There was consensus amongst the companions of the Prophet that the Christians & Jews had textually corrupted their scriptures

Ibn Abbas was one of the greatest companions of the Prophet. He held much authority as a Quranic interpreter, for the Prophet prayed to God to make Ibn Abbas a great commentator on the Qur’an and scholar of Islam in general…

Narated by Ibn ‘Abbas :

Once the Prophet embraced me and said, “O Allah! Bestow on him the knowledge of the Book (Qur’an).”

(Saheeh Bukhari Volume 001, Book 003, Hadith Number 075.)


Narrated ‘Ikrima:

Ibn Abbas said, “How can you ask the people of the Scriptures about their Books while you have Allah’s Book (the Qur’an) which is the most recent of the Books revealed by Allah, and you read it in its pure undistorted form?

(Saheeh Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 613)


Narrated ‘Ubaidullah bin ‘Abdullah:

Abdullah bin ‘Abbaas said, “O the group of Muslims! How can you ask the people of the Scriptures about anything while your Book which Allah has revealed to your Prophet contains the most recent news from Allah and is pure and not distorted? Allah has told you that the people of the Scriptures have changed some of Allah’s Books and distorted it and wrote something with their own hands and said, ‘This is from Allah, so as to have a minor gain for it. Won’t the knowledge that has come to you stop you from asking them? No, by Allah, we have never seen a man from them asking you about that (the Book Al-Qur’an ) which has been revealed to you.

(Saheeh Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 614)


Ibn Hazm described the above narrations as:

The soundest Isnad (chain of transmission) or ascription to Ibn Abbas, which is exactly our view. There is no difference between the companions on this matter.

(Ibn Hazm, Al-Fasl fi’l Milal, Volume 2, p. 3)

So we see that Ibn Hazm reinforces the fact that Ibn Abbas truly held this position and that even the companions of the Prophet held the same position as well. Thus there was a consensus amongst the companions that the Christians and the Jews had textually corrupted their scriptures.


Categories: Bible, Hadith

5 replies

  1. Not just the companions, the Qur’an itself

    “The wrongdoers among them substituted another saying for that which had been given them, so We sent them a punishment from heaven for their wrongdoing. ” [7:162]

    “So woe to those who write something down with their own hands and then claim, ‘This is from God,’ in order to make some small gain. Woe to them for what their hands have written! Woe to them for all that they have earned!” [2:79]

    “They have no grasp of God’s true measure when they say, ‘God has sent nothing down to a mere mortal.’ Say, ‘Who was it who sent down the Scripture, which Moses brought as a light and a guide to people, which you made into separate sheets, showing some but hiding many? You were taught things that neither you nor your forefathers had known.’ Say, ‘God [sent it down],’ then leave them engrossed in their vain talk.” [6:91]

    The claim of corruption is pretty clearly there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with the overall point in this post that there is evidence that the companions did not regard the scriptures of the Jews and the Christians to be in their pure form.

    (On the side, regarding the Torah, I want to share an interesting point by Maulana Maududi that the Torah was not all revealed to Prophet Moses while he was on Mount Sinai but it was revealed over 40 years while Moses lived with the Children of Israel).

    I think there are multiple evidences but narration from Ibn Abbas in not conclusive.

    The narration that the Prophet prayed for Ibn Abbas to become a great narrator is not certain….it is very convenient when the time this narration probably started circulating….the time of the Abbasid empire who were descendants of Ibn Abbas and thus had motivations to legitimize their rule which was obtained by force.

    There are many hadith by Ibn Abbas that Muslim scholars say are not authentic. Of course, the one cited above is in Bukhari and has an isnad that I assume the vast majority of (Sunni) Muslim scholars will accept.

    I found the following interesting excerpt from a review on Amazon of Professor Herbert Berg’s book entitled “The Development of Exegesis in Early Islam: The Authenticity of Muslim Literature from the Formative Period (Routledge Studies in the Qur’an) (Paperback)

    Professor Herbert Berg conducted an interesting computer test on Ibn Abbas’s hadith….it would be of interest to know if he used all of Ibn Abbas’s hadith or if he excluded the fabricated and weak hadiths…but this is what is in the review at

    Professor Herbert Berg conducted “a unique test on the exegetical Hadiths attributed to Ibn Abbas (considered one of, if not the, most important figures in Quranic exegis) by plugging thousands of his Hadith with their isnad (chain of transmission) into a database and running statistics and analysis on them to determine consistency. He goes into the process in detail in his book, but his overall conclusion is that most, if not all, of the Hadiths in his test sample cannot have originated with Ibn Abbas, or even his students. He says at the very least, the first two links in the chain, i.e. Ibn Abbas and student, are false. Of course, this has grave consequences for the isnads of all exegetical Hadiths. This does not disprove the content of the Hadith (which may be right/wrong), simply the isnad. He further states “not only is there no possibility of reconstructing the original tafsir of Ibn Abbas, but there is also no point in attempting to do so”. Quite a damning statement! But he does say further studies are needed to fully accept his conclusions. He states at the very end “we may never know the answer” to such questions.”


  3. The Qur’an does not only criticize Jews….there are verses that praise good Jews but regarding this post, in its sustained polemic against many Jews, I believe it in a subtle way implies that the Jewish rabbis and doctors of law as a whole did not preserve the previous scriptures in its original purity….this confirmed by Textual scholars of the Old Testament among academic scholars of both Jewish and Christian heritage.

    Below is an excerpt of Qur’an [5: 44].

    “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 (as in Islam) to Allah’s will, by the rabbis and the doctors of law: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s book, and they were witnesses thereto…”

    Guest, thanks for quoting the relevant verses of [2: 79], [6:91], [7, 162].

    Having said this, of course, in many verses the Qur’an indicates that there is much truth still prevalent in the previous scriptures of the People of the Book and that the Qur’an confirms those truths.


  4. Clarification on Professor Berger’s test.

    On reading the review again, I think Berg did the test on all hadiths ascribed to Ibn Abbas and not just the authentic ones and if that is so, his conclusion based on that test alone that they these narrations could not have originated with Ibn Abbas or his students are not based on an appropriate test.

    They must be done on only the “authentic” ones to make assessments on them.

    But reading his book will likely detail what he exactly did.

    But again, it is very convenient during the early days of the Abbasid empire for there to be such a narration circulating.


  5. The reason why I think Berg’s test was not just on the “authentic” ones was that the review said he did it on thousands and for sure, there are not thousands of authentic such hadiths.


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