How can one obey the Torah, the Gospel and the Quran at the same time?

The Details of the Question

- While there are changes and abrogation in previous holy books, how can one obey the Torah, the Gospel and the Quran at the same time?
- Will you please explain al-Maida 5/68? How can a Christian today follow what is mentioned in the Torah, the Gospel and the Quran? It is narrated that Ibn - Abbas said: Rafi’ Bin Haritha, Sallam Bin Mishkam, Malik Bin Al Sayf and Rafis Bin Harimla, all of whom were Jews, came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said to him:
“O Muhammad! Do you not claim that you are on the faith and religion of Abraham? Do you not believe in what exists for us in the Torah, and do not confess that it is the truth from God?” He said, “I definitely believe, but you removed what was in it from the contract made with you. You denied and concealed what you were commanded to convey to the people. I am innocent and free from what you removed. They said, “We act with what we have; we are on the right path. We do not believe in you and we do not follow you.” Thereupon, Allah sent down the following verse:
“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.’” (5/68)

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- “How can the People of the Book apply the Torah, the Gospel and what was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, which have differences and there is a naskh (repeal/abrogation) relationship between them, together?” Imam Tabari answers such a question that can come to mind as follows:

Although there are some differences of decrees among them, they all agree on the command to believe in the messengers of Allah and to approve wholeheartedly of what they brought from Allah.

What is meant by applying the Torah, the Gospel and what was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad together is to accept their content (that they are from Allah), to apply the rules that they all agree, and to act according to each of them, limited to the period in which it was obligatory to obey them in terms of different decrees (Jami’ul-Bayan (Shakir), 10/462-463)

- As it is also mentioned in the question, the Torah and the Gospel are two books that Allah sent down. Everything that Allah revealed is true and correct. However, as it is indicated in the Quran, some truths of the Torah and the Gospel were distorted.

a) The decrees of Jews and Christians that are in conformity with the Islamic faith and decrees are approved. “Our Allah and your Allah is one.” (al-Ankabut, 29/46) For example, the universal truth of oneness (tawhid) is mentioned in the verse above.

That is, the faith of the People of the Book that is in accordance with the rules of Islam is confirmed because it also means to confirm the Quran. Both Muslims and the People of the Book must abide by the rules such as prayer, fasting, and zakah.

b) People of the Book must obey the Quran in matters that do not comply with the rules of Islam because the Quran is the last book and it contains the truths of the old revelations too. It also abrogated some of their decrees. The Prophet said, “If Moses were alive now, he would have no choice but to follow me.” (Bayhaqi, Shuabul-Iman, 174)

Although other narrations regarding this hadith are weak, this narration of Bayhaqi is hasan.

Likewise, Hafiz Haythami states that the following hadith included in Ahmad b. Hanbal and Sahih Muslim (240) is sound: “I swear by Allah, in whose hand is my soul, that if a Jew or a Christian from this ummah hears my prophethood but does not believe in what I was sent with (the Quran, Islam) and dies without believing, he will definitely go to Hell.” (see Majmauz-Zawaid, no: 13962)

c) It is necessary to act cautiously related to the issues that are unclear and are not known whether they are true or not. Since it is not possible to identify the distorted parts of the Torah and the Gospel that are available today, with a general view, what a Muslim needs to do is to confirm them by comparing them with the data in the Quran and the Sunnah, regardless of the subject, and if there is no information regarding the issue to act cautiously by saying, “We believe in Allah and what has been sent down to us.”

As a matter of fact, our Prophet (pbuh) states the following:

“Neither confirm nor deny the people of the book. Say, ‘We believe in Allah and what has been sent down to us’.” (Bukhari, I’tisam 25, Tawhid 51)

The point indicated in this hadith is about the issues that are not known whether they are in accordance with the Islamic faith and its decrees.

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