“He sent down to you this scripture, truthfully, confirming all previous scriptures, and He sent down the Torah and the Gospel.” S. 3:3 Khalifa
What does it mean for scripture to confirm what came before it? The Merriam-Webster dictionary provides this meaning, “Confirm: to give new assurance of the validity of : remove doubt about by authoritative act or indisputable fact.” The Qur’an therefore reinforces the truth of the Tawrat and Injil, but does not necessarily replace the previous Books send down by Allah. Also, the Injil confirms the Tawrat by reinforcing the truth of the Tawrat, but provides clearer understanding and eradicates misinterpretation and error. Because of the numerous additional laws the Pharisees demanded of the Hebrews they began to lose the deeper more important understanding of the Tawrat. Therefore, Allah sent the Prophet Isa (SAW) to reveal this truth. The Prophet Isa (SAW) was asked what the most important commandments were given by Moses, and he replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, this is the first and greatest commandment, and the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Isa’s teachings and actions exemplified this simple teaching as well as islam or full submission to Allah.
“We made Jesus, son of Mary, follow in the footsteps (of the earlier Prophets) and confirm what existed in the Torah in his time. We gave him the Gospel containing guidance and light, as a confirmation of the Torah and instruction and advice for the pious ones.” Qur’an 5:46
And yet there is some misinterpretation of the Qur’an relayed to Muslim believers that the Tawrat and Injil are no longer valid as they believe the Qur’an supercedes the previous books. The meaning of “supercede” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary: “Supercede: to cause to be set aside, to force out of use as inferior, to take the place or position of, to displace in favor of another.”
Is there a contradiction with the word “supercedes” with what the Qur’an teaches; “confirms what came before it?” In no part of the Qur’an does it teach the Tawrat and Injil are no longer valid and that the Qur’an replaces these books. The following is an example of a beautiful confirmation of teaching by the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) of what is in the Injil:
From the hadith of Hazrat Abu Amr Jarir:
“Once we were with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, at the beginning of the day when some people came, barefooted, wearing a wool cloak with a hole for the head cut out, and girded with swords. Most of them were Mudar, indeed, all of them were from the tribe. The face of the Messenger of Allah changed when he saw the poor condition and the extreme need of these people. He went inside and then came out and then commanded Bilal to give the adnan and the iqama. He prayed and then spoke and said, ‘O mankind! Have Taqwa of your Lord Who created you from a single person.’ to the end of the ayat, ‘Allah watches over you continually.’ And the other verse which is at the end of al-Hashr, ‘O you who believe! Have Taqwa of Allah and let each self look to what it has sent forward for tomorrow’ (59:18). Let a man give from his dinars and his dirhams, from his clothes, from the Sa’ of his wheat, from the Sa’ of his dates even a half a date. Aman of ‘Ansar brought a bag of which he could barely get his hand around, indeed, he could not. People then came one after another until I saw two heaps of food and clothes and saw the face of the Messenger of Allah shining as if it were illuminated.”
From “Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand” from the Injil (Matthew 14:13–21):
“When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.’ ‘We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,’ they answered. ‘Bring them here to me,’ he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.”
When the Messenger observed the sad state of the tribe of Mudar he had compassion. What else caught his attention? Most likely the angry and rejecting looks of his followers towards the polytheistic tribal members. He then excuses himself to be alone make dua and then recited the ayat (verse) referring to how Allah made them all from a single person. In other words, he was reminding them of their unity within the one and our important relationship with each other no matter our differences, including this broke down, starving, raggedy tribe. He then reminds them of how to send forward towards tomorrow by giving from their blessings of money, clothes and food. How proud he was observing his followers come to complete understanding by meeting the need of this starving nomadic tribe. His face appeared as if shining and illuminated, obviously full of love for his Ummah.
The Prophet Isa looked down upon the large crowd that had done everything possible to look for him because they were so excited to hear his teachings. Being immediately moved he begins healing their sick and diseased, and then teaches the people how to love the very least among them, to take care of the poor and the orphans, and to accept the “other” unconditionally. Many hours later, Jesus disciples urged him to send the crowd away because it was late and they hadn’t eaten — imagine the scene, people were so entranced with Isa’s teachings they had already listened for hours. Instead, Isa simply tells the disciples to feed the five thousand from the five loaves of bread and two fish the disciples had brought for their own meal. Astonished, the disciples handed out the little food they had, and later observed twelve basketfuls of broken pieces be returned after the people had eaten their fill. How had this happened? Was it a miracle? Or was it the hearts of people so moved by Isa’s teachings that they understood immediately, just like the Prophet Muhammad’s followers did, what they needed to do — they took the food they had brought — some less, some more, and shared with all of those around them.
These are beautiful descriptions of two perfected prophets leading their followers to Truth. Neither one of these important prophets nor their religions should be denigrated by each other — and Allah knows best.
Assalamu alaikum…Peace be upon you