prophet Jesus in the Gospels and Prophet Muhammad in the Quran is the imperative duty of the people in whose midst a Prophet has been appointed only? What I have observed after having meticulously studied the Quran is that there exists a predilection for the people in whose midst a Prophet has been appointed to pull apart into at least two distinct groups – disbelievers and believers. What can also be gleaned from the verses in the Quran is that as the ‘One God’ reveals more of himself through his revelations to the people in whose midst a Prophet has been appointed the severity of the retribution that will be exacted in the event of disbelief in the revelations increases proportionately.

O People of the Scripture! There has come to you Our Messenger making clear to you, post an interval in the Messengers, lest you say: “There came not to us a giver of glad tidings nor a warner.” 5:19
Lest you (pagan Arabs) say: “The Book was but sent to two sects (Jews and Christians) before us, and indeed we had been unaware of what they studied.” 6:156

Are these verses implying that even though the pagan Arabs had living amongst them the ‘People of the Scripture’ had no Prophet come to them and no Scripture been given to them they could have pleaded ignorance in the Court of the Most High? Is it also implicit in 5:19 and 6:156 that in the absence of a Prophet and as the revelation of Scripture gets more distant with respect to time a certain clemency is proffered to people in the obligation to adhere to the edicts of the ‘One God’ as inscribed in the Testament?

There are verses in the Quran that are predicated on a specific location and/or to a specific Prophet and verses that can be interpreted in a contemporary context for general application:

‘So when you encounter those who disbelieve smite the necks till when you have weakened them, then fasten the shackles’ 47:4
‘Verily, those who believe and those who are Jews and the Sabians and the Christians and the Majus and those who ascribe partners, Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection’ 22:17

I am of the opinion that the edict to ‘Fight in the Cause of Allah’ is specific to the ‘Sacred land/House’ and can only be sanctioned in the presence of a Prophet:

But Lot believed him (Abraham), and said: “I will emigrate for the sake of my Lord” 29:26
They reply: “We were oppressed on the earth.” They (angels) say: “Was not Allah’s earth vast enough for you to migrate therein?” 4:97

Despite the explicit threats to the life of Prophet Abraham that were emerging from his people the ‘One God’ did not permit him to ‘Fight in the Cause of Allah’ against them but instead to migrate to the Land of Canaan. In the Land of Canaan the people of Prophet Lot were destroyed for their perverse indulgence by divine retribution and not because the ‘One God’ sanctioned ‘Fight in the Cause of Allah’. It isn’t until the time of Prophet Moses where after having drowned Pharaoh and his people that the ‘One God’ ordains at the gates of the ‘Sacred Land’ Prophet Moses and the Israelites to ‘Fight in the Cause of Allah’ against the pagan occupants.

Let us not forget that Prophet Joseph used his unique gift to interpret dreams endowed on him by the ‘One God’ in the service of a pagan Pharaoh. Prophet Muhammad sought refuge for the weakest of the new Muslim converts with a Christian King in Abyssinia.

‘No compulsion in the religion. It is manifest, the right conduct from the wrong.’ 2:256
‘And had your Lord so willed, those on earth would have believed; all of them together. So will you compel mankind until they become believers?’ 10:99
‘And say: “The truth is from your Lord.” So who wills, let him believe; and who wills, let him disbelieve.’ 18:29
‘O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female and have made you nations and tribes that you may know one another’ 49:13

I urge my fellow Muslims to understand and appreciate the diversity in all of God’s creation. This diversity is reflected in our thought processes and also evidenced in what we do. We must endeavour to lead by example and not by compulsion in all aspects of our lives. Who are we to reserve judgement on our fellow human beings; arrogate to ourselves that which the Noble Quran does not sanction?

‘Abrogation’: A new understanding

I predicate this essay on my belief that not all the revelations to the Prophets were necessarily inscribed in scripture. The Mohkamat most certainly were but not all of those that addressed man’s temporal needs as these were continually evolving.

I have now come to understand who it is that Allah Subhana speaks of when He mentions Al-Yahud/An-Nasara or just Yahud/Nasara. The latter is a broader reference to the whole community (2:111, 62:6 etc) while the former is a more specific group (2:120, 5:82 etc) – a subset. It is imperative that we appreciate these subtleties lest we perpetuate ignorance through our own misinterpretation of this beautiful book of prose and poetry.

In each of the following verses of the Noble Quran – 2:106, 7:154, 22:52 and 45:29 where a variant of Nasakha has been used there is commonality. I believe when Allah Subhana speaks of writing something He uses Kataba and only when something has been inscribed He uses Nasakha. The inscription could be on parchment, tablet or in a book that He has either sent down to a Prophet or is with Him. This is the shade of difference that I have noticed having sifted through verses in the Noble Quran containing Kataba and Nasakha.

‘What Nansakh of Ayat or to forget it We bring better of it or similar to it’ 2:106

An Ayah in the Noble Quran can be a ‘Miracle’ 17:101, a ‘Sign’ 19:10, an ‘Example’ 25:37 or a ‘Verse’ 38:29. If in this instance Ayat is a ‘Verse’ then how can something written in the Noble Quran be forgotten and why would a ‘Verse’ be ‘Abrogated’ only to be replaced by one ‘similar to it’.
The context to Nansakh is better understood if we consider the following verses in the Noble Quran:

‘So, for the transgression of those who are Jews We made unlawful on them good things that were hitherto lawful to them; and for their hindering many from Allah’s way’ 4:160
‘It was only prescribed the Sabbath upon those who disputed about it’ 16:124

It is evident from the above and 6:146 that certain dietary and some other restrictions were imposed on ‘those who are Jews’ on account of their obstinate rebellion and disbelief.

‘Those who disbelieve among the People of the Scripture nor the idolaters like that there should be sent down to you any good from your Lord; but Allah selects for His mercy whom He wills’ 2:105

We are made aware in the Noble Quran that there were among ‘those who are Jews’ a faction – referred to as Al-Yahud, which had taken as Auliya the heathen Arabs (5:80). It is likely that the revelations to Prophet Muhammad were much less restrictive and the consequent angst of Al-Yahud and Al-Mushrikun is the substance of 2:106. Al-Yahud would not accept the mitigation in dietary and some other (2:187) matters because they believed that At-Taurat was an immutable Al-Kitab. We know from 2:105 ‘but Allah selects for His mercy whom He wills’ – the followers of Prophet Muhammad, just as He did afore with the Children of Israel at the time of Prophet Jesus:

‘And as one attesting the truth of what came before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of that forbidden to you’ 3:50

Prophet Jesus confirms the integrity of At-Taurat and then informs ‘those who are Jews’ of the Nasakha in Al-Injeel – ‘to make lawful for you some of that forbidden to you’. Note that the changes are reflected in Al-Injeel and not in At-Taurat itself and the scope of the ‘to make lawful’ is limited to just ‘some of that’. By virtue of extrapolation Al-Quran Al-Karim must also adhere to this principle of Nasakha; and as a discernible consequence of the imperfection of Man.

The Holy Scriptures as revealed to Moses in the Torah, David in the Psalms, Jesus in the Gospels and Muhammad in the Quran reflect and conform to the natural laws evident in all of creation. Only an ‘Omniscient’ ‘One God’ could ensure that His revelations to the Prophets were relevant to the human condition in this given construct; not in some improbable utopia.

As mentioned earlier Allah Subhana in verses 2:106, 7:154, 22:52 and 45:29 has used Nasakha only when something has been inscribed on parchment, tablet or in a book. If verse 2:106 were to be considered on its own merits I would interpret it as follows:

‘What We inscribe of Ayat (Verse) or We cause to forget of Ayat (Miracle, sign or example) We are Able to bring better of it or similar to it’

The Torah: ‘A light and guidance……’

The determinate characteristics that are imperative in designating any compilation of revelations from God as Al Kitab or The Book are stipulated in the Quran itself:

‘This is the Book, there is nothing dubious in it’ (2:2). ‘We have neglected nothing in the Book’ (6:38). ‘And it is He Who has sent down to you the Book, explained in detail’ (6:114). ‘If it was not from Allah they would have found in it many a contradiction’ (4:82). ‘None can change His words’ (18:27). ‘And surely, We will guard it’ (15:9).

However, it is not just the Quran but also the Torah that God refers to as Al Kitab or The Book:

‘Say [Muhammad]: Who then sent down the Book which Moses brought, a light and guidance to mankind’ (6:91). ‘And indeed, We gave Moses the Book’ (2:87).

Therefore, the aforestated determinate characteristics that are imperative must be applicable to the Torah as well.

The prejudice amongst Muslims is that the Torah has been ‘corrupted’, and in order to substantiate this notion they will direct you to the pertinent verses in the Quran:

‘They pervert the usage of the words; have forgotten a portion of that which they were reminded’ (5:13). ‘But they altered what had been said to them; those who had transgressed’ (7:162).

Undoubtedly, there were concerted attempts at interpolating the Torah just as there were attempts at interpolating the Quran:

‘They want to alter Allah’s Words’ (48:15).

Notwithstanding, these were all just futile attempts and no more; how do we know that this was the case as a matter of fact:

‘How can they make you [Muhammad] judge while there is with them the Torah wherein is the decree of Allah’ ‘Indeed, We sent down the Torah wherein is guidance and light. By it they gave judgement, the Prophets who surrendered [to Allah], for those who were Jews’ (5:43-44)

It would be absurd to believe that successive Prophets adjudicated over the affairs of their community (Banu Yisrael) using a ‘corrupted’ Torah.

In fact, at the time of the revelation of the Quran Prophet Muhammad was instructed as follows:

‘So if you are in doubt about what We have sent down to you then ask those who recite the Book of earlier time’ (10:94).

The Quran clearly indicates that Muslims and Banu Yisrael are of the ‘Religion of Abraham’, and makes it an article of faith for the Muslims that they believe in the Torah:

‘We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you; our God and your God is One’ (29:46)

All I ask of my fellow Muslims is to understand and appreciate the diversity in all of creation. This diversity is also reflected in our thought processes and is evidenced in all that we do. We must endeavour to lead by example and not by compulsion in all aspects of our lives. Who are we to reserve judgement on our fellow human beings; arrogate to ourselves that which the Quran does not sanction:

‘For each of you [Jews, Christians and Muslims] We have prescribed a law and a clear way. If Allah had willed, He would have made you one nation; but that He may test in what He has given you – so compete with one another in good deeds’ (5:48)