Torah in Islam

Tawrat (also Tawrah or Taurat; Arabic: توراة) is the Arabic word for the Torah. Muslims believe it was a holy book of Islam given by God to Musa (Moses). The Hebrew word for their scripture, the Torah (also known as the Five Books of Moses or the Pentateuch) means instructions, that is why Tawrat does not refer to the entire Tanakh or Old Testament. As per Quran prophets governed by the Tawrat.

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.
Quran, sura 5 (Al-Ma'ida), ayat 44[1]

In the Quran

The word Tawrat occurs eighteen times in the Quran and the name of Musa is mentioned 136 times in the Quran, no where 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.[1]

As per Quran the governing ayats containing an order of God are Tawrat.

How come they unto thee for judgment when they have the Torah, wherein Allah hath delivered judgment (for them)? Yet even after that they turn away. Such (folk) are not believers.
Quran, sura 5 (Al-Ma'ida), ayat 43[2]

The Law mentioned in Quran (5:45)

And We prescribed for them therein: The life for the life, and the eye for the eye, and the nose for the nose, and the ear for the ear, and the tooth for the tooth, and for wounds retaliation. But whoso forgoeth it (in the way of charity) it shall be expiation for him. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are wrong-doers.
Quran, sura 5 (Al-Ma'ida), ayat 45[3]

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.
Bible, Book of Exodus, chapter 21, verses 24-25[4]

According to 7:157, Muhammad is written about in both the Injil (Gospel), revelations to Jesus (Isa) and the Tawrat,

"Those who follow the messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (scriptures),- in the law and the Gospel;...
Quran, sura 7 (Al-A'raf), ayah 157[5]

The Tawrat is mentioned as being known by Isa in 5:110.

...and how I taught thee the Scripture and Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and how thou didst shape of clay as it were the likeness of a bird by My permission, and didst blow upon it and it was a bird by My permission, and thou didst heal him who was born blind and the leper by My permission; and how thou didst raise the dead by My permission;...
Quran, sura 5 (Al-Ma'ida), ayah 110[6]

Some quotations are repeated from other books of the Hebrew Bible. An example of this is 48:29,

...Such is their likeness in the Torah and their likeness in the Gospel - like as sown corn that sendeth forth its shoot and strengtheneth it and riseth firm upon its stalk, delighting the sowers...
Quran, sura 48 (Al-Fath), ayah 29[7]

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[8]
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[9]
They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;
Bible, Psalms, chapter 92, verse 14[10]

In the hadith

Because he believed the Quran replaced it, Muhammad did not teach from the Torah and the Quran says very little about it. 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).
Abu Dawood, Sunan Abu Dawood[11]


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 who 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. However it is advised Muslims must simply believe in the Tawrat mentioned in the Quran and avoid getting into details to avoid any misconception about the articles of faith and rely on the Quran and authentic ahadith for guidance on matters. 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 alone Moses.[1]

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).[12] The Torah is also mentioned as being known by Jesus.[13]

See also


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