Refuting The Argument That Surah 15, Verse 9 Says That God Preserved The Christian and Jewish Scriptures
I haven't really seen anyone put forth this argument except Sam Shamoun, one of the authors of www.answering-islam.org.
His argument is paraphrased as follows...
The Qur'an says that God promises to preserve the Remembrance in Surah 15, Verse 9. Also we see that the Torah and Gospel were referred to as Remembrance and this is supported by appealing to Surah 16:43, 21:7, 21:48, 21:105 and 40:53-54. Therefore, Surah 15:9 is indirectly, yet clearly stating that the Torah and Gospel have also been preserved.
Yes the Torah, Gospel and Qur'an are all Remembrances since they were revelations from God to remind the people to worship Him. However, one needs to look at the context to know whether the word Remembrance in a specific verse is talking about all of the revelations of God or a specific one.
For example, if we were to read in Surah 21:48...
YUSUFALI: In the past We granted to Moses and Aaron the criterion (for judgment), and a Light and a Message for those who would do right,-
PICKTHAL: And We verily gave Moses and Aaron the Criterion (of right and wrong) and a light and a Reminder for those who keep from evil,
SHAKIR: And certainly We gave to Musa and Haroun the Furqan and a light and a reminder for those who would guard (against evil).
And Surah 40:53-54...
YUSUFALI: We did aforetime give Moses the (Book of) Guidance, and We gave the book in inheritance to the Children of Israel,-
PICKTHAL: And We verily gave Moses the guidance, and We caused the Children of Israel to inherit the Scripture,
SHAKIR: And certainly We gave Musa the guidance, and We made the children of Israel inherit the Book,
YUSUFALI: A Guide and a Message to men of Understanding.
PICKTHAL: A guide and a reminder for men of understanding.
SHAKIR: A guidance and a reminder to the men of understanding.
You would see that the specific Reminder spoken about in the verses is referring to the Torah. It can't be the Gospel or Qur'an since they weren't sent down to Moses.
So context denotes the exact meaning of the word.
Now even Sam Shamoun himself in his debate with Shabir Ally, which could be downloaded here in part 1 of the debate, 4th minute, 26th second admits that the context of Surah 15:9 shows that the word Reminder is referring to the Qur'an...
The first verse is Chapter 15, Verse 9 of the Qur'an. It says this: 'We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).'
Now interestingly most Muslims feel that this is referring to the protection of the Qur'an and in its immediate context it is referring to the Qur'an. I have no arguments with that.
Sam Shamoun then goes on to quote several verses to try and show that books such as the Torah and Gospel could also be referred to as Remembrance. Yet, he doesn't realize that he refuted himself already by saying that the context of Surah 15:9 is talking about the Qur'an. Where does the context allow it to mean that it is also talking about the Torah and Gospel? He hasn't proven this assertion.
Shamoun is right; the context makes it obvious that it is referring to the Qur'an...
Often will those who disbelieve wish that they had been Muslims. Leave them that they may eat and enjoy themselves and (that) hope may beguile them, for they will soon know. And never did We destroy a town but it had a term made known. No people can hasten on their doom nor can they postpone (it). And they say: O you to whom the Reminder has been revealed! you are most surely insane: Why do you not bring to us the angels if you are of the truthful ones? We do not send the angels but with truth, and then they would not be respited. Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian.
Anyone can clearly see that this is a response to Prophet Muhammad's contemporaries. Also, his contemporaries' referral to the Reminder in verse 6 clearly shows that it is only referring to the Qu'ran. Hence the response in verse 9.
Imagine I tell someone that I traveled to Canada a month ago. Then based on that he concludes that I visited Calgary, since it is in Canada. However, it might actually be that I only visited Toronto. Just because I visited Canada, that doesn't mean that I visited all of Canada.
The point I am trying to make is that the word Remembrance could imply different things since different things come under its general term. It could possibly mean in certain contexts...
1) The Qur'an only.
2) The Torah only.
3) The Gospel only.
4) The Torah and Gospel only.
5) The Qur'an and Gospel only.
6) The Qur'an and Torah only.
7) The Qur'an, Torah and Gospel.
What Shamoun is doing is assuming point number 7 is being referred to in Surah 15:9 without providing evidence.
We can easily knock out choices 2, 4, 6 and 7 (regarding Torah) since God mentions in:
Surely We revealed the Taurat in which was guidance and light; with it the prophets who submitted themselves (to Allah) judged (matters) for those who were Jews, and the masters of Divine knowledge and the doctors, because they were required to guard (part) of the Book of Allah, and they were witnesses thereof; therefore fear not the people and fear Me, and do not take a small price for My communications; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the unbelievers.
that the Rabbis and scribes were entrusted with the protection of the Torah. It wasn't God that entrusted its protection as He states regarding the Qur'an in Surah 15:9. Obviously, the protection of the Torah failed since it was entrusted to people and the same goes for the Gospel (see here)
All major commentators of the Qur'an are in agreement that Surah 15:9 is referring to the Qur'an...
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
Tafsir Al Jalalayn
Tafsir Qurtubi (go the section of Qurtubi here)
Tafsir Ibn Abbaas
Tafsir Zamakshari (he emphasizes the fact that the previous revelations were entrusted to scribes and not God)
Tafsir Al Tabarisi
I am not going to waste my time going to the rest of the 20 other commentaries, since it is pretty obvious what it is that they say.
So people like Sam Shamoun need to stop asserting and start proving their points.
Sam Shamoun replied to this article and I replied back here.
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