Ask the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) – Qur’an 10:94 ?
Many missionaries often quote Qur’an 10:94 as proof that they have true knowledge about God, and this verse proves that Muslims must depend on Christians and Jews to understand the Qur’an, Islam, and God. How do we respond to this?
It is important to first begin by understanding this passage. Qur’an 10:94 reads as follows:
“So, if you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you. The truth has certainly come to you from your Lord, so never be among the doubters.”
The passage does not state that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was in doubt, nor does it state that the Muslims should be in doubt. The passage then concludes by commanding that we should never doubt the Qur’an, “so never be among the doubters”.
This passage, therefore, does not give authority to modern-day Christians to be judges about the truth of Islam. To argue this, would be to ignore the entirety of what the passage says.
Tafsir Maar’iful Qur’an comments about this passage:
In the third verse (94), the address is obviously to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). But it goes without saying that there is no probability of his doubting the revelation. Therefore, the purpose is to beam the message to the Muslim community through this address where he is not the intended recipient.
Then, it is also possible that this address may be to human beings at large asking them if they had any doubts about the Divine revelation sent to them through Sayydina Prophet Muhammad al Mustafa (peace be upon him). If they had, let them ask those who recited the Torah and Injil before them.
They would tell them that all past prophets and their Books have been announcing the glad tidings of the Last among Prophets. This will remove their scruples and suspicions.
The Qur’an specifically identifies who is to be asked. This may come as a surprise to many people, but the missionaries who often misuse this verse are unaware that there is a specific person the Qur’an referred to at the time of its revelation in nascent Islamic Arabia.
The Qur’an in 46:10 states:
“Say, “Have you considered: if the Qur’an was from Allah, and you disbelieved in it while a witness from the Children of Israel has testified to something similar and believed while you were arrogant…?” Indeed, Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.”
The Qur’an clearly states that there was a witness from among the Children of Israel who testified to the truth of the Qur’an at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Therefore, when the Qur’an in 10:94 speaks of asking those who knew the previous messages sent by God, the Qur’an directly informs us that there was indeed a witness that confirmed what the Qur’an said from the People of the Book!
The Qur’an, therefore, does not identify modern day Christians, whether they be Protestants or Catholics as the people that the Qur’an in 10:94 referred to.
Tafsir Maar’iful Qur’an comments about Qur’an 46:10 as follows:
“The statement by Sayyidina Sa’d (رضي الله عنه) reported in some narrations of Bukhari, Muslim and Nasa’i, that this verse was revealed about Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Salam (رضي الله عنه) and the same statement from Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه), Mujahid, Dahhak, Qatadah (رضي الله عنه), etc. is not against this verse being Makki, as in this case, it will be a prophecy for the future.”
Qur’an 10:94 asks a hypothetical and rhetorical question: if anyone is in doubt about what the Qur’an says, then they should ask those who know the previous revelations. The Qur’an then tells us who should be asked in 46:10, and it identifies a witness (who was known at that time) to be the one who is knowledgeable about the previous scriptures, and that this person confirmed the teachings of the Qur’an.
Either way, this verse does not give authority to modern day Christians to judge about the truth of Islam, such an interpretation ignores the verse’s context, and it is overall message as it fits into the Qur’anic narrative. Should a missionary raise Qur’an 10:94, they should duly be informed of Qur’an 46:10.
Non-Muslims generally had three main points of dispute about the above explanation:
1. That you have to “jump” from Qur’an 10:94 to Qur’an 46:10 to understand the verse.
2. That Qur’an 10:94 uses plural for the People of the Book but Qur’an 46:10 is singular therefore it does not apply.
3. Islamic scholars disagree on whether Qur’an 46:10 was revealed in Makkah (earlier) or Madina (later).
On the first point:
There is not a need to respond to it. One of the first rules of exegesis is to let scripture interpret scripture. I am not aware of anyone opening John 1:1, and then complaining that they have to “jump” all the way back to Genesis 1:1 for a comparison to derive further context, we don’t believe a Christian would complain that they had to “jump” some 43 books to understand the relation between the two passages.
Perhaps he can expand on their surprise and awe of scripture being referenced in such a fashion. As per our own understanding, it is a strawman and faux criticism.
It should be noted that one often has to jump more than a dozen books or more in some cases to reference Isaiah or the Psalms when reading the New Testament, we were not aware of this being a problem until non-Muslims expressed it as such.
On the second point:
Yes, the Qur’an does use the term “those” as in the plural but that is because there were many witnesses at that time, including but not limited to Salman al Farsi, Abdullah ibn Salam, and Zaid ibn Sanah. However, verse 46:10 is generally referring to one person, while Qur’an 10:94 can refer to multiple witnesses. Therefore, there is no issue here whatsoever.
On the third point:
If we argue Qur’an 46:10 is earlier and is therefore a prophecy of a Person of the Book who testifies to the truth of the Qur’an, then it is a prophecy par excellence given the witnesses we mentioned above. If it was revealed in Madinah, then it confirms a truth publicly known and acknowledged, thus verifying the verse itself and the Qur’an.
There is no discrepancy here and the non-Muslim do not seem to follow through on his own logic, the non-Muslim merely states he disagrees with it but does not provide any justifiable reason for making such claims.
Throughout the 20 minutes or so in which the non-Muslim addresses our earlier article, they made statements regarding whether or not there is such a thing as hermeneutics for the Qur’an, while at the same time reading from a Tafsir we quoted in our article. It is a bit like driving in my car and then asking if I have a car.
In case there is any doubt, yes non-Muslim, there is, and it is called ‘Uloom al Qur’an, we are fairly certain every single Tafsir books mentions this in some capacity. Perhaps you were being facetious, but it came across as being quite uninformed
Allah knows best.
Is it true that there exists an undistorted copy of the Torah? If it is not distorted, how can the signs about the Prophet in the Torah be explained?
The Signs of divine books such as the Torah, Bible and Psalms are a proof of Muhammad’s (PBUH) prophethood.
Almighty Allah is the highest and most knowledgeable, and the attribution of knowledge to him is the safest.
Right from Almighty Allah and wrong from me and Satan
Prepared by Mohamad Mostafa Nassar-
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Arrogance is not only a sign of insecurity, but also a sign of immaturity. Mature and fully realised persons can get their points across, even emphatically without demeaning or intimidating others.