Volume 3, Book 48, Number 850 :
Narrated by Ubaidullah bin Abdullah bin Utba
Ibn Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu) said, “O Muslims? How do you ask the people of the Scriptures, though your Book (i.e. the Quran) which was revealed to His Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) is the most recent information from Allah and you recite it, the Book that has not been distorted? Allah has revealed to you that the people of the scriptures have changed with their own hands what was revealed to them and they have said (as regards their changed Scriptures): This is from Allah, in order to get some worldly benefit thereby.” Ibn Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu) added: “Isn’t the knowledge revealed to you sufficient to prevent you from asking them? By Allah I have never seen any one of them asking (Muslims) about what has been revealed to you.”
Do we believe in the “Holy Books” present today?
We Muslims do not believe that there is any contradiction between the Holy Qur’an and the original Torah and Gospel, because we believe that they are all divinely revealed books that were sent down from Allah, may He be glorified. Thus they came from the same source, and as that is the case there cannot be any contradiction or conflict between them, as Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Do they not then consider the Quran carefully? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much contradictions”
Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, describes the Holy Qur’an as “confirming” the Books that came before it, and that which confirms something cannot contradict or conflict with it. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“It is He Who has sent down the Book (the Quran) to you (Muhammad SAW) with truth, confirming what came before it. And he sent down the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel).
Aforetime, as a guidance to mankind, And He sent down the criterion (of judgement between right and wrong (this Quran)).”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:3-4]
“And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad SAW) the Book (this Quran) in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it and Mohayminan (trustworthy in highness and a witness) over it (old Scriptures)”
As for what we see nowadays of contradictions in the copies of the Torah and Gospel that are extant today, the reason for that is clear and obvious. It is because these two Books have fallen prey to distortion and alteration, with things being taken away, added and changed. That is in addition to the fact that the sources and manuscripts that have come down to us today cannot be trusted. This is what explains any differences that researchers or students find between these two Books and the Holy Qur’an which has been transmitted to us in a mutawaatir fashion (i.e., narrated by so many from so many that it is inconceivable that they could all have agreed upon a lie), as is attested by both believers and nonbelievers.
Can we read them?
Reading these distorted books is not permissible, except for one who has enough Islamic knowledge to be able to distinguish between truth and falsehood in them, and who reads them with the aim of refuting their followers and convincing them that what is in these books is falsehood.
Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) got angry when he saw a book in the hand of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) that he had taken from some of the People of the Book. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Are you in doubt of it, O son of al-Khattab? By the One in Whose hand is my soul, I have brought to you that which is white and pure, and by the One in Whose hand is my soul, if Musa ((peace be upon him) were alive, he could do nothing but follow me.” [Imam Ahmad].
Allah has told us that these people are plotting and that they will do all that they can to take the Muslims away from their religion. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And they will never cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion (Islamic Monotheism) if they can.” [2:217]
Shaykh al-S’adi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Allah tells us that they will never stop fighting the believers, and that their aim is not to steal their wealth or kill them; rather their aim is to turn them back from their religion so that they will become disbelievers after having believed, and so that they will be doomed to Hell. So they are doing all that they can to achieve this and striving as hard as they can, but Allah will not allow except that His Light should be perfected even though the Kafirun (disbelievers) hate (it) [9:32].
This description is general and applies to all the disbelievers. They will not cease to fight others until they turn them back from their religion, especially the People of the Book, the Jews and Christians, who set up organizations and send missionaries and doctors, and build schools in order to attract people to their religion and to introduce to them whatever they can of specious arguments which will make them doubt their religion.
But hope comes from Allah Who has blessed the believers with Islam and has chosen for them His true religion, and has perfected His religion for them, and has completed His blessings upon them, and has thwarted everyone who wants to extinguish His light, caused their plans to fail, supported His religion and made His word supreme.
This verse speaks the truth about these disbelievers as it speaks the truth about those who came before them (interpretation of the meaning): “Verily, those who disbelieve spend their wealth to hinder (men) from the path of Allah, and so will they continue to spend it; but in the end it will become an anguish for them. Then they will be overcome. And those who disbelieve will be gathered unto Hell.” [8:36] End quote. Tafsir al-S’adi.