From etymologic point of view, The word “book” means “Something written” or “something gathered”. The roots of this word somehow connects each other, in a manner that “book” is a compilation of unified data and informations. While in terminology, the meaning of “the book of Allah” is the books which were sent down by Allah -may He be Exalted and Glorified- to His messengers, as a blessing and guidance upon mankind, in order for them to achieve the happiness in this world and in the hereafter.
The Books of Allah
1. Torah (Taurat)
It is a book which was descended to Moses, the prophet of Allah, -peace be upon him. Allah decreed, which meaning is, “After We had destroyed the earlier generations We bestowed the Book on Moses – a source of enlightenment for people and a guidance and mercy – that they may take heed.” (Al-Qasas/The Stories: 43)
Allah sent down the Torah in a form of writings written on certain sheets, altogether. Allah decreed, which meaning is, “And We ordained for Moses in the Tablets all manner of admonition, and instruction concerning all things,” (Al-A’raf/The Height: 145). Ibn Abbas -may Allah be pleased with him-said, “It means the sheets of Torah.”
It was narrated from the hadith of Abu Huraira -may Allah be pleased with him- about the conversation between Moses and Adam -may peace of Allah be upon them. Adam said, “You are the one whom Allah selected for His Message and whom He selected for Himself and upon whom He revealed the Taurat (Torah).” (Narrated by Al Bukhari no. 6240 and Muslim no. 13)
Torah is the most prominent and the highest book for the offsprings of Israel. It carried out the details of their laws, which were descended to Moses, This laws were also carried on by the prophets amongst the offsprings of Israel after him. Allah decreed, which meaning is, “Surely We revealed the Torah, wherein there is Guidance and Light. Thereby did Prophets – who had submitted themselves (to Allah) – judge for the Judaized folk; and so did the scholars and jurists. They judged by the Book of Allah for they had been entrusted to keep it and bear witness to it.” (Al-Ma’ida/The Table Spread: 44)
An important lesson derived from that verse is that the keeping of the Torah were entrusted to the jurists of the Offsprings of Israel. As part of that verse reveals, “for they had been entrusted to keep it.” This is one of the reason why Torah could be changed by man, unlike the Qur’an.
2. Psalm (Zabur)
Psalm is a book that was descended to David, prophet of Allah, peace of upon him. Allah decreed, which meaning is, “and We gave to David Psalms.” (An-Nisa/The Women: 163)
The Book of Psalms, unlike Torah, contained only prayers (du’aa), remembrance, praises to Allah, and other remembrances which Allah had taught to Daud (David) -peace be upon him. There was no explanation about laws of legal or illegal things, or other laws. This is the statement of Imam Qatada when he interpreted verse number 163 from Soorah An Nisaa’ (The Women), he said, “We, the pupil of the companions (tabi’in) said that Psalm merely contained prayers which Allah had taught to David, praises and high speak of Allah the Exalted. It did not contain anything about lawful matters, obligations, nor any laws. The laws and shari’a which were practiced in the period of David was the ones in Torah, thus, his laws were similar to Moses’, peace be upon him.”
3. The Gospel (Injil)
This is the book which was sent down to Jesus, the prophet of Allah, peace be upon him, as the confirmation of the truth of Torah, and it’s contents suited the Torah. Allah decreed, which meaning is, “And We sent Jesus, the son of Mary, after those Prophets, confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah. And We gave him the Gospel wherein is Guidance and Light, and which confirms the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah, and a Guidance and Admonition for the God-fearing.” (Al-Ma’ida/The Table Spread: 46)
The Scholars have explained the Gospel was not differ to Torah in contents, but for a small number of law matters, upon which the offspring of Israel rowed, as Allah has revealed about the saying of Jesus, which meaning is, “…and to make lawful to you some of the things which had been forbidden to you.” (Ali Imran/The Family of Imran: 50)
4. The Scrolls of Moses and Abraham
There are 2 verses that mentioned about the this matter. The first one is Allah’s decree in soorah An Najm (The Star), which meaning is, “Has he not been informed of what is in the Scrolls of Moses, and of Abraham, who lived up to the trust? ” (An-Najm/The Star: 36-37)
The second is Allah’s decree in Soorah Al A’la (The Most High), which meaning is, “This, indeed, was in the ancient Scrolls,the Scrolls of Abraham and Moses.” (Al-Ala/The Most High: 18-19)
5. The Qur’an
The scholars defined the Qur’an as follows: The decree (the saying) of Allah, which was carried by the angel Gabriel, to Prophet Muhammad -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- , in arabic language, to be conveyed to all mankind, (it contents are) about religious guidance, one who reads it shall be rewarded, it contains no mistake nor weakness from the past times until the future.
– The divine decree of Allah: other decree that is not coming from Allah is not the part of Qur’an, such as the saying of prophet Muhammad -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
– Carried by the angel Gabriel: other of His decree that was carried by any angels beside Gabriel is not the Qur’an.
– (sent down) to Prophet Muhammad -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- : the previous divine decree to other prophets were not the part of the Qur’an.
– In arabic language: the translation of Qur’an to other language is not the Qur’an.
– Conveyed to all mankind: the guidance it brings is applicable to all mankind, no regard to religions difference.
– It contains religious guidance: for the sake of human being in this world and in the hereafter.
– Rewards for those who read it: divine saying (hadith qudsi) is not the part of Qur’an, since reading it does not yield rewards for the reader.
– It contains no mistake nor weakness from the past until now, through the future: The Qur’an will never accept any changes within it.
Allah descended the Qur’an gradually to His prophet, Muhammad -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- . Allah decreed, which means, “We have revealed the Qur’an in parts that you may recite it to people slowly and with deliberation; and (for that reason) We have revealed it gradually (to suit particular occasions).” (Al-Isra/The Night Journey: 106)
Among the wisdoms beyond this gradual fashion are:
– To strengthen the spirit of the Prophet -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- and his devoted companions in calling people to embrace Islam, because by gradual fashion, the prophet would see the angel Gabriel more often.
– To answer the questions of his people, whether from his companions or the unbelievers.
– To give the solvency and ways out of problems, regarding the relations among muslims or with the unbelievers.
– To facilitate the companions to memorize and write down the Qur’an.
– To facilitate the prophet -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- in his calling to the people. Because sometimes there are some laws that were revealed gradually, such as the prohibition of intoxication (khamr).
– To enable the occurrence of nasakh and mansukh, or abolishment of certain laws, which goes along with Allah’s wisdom and His justice. Allah knows best.
Faith concerning the Books of Allah contains 6 elements, which are:
– To believe that these books are truly descended from the side of Allah, may He be Exalted and Glorified.
– To believe in the books that are known to us, such as The Qur’an which was sent down to prophet Muhammad -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- , the Torah which was descended upon prophet Moses -peace be upon him-, the Gospel which was conveyed to prophet Jesus -peace be upon him-, and Zabur which was sent down to prophet David -peace be upon him. While the rest of books which were unknown to us, shall be believed in general.
– To confirm the truth of all it’s news, such as the news within the Qur’an, and the news of the previous books which were not changed or deviated.
– To perform all laws which are not abolished, to submit and willing to obey the laws, whether we understand the meaning or not.
– To believe that the books that Allah has sent down to us are confirming the truth of each other, no contradiction among them, only the abolishment of some laws and completion of the other ones.
– To believe that all books of Allah contains goodness, guidance, and justice. Not an inch of it contains evil, wickedness, oppression, or misleadings.
While all previous books (before the Qur’an) have been abolished by the Qur’an, as Allah has stated in His book, which meaning is, ” Then We revealed the Book to you, (O Muhammad), with Truth, confirming whatever of the Book was revealed before, and protecting and guarding over it. Judge, then, in the affairs of men in accordance with the Law that Allah has revealed, ” (Al-Ma’ida/The Table Spread: 48)
Thus it is unlawful to perform any of the previous books’ laws except ones that have been confirmed and established in the Qur’an.
The Result of believing in the books of Allah:
– To know the great care and attention of Allah -may He be Exalted and Glorified- towards His slaves, thus He sent down the book to be the guide of all nations.
– To know the wisdoms of Allah, beneath His shari’a or laws, where He established laws which suited the characteristics of each generation. Allah decreed, which means, “For each of you We have appointed a Law and a way of life.” (Al-Ma’ida/The Table Spread: 48)
– To increase our gratitude upon every provisions from Allah.
- Al Jami’ Ash Shahih Al Mukhtashar, author Muhammad bin Ismail Al Bukhari, Dar Ibnu Katsir, Beirut, 1407 H.
- Shahih Muslim, author Muslim bin Hajjaj An Naisaburi, published by Dar Ihya’ At Turats, Beirut.
Article of www.whatisquran.com