Torah in Islam
The name Musa written in Islamic calligraphy followed by Peace be upon him
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Within an Islamic context, Tawrat (also Tawrah or Taurat; Arabic: توراة) refers to the Torah, which Muslims believe to be a holy book of Islam given by God to Musa (Moses). When referring to traditions from Tawrat, Muslims did not only identify it with the Pentateuch, but also with the other books of the Old testament, Talmudic- and Midrashim writings.
Lo! We did reveal the At-Taurah, wherein is guidance and a light, by which the prophets who surrendered (unto Allah) judged the Jews, and the rabbis and the priests (judged) by such of Allah's Scripture as they were bidden to observe, and thereunto were they witnesses. So fear not mankind, but fear Me. And barter not My revelations for a little gain. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are disbelievers.
In the Quran
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The word Tawrat occurs eighteen times in the Quran and the name of Musa is mentioned 136 times in the Quran, nowhere in the Quran is written that Moses alone has been given Tawrat, but at the contrary it is written in Quran that the prophets governed with Tawrat.
As per Quran the governing ayats containing an order of God are Tawrat.
But how do they come to you for decision while they have the Taurat (Torah), in which is the (plain) Decision of Allah; yet even after that, they turn away. For they are not (really) believers.— Quran, sura 5 (Al-Ma'ida), ayat 43
The Law mentioned in Quran (5:45)
And We ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution. But whoever gives [up his right as] charity, it is an expiation for him. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the wrongdoers.— Quran, sura 5 (Al-Ma'ida), ayat 45
Similarly it is mentioned in the Exodus
Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him - it is those who will be the successful.
The Tawrat is mentioned as being known by Isa in 5:110.
[The Day] when Allah will say, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Pure Spirit and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and [remember] when I taught you writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and when you designed from clay [what was] like the form of a bird with My permission, then you breathed into it, and it became a bird with My permission; and you healed the blind and the leper with My permission; and when you brought forth the dead with My permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from [killing] you when you came to them with clear proofs and those who disbelieved among them said, "This is not but obvious magic."— Quran, sura 5 (Al-Ma'ida), ayah 110
Some quotations are repeated from other books of the Hebrew Bible. An example of this is 48:29,
Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah ; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration. That is their description in the Torah. And their description in the Gospel is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers - so that Allah may enrage by them the disbelievers. Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds among them forgiveness and a great reward.
This could be repeated from Psalms:
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.— Bible, Psalms, chapter 1, verse 3
There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.— Bible, Psalms, chapter 72, verse 16
They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;— Bible, Psalms, chapter 92, verse 14
In the hadith
Because he believed the Quran replaced it, Muhammad did not teach from the Torah but referenced it heavily. He did say that Moses was one of the few prophets to receive a revelation directly from God, that is, without an intervening angel. On one occasion, it is recorded that some Jews wanted Muhammad to decide how to deal with their brethren who had committed adultery. Abu Dawood recorded:
Narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar:
A group of Jews came and invited the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) to Quff. So he visited them in their school.
They said: AbulQasim, one of our men has committed fornication with a woman; so pronounce judgment upon them. They placed a cushion for the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) who sat on it and said: Bring the Torah. It was then brought. He then withdrew the cushion from beneath him and placed the Torah on it saying: I believed in thee and in Him Who revealed thee.
He then said: Bring me one who is learned among you...... Then a young man was brought. The transmitter then mentioned the rest of the tradition of stoning similar to the one transmitted by Malik from Nafi'(No. 4431).
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There is some ambiguity among English speaking Muslims on the use of Tawrat versus Torah. The Arabic of the Quran and hadith have only one word, Tawrat. Generally, in English, they are used interchangeably. However, some Muslims prefer to reserve Tawrat to refer only to the original revelation of God to Moses which Muslims believe was later corrupted maybe through the Babylonian captivity, and the rewriting of Ezra (Uzair) (and the men of the Great Assembly.) However it is not possible to state without any authentic sources as to where, when and by whom the Torah was changed since the Quran mentions Uzair by name in chapter 9 verse 30 and does not say that he corrupted the Torah in this verse it cannot be said that Uzair did so.
There is also ambiguity as to whether the Quran uses Tawrat only referring to the five books of Moses, the entire Tanakh, or both, as in Hebrew. This comes because the Quran often lists the holy books as the Tawrat, Injil, and Quran, excluding the Zabur (the Psalms), possibly because the Psalms are part of the Tanakh. This meaning is uncommon, as most Muslims think it only refers to the five books of Moses.
Importance of the Torah
The word Torah occurs eighteen times and the name of Moses is mentioned 136 times in the Quran. Nowhere in the Quran is written that Moses alone taught by the Torah as all succeeding Hebrew prophets and seers, including Aaron (Harun), used the Law for preaching. The Quran states that the Torah did have words of wisdom in it, and all subsequent prophets, priest, rabbis and sages in Israel used its Law for guidance for prophets in plural and not only for Moses alone.
The Quran mentions that the basic aspects of Islamic law are evident in the earliest scriptures, including that of Moses. He mentions that it contains the information about the Last Day and about the concepts of Paradise (Jannah) and Hell (Jahannam). The Torah is also mentioned as being known by Jesus.
- Isabel Lang Intertextualität als hermeneutischer Zugang zur Auslegung des Korans: Eine Betrachtung am Beispiel der Verwendung von Israiliyyat in der Rezeption der Davidserzählung in Sure 38: 21-25 Logos Verlag Berlin GmbH, 31.12.2015 ISBN 9783832541514 p. 98 (German)
- Quran 5:44
- Quran 5:43
- Quran 5:45
- Exodus 21:24-25
- Quran 7:157
- Quran 5:110
- Quran 48:29
- Psalms 1:3
- Psalms 72:16
- Psalms 92:14
- Sunan Abu Dawood, 38:4434
- Quran 87:19
- Quran 5:111