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  1. #1
    Senior Member karkooshy's Avatar
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    Reasons to believe in the corruption of the Torah



    Asalamualaykum,

    Many arguments have been offered against the authenticity of the Gospels, but there has been- comparatively- less discussion on the authenticity of the Torah. In this topic I will be highlighting some of my reasons for doubting the preservation of the Torah specifically.

    For the purposes of this discussion, the Torah here refers to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.


    -1- Lack of Evidence for Preservation

    Unlike the Quran which depended mainly on oral mass-transmission (Tawatur) for preservation, believers in the Bible claim that it has been mainly preserved via manuscripts. Likewise with the Torah, which is claimed to be supported by reliable manuscript evidence. But is this true?

    In the case of the Torah, the manuscript evidence is scant. The Torah is attributed to Musa (عليه السلام), who is said to have died sometime before 1 Millennia BC. The earliest manuscripts for the Torah are the recently discovered Dead-Sea Scrolls. At the earliest (being very generous here) the Dead-Sea Scrolls date to around 400 BC. So even if the Dead Sea Scrolls were complete (which they aren't), and perfectly matched the Torah as we have it today (which they don't), there's still over a 600 year difference between them and the life of the alleged author.

    This is absolutely, not good evidence to believe that the Torah is preserved.

    PS: I also believe exclusive dependency on manuscripts for preservation is not very reliable, but for reasons beyond the scope of this topic. Those may be discussed upon request.


    -2- Discrepancies Between Codices

    There are several Codices for the Torah, but there are discrepancies between the different Codices. So how do the various Jewish and Christian sects determine which codex to base their scripture on?

    Let us demonstrate this using an example:

    One of the key differences between the Torah and the Quran is each book's position on Ismail (عليه السلام). In the Quran he is a blessed Prophet from Allah, whose lineage will eventually lead to the Prophet Muhammed ﷺ. Modern Bibles however, close the door on this lineage and belittle Ismail (عليه السلام) compared to Isaac (عليه السلام). For the average Jew/Christian, Prophethood is exclusive to the descendants of Isaac (عليه السلام). There is a clear bias towards Isaac (عليه السلام) throughout the Bible, which Jews and Christians claim to be because God favored him over his brother.

    In several instances in the Torah, Ismail (عليه السلام) is denounced as lesser than Isaac (عليه السلام). One such instance is Genesis 16:12, where the Torah explicitly insults Ismail (عليه السلام). In most Bibles today, if one were to open Genesis 16:12 one would read (referring to Ismail عليه السلام):

    And he will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be upon all, and everyone's hand upon him, and before all his brothers he will dwell.

    However, what those Bible translations don't tell you, is that this text is based on the Masoretic Script. The Samaritan Pentateuch on the other hand, reads:

    And he will be a fruitful man; his hand will be with all, and everyone's hand with him, and before all his brothers he will dwell.

    As you can see, huge difference and of a theological significance. Given the context of Genesis 16, the Samaritan Pentateuch also makes more sense.

    And do not be fooled into thinking that there are only two variant Codices. There are at least five; we have the Masoretic Text, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Latin Vulgate, the Septuagint, and the Peshitta. Many differences between them all.

    What's more, the Dead-Sea Scrolls do not consistently confirm one Codex over the others. They confirm a few passages from each. So if the Dead-Sea Scrolls are used as the standard for truth, not a single one of the Codices can be said to be completely true. They would all, only be partially true, and partially fabrications. But of course, we have no good reason to believe that the Dead-Sea scrolls match that which was revealed to Musa (عليه السلام) either.


    -3- The Bible says the Torah was lost

    Some Jews have claimed that the Torah, like the Quran, was preserved by Tawatur. They claim that there is an unbroken chain of narrators, consisting of faithful Jews over the generations, continuously memorizing the text and passing this knowledge down- from the days of Musa (عليه السلام) until present time. But this claim is inconsistent with what the Bible says. That is because the Bible tells us that there were periods in history when the Torah was lost (if there is a break in transmission, Tawatur cannot be claimed).

    The most obvious evidence for a gap in transmission is from Second Kings, Chapter 22. In this Chapter of the Bible, we are told that the Priest Hilkiah 're-discoveres' the Torah during the reign of King Josiah. Upon hearing about this discovery, the King rips his clothes and begins reforming his policies to fit the commands of the Torah. In the following chapter, 2 Kings 23:4, we also read about how King Josiah destroys the idols in the temple upon reading the newly discovered Torah. The implication is of course, that the Jews had fallen so far away from the Torah, that they started to worship idols in the temple of God!

    How can the Jews have ignored the most pivotal commandment of the Torah (monotheism), if it had been preserved with them all this time? And if the Jews had been faithfully memorizing the Torah, one generation after the other, how could they allow their most precious scripture to become forgotten? Why did the Torah need to be re-discovered for the Jews to finally realize that what they were doing was wrong? Most significantly, how can we know that this Torah that Priest Hilkiah found, matches that which was revealed to Musa (عليه السلام)?


    Conclusion

    There are many further reasons for doubting the preservation of the Torah, and the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament more generally. Those include: explicit passages talking about corruption (Jeremiah 8:8), anonymity of authorship, and canonization differences between the various Jewish and Christian sects. Nevertheless, the above are the main reasons that I think many Muslims may not be aware of.

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    Re: Reasons to believe in the corruption of the Torah

    Quote Originally Posted by karkooshy View Post


    Asalamualaykum,

    Many arguments have been offered against the authenticity of the Gospels, but there has been- comparatively- less discussion on the authenticity of the Torah. In this topic I will be highlighting some of my reasons for doubting the preservation of the Torah specifically.

    For the purposes of this discussion, the Torah here refers to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.


    -1- Lack of Evidence for Preservation

    Unlike the Quran which depended mainly on oral mass-transmission (Tawatur) for preservation, believers in the Bible claim that it has been mainly preserved via manuscripts. Likewise with the Torah, which is claimed to be supported by reliable manuscript evidence. But is this true?

    In the case of the Torah, the manuscript evidence is scant. The Torah is attributed to Musa (عليه السلام), who is said to have died sometime before 1 Millennia BC. The earliest manuscripts for the Torah are the recently discovered Dead-Sea Scrolls. At the earliest (being very generous here) the Dead-Sea Scrolls date to around 400 BC. So even if the Dead Sea Scrolls were complete (which they aren't), and perfectly matched the Torah as we have it today (which they don't), there's still over a 600 year difference between them and the life of the alleged author.

    This is absolutely, not good evidence to believe that the Torah is preserved.

    PS: I also believe exclusive dependency on manuscripts for preservation is not very reliable, but for reasons beyond the scope of this topic. Those may be discussed upon request.


    -2- Discrepancies Between Codices

    There are several Codices for the Torah, but there are discrepancies between the different Codices. So how do the various Jewish and Christian sects determine which codex to base their scripture on?

    Let us demonstrate this using an example:

    One of the key differences between the Torah and the Quran is each book's position on Ismail (عليه السلام). In the Quran he is a blessed Prophet from Allah, whose lineage will eventually lead to the Prophet Muhammed ﷺ. Modern Bibles however, close the door on this lineage and belittle Ismail (عليه السلام) compared to Isaac (عليه السلام). For the average Jew/Christian, Prophethood is exclusive to the descendants of Isaac (عليه السلام). There is a clear bias towards Isaac (عليه السلام) throughout the Bible, which Jews and Christians claim to be because God favored him over his brother.

    In several instances in the Torah, Ismail (عليه السلام) is denounced as lesser than Isaac (عليه السلام). One such instance is Genesis 16:12, where the Torah explicitly insults Ismail (عليه السلام). In most Bibles today, if one were to open Genesis 16:12 one would read (referring to Ismail عليه السلام):

    And he will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be upon all, and everyone's hand upon him, and before all his brothers he will dwell.

    However, what those Bible translations don't tell you, is that this text is based on the Masoretic Script. The Samaritan Pentateuch on the other hand, reads:

    And he will be a fruitful man; his hand will be with all, and everyone's hand with him, and before all his brothers he will dwell.

    As you can see, huge difference and of a theological significance. Given the context of Genesis 16, the Samaritan Pentateuch also makes more sense.

    And do not be fooled into thinking that there are only two variant Codices. There are at least five; we have the Masoretic Text, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Latin Vulgate, the Septuagint, and the Peshitta. Many differences between them all.

    What's more, the Dead-Sea Scrolls do not consistently confirm one Codex over the others. They confirm a few passages from each. So if the Dead-Sea Scrolls are used as the standard for truth, not a single one of the Codices can be said to be completely true. They would all, only be partially true, and partially fabrications. But of course, we have no good reason to believe that the Dead-Sea scrolls match that which was revealed to Musa (عليه السلام) either.


    -3- The Bible says the Torah was lost

    Some Jews have claimed that the Torah, like the Quran, was preserved by Tawatur. They claim that there is an unbroken chain of narrators, consisting of faithful Jews over the generations, continuously memorizing the text and passing this knowledge down- from the days of Musa (عليه السلام) until present time. But this claim is inconsistent with what the Bible says. That is because the Bible tells us that there were periods in history when the Torah was lost (if there is a break in transmission, Tawatur cannot be claimed).

    The most obvious evidence for a gap in transmission is from Second Kings, Chapter 22. In this Chapter of the Bible, we are told that the Priest Hilkiah 're-discoveres' the Torah during the reign of King Josiah. Upon hearing about this discovery, the King rips his clothes and begins reforming his policies to fit the commands of the Torah. In the following chapter, 2 Kings 23:4, we also read about how King Josiah destroys the idols in the temple upon reading the newly discovered Torah. The implication is of course, that the Jews had fallen so far away from the Torah, that they started to worship idols in the temple of God!

    How can the Jews have ignored the most pivotal commandment of the Torah (monotheism), if it had been preserved with them all this time? And if the Jews had been faithfully memorizing the Torah, one generation after the other, how could they allow their most precious scripture to become forgotten? Why did the Torah need to be re-discovered for the Jews to finally realize that what they were doing was wrong? Most significantly, how can we know that this Torah that Priest Hilkiah found, matches that which was revealed to Musa (عليه السلام)?


    Conclusion

    There are many further reasons for doubting the preservation of the Torah, and the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament more generally. Those include: explicit passages talking about corruption (Jeremiah 8:8), anonymity of authorship, and canonization differences between the various Jewish and Christian sects. Nevertheless, the above are the main reasons that I think many Muslims may not be aware of.
    Jazakallah khair, beautiful, informative post.

    Many years ago when i was looking into Judaism your point number 3 was for me the 100% reason why Judaism could not be the true religion from the Creator.

    After studying the Quran and the Hadith, looking back the Torah makes me shake my head in disbelief at how much and how far they have edited the original message.

    I just glanced at the Genesis 16:12 which you pointed out in your 2nd point. It reads as follows in KJV..

    The angel of the Lord also said to her:

    “You are now pregnant
    and you will give birth to a son.
    You shall name him Ishmael,[a]
    for the Lord has heard of your misery.
    12
    He will be a wild donkey of a man;
    his hand will be against everyone
    and everyone’s hand against him,
    and he will live in hostility
    toward[b] all his brothers.”

    13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her:
    “You are the God who sees me,” for she said,
    “I have now seen[c] the One who sees me.”
    14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi[d];
    it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.


    Can you imagine the Angel of Allah (swt) coming and saying this to you? That God is going to give you a son, but btw he is going to be a donkey - astagfirullah, imagine
    if the Nurse came and said that to you while at the hospital...i maen is that suppose to help sooth your misery? Compare this to the beautiful, dignified way in which the
    Messengers appear and give news in the Quran.

    Verse 13, she calls the one who spoke to her "Lord" and "the God who sees me" - but you just told us two verses ago it was the ANGEL of the Lord speaking, so the Angel
    has now turned into God ? or she (Mai Haijra) is hallucinating ? or she is openly giving divine attributes to the Messenger Angel and therefore doing shirk? Astagfirullah ofcourse
    this is nonsense written by men

    and then verse 14... if just from this passage alone there was not enough proof that this is NOT the unaltered word of God, the author puts a personal travel note into the divine script
    to say "Oh by the way you can STILL check out this Place - as if the text would read like that at time of Revelation !

    Absolutely ridiculous.

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    Re: Reasons to believe in the corruption of the Torah

    Just for a bit of information. Obviously I may take exception to the little aside on the NT, but it doesn't bother me unduly.

    ***The great success of Jewish tradition is the meticulous transmission of the Torah text. But actually how accurate is it?
    How do we know that the Torah we have today is the same text given on Mount Sinai?

    The Torah was originally dictated from God to Moses, letter for letter. From there, the Midrash (Devarim Rabba 9:4) tells us:

    Before his death, Moses wrote 13 Torah Scrolls. Twelve of these were distributed to each of the 12 Tribes. The 13th was placed in the Ark of the Covenant (with the Tablets). If anyone would come and attempt to rewrite or falsify the Torah, the one in the Ark would “testify” against him. (Likewise, if he had access to the scroll in the Ark and tried to falsify it, the distributed copies would “testify” against him.)

    How were the new scrolls verified? An authentic “proof text” was always kept in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, against which all other scrolls would be checked. Following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the Sages would periodically perform global checks to weed out any scribal errors.

    WRITING A TORAH SCROLL
    To eliminate any chance of human error, the Talmud enumerates more than 20 factors mandatory for a Torah scroll to be considered “kosher.” This is the Torah’s built-in security system. Should any one of these factors be lacking, it does not possess the sanctity of a Torah scroll, and is not to be used for a public Torah reading.

    The meticulous process of hand-copying a scroll takes about 2,000 hours (a full-time job for one year). Throughout the centuries, Jewish scribes have adhered to the following guidelines:

    A Torah Scroll is disqualified if even a single letter is added.
    A Torah Scroll is disqualified if even a single letter is deleted.
    The scribe must be a learned, pious Jew, who has undergone special training and certification.
    All materials (parchment, ink, quill) must conform to strict specifications, and be prepared specifically for the purpose of writing a Torah Scroll.
    The scribe may not write even one letter into a Torah Scroll by heart. Rather, he must have a second, kosher scroll opened before him at all times.
    The scribe must pronounce every word out loud before copying it from the correct text.
    Every letter must have sufficient white space surrounding it. If one letter touched another in any spot, it invalidates the entire scroll.
    If a single letter was so marred that it cannot be read at all, or resembles another letter (whether the defect is in the writing, or is due to a hole, tear or smudge), this invalidates the entire scroll. Each letter must be sufficiently legible so that even an ordinary schoolchild could distinguish it from other, similar letters.
    The scribe must put precise space between words, so that one word will not look like two words, or two words look like one word.
    The scribe must not alter the design of the sections, and must conform to particular line-lengths and paragraph configurations.
    A Torah Scroll in which any mistake has been found cannot be used, and a decision regarding its restoration must be made within 30 days, or it must be buried.
    SUCCESS OF THE SYSTEM
    Maintaining the accuracy of any document as ancient and as large as the Torah is very challenging even under the best of circumstances.

    But consider that throughout history, Jewish communities were subject to widespread persecutions and exile. Over the last 2,000 years, Jews have been spread to the four corners of the world, from Yemen to Poland, from Australia to Alaska.

    Other historical factors make the accurate transmission of the Torah all the more difficult. For example, the destruction of the Temple 1,900 years ago saw the dissolution of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish central authority which traditionally would unify the Jewish people in case of any disagreements.

    Let’s investigate the facts as we have them today. If we collect the oldest Torah scrolls and compare them, we can see if any garbling exists, and if so, how much.

    How many letters are there in the Torah? 304,805 letters (or approximately 79,000 words).

    If you were to guess, how many letters of these 304,805 do you think are in question? (Most people guess anywhere from 25 to 1,000 letters.)

    The fact is, that after all the trials and tribulations, communal dislocations and persecutions, only the Yemenite Torah scrolls contain any difference from the rest of world Jewry. For hundreds of years, the Yemenite community was not part of the global checking system, and a total of nine letter-differences are found in their scrolls.

    These are all spelling differences. In no case do they change the meaning of the word. For example, how would you spell the word “color?” In America, it’s spelled C-O-L-O-R. But in England, it’s spelled with a “u,” C-O-L-O-U-R.

    Such is the nature of the few spelling differences between Torah scrolls today. The results over thousands of years are remarkable!

    TORAH COMPARED TO OTHER TEXTS
    But how impressive is this compared to other similar documents, such as the Christian Bible? (Both books contain approximately the same number of words.)

    First of all, which would you expect to be more successful in preserving the accuracy of a text?

    The Christian Bible. For several reasons.

    First, the Christian Bible is about 1,700 years younger than the Torah. Second, the Christians haven’t gone through nearly as much exile and dislocation as the Jews. Third, Christianity has always had a central authority (the Vatican) to ensure the accuracy of their text.

    What are the results? The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, a book written to prove the validity of the New Testament, says: ” A study of 150 Greek [manuscripts] of the Gospel of Luke has revealed more than 30,000 different readings… It is safe to say that there is not one sentence in the New Testament in which the [manuscript] is wholly uniform.”

    Other scholars report there are some 200,000 variants in the existing manuscripts of the New Testament, representing about 400 variant readings which cause doubt about textual meaning; 50 of these are of great significance.

    The Torah has nine spelling variants—with absolutely no effect on the meaning of the words. The Christian Bible has over 200,000 variants and in 400 instances the variants change the meaning of the text.

    The point of course is not to denigrate Christianity. Rather, this comparison demonstrates the remarkable accuracy of the Jewish transmission of Torah.

    THE TORAH AND THE UNIVERSE
    There is a famous story in the Talmud (Eruvin 13a):

    When Rabbi Meir came to Rabbi Yishmael to learn Torah, he was asked:

    “What is your profession, my son?”

    “I am a scribe,” was the reply.

    He said to me: “My son, be careful with your work, for it is the work of Heaven. Should you perhaps omit one letter or add one letter—it could result that you destroy the entire world

    Rebbe Meir remarked: “Needless to say, I do not err by omitting or adding (letters)... but I am even concerned for a fly—lest it come and alight upon the right-hand corner of a dalet and erase it, thereby rendering it a reish

    The famed commentator Rashi (11th century France) offers examples of how the addition or deletion of a single letter can lead to a blasphemous or heretical reading of the Torah—i.e. a mistake that could destroy the entire world.

    Maharsha (16th century Poland) explains there is a danger even if the error does not affect the meaning of the word. This is because of a Kabbalistic tradition that the letters of the Torah form the sacred Names of God written as “black fire upon white fire.” These letters were employed by God in creating the world, and it is through them that He sustains it. The deletion of even one letter of this sustaining force therefore threatens the existence of the world.

    Carefully guarding the words of the Torah has been a Jewish priority throughout the centuries.

    origin: Aish.com

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    Senior Member karkooshy's Avatar
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    Re: Reasons to believe in the corruption of the Torah

    @coffeecat Thank you for your thoughts.

    This is why I believe the Samaritan Pentateuch's reading of Genesis 16:12 is more accurate.

    Also:

    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecat View Post
    and then verse 14... if just from this passage alone there was not enough proof that this is NOT the unaltered word of God, the author puts a personal travel note into the divine script
    to say "Oh by the way you can STILL check out this Place - as if the text would read like that at time of Revelation !
    "PS tourist notes" as you've mentioned above (e.g. Genesis 16:14) are especially problematic when they occur in the Torah. "PS notes" occur elsewhere in the Bible (including in the NT), but the Torah is unlike the rest of the Bible in that Jews believe it was dictated - word for word- by God. We can perhaps excuse their occurrence elsewhere, because Jews and Christians believe the other books were merely "inspired" as opposed to dictated by the Almighty.

    @Pip1 You didn't deal with any of the arguments presented in the OP. I know Jews make those claims. The point was those claims are obviously false given the arguments provided above.

    Which of the many Torah readings was the one that had been preserved letter for letter? The Septuagint? Maybe the Masoretic Text? Or the Latin Vulgate? They can't all be the unadulterated word of God, since there are many contradictions between them all.

    And no, the differences between the various readings are not only spelling differences. I've already given one example where we have two completely opposite meanings in the OP. If you want one more example, here's another for you:

    Genesis 5:31 as recorded in the Samaritan Pentateuch:
    And Lamech lived for six hundred and fifty three years before he died.

    Genesis 5:31 as recorded in the Masoretic Text:
    And Lamech lived for seven hundred and seventy seven years before he died.

    Which of the two was it? Lamech couldn't have lived for both the ages of 653 and the 777. And clearly the difference between 653 and 777 isn't just a spelling difference.

    Also if the Jews cared so much about the Torah, why did they allow it to get lost? How do you know the re-discovered Torah matched the one that was revealed to Moses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pip1 View Post
    How were the new scrolls verified? An authentic “proof text” was always kept in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, against which all other scrolls would be checked. Following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the Sages would periodically perform global checks to weed out any scribal errors.
    Those global checks began after the second temple's destruction? That's over a millennia after Moses passed away. How does this add to your case at all?

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    Re: Reasons to believe in the corruption of the Torah

    They change even their God in a few weeks absence of Moses and took a calf as a God. They even slandered Moses with Adultery. So do you expect them not to Change their Books ??
    My sect - No Sect

    My Aqeedah - http://legacy.quran.com/112 ( The Aqeedah of Sahabas)

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    Re: Reasons to believe in the corruption of the Torah

    Quote Originally Posted by karkooshy View Post
    @coffeecat Thank you for your thoughts.

    This is why I believe the Samaritan Pentateuch's reading of Genesis 16:12 is more accurate.

    Also:



    "PS tourist notes" as you've mentioned above (e.g. Genesis 16:14) are especially problematic when they occur in the Torah. "PS notes" occur elsewhere in the Bible (including in the NT), but the Torah is unlike the rest of the Bible in that Jews believe it was dictated - word for word- by God. We can perhaps excuse their occurrence elsewhere, because Jews and Christians believe the other books were merely "inspired" as opposed to dictated by the Almighty.

    @Pip1 You didn't deal with any of the arguments presented in the OP. I know Jews make those claims. The point was those claims are obviously false given the arguments provided above.

    Which of the many Torah readings was the one that had been preserved letter for letter? The Septuagint? Maybe the Masoretic Text? Or the Latin Vulgate? They can't all be the unadulterated word of God, since there are many contradictions between them all.

    And no, the differences between the various readings are not only spelling differences. I've already given one example where we have two completely opposite meanings in the OP. If you want one more example, here's another for you:

    Genesis 5:31 as recorded in the Samaritan Pentateuch:
    And Lamech lived for six hundred and fifty three years before he died.

    Genesis 5:31 as recorded in the Masoretic Text:
    And Lamech lived for seven hundred and seventy seven years before he died.

    Which of the two was it? Lamech couldn't have lived for both the ages of 653 and the 777. And clearly the difference between 653 and 777 isn't just a spelling difference.

    Also if the Jews cared so much about the Torah, why did they allow it to get lost? How do you know the re-discovered Torah matched the one that was revealed to Moses?



    Those global checks began after the second temple's destruction? That's over a millennia after Moses passed away. How does this add to your case at all?

    The worst blunder was when they RESTRUCTURED their Torah ( Alhamdullilah, I found a reference from a Judeo christian site before few years before it has been edited , the usual game on line when most of my references Pro Islam has been edited or deleted ) in the end of 8th century throwing the Main chapter Song of Songs from their main Torah to Ketuvim which is like less than a secondary important part of the Torah ONLY because it had the name of Prophet clearly mentioned as ''Muhammad im '' in it which they mischieviously translated the name into '' Lovely "' and restructured that whole chapter with a love story between lovers ( what does a lover story has to do in Torah? ) They are SO SMART that they did not remove the name but the back ground story instead making it resemble that they did not remove anything from their books , really Brainy people Indeed.

    We cant use the Talmud to verify the perfectness of the Torah since Talmud was the alteration of Zaboor of Prophet Dawud which came many centuries after Moses (pbuh) and was the usual trait of Jews to alter the books of Allah . Though Zaboor has been rumored to be as Psalms which is true TOO and its presence in the OLD TESTAMENT which came before also proves that Torah was not preserved in its original form.
    Last edited by talibilm09; 04-01-17 at 09:10 AM.
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    Re: Reasons to believe in the corruption of the Torah

    Quote Originally Posted by karkooshy View Post


    Asalamualaykum,

    Many arguments have been offered against the authenticity of the Gospels, but there has been- comparatively- less discussion on the authenticity of the Torah. In this topic I will be highlighting some of my reasons for doubting the preservation of the Torah specifically.

    For the purposes of this discussion, the Torah here refers to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.


    -1- Lack of Evidence for Preservation

    Unlike the Quran which depended mainly on oral mass-transmission (Tawatur) for preservation, believers in the Bible claim that it has been mainly preserved via manuscripts. Likewise with the Torah, which is claimed to be supported by reliable manuscript evidence. But is this true?

    In the case of the Torah, the manuscript evidence is scant. The Torah is attributed to Musa (عليه السلام), who is said to have died sometime before 1 Millennia BC. The earliest manuscripts for the Torah are the recently discovered Dead-Sea Scrolls. At the earliest (being very generous here) the Dead-Sea Scrolls date to around 400 BC. So even if the Dead Sea Scrolls were complete (which they aren't), and perfectly matched the Torah as we have it today (which they don't), there's still over a 600 year difference between them and the life of the alleged author.

    This is absolutely, not good evidence to believe that the Torah is preserved.

    PS: I also believe exclusive dependency on manuscripts for preservation is not very reliable, but for reasons beyond the scope of this topic. Those may be discussed upon request.


    -2- Discrepancies Between Codices

    There are several Codices for the Torah, but there are discrepancies between the different Codices. So how do the various Jewish and Christian sects determine which codex to base their scripture on?

    Let us demonstrate this using an example:

    One of the key differences between the Torah and the Quran is each book's position on Ismail (عليه السلام). In the Quran he is a blessed Prophet from Allah, whose lineage will eventually lead to the Prophet Muhammed ﷺ. Modern Bibles however, close the door on this lineage and belittle Ismail (عليه السلام) compared to Isaac (عليه السلام). For the average Jew/Christian, Prophethood is exclusive to the descendants of Isaac (عليه السلام). There is a clear bias towards Isaac (عليه السلام) throughout the Bible, which Jews and Christians claim to be because God favored him over his brother.

    In several instances in the Torah, Ismail (عليه السلام) is denounced as lesser than Isaac (عليه السلام). One such instance is Genesis 16:12, where the Torah explicitly insults Ismail (عليه السلام). In most Bibles today, if one were to open Genesis 16:12 one would read (referring to Ismail عليه السلام):

    And he will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be upon all, and everyone's hand upon him, and before all his brothers he will dwell.

    However, what those Bible translations don't tell you, is that this text is based on the Masoretic Script. The Samaritan Pentateuch on the other hand, reads:

    And he will be a fruitful man; his hand will be with all, and everyone's hand with him, and before all his brothers he will dwell.

    As you can see, huge difference and of a theological significance. Given the context of Genesis 16, the Samaritan Pentateuch also makes more sense.

    And do not be fooled into thinking that there are only two variant Codices. There are at least five; we have the Masoretic Text, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Latin Vulgate, the Septuagint, and the Peshitta. Many differences between them all.

    What's more, the Dead-Sea Scrolls do not consistently confirm one Codex over the others. They confirm a few passages from each. So if the Dead-Sea Scrolls are used as the standard for truth, not a single one of the Codices can be said to be completely true. They would all, only be partially true, and partially fabrications. But of course, we have no good reason to believe that the Dead-Sea scrolls match that which was revealed to Musa (عليه السلام) either.


    -3- The Bible says the Torah was lost

    Some Jews have claimed that the Torah, like the Quran, was preserved by Tawatur. They claim that there is an unbroken chain of narrators, consisting of faithful Jews over the generations, continuously memorizing the text and passing this knowledge down- from the days of Musa (عليه السلام) until present time. But this claim is inconsistent with what the Bible says. That is because the Bible tells us that there were periods in history when the Torah was lost (if there is a break in transmission, Tawatur cannot be claimed).

    The most obvious evidence for a gap in transmission is from Second Kings, Chapter 22. In this Chapter of the Bible, we are told that the Priest Hilkiah 're-discoveres' the Torah during the reign of King Josiah. Upon hearing about this discovery, the King rips his clothes and begins reforming his policies to fit the commands of the Torah. In the following chapter, 2 Kings 23:4, we also read about how King Josiah destroys the idols in the temple upon reading the newly discovered Torah. The implication is of course, that the Jews had fallen so far away from the Torah, that they started to worship idols in the temple of God!

    How can the Jews have ignored the most pivotal commandment of the Torah (monotheism), if it had been preserved with them all this time? And if the Jews had been faithfully memorizing the Torah, one generation after the other, how could they allow their most precious scripture to become forgotten? Why did the Torah need to be re-discovered for the Jews to finally realize that what they were doing was wrong? Most significantly, how can we know that this Torah that Priest Hilkiah found, matches that which was revealed to Musa (عليه السلام)?


    Conclusion

    There are many further reasons for doubting the preservation of the Torah, and the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament more generally. Those include: explicit passages talking about corruption (Jeremiah 8:8), anonymity of authorship, and canonization differences between the various Jewish and Christian sects. Nevertheless, the above are the main reasons that I think many Muslims may not be aware of.

    very interesting post.

    I was not aware of the Samaritan pentateuch and it's favorable reference to Ishmael... what a big difference it would make if all Christians read the verse that way instead of the slur against Ishmael as recorded in the KJV & etc. !!!
    The Quran is a plain statement to men, a guidance and instruction to those who fear Allah, So lose not heart nor fall into despair, for ye MUST gain mastery if ye are true in faith. 3:138, 139 http://www.scribd.com/doc/116767121/...rlasting-Gospe

 

 

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