Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah and the Text of the Torah

Further exposing the shoddy scholarship of a Muslim Apologist

Sam Shamoun

The following is a rough translation of a quotation which Muslim scholar Dr. Waleed Basyouni provided in response to Bassam Zawadi’s feeble attempt of weakening the report from Sunan Abu Dawud where Muhammad praised and confirmed the Torah in his possession (*). The readers can go to the following link and read Dr. Basyouni’s post where he provides the Arabic text for this particular reference (*).

We will also post the Arabic text here for those who can read the Arabic for themselves.

The quote is taken from renowned Muslim scholar Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, the famous student of Ibn Taymiyyah, the Muslim darling of Salafi Muslims such as Zawadi.

What makes this citation rather interesting is that not only does it provide support for the authenticity of the narration from Abu Dawud, but it further documents how many Muslim scholars used this very report to prove that the text of the Torah wasn’t corrupt but remained intact. The scholars who argued this further sourced Q. 6:34 to prove that no person could change the words of Allah, and since the Torah is Allah’s word no one is capable of corrupting its text to such an extent that it no longer accurately reflected what the original said.

Moreover, al-Bukhari and ar-Razi are cited as examples of Muslims who did not believe that the text of the Torah had been corrupted, but that the corruption occurred as a result of misinterpretation. In other words, these scholars believed that the change which occurred was by way of misinterpretation, not a change or corruption of the text. This also confirms what we have stated in our writings and rebuttals (1, 2).

Ibn al-Qayyim further claims that his sheikh or teacher, Ibn Taymiyyah, believed that only minor textual corruptions took place to the Torah and that the majority of it’s text remained pristine.

I am very grateful to Mutee'a Al-Fadi for providing the translation of the Arabic text. All bold, capital and underline emphasis will be ours. Comments within brackets will be ours as well.


Ibn al-Qayyim said in "Ighathat Al Lahfan", Volume 2, p. 351:

There were different opinions concerning the Torah which they had in their hands: Has it been changed? Did the change or corruption take place during the interpretation of the Torah but not during its revelation?

There are three opinions: two at opposite ends and a middle one.

One party claimed that all or most of the Torah has been changed and it is not the same book which was revealed by Allah to Moses. Their reason had to do with the variations of the text and the contradictions of some of its parts with the other parts to the point that the text now allows ablution with urine.

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.

This group of scholars also said: there are famous traditions also which indicate that the Jews covered up the prophecies in the Torah concerning the prophet, and they did not allow their children and the common people to look up these prophecies, and if any one looked up these prophecies, the Jews will tell him that they are not concerning Muhammad. These are the arguments which this group of scholars used.

A third group said: the Torah was altered slightly, however the majority of it is still intact, but the changes were MINOR, and among those who have chosen this view is our scholar [Ibn Tayimiyyah] in his book Al-Jawaab ("The Answer").


قال ابن القيم في إغاثة اللهفان 2/351 :

" فصل وقد اختلفت أقوال الناس في التوراة التي بأيديهم : هل هي مبدلة

أم التبديل والتحريف وقع في التأويل دون التنزيل على ثلاثة أقوال : طرفين ووسط # فأفرطت طائفة وزعمت أنها كلها أو أكثرها مبدلة مغيرة ليست التوراة التي أنزلها الله تعالى على موسى عليه السلام وتعرض هؤلاء لتناقضها وتكذيب بعضها لبعض وغلا بعضهم فجوز الاستجمار بها من البول # وقابلهم طائفة أخرى من أئمة الحديث والفقه والكلام فقالوا : بل التبديل وقع في التأويل لا في التنزيل

# وهذا مذهب أبي عبدالله محمد بن إسماعيل البخاري

# قال في صحيحه يحرفون : يزيلون وليس أحد يزيل لفظ كتاب من كتب الله تعالى ولكنهم يحرفونه : يتأولونه على غير تأويله # وهذا اختيار الرازي في تفسيره # وسمعت شيخنا يقول : وقع النزاع في هذه المسألة بين بعض الفضلاء فاختار هذا المذهب ووهن غيره فأنكر عليه فأحضر لهم خمسة عشر نقلا به # ومن حجة هؤلاء : أن التوراة قد طبقت مشارق الأرض ومغاربها وانتشرت جنوبا وشمالا ولا يعلم عدد نسخها إلا الله تعالى ومن الممتنع أن يقع التواطؤ على التبديل والتغيير في جميع تلك النسخ بحيث لا يبقى في الأرض نسخة إلا مبدلة مغيرة والتغيير على منهاج واحد وهذا مما يحيله العقل ويشهد ببطلانه # قالوا : وقد قال الله تعالى لنبيهمحتجا على اليهود بها : قل فائتوا بالتوراة فاتلوها إن كنتم صادقين قالوا : وقد اتفقوا على ترك فريضة الرجم ولم يمكنهم تغييرها من التوراة ولهذا لما قرؤها على النبيوضع القارىء يده على آية الرجم فقال له عبدالله بن سلام : ارفع يدك عن آية الرجم فرفعها فإذا هي تلوح تحتها فلو كانوا قد بدلوا ألفاظ التوراة لكان هذا من أهم ما يبدلونه قالوا : وكذلك صفات النبيومخرجه هو في التوراة بين جدا ولم يمكنهم إزالته وتغييره : وإنما ذمهم الله تعالى بكتمانهم وكانوا إذا احتج عليهم بما في التوراة من نعمته وصفته يقولون : ليس هو ونحن ننتظره # قالوا : وقد روى أبو داود في سننه عن ابن عمر قال : أتى نفر من اليهود فدعوا رسول اللهإلى القف فأتاهم في بيت المدراس فقالوا : يا أبا القاسم إن رجلا منا زنى بامرأة فاحكم فوضعوا لرسول اللهوسادة فجلس عليها ثم قال : ائتوني بالتوراة فأتي بها فنزع الوسادة من تحته ووضع التوراة عليها ثم قال : آمنت بك وبمن أنزلك ثم قال : ائتوني بأعلمكم فأتي بفتى شاب ثم ذكر قصة الرجم # قالوا : فلو كانت مبدلة مغيرة لم يضعها على الوسادة ولم يقل : آمنت بك وبمن أنزلك قالوا : وقد قال تعالى : وتمت كلمة ربك صدقا وعدلا لا مبدل لكلماته وهو السميع العليم والتوراة من كلماته # قالوا : والآثار التي في كتمان اليهود صفة رسول اللهفي التوراة ومنعهم أولادهم وعوامهم الاطلاع عليها مشهورة ومن اطلع عليها منهم قالوا له : ليس به فهذا بعض ما احتجت به هذه الفرقة # وتوسطت طائفة ثالثة وقالوا : قد زيد فيها وغير ألفاظ يسيرة ولكن أكثرها باق على ما أنزل عليه والتبديل في يسير منها جدا وممن اختار هذا القول شيخنا في كتابه الجواب


With the foregoing in the background it is evident that the reference from Ibn al-Qayyim provides further reasons why Zawadi shouldn’t be engaging in these issues since he doesn’t have the scholarly acumen to sift through his own Islamic sources to determine what is sound or not. This is brought out clearly by Dr. Basyouni’s response to Zawadi concerning the authenticity of Abu Dawud’s narration:

03-16-2008, 11:49 AM

Assalam Alaikum

I am sorry that I did not answer you any sooner. When I saw your question in the beginning and I found the brothers answering you, I did not answer because you posted your question originally by saying: "For Dr. Basyouni or anyone else who can help" and since someone answered you with the right answer I did not see any need for me to further comment. Anyway, what we have here is the following:

1- Is hadeeth Ibn Umar authentic and who narrated it?

You have answered the latter part already as it is narrated by Abee Dawood. It is a sound hadeeth as I mentioned in the class. Al-Albaanee said it is Hasan as one of the brothers mentioned. Ibn Hajar, in "Fath Al-Baaree", mentioned the hadeeth without criticizing it. His method in this book is that, if he mentions any hadeeth, it is sound unless he states otherwise, as it is well-known. If someone thinks it is weak he needs to prove that and not to say: "It is very likely to be weak" using as a reason: "The reason why I stated this is because the same event is recorded in many other authentic narrations, yet none of them mention anything about the Prophet (peace be upon him) bringing the cushion and uttering the statement regarding the Torah!" Such a person cannot be familiar with the science of hadeeth, and that is very dangerous to have such attitude. Anyhow, if someone thinks it is weak, so let it be his opinion.

2- Did Al-Bukhaaree say that the Tahreef happened to the meaning and not the text? Yes, this is well known and you can see that in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree in the Book of Tawheed 97, chapter 55 and read what Ibn Hajar comments.

3- Did Ibn Taymiyyah adopt Al-Bukhaaree’s opinion? No, but he defended him and supported his view. However, he believes that some change happened to it but that there must be one copy remaining unchanged. That is different from what Al-Bukhaaree said.

4- Where Did Ibn Taymiyyah say that and where did he used this hadeeth and other evidence to support Al-Bukhaaree’s opinion? It was mentioned by Ibn Al-Qayyim in Igathat Al-Lahfan 2:351, and I’ll quote him in Arabic in the end. And Br. Maalik mentioned other quotes as well, but the one you are looking for is what Ibn Al-Qayyim said and it is the one I used in the class. One more thing, remember what we said in the class that Ibn Al-Qayyim’s opinion is the strongest one, not the extreme positions of Ibn Hazm or Al-Bukhaaree.

Wallaahu a’lam (AlMaghrib forums; source; underline emphasis ours)

Moreover, the quotation from Ibn al-Qayyim demonstrates Zawadi’s willingness to conceal and/or pervert the evidence in order to prove his erroneous assertion that the authentic sources of Islam do not confirm and uphold the textual veracity and authority of the Holy Bible. He is more interested in scoring cheap debate points and winning an argument at any cost, even if this means that he has to conceal and distort what his own scholars and references say. This is not an indication of a person who is sincerely interested in discovering the truth.

Hopefully, Zawadi has now learned his lesson and will try to be more careful and honest in how he deals with and presents the Islamic source material. If he doesn’t we will be right here by God’s grace to expose him every time.


Appendix

It is apparent that I hit a severe nerve with Zawadi since he has come out with a series of "replies" where he really gets nasty and even attacks any person who would agree with me by calling him/her an ignoramus. Yet all he has managed to do with his current rant and rave is to produce more fluff as we shall document by the grace of the Lord Jesus.

Zawadi attempts to respond to Basyouni’s points by claiming that al-Bukhari’s statement that no changes occurred to the text of the Torah is actually the view held by Ibn Abbas, which only further proves that Zawadi has a hard time comprehending what he reads. If he actually took the time to read the quotation from Ibn al-Qayyim he would have noticed that it was this very Muslim scholar who claimed that this was al-Bukhari’s own view of the text of the Torah. This means that either the Muslims are contradicting themselves since they don’t know who said what, or Ibn al-Qayyim saw what Zawadi could not see due to his inability to think critically. Ibn al-Qayyim may have realized that, even though these are the words of Ibn Abbas, al-Bukhari must have agreed with this claim and therefore adopted it as his very own position; otherwise he wouldn’t have referenced it. At the very least, we would expect al-Bukhari to have added a comment that his own conviction is different from that of Ibn Abbas.

Zawadi then argues that this narration contradicts what Ibn Abbas supposedly said elsewhere concerning the alleged corruption of the Holy Bible, all of which have been thoroughly refuted here (1, 2).

Zawadi further sources certain narratives where Muslims allude to statements that are supposed to be in the Holy Bible, but which we do not find in the Holy Scriptures that we possess. To show you just how utterly desperate this argument is notice the reports that Zawadi cites:

"While a person is in his grave, The first place to start with punishment is his feet yet his feet prevent this punishment from happening by saying: "You cannot punish me in anyway as this man always recited Sura Al-Mulk". Thus, it (the punishment) approaches him from his chest (stomach) side yet his chest prevents the punishments from happening by saying: "You cannot harm or punish me as this man always recited Sura Al-Mulk." Then the punishment of the grave turns to his head but his head prevents this punishment from happening and says: "You cannot punish me because this man always recited Sura Al-Mulk." This Sura is indeed called the preventer that prevents the occurrence of punishment. It is stated in Torah that whoever recites Surah Al Mulk at night, he would be doing very good acts. (Hadith scholar, Al Munthiri declares this narration to be saheeh (authentic) or hasan (good) in his book Al Targheeb Wal Tarheeb, Volume 2, p. 320. Sheikh Albani also affirms the authenticity of this narration in Saheeh Al Targheeb, hadith no. 1475)

And:

The Jews brought [to the Prophet peace be upon him] a man and a woman among them who committed adultery. The Prophet peace be upon him said, "Bring the two most knowledgeable men from amongst you."  The Jews brought the two sons of Suriyya, and the Prophet peace be upon him asked them, "What punishment do you find in the Torah regarding these two?" They said, "In the Torah, we find that if four men testify that they saw his male organ in her womb, similar to when the eyeliner is inserted inside the eyeliner container; in this case they are stoned." The Prophet peace be upon him said, "What made you stop stoning?" They said, "Our kingship (meaning Jewish) was taken from us and we hated killing." The Messenger of Allah asked for four witnesses and they brought four men who testified that they saw his penis in her womb like the eyeliner is inserted in the eyeliner container. The Messenger of Allah ordered that the two [adulterers] are stoned. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith no. 3862, Source. Sheikh Albani declared this hadith authentic in Sunan Abu Dawud, hadith no.4452)

Zawadi thinks that his readers are na´ve enough to actually believe that the previous Scriptures contained a reference or allusion to Surah al-Mulk, despite the fact that the names of these Surahs do not even appear in the Quran but are derived from later tradition, and further expects us to accept that the Torah initially contained an Islamic injunction which only came centuries after the time of the Lord Jesus Christ!

It is evident that certain Muslims made up reports where they claim that the previous Scriptures contained these specific verses in order to provide substantiation for a particular view. However, instead of substantiating their case for Islam, their blatant lies and forgeries expose their shameless manipulation of the previous Scriptures for their own ends thereby demonstrating that Muslims have no qualms and will not hesitate to spread their own religion by deceptive means.

More importantly, in his haste to refute my argument Zawadi simply ignored and overlooked what the Quran says regarding Jesus confirming the Hebrew Scriptures in his hands and how this thoroughly exposes these distorted and fabricated hadiths.

And he will teach him the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel, to be an apostle to the Children of Israel, "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird, by Allah’s leave. I will also heal the blind and the leper, and bring to life the dead, by Allah’s leave. I will inform you of what things you eat, and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. And I confirm the Torah that is between my hands (Wa musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya mina al-tawrati), and to make lawful to you certain things that before were forbidden unto you. I have come to you with a sign from your Lord; so fear you God, and obey you me. S. 3:48-50 our translation

Sunni commentator Ibn Kathir explains that,

<the Tawrah and the Injil>. The Tawrah is the Book THAT ALLAH SENT DOWN TO MUSA, son of Imran, while the Injil is what Allah sent down to Isa, son of Maryam, peace be upon them, AND ISA MEMORIZED BOTH BOOKS…

<If you believe. And I have come confirming that which was before me of the Tawrah,> affirming the Tawrah AND UPHOLDING IT," (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged – Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147, Abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; March 2000, first edition], Volume 2, Parts 3, 4 & 5, pp. 163, 165; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

There are other verses where the Muslim scripture attests that Jesus verified the authority and authenticity of the inspired Writings:

And in their footsteps we sent Jesus son of Mary confirming the Torah between his hands (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi mina al-tawrati) and we gave to him the Gospel, wherein IS guidance and light, and confirming the Torah between his hands (wa musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi mina al-tawrati), as a guidance and an admonition to the pious. Let the People of the Gospel judge according to what God has sent down therein. Whoever does not judge according to what God has sent down, such are the rebellious. S. 5:46-47 our translation

And when Jesus son of Mary said, 'Children of Israel, I am indeed the Messenger of God to you, confirming the Torah that is between my hands (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya mina al-tawrati), and giving good tidings of a Messenger who shall come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.' Then, when he brought them the clear signs, they said, 'This is a manifest sorcery.' S. 61:6

Ibn Kathir wrote the following concerning Q. 5:46:

<'Isa, son of Maryam, confirming the Tawrah that had come before him,> meaning, he believed in it AND RULED BY IT…

<and confirmation of the Tawrah that had come before it,> meaning, HE ADHERED TO THE TAWRAH, except for the few instances that clarified the truth where the Children of Israel differed. Allah states in another Ayah that 'Isa said to the Children of Israel… <…and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you.>

So the scholars say that the Injil abrogated some of the rulings of the Tawrah… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged – Surat An-Nisa, Verse 148 to the end of Surat Al-An'am [January 2000, first edition], Volume 3, Parts 6, 7 & 8, pp. 193-194; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

And here are his comments in respect to Q. 61:6:

‘Isa said, "The Tawrah conveyed the glad tidings of my coming, and my coming CONFIRMS THE TRUTH OF THE TAWRAH ..." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Volume 9, Surat Al-Jathiyah to the end of Surat Al-Munafiqun [September 2000, first edition], p. 617; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Thus, according to the Quran Jesus memorized, confirmed, and adhered to the Holy Scriptures, specifically the Torah, which were extant during his time. In light of the evidence furnished by the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) which were discovered in 1947, where ancient copies of the Hebrew Bible that were written before the time of Christ were found, we know for certain that Jesus was reading and confirming the very inspired Writings we have today as being the inspired, preserved Word of God since the DSS are virtually identical to the Hebrew Bible we currently possess. Moreover, these scrolls do not contain the verses which Zawadi’s narratives claim are from the Torah.

Now, this means that Allah had Jesus bear witness to Books which were not completely reliable and authentic, and deceived his Messiah into believing a Scripture which contained omissions and deletions. Worse still, Allah must have been ignorant since he obviously did not know that Jesus was confirming and memorizing a corrupted source. Or these reports that Zawadi quoted are nothing more than lies and forgeries which unscrupulous Muslims concocted.

Zawadi also tosses Ibn al-Qayyim under the bus by questioning whether this acclaimed student of Ibn Taymiyyah accurately quoted the scholars’ opinions concerning the text of the Torah since Zawadi erroneously thinks that he misrepresented the position of ar-Razi. Lord willing we will be providing a full rebuttal to Zawadi’s claim concerning ar-Razi’s views of the Torah where we will show that, once again, Zawadi has either misunderstood or distorted what his very own sources say regarding this issue.   

Hence, Dr. Basyouni’s assessment of Zawadi’s lack of scholarship still stands and his argument concerning the authenticity of the hadith of Abu Dawud, as well as al-Bukhari’s belief in the incorruptibility of the Biblical text have not been refuted.

So much for Zawadi’s failed attempt of trying to salvage his position and of defending his oft-repeated lie concerning what his own false book says regarding the textual veracity of the Holy Bible.


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