Refuting The Argument Regarding the Qur’an Ordering the Jews and Christians to Judge by Their Scriptures Quran (5:47)

๐‘๐ž๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐€๐ซ๐ ๐ฎ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐‘๐ž๐ ๐š๐ซ๐๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐ฎ๐ซโ€™๐š๐ง ๐Ž๐ซ๐๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐‰๐ž๐ฐ๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐‚๐ก๐ซ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐š๐ง๐ฌ ๐ญ๐จ ๐‰๐ฎ๐๐ ๐ž ๐›๐ฒ ๐“๐ก๐ž๐ข๐ซ ๐’๐œ๐ซ๐ข๐ฉ๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ ๐๐ฎ๐ซ๐š๐ง (๐Ÿ“:๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ•)

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar


By Br.Bassam Zawadi

Christian Claim

How does the Qur’an encourage Jews to judge by the Torah if it was corrupted?

Surah 5:43

How come they (come) unto thee (Muhammad) for judgment when they have the Torah, wherein Allah hath delivered judgment (for them)? 

How does the Qur’an encourage Christians to judge by the Gospel if it was corrupted?…

Surah 5:47

Let the People of the Gospel judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are evil livers. 


We must read everything in its context. When one sees the clear evidence that Islam teaches that the text of the Christian and Jewish scriptures of today is corrupt, he or she then must attempt to harmonize and understand what the other verses are speaking about. When all verses are looked at together, the problem will go away. 

The main problem with Christians who put forth these arguments is that they fail to identify and understand how the Qur’an uses the terms ‘Torah’ and ‘Gospel’ in the Qur’an. When the Qur’an talks about the Torah and Gospel, one of its intentions is to speak about the original revelations sent to Moses and Jesus peace be upon them both respectively.

 Sometimes the Qur’an or authentic hadith might appear to be speaking about the Torah and Gospel, which Jews and Christians refer to. 

For example, when I debate the topic ‘Did Jesus Claim Divinity’ with Christians, I usually issue this challenge ‘Show me where Jesus claimed divinity in the Gospel’. Now, my intention here is that I am referring to the Gospel referred to by Christians and that is the combined four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

However, my intention is not to state that this is the actual Gospel that God revealed to Jesusโ€™ peace be upon him. So, the word is used in different contexts and Christians fail to identify this when it comes to studying the Qur’an and authentic hadith. 

Now Christian missionaries pose the verses above to try and show that the Qur’an informs the Christians and Jews to abide by their scriptures and that this allegedly indicates that the scriptures that they possess are uncorrupted. However, is that what the verses are saying?

How do we understand those verses in light of other verses in the Qur’an that state the Torah was meant as a guide in the past prior to the Qur’an and not before?

Surah 11:17

Prior to this (Quran), the book of Moses served as a guide and was a blessing

Surah 46:12

Prior to this,ย the book of Moses was the guide and mercy. This book, (theย Qur’an) is in the Arabic language and it confirms and validates (the book of Moses).

Ibn Kathir says in his commentary…

This means that before the Qur’an, there was the Book of Musa, the Tawrah.

(guidance and mercy) This means that Allah, the Exalted, revealed it to that Ummah as a leader for them and a guide for them to follow, as a mercy from Allah upon them. Therefore, whoever believed in it with true faith, then it would lead him to believe in the Qur’an as well. For this reason, Allah said,

(They believe therein) Then Allah, the Exalted, threatens those who reject the Qur’an, or any part of it, by saying,

(but those of the sects that reject it, the Fire will be their promised meeting place.) This is directed towards everyone on the face of the earth who disbelieves in the Qur’an, whether they are idolators, disbelievers, People of the Scripture, or other sects from the descendants of Adam. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)

We see that the Torah was meant as a guide for the people of Prophet Moses’s (peace be upon him) time. However, now it is the Qur’an, which is the guide that all mankind must follow…

Surah 2:185

The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was revealed as a guidance for mankind with clear proofs of guidance and discrimination. Therefore, whosoever is present at home in this month let him fast therein. But whoso is temporarily sick or on a journey, shall fast the same number of other days, ALLAH desires ease for you and HE desires not hardship for you, and HE desires that you may complete the number and that you may exalt ALLAH for HIS having guided you and that you may be grateful.

Surah 5:68

Say: “O People of the Book! ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord.” It is the revelation that cometh to thee from thy Lord, that increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. But sorrow thou not over (these) people without Faith.

Surah 18:54

And, surely, WE have explained in various ways in this Qur’an for the good of mankind all manner of similitudes, but of all things man is most contentious.

Surah 30:58

Verily We have coined for mankind in this Qur’an all kinds of similitudes; and indeed, if thou camest unto them with a miracle, those who disbelieve would verily exclaim: Ye are but tricksters!

Surah 39:27

And, indeed, WE have set forth for mankind all manner of parables in this Qur’an that they may take heed.

The Qur’an makes it clear that it is for all mankind. There is no exclusion of the people of the book in this regard. Surah 5:68 is especially interesting since it is commanding the Christians and Jews to not only follow the Torah and Gospel, but the Qur’an as well.

The Qur’an states that it is also meant for the children of Israel…

Surah 27:76-77

Verily, this Qur’an explains to the Children of Israel most of that concerning which they differ. And verily it is a guidance and a mercy for the believers.

Imam Tabari states in his commentary on verse 76…

                                                                          ุงูุฎู’ุชูŽู„ูŽูููˆุง ูููŠู‡ู ู…ูู†ู’ ุฃูŽู…ู’ุฑ ุนููŠุณูŽู‰ , ููŽู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽุชู’ ุงู„ู’ูŠูŽู‡ููˆุฏ ูููŠู‡ู ู…ูŽุง ู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽุชู’ , ูˆูŽู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽุชู’ ุงู„ู†ูŽู‘ุตูŽุงุฑูŽู‰ ูููŠู‡ู ู…ูŽุง ู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽุชู’  

ููŽู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽ ุฌูŽู„ูŽู‘ ุซูŽู†ูŽุงุคูู‡ู ู„ูŽู‡ูู…ู’ : ุฅูู†ูŽู‘ ู‡ูŽุฐูŽุง ุงู„ู’ู‚ูุฑู’ุขู† ูŠูŽู‚ูุตู‘ ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ูƒูู…ู’ ุงู„ู’ุญูŽู‚ู‘ ูููŠู…ูŽุง ุงูุฎู’ุชูŽู„ูŽูู’ุชูู…ู’ ูููŠู‡ู ููŽุงุชูŽู‘ุจูŽุนููˆู‡ู , ูˆูŽุฃูŽู‚ูŽุฑูู‘ูˆุง ู„ูู…ูŽุง ูููŠู‡ู , ููŽุฅูู†ูŽู‘ู‡ู ูŠูŽู‚ูุตู‘ ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ูƒูู…ู’ ุจูุงู„ู’ุญูŽู‚ูู‘ , ูˆูŽูŠูŽู‡ู’ุฏููŠูƒูู…ู’ ุฅูู„ูŽู‰ ุณูŽุจููŠู„ ุงู„ุฑูŽู‘ุดูŽุงุฏ

They differed in regard to Jesus, the Jews said what they said, and the Christians said what they said.

So, the Lord said: It is this Qur’an that will inform you of the truth of what you differed overtherefore follow it, and do what it orders you. For it informs you of the truth and guides you to the righteous path. (Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Jami’ al-bayan fi ta’wil al-Qur’an, Commentary on Surah 27:76)

The Qur’an is clear that it is meant as a guide for the Children of Israel as well by explaining the truth of what they differed in the past in regard to issues such as Jesus for example.

Now what do those verses posed by Christian missionaries really mean?

Let’s look at the first verse posed…

Surah 5:43

How come they (come) unto thee (Muhammad) for judgment when they have the Torah, wherein Allah hath delivered judgment (for them)?

We will give a brief background regarding the context of this verse’s revelation. What happened is that one time there was an adulterer from amongst the Jews whom the Jews had to punish. They went to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) seeking advice as to what they should do with the man.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied back that they should judge this man according to their own Law and that was stoning the adulterer.

They tried to hide the verse from the Prophet (peace be upon him) but the Prophet’s companion Abdullah ibn Salam who was familiar with the scriptures pointed out the verse and exposed the Jews deception. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) had that man stoned in accordance with the law found in the Torah. 

Allah then revealed Surah 5:43 to criticize the Jews who did this. 

Imam Jalal ud-Din Siyuti says in his commentary on this verse…

But how is it that they make you their judge when they have the Torah, wherein is God’s judgment, of stoning: the interrogative here is for [provoking] amazement, in other words, they were not seeking thereby [by making you their judge] to discover the truth but a lighter punishment for them; and then they turn away, [and then] they reject your ruling of stoning, which accords with what is in their Scripture, after that, request [to you] for arbitration? Such are not believers. (Jalal ud-Din Siyuti, Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Commentary on Surah 5:43)

Ibn Kathir states.

Allah then chastises the Jews for their false ideas and deviant desires to abandon what they believe is true in their Book, and which they claim is their eternal Law that they are always commanded to adhere to. Yet, they do not adhere to the Tawrah, but they prefer other laws over it, although they believe that these other laws are not correct and do not apply to them. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)

Imam Tabari has it in his commentary…

ูƒูŽูŠู’ููŽ ุชูู‚ูุฑูู‘ูˆู†ูŽ ุฃูŽูŠู‘ู‡ูŽุง ุงู„ู’ูŠูŽู‡ููˆุฏ ุจูุญููƒู’ู…ู ู†ูŽุจููŠูู‘ูŠ ู…ูุญูŽู…ูŽู‘ุฏ ุตูŽู„ูŽู‘ู‰ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ูˆูŽุณูŽู„ูŽู‘ู…ูŽ ู…ูŽุนูŽ ุฌูุญููˆุฏ ู†ูุจููˆูŽู‘ุชู‡ ูˆูŽุชูŽูƒู’ุฐููŠุจูƒูู…ู’ ุฅููŠูŽู‘ุงู‡ู , ูˆูŽุฃูŽู†ู’ุชูู…ู’ ุชูŽุชู’ุฑููƒููˆู†ูŽ ุญููƒู’ู…ููŠ ุงู„ูŽู‘ุฐููŠ ุชูู‚ูุฑูู‘ูˆู†ูŽ ุจูู‡ู ุฃูŽู†ูŽู‘ู‡ู ุญูŽู‚ู‘ ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ูƒูู…ู’ ูˆูŽุงุฌูุจ ุฌูŽุงุกูŽูƒูู…ู’ ุจูู‡ู ู…ููˆุณูŽู‰ ู…ูู†ู’ ุนูู†ู’ุฏ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ุŸ    

How is it, that you Jews seek the judgment of the Prophet peace be upon him while you reject his Prophethood and declare it to be false, and you leave the ruling of God which you believe to be true for yourselves and compulsory on you and it is brought to you from Moses from Allah? 

(Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Jami’ al-bayan fi ta’wil al-Qur’an, Commentary on Surah 5:43.

So here we can clearly see that Allah is simply pointing out the inconsistent stance of the Jews in regard to their beliefs. They believe that what they have is from God and reject the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him). 

Yet, they leave what they believe is from God but go to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for guidance. Truly this is inconsistent and ridiculous, and the Qur’an is merely pointing it out. 

So, this is what the verse is intending to communicate. It is not informing the reader of the Qur’an that the Jews possess uncorrupt scripture. Someone might argue that the verse states that the judgment of Allah is present in the Torah of the Jews. However, this is only specific to the judgment that the adulterer must be stoned. 

Imam Al Qurtubi has it in his commentary on this verse…

ูˆูŽูŠูู‚ูŽุงู„ : ู‡ูŽู„ู’ ูŠูŽุฏูู„ู‘ ู‚ูŽูˆู’ู„ู‡ ุชูŽุนูŽุงู„ูŽู‰ : ูููŠู‡ูŽุง ุญููƒู’ู… ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ ” ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ุฃูŽู†ูŽู‘ู‡ู ู„ูŽู…ู’ ูŠูู†ู’ุณูŽุฎ ุŸ ุงู„ู’ุฌูŽูˆูŽุงุจ : ูˆูŽู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽ ุฃูŽุจููˆ ุนูŽู„ููŠู‘ : ู†ูŽุนูŽู…ู’ ; ู„ูุฃูŽู†ูŽู‘ู‡ู ู„ูŽูˆู’ ู†ูุณูุฎูŽ ู„ูŽู…ู’ ูŠูุทู’ู„ูŽู‚ ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ุจูŽุนู’ุฏ ุงู„ู†ูŽู‘ุณู’ุฎ ุฃูŽู†ูŽู‘ู‡ู ุญููƒู’ู… ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ , ูƒูŽู…ูŽุง ู„ูŽุง ูŠูุทู’ู„ูŽู‚ ุฃูŽู†ูŽู‘ ุญููƒู’ู… ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ ุชูŽุญู’ู„ููŠู„ ุงู„ู’ุฎูŽู…ู’ุฑ ุฃูŽูˆู’ ุชูŽุญู’ุฑููŠู… ุงู„ุณูŽู‘ุจู’ุช

And it is asked: “Does the statement of Allah ‘and in it is the judgment of Allah’ imply that it was not abrogated?”

The answer: Abu Ali said: “Yes, because if it was abrogated then it won’t be referred to as a judgment of Allah, just as the allowance of alcohol or forbiddance of Saturdays are not referred to as rulings of Allah. (Abu ‘Abdullah al-Qurtubi, Tasfir al Jami’ li-ahkam al-Qur’an, Commentary on Surah 5:43.

Imam Ibn Hajar discusses the opinions that validate the entire Torah depending upon the event of stoning of the Jews according to the Torah, he says:

Some argued that they (Jews) did not omit (yusqitu) any of its words (the Torah), but their argument is indefinite because of the possibility that it was confined to this event and does not lead to generalization. (Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani, Fath-ul-Bari fe Sharh Sahih-el-Bukhari, Book of “Legal Punishments”, Chapter 39, Number 5620)

As Ibn Hajar rightfully points out, to assume that the Qur’an is claiming that the entire Torah in the possession of the Jews at that time is uncorrupt just because a judgment of Allah is be found in it is an invalid opinion. 

The Qur’anic verse only proves that the certain judgment regarding stoning the adulterer is truly from God in the Jewish scripture, it does not necessitate that the entire Torah in the Jewish possession at that time is from God. 

As a matter of fact, when someone examines the ruling of what should be done to the adulterer in the Bible and in Islamic teachings, he would realize that the Torah according to Islam has been textually corrupted.

Let us read the following narration…

ุญุฏุซู†ุง ูŠุญูŠู‰ ุจู† ู…ูˆุณู‰ ุงู„ุจู„ุฎูŠ ุซู†ุง ุฃุจูˆ ุฃุณุงู…ุฉ ู‚ุงู„ ู…ุฌุงู„ุฏ ุฃุฎุจุฑู†ุง ุนู† ุนุงู…ุฑ ุนู† ุฌุงุจุฑ ุจู† ุนุจุฏ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ู‚ุงู„ : ุฌุงุกุช ุงู„ูŠู‡ูˆุฏ ุจุฑุฌู„ ูˆุงู…ุฑุฃุฉ ู…ู†ู‡ู… ุฒู†ูŠุง ูู‚ุงู„ ุงุฆุชูˆู†ูŠ

 ุจุฃุนู„ู… ุฑุฌู„ูŠู† ู…ู†ูƒู… ูุฃุชูˆู‡ ุจุงุจู†ูŠ ุตูˆุฑูŠุง ูู†ุดุฏู‡ู…ุง ูƒูŠู ุชุฌุฏุงู† ุฃู…ุฑ ู‡ุฐูŠู† ููŠ ุงู„ุชูˆุฑุงุฉ ู‚ุงู„ุง ู†ุฌุฏ ููŠ ุงู„ุชูˆุฑุงุฉ ุฅุฐุง ุดู‡ุฏ ุฃุฑุจุนุฉ ุฃู†ู‡ู… ุฑุฃูˆุง ุฐูƒุฑู‡ ููŠ ูุฑุฌู‡ุง ู…ุซู„

ุงู„ู…ูŠู„ ููŠ ุงู„ู…ูƒุญู„ุฉ ุฑุฌู…ุง ู‚ุงู„ ูู…ุง ูŠู…ู†ุนูƒู…ุง ุฃู† ุชุฑุฌู…ูˆู‡ู…ุง ู‚ุงู„ุง ุฐู‡ุจ ุณู„ุทุงู†ู†ุง ููƒุฑู‡ู†ุง ุงู„ู‚ุชู„ ูุฏุนุง ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ุจุงู„ุดู‡ูˆุฏ ูุฌุงุคูˆุง ุจุฃุฑุจุนุฉ ูุดู‡ุฏูˆุง ุฃู†ู‡ู… ุฑุฃูˆุง ุฐูƒุฑู‡ ููŠ ูุฑุฌู‡ุง ู…ุซู„ ุงู„ู…ูŠู„ ููŠ ุงู„ู…ูƒุญู„ุฉ ูุฃู…ุฑ ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ุจุฑุฌู…ู‡ู…ุง

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. Sheikh Albani declared this hadith authentic in Sunan Abu Dawud, hadith no.4452)

Indeed, we do find in the Old Testament today that adulterers are to be killed (Leviticus 20:10). But nowhere do we find anything about four witnesses (interestingly Islam teaches this) or any eyeliner.

This is indirect proof that this section of the Torah has been distorted.

Let’s look at the second verse posed…

Surah 5:47

Let the People of the Gospel judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are evil livers.

Imam Al Qurtubi has it in his commentary…

ุฃูŽูŠู’ ู„ููŠูŽุญู’ูƒูู… ุฃูŽู‡ู’ู„ ุงู„ู’ุฅูู†ู’ุฌููŠู„ ุฃูŽูŠู’ ูููŠ ุฐูŽู„ููƒูŽ ุงู„ู’ูˆูŽู‚ู’ุช , ููŽุฃูŽู…ูŽู‘ุง ุงู„ู’ุขู† ููŽู‡ููˆูŽ ู…ูŽู†ู’ุณููˆุฎ , ูˆูŽู‚ููŠู„ูŽ : ู‡ูŽุฐูŽุง ุฃูŽู…ู’ุฑ ู„ูู„ู†ูŽู‘ุตูŽุงุฑูŽู‰ ุงู„ู’ุขู† ุจูุงู„ู’ุฅููŠู…ูŽุงู†ู ุจูู…ูุญูŽู…ูŽู‘ุฏู ุตูŽู„ูŽู‘ู‰ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ูˆูŽุณูŽู„ูŽู‘ู…ูŽ ; ููŽุฅูู†ูŽู‘ ูููŠ ุงู„ู’ุฅูู†ู’ุฌููŠู„ ูˆูุฌููˆุจ ุงู„ู’ุฅููŠู…ูŽุงู† ุจูู‡ู

The people of the Gospel ruled by the Gospel at that particular time (meaning the time it was revealed to Jesus), as for now it is abrogated, and it is said that this is an order for the Christians of this time to have faith in Muhammad (peace be upon him) because according to the Gospel it is compulsory for them to do so. (Abu ‘Abdullah al-Qurtubi, Tasfir al Jami’ li-ahkam al-Qur’an, Commentary on Surah 5:43.

Focus on what the second part of the verse says…

Surah 5:47

Let the People of the Gospel judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are evil livers.

Regarding the second part of the verse, Imam Al Qurtubi says…

ูŠู’ ูˆูŽู…ูŽู†ู’ ู„ูŽู…ู’ ูŠูŽุญู’ูƒูู… ุจูู…ูŽุง ุฃูŽู†ู’ุฒูŽู„ูŽ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ ุฑูŽุฏู‹ู‘ุง ู„ูู„ู’ู‚ูุฑู’ุขู†ู , ูˆูŽุฌูŽุญู’ุฏู‹ุง ู„ูู‚ูŽูˆู’ู„ู ุงู„ุฑูŽู‘ุณููˆู„ ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ุงู„ุตูŽู‘ู„ูŽุงุฉ ูˆูŽุงู„ุณูŽู‘ู„ูŽุงู… ููŽู‡ููˆูŽ ูƒูŽุงููุฑ ; ู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽู‡ู ุงูุจู’ู† ุนูŽุจูŽู‘ุงุณ ูˆูŽู…ูุฌูŽุงู‡ูุฏ , ููŽุงู„ู’ุขูŠูŽุฉ ุนูŽุงู…ูŽู‘ุฉ ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ู‡ูŽุฐูŽุง . ู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽ ุงูุจู’ู† ู…ูŽุณู’ุนููˆุฏ ูˆูŽุงู„ู’ุญูŽุณูŽู† : ู‡ููŠูŽ ุนูŽุงู…ูŽู‘ุฉ ูููŠ ูƒูู„ู‘ ู…ูŽู†ู’ ู„ูŽู…ู’ ูŠูŽุญู’ูƒูู… ุจูู…ูŽุง ุฃูŽู†ู’ุฒูŽู„ูŽ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ ู…ูู†ู’ ุงู„ู’ู…ูุณู’ู„ูู…ููŠู†ูŽ ูˆูŽุงู„ู’ูŠูŽู‡ููˆุฏ ูˆูŽุงู„ู’ูƒูููŽู‘ุงุฑ

And whoever does not rule by what Allah has revealed from the Qurโ€™an and abandons the saying of the Messenger (peace be upon him) then he is a disbeliever. Ibn Abbas and Mujahid said that this verse is general and applies to everyone. Ibn Mas’ud and Al Hassan said: “It is general to all those who don’t rule by what Allah has revealed from amongst the Muslims, Jews and disbelievers.” (Ibid.)

This verse refers to the Gospel, which is not distorted and altered. Allah is referring in these verses to the commands He stated in the original Gospel so that all the verses are about the unchanged or unaltered commands of Allah in the Gospel.

Allah commands the Christians to judge by the revealed Book, not by the New Testament which is a collection of books written by a wide variety of authors. In this case, Christians are unable to judge by these Books except through the Holy Qur’an and acceptance of Prophet Muhammad’s message. 

This is the only possible way to judge by the Gospel because the Qur’an was sent down affirming its original message and is a protector over it. This is emphasized in verse 48…

Surah 5:48

And We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, verifying what is before it of the Book and a guardian over it, therefore judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires (to turn away) from the truth that has come to you; for every one of you did We appoint a law and a way, and if Allah had pleased He would have made you (all) a single people. 

But that He might try you in what He gave you, therefore strive with one another to hasten to virtuous deeds; to Allah is your return, of all (of you), so He will let you know that in which you differed;

Ibn Kathir quotes well-known Qur’anic commentator Ibn Jarir Al Tabari as saying…

Ibn Jarir said, “The Qur’an is trustworthy over the Books that preceded it. Therefore, whatever in these previous Books conforms to the Qur’an is true, and whatever disagrees with the Qur’an is false.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, You can also see Al Tabari saying this himself in his commentary on Surah 2:41)

Imam al-Tabari relates from the eminent Jurist Ibn Juraij (80-150 AH/699-767 CE) that if the people of the book quote something from their Bible that disagrees with the Qur’an then we reject it but if it agrees with the Qur’an then we accept it. Imam al-Bahgawi also quotes the opinion of Ibn Juraij in his commentary. (Tafsir Al Baghawi, 1/65)

The Qur’an is the protector of the Gospel and Torah. But which Gospel and Torah? It is the original revelations sent to Jesus and Moses (peace be upon them) both and whatever of it survives today (e.g. prophecies of Muhammad peace be upon him to come) in the scriptures of the Christians and Jews today.

So, what is meant here by the Gospel is the original revealed Book before it got corrupted and altered. And there is no way to judge by it except by conferring the Qur’an which is a protector over it; for it bears witness to what Allah has revealed in it and exposes what people falsely entered into and removed from it.

Other commentators have stated that if the Christians judge by the Gospel, then they are in a way accepting the Prophecies of Muhammad peace be upon him in the Gospel, which in turn leads them to accept Islam.


The verses from the Qur’an, which command the Jews and Christians to judge by the Torah and Gospel respectively actually mean that they must judge by the Qur’an since this is the only way to really judge by the Torah and Gospel sent to Moses and Jesus peace be upon them both respectively. 

For those original revelations taught the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Therefore, to judge by them means that you must accept the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him), which in turn means that you must then accept the Qur’an as the word of God and judge by it.

Allah Knows Best.


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