Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Rise and Fall of Another Taqiyyist Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

We continue from the previous section.

Moses and the Documentary Hypothesis

In his debate, Hussein chided Samuel for saying that Moses wrote the Torah, and only to later say that no Christian believes that Moses wrote all of it, since Joshua was permitted to add things to the Law. Hussein also appealed to liberal critical scholarship to refute the notion that Moses composed the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (or at least the great bulk of it), also known as the Pentateuch. In the Q&A session, Hussein made the claim that the evidence supports the view that the current Pentateuch is a work which was only compiled and edited during the Babylonian exile, i.e. sometime during the sixth century BC, about six to eight centuries after the time of Moses, even though there are some proponents of this theory who do not think that a historical Moses ever existed! Hussein was basically trying to convince the audience that the present day Pentateuch is actually a patchwork of at least four different written sources, namely a Yahwist source, an Elohist source, a Priestly source, and Deuteronomist source. This is known as the JEPD or Documentary Hypothesis.

What makes these assertions rather ironic, and outright dishonest, is that Hussein quoted Deuteronomy 18:15-22 both in this debate and in his previous one with Green to establish that Moses prophesied the coming of Muhammad! 

In light of such blatant inconsistency and deceptive use of sources, I issue a challenge to Hussein to quote one single scholar who holds to the JEPD theory that believes that Moses wrote or uttered the words attributed to him in Deuteronomy 18:15-22. 

But it gets a lot worse for Hussein since even his own prophet assumed that the Torah which the Jews possessed was the very revelation given to Moses! 

To begin with, Muhammad claimed in the Quran that he had been sent to confirm the veracity of the Scriptures which the Jews and Christians possessed at his time: 

Children of Israel, remember My blessing wherewith I blessed you, and fulfil My covenant and I shall fulfil your covenant; and have awe of Me. And believe in that I have sent down, CONFIRMING THAT WHICH IS WITH YOU, and be not the first to disbelieve in it. And sell not My signs for a little price; and fear you Me. And do not confound the truth with vanity, and do not conceal the truth wittingly. And perform the prayer, and pay the alms, and bow with those that bow. Will you bid others to piety, and forget yourselves while you read the Book? Do you not understand? S. 2:40-44 

You who have been given the Book, believe in what We have sent down, CONFIRMING WHAT IS WITH YOU, before We obliterate faces, and turn them upon their backs, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-men, and God's command is done. S. 4:47 

“To you We revealed the Book with the Truth, confirming previous Scripture AND WITNESSING TO THEIR VERACITY…” S. 5:48 (Tarif Khalidi, The Qur’an – A New Translation [Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., First American Edition 2008], p. 89; capital and italic emphasis ours) 

This explains why Muhammad even went as far as to defend the reliability of the Torah against those who were attacking it, granting it the same level of authority and authenticity as the Quran: 

But when the truth (i.e. Muhammad with his Message) has come to them from Us, they say: "Why is he not given the like of what was given to Musa (Moses)?" Did they not disbelieve in that which was given to Musa (Moses) of old? They say: "Two kinds of magic [the Taurat (Torah) and the Qur'an] each helping the other!" And they say: "Verily! In both we are disbelievers." Say (to them, O Muhammad): "Then bring a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than these two [the Taurat (Torah) and the Qur'an], that I may follow it, if you are truthful." S. 28:48-49 Hilali-Khan 

The following lengthy reference from Ibn Kathir further corroborates the fact that Muhammad did not believe that the text of the previous Books had been distorted: 

“… It was reported that this part of the Ayah was revealed about some Jews who committed murder and who said to each other, ‘Let us ask Muhammad to judge between us, and if he decides that we pay the Diyah, accept his judgement. If he decides on capital punishment, do not accept his judgement.’ The correct opinion is that this Ayah was revealed about the two Jews who committed adultery. The Jews changed the law they had in their Book from Allah on the matter of punishment for adultery, from stoning to death, to a hundred flogs and making the offenders ride a donkey facing the back of the donkey. When this incident of adultery occurred after the Hijrah, they said to each other, ‘Let us go to Muhammad and seek his judgement. If he gives a ruling of flogging, then implement his decision and make it a proof for you with Allah. This way, one of Allah's Prophets will have upheld this ruling amongst you. But if he decides that the punishment should be stoning to death, then do not accept his decision.’ There are several Hadiths mentioning this story. Malik reported that Nafi` said that `Abdullah bin `Umar said, ‘The Jews came to Allah's Messenger and mentioned that a man and a woman from them committed adultery. Allah's Messenger said to them… 

<<What do find of the ruling about stoning in the Tawrah>> They said, “We only find that they should be exposed and flogged.” `Abdullah bin Salam said, “You lie. The Tawrah mentions stoning, SO BRING THE TAWRAH.” THEY BROUGHT THE TAWRAH AND OPENED IT but one of them hid the verse about stoning with his hand and recited what is before and after that verse. `Abdullah bin Salam said to him, “Remove your hand,” and he removed it, thus uncovering the verse about stoning. So they said, “He (`Abdullah bin Salam) has said the truth, ‘O Muhammad! It is the verse about stoning.” The Messenger of Allah decided that the adulterers be stoned to death and his command was carried out. I saw that man shading the woman from the stones with his body.’ Al-Bukhari and Muslim also collected this Hadith and this is the wording collected by Al-Bukhari. In another narration by Al-Bukhari, the Prophet said to the Jews… 

<<What would you do in this case?>> They said, ‘We would humiliate and expose them.’ The Prophet recited…

<<BRING HERE THE TAWRAH AND RECITE IT, IF YOU ARE TRUTHFUL.>> So they brought a man who was blind in one eye and who was respected among them and said to him, ‘Read (from the Tawrah).’ So he read until he reached a certain verse and then covered it with his hand. He was told, ‘Remove your hand,’ and it was the verse about stoning. So that man said, ‘O Muhammad! This is the verse about stoning, and we had hid its knowledge among us.’ So the Messenger ordered that the two adulterers be stoned, and they were stoned. Muslim recorded that a Jewish man and a Jewish woman were brought before Allah's Messenger because they committed adultery. The Messenger of Allah went to the Jews and asked them… 

<<What is the ruling that you find in the Tawrah for adultery?>> They said, ‘We expose them, carry them (on donkeys) backwards and parade them in public.’ The Prophet recited…

<<Bring here the Tawrah and recite it, if you are truthful.>> So they brought the Tawrah and read from it until the reader reached the verse about stoning. Then he placed his hand on that verse and read what was before and after it. `Abdullah bin Salam, who was with the Messenger of Allah , said, ‘Order him to remove his hand,’ and he removed his hand and under it was the verse about stoning. So the Messenger of Allah commanded that the adulterers be stoned, and they were stoned. `Abdullah bin `Umar said, ‘I was among those who stoned them and I saw the man shading the woman from the stones with his body.’ Abu Dawud recorded that Ibn `Umar said, ‘Some Jews came to the Messenger of Allah and invited him to go to the Quff area. So he went to the house of Al-Midras and they said, ‘O Abu Al-Qasim! A man from us committed adultery with a woman, so decide on their matter.’ They arranged a pillow for the Messenger of Allah and he sat on it and said… 

<<Bring the Tawrah to me.>> He was brought the Tawrah and he removed the pillow from under him and placed the Tawrah on it, saying


<<Bring me your most knowledgeable person.>> So he was brought a young man… and then he mentioned the rest of the story that Malik narrated from Nafi`… These Hadiths state that the Messenger of Allah issued a decision that conforms with the ruling in the Tawrah, not to honor the Jews in what they believe in, for the Jews were commanded to follow the Law of Muhammad only. Rather, the Prophet did this because Allah commanded him to do so. He asked them about the ruling of stoning in the Tawrah to make them admit to what the Tawrah contains and what they collaborated to hide, deny and exclude from implementing for all that time. They had to admit to what they did, although they did it while having knowledge of the correct ruling…” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 5:41; bold and capital emphasis ours) 

Here we see Muhammad not only demanding that the Jews bring their copy of the Torah and rule by it, he also went as far as to proclaim that the Torah in their possession was the revelation that God had given them!

Nor is this the only instance where Muhammad expressly confirmed the Scriptures in the hands of the Jews: 

Rafi b. Haritha and Sallam b. Mishkam and Malik b. al-Sayf and Rafi b. Huraymila came to him [Muhammad] and said: ‘Do you not allege that you follow the religion of Abraham and believe in the Torah WHICH WE HAVE and testify that it is the truth from God?’ He replied,CERTAINLY, but you have sinned and broken the covenant CONTAINED THEREIN and concealed what you were ordered to make plain to men, and I dissociate myself from your sin.’ They said, ‘We hold by WHAT WE HAVE. We live according to the guidance and the truth and we do not believe in you and we will not follow you.’ So God sent down concerning them: ‘Say, O Scripture folk, you have no standing until you observe the Torah and the Gospel and what has been sent down from your Lord. What has been sent down to thee from they Lord will assuredly increase many of them in error and unbelief. But be not sad because of the unbelieving people.’ (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], p. 268; bold and capital emphasis ours) 

Muhammad again testifies to the Jews of his day that he completely trusts and believes in the authenticity and reliability of the Scriptures in their possession. His only problem was that they were unfaithful to the covenant mentioned in those very same writings.

Now unless Hussein wants to argue that his prophet was being deceptive then even he should see that it makes absolutely no sense for Muhammad to command the Jews to judge by their Torah, if he thought that their Torah was not authentic. Nor does it make sense for him to defend it against the disbelievers and challenge them to come up with a scripture that contains better guidance than it did if he actually thought that the Book given to Moses had been corrupted or was no longer available. 

Muhammad further testified that both the Lord Jesus and his blessed mother also confirmed the textual reliability of the Scriptures which they had access to at that time: 

“I have come to you testifying to [the veracity of] the Law which is between my hands (wamusaddiqan lima bayna yadayya min al-tawrati)…” S. 3:50

And We sent after (following) on their tracks with Jesus, Mary's son confirming for what (is) between his hands from the Torah/Old Testament (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi mina al-tawrati), and We gave him the New Testament/Bible in it (is) guidance and light, and confirming to what (is) between his hands from the Torah/Old Testament (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi mina al-tawrati), and guidance and a sermon/advice/warning to the fearing and obeying. And the New Testament's/Bible's people should judge/rule with what God descended in it, and who does not judge/rule with what God descended, so those, they are the debauchers. S. 5:46-47 Muhammad Ahmed – Samira

And Marium, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her of Our inspiration and she accepted the truth of the words of her Lord AND HIS BOOKS (wasaddaqat bikalimati rabbiha wakutubihi), and she was of, the obedient ones. S. 66:12 Shakir

Here is another translation of the preceding verse:

“… and she put her trust in the Words of her Lord and His Books…” Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah 

And this is how the renowned Muslim expositor ar-Razi interpreted Q. 3:50 according to modern Muslim scholar Mahmoud M. Ayoub:

“… Razi, however, holds that ‘there is actually no contradiction between the two statements because confirming the Torah CAN ONLY SIGNIFY the belief that ALL THAT IS IN IT IS TRUE AND RIGHT…” (Ayoub, The Quran and Its Interpreters: The House of Imran [published by State University of New York Press, Albany, NY 1992], Volume II, p. 149; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Hence, if Hussein is right then this means that Allah allowed Jesus and Mary to confirm Scriptures which were only compiled and edited during the Babylonian exile and which were then falsely attributed to Moses!

To top it all off, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, who happened to be the chief disciple of one of Hussein’s premiere scholars, Ibn Taymiyya, bore witness to the fact that Muslims used the narration of Abu Dawud, which was cited by Ibn Kathir in his exegesis of Q. 5:41 (see above), and the following Quranic reference,

And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can change His Words. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. S. 6:115

To prove that the text of the Torah has remained the same since no one is capable of corrupting any of God’s inspired Books. The scholars concluded from this fact that the Jews and Christians distorted the Scriptures by misinterpreting them:

“… On the other side, another party of hadith and fiqh scholars said:

These changes took place during its interpretation and not during the process of its revelation.

“This is the view of Abi Abdullah Muhammad bin Ishmael Al-Bukhari who said in his hadith collection:

No one can corrupt the text by removing any of Allah’s words from his Books, but they corrupted it by misinterpreting it.

“Al-Razi also agrees with this opinion. In his commentary he said:

There is a difference of opinions regarding this matter among some of the respectable scholars. Some of these scholars said: the manuscript copies of the Torah were distributed everywhere and no one knows the exact number of these copies except Allah. It is impossible to have a conspiracy to change or alter the word of God in all of these copies without missing any copy. Such a conspiracy will not be logical or possible. And when Allah told his messenger (Muhammad) to ask the Jews to bring their Torah and read it concerning the stoning command they were not able to change this command from their copies, that is why they covered up the stoning verse while they were reading it to the prophet. It was then when Abdullah Ibn Salam requested that they remove their hand so that the verse became clear. If they have changed or altered the Torah then this verse would have been one of the important verses to be altered by the Jews.

Also, whenever the prophet would ask them (the Jews) concerning the prophecies about him in the Torah they were not able to remove them either, and they would respond by stating that they are not about him and they are still waiting for the prophet in their Torah.

“Abu Dawood narrated in his collection that Ibn Umar said:

A group of Jewish people invited the messenger of Allah to a house. When he came, they asked him: O Abu Qassim, one of our men committed adultery with a woman, what is your judgment against him? So they placed a pillow and asked the messenger of Allah to set on it. Then the messenger of Allah proceeded to say: bring me the Torah. When they brought it, he removed the pillow from underneath him and placed the Torah on it and said: I believe in you and in the one who revealed you, then said: bring me one of you who have the most knowledge. So they brought him a young man who told him the story of the stoning.

“The scholars said:

If the Torah was corrupted he would not have placed it on the pillow and he would not have said: I believe in you and in the one who revealed you. 

“This group of scholars also said:

Allah said:

"And the word of your Lord has been accomplished truly and justly; there is none who can change His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing."

And the Torah is Allah’s word.” (Al-Jawziyyah, Ighathat Al Lahfan, Volume 2, p. 351)

The reasoning that these particular Muslims employed to affirm the textual incorruptibility of the previous Scriptures such as the Torah is simply impeccable. Since the Quran expressly teaches that there is absolutely no one that can change or pervert the revealed Words of God, and since the Scriptures that God revealed to the Jews and Christians are his revealed Words, then the text of these inspired writings could never have been corrupted. It’s as simple as that!

This means that the Biblical writings that the Jews and Christians possess must be the uncorrupt revelations that God revealed through his prophets and apostles; there is simply no way around this for taqiyyists such as Hussein.

However, if the JEPD hypothesis is correct, as Hussein contends, then this means Muhammad was in gross error for assuming that the OT books which the Jews possessed were either sent down to or composed by inspired men of God such as Moses. Therefore, Hussein’s position concerning the JEPD theory simply provides further proof that Muhammad was a false prophet (which he was but for other reasons), since he didn’t foresee the result of 18th century critical German scholarship that first came up with the JEPD theory.     

And to see what were to happen to the Quran if we were to apply the underlying presuppositions which led to the formulation of the Documentary hypothesis, please consult the following articles and rebuttals:

The Qur’an and the Bible in Light of History and Science: The Documentary Hypothesis— Its Effect on the Torah and the Qur'an 

Answering Dr. Jamal Badawi: Jamal Badawi's Misinformation and Misquotations – Part 4

We have a lot more to say in the third part of our rebuttal.