Through Clarification

The Egyptian Society for Spiritual and Cultural Research

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Confirmation of Teachings
of Previous Revelations


Several verses in the Holy Qur'an reveal that every prophet came to confirm teachings of previous prophets.

And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law (Torah) that had come before him. We sent him the Gospel; therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah
(HQ: 5:46).

Jesus, the son of Mary, said: "O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Torah (which came) before me,
(HQ: 61:6).

The holy verses of Qur'an agree with the Gospel where Jesus said:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil (M't: 5:17).

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) carried a Call that came to clarify previous Revelations and spell out what was misunderstood.

To thee We sent the Book in truth, confirming the Book that came before it, and guarding it in safety (HQ: 5:48)

Along that line, The Holy Qur'an respects previous Revelations:

It was We who revealed the Law (to Moses): therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the Prophets who bowed to Allah's Will, by the Rabbis and the experts of Law: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah's Book, and they were witnesses thereto (HQ: 5:44).

As it is obvious from the previous verses, it is repeatedly stated that the teachings of each prophet are included in a "Book". Within this context, the "Book" is not necessary a certain Scripture. This conclusion goes in accordance with what was mentioned in other places, and the following example explains it. When the Holy Qur'an speaks about Jesus, it says that Allah, "teach him the Book (ketab) and wisdom, Torah and Bible" (HQ: 3:48 ).glossary

O Yahya! Take hold of the Book with might": and We gave him Wisdom even as a youth" (HQ: 19:12).

In addressing Jesus, the Holy Qur'an quotes God as saying:

I taught thee the Book and Wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel"
(HQ: 5: 110).

Similarly, there is a differentiation between The Holy Qur'an, which is called Forqan in the following verse, and "the Book":

He revealed the Book unto thee, confirming what is in hand, as He revealed the Torah and Gospel before, guidance for people and He revealed the Forkan (HQ: 3: 3,4).

Within other contexts, the word 'Book' points to a specific Scripture as in the following verse:

We gave Moses the Book and made it a Guide to the Children of Israel, (commanding): "Take not other than Me as Disposer of (your) affairs
(HQ: 17:2).

In an explicit statement, The Holy Qur'an explains that the "Book":

.. is clear signs within the hearts of the knowledgeable, and none but the unjust reject Our Signs (HQ: 29:49).

That which We have revealed to thee of the Book is the Truth, - confirming what was (revealed) before it - for Allah is assuredly, with respect to His servants, well acquainted and Fully-Observant
(HQ: 35:31).

The "Book" and "Wisdom" correlate in many verses in the Holy Qur'an:

We have sent among you a Messenger, reading for you Our Signs, purifying you and Teaching the Book and Wisdom, and you know what you did not know before. (HQ: 2:151).

We may be able to conclude that the word "Book" Ketab, when is mentioned in a general term, means the "knowledge" and "teachings" of prophets, which corresponds to the Truth al-Haq as opposite to illusion al-Batil. This truth can also be revealed to pure hearts. This knowledge as included in the prophets' teachings appears in a definite Book such as the Torah, the Gospel or the Holy Qur'an. Henceforth, prophets confirm the "knowledge" of each other.

The following verse uses the word "Book" Ketab as pointing to the "knowledge" that was revealed by all the prophets:

For We had sent unto them a Book, that was revealed gradually to convey knowledge. It is a guide and a mercy to all who believe
(HQ: 7:52) (Our translation).

The gradual revelation of knowledge had been fulfilled through time, and, culminated with the Revelation to The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)who came later after other prophets. The "Book" that is to be read is more than words that are written or rehearsed, it is the inherited truth embedded in the universe and can be uncovered to pure hearts. This knowledge is gradually revealed and taught to humankind. This truth is what we call the Divine Law. Prophets are those who give examples to how to surrender to Allah, so that they are able to receive that knowledge and to follow the Divine Law.

Reading -as mentioned in the Holy Qur'an (HQ: 96:1-5) - is accomplished "in the name of the Lord", because it is only when one gives up her/his ego and removes the veils out of her/his way, that s/he becomes able to see and to know (to read):

Proclaim! (or Read!) In the name of thy Lord, Who created, created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood: Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful, He Who taught (the use of) the Pen, Taught man that which he knew not (HQ: 96:1-5).

Having this vision of the interrelations between Revelations, there would be no contradiction to read in the Holy Qur'an that Allah says to The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

Say: I was ordered to surrender fully to Allah with devotion to be his Servant and I am meant to be the first of the Muslims
(HQ: 39: 11,12).

It might be clear by now that why the Holy Qur'an also says:

Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but he followed the Primordial Religion and hence was a Muslim, and he took not gods with Allah (HQ: 3:67).

The word "first", then, does not point to a chronological order, but points to an evaluative aspect where Islam is confirmed in its highest through the life of the Prophet (PBUH), his guidance and his ethics. This is another meaning of "confirmation". The Holy Qur'an reveals how the Prophet (PBUH) symbolizes such a great representation of Islam:

Behold! Allah took the Covenant of the Prophets, saying: "I give you a Book and Wisdom; then comes to you a Messenger, confirming what is with you; do you believe him and render him help." Allah said: "Do ye agree, and take this my Covenant as binding on you?" They said: "We agree." He said: "Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses (HQ: 3: 81).

To understand clearly what confirmation means as used in The Holy Qur'an and as related to the Revelation to The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), we need to focus on how confirmation and clarification are interrelated and interdependent. This takes us to the second point in that theme.  Next >>>

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