The Qur’an, the Tawrah and the Injeel: Tafsir ibn Kathir

The great mufassir Abu’l-Fidaa’ Ismaa’eel Ibn Kathir gave brief but clarifying definitions of some of the divinely-revealed scriptures in his famous tafsir when he wrote:

وكثيرا ما يقرن الله بين التوراة والقرآن ، كما في قوله تعالى ( قل من أنزل الكتاب الذي جاء به موسى نورا وهدى للناس ) إلى أن قال : ( وهذا كتاب أنزلناه مبارك ) [ الأنعام : 91 ، 92 ] ، ـ

Often times, Allah pairs (mention of) the Tawrah and the Qur’an, just as in His statement:

قُلْ مَنْ أَنزَلَ الْكِتَابَ الَّذِي جَاءَ بِهِ مُوسَىٰ نُورً‌ا وَهُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ ۖ تَجْعَلُونَهُ قَرَ‌اطِيسَ تُبْدُونَهَا وَتُخْفُونَ كَثِيرً‌ا ۖ وَعُلِّمْتُم مَّا لَمْ تَعْلَمُوا أَنتُمْ وَلَا آبَاؤُكُمْ ۖ قُلِ اللَّـهُ ۖ ثُمَّ ذَرْ‌هُمْ فِي خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُونَ * وَهَـٰذَا كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ مُبَارَ‌كٌ

Say, “Who revealed the Scripture that Moosaa brought as light and guidance to the people? You [Jews] make it into pages, disclosing [some of] it and concealing much. And you were taught that which you knew not – neither you nor your fathers.” Say, “Allah [revealed it].” Then leave them in their [empty] discourse, amusing themselves. * And this is a Book which We have sent down, blessed… [6:91-92] 

وقال في آخر السورة : ( ثم آتينا موسى الكتاب تماما على الذي أحسن ) ، إلى أن قال : ( وهذا كتاب أنزلناه مبارك فاتبعوه واتقوا لعلكم ترحمون ) [ الأنعام : 155 ] ، وقالت الجن : ( إنا سمعنا كتابا أنزل من بعد موسى [ مصدقا لما بين يديه ] ) [ الأحقاف : 30 ] وقال ورقة بن نوفل : هذا الناموس الذي أنزل [ الله ] على موسى . ـ

And in another surah:

ثُمَّ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ تَمَامًا عَلَى الَّذِي أَحْسَنَ وَتَفْصِيلًا لِّكُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَ‌حْمَةً لَّعَلَّهُم بِلِقَاءِ رَ‌بِّهِمْ يُؤْمِنُونَ * وَهَـٰذَا كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ مُبَارَ‌كٌ فَاتَّبِعُوهُ وَاتَّقُوا لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْ‌حَمُونَ

Then We gave Moosaa the Scripture, making complete [Our favor] upon the one who did good and as a detailed explanation of all things and as guidance and mercy that perhaps in [the matter of] the meeting with their Lord they would believe. * And this [Qur’an] is a Book We have revealed [which is] blessed, so follow it and fear Allah that you may receive mercy. [6:154-155]

And the Jinn said:

قَالُوا يَا قَوْمَنَا إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا كِتَابًا أُنزِلَ مِن بَعْدِ مُوسَىٰ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ

Indeed we have heard a [recited] Book revealed after Moosaa confirming what was before it [46:30]

And Waraqah ibn Nawfal said [about the angel Jibreel‘s first delivery of revelation to the Prophet], “This was Naamoos whom Allah sent to Moosaa.”

وقد علم بالضرورة لذوي الألباب أن الله لم ينزل كتابا من السماء فيما أنزل من الكتب المتعددة على أنبيائه أكمل ولا أشمل ولا أفصح ولا أعظم ولا أشرف من الكتاب الذي أنزل على محمد – صلى الله عليه وسلم – وهو القرآن ، وبعده في الشرف والعظمة الكتاب الذي أنزله على موسى بن عمران ، عليه السلام ، وهو التوراة التي قال الله تعالى فيها : ( إنا أنزلنا التوراة فيها هدى ونور يحكم بها النبيون الذين أسلموا للذين هادوا والربانيون والأحبار بما استحفظوا من كتاب الله وكانوا عليه شهداء ) [ المائدة : 44 ] . ـ

And it is known by necessity to the possessors of understanding that Allah did not reveal any book from the heavens out of the numerous books which He revealed to His prophets which was more complete or more comprehensive or more eloquent or more magnificent or more honorable than the book which He revealed to Muhammad (ﷺ), which is the Qur’an. And following it in honor and greatness is the book which He revealed to Moosaa ibn ‘Imran (ﷺ), which is the Tawrah concerning which Allah said:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا التَّوْرَ‌اةَ فِيهَا هُدًى وَنُورٌ‌ ۚ يَحْكُمُ بِهَا النَّبِيُّونَ الَّذِينَ أَسْلَمُوا لِلَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالرَّ‌بَّانِيُّونَ وَالْأَحْبَارُ‌ بِمَا اسْتُحْفِظُوا مِن كِتَابِ اللَّـهِ وَكَانُوا عَلَيْهِ شُهَدَاءَ

Indeed, We sent down the Tawrah, in which was guidance and light. The prophets who submitted [to Allah] judged by it for the Jews, as did the rabbis and scholars by that with which they were entrusted of the Scripture of Allah, and they were witnesses thereto. [5:44]

والإنجيل إنما نزل متمما للتوراة ومحلا لبعض ما حرم على بني إسرائيل . ـ

And the Injeel was only sent down as a completion of the Tawrah and to make permissible some of what had been made impermissible for the Children of Israa’eel[1].

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 6/243-244]

[1] Translator’s Note: This is similar to what Allah mentioned of the statements of ‘Eesaa concerning his mission:

وَمُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ التَّوْرَ‌اةِ وَلِأُحِلَّ لَكُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي حُرِّ‌مَ عَلَيْكُمْ

And [I have come] confirming what was before me of the Tawrah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you. [3:50]

Commenting on this in his tafsir, Ibn Kathir wrote:

ـ ( ومصدقا لما بين يدي من التوراة ) أي : مقرر لهم ومثبت ( ولأحل لكم بعض الذي حرم عليكم ) فيه دلالة على أن عيسى ، عليه السلام ، نسخ بعض شريعة التوراة ، وهو الصحيح من القولين ، ومن العلماء من قال : لم ينسخ منها شيئا ، وإنما أحل لهم بعض ما كانوا يتنازعون فيه فأخطئوا ، فكشف لهم عن المغطى في ذلك ، كما قال في الآية الأخرى : ( ولأبين لكم بعض الذي تختلفون فيه ) [ الزخرف : 63 ] والله أعلم . ـ

And [I have come] confirming what was before me of the Tawrah” – meaning, establishing it for them and re-affirming it, “and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you“. In this there is evidence that ‘Eesaa (ﷺ) abrogated the sharee’ah of the Tawrah, and this is what is correct out of the two opinions. And among the scholars there are those who say that he did not abrogate anything of it, but that he only made permissible some of what they had disputed over and thus erred, so he unveiled what had been covered to them concerning that, just as he said in another ayah:

وَلِأُبَيِّنَ لَكُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي تَخْتَلِفُونَ فِيهِ

and [I have come] to make clear to you some of that over which you differ [43:63]

– and Allah knows best.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 2/46]

See also: The Preservation of the Qur’an and the Preservation of the Tawrah: Imam al-Shinqitee

See also: The Sharee’ah of Moosaa and the Sharee’ah of Muhammad

See also: Imam al-Shawkani on the Gospels

See also: Appropriate Miracles for Each People and Era: Ibn Kathir

See also: We Revealed the Qur’an as a Muhaymin over the previous scriptures: Tafsir ibn Kathir

See also: Meanings of the words Yahood, Nasaara and Saabi’oon: Tafsir al-Baghawi

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7 thoughts on “The Qur’an, the Tawrah and the Injeel: Tafsir ibn Kathir

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  2. Pingback: The Sharee’ah of Moosaa and the Sharee’ah of Muhammad | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: Appropriate Miracles for Each People and Era: Ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Banu Israa’eel’s abuse of Moosaa: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: A Note on the Different Qiraa’aat: Sheikh bin Baaz | Tulayhah

  6. Pingback: We Revealed the Qur’an as a Muhaymin over the previous scriptures: Tafsir ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

  7. Pingback: Meanings of the words Yahood, Nasaara and Saabi’oon: Tafsir al-Baghawi | Tulayhah

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