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Bible has not been corrupted since the days of the Apostles.

Another fact which confutes the vulgar theory of tahrif is that the Khalifah 'Umar, when his armies conquered Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, found at Caesarea, Alexandria, and many other places, great libraries full of books. Among these were many copies of the Holy Scriptures and of books composed by Christian teachers. The Muslims might have preserved these books and referred to them in after ages, in order to know whether or not the Christian Scriptures in later times were or were not falsified. But Abu'l Faraj informs us that, when the Khalifah 'Umar was asked what was to be done with the great Alexandrian Library, he ordered it to be destroyed. This was done. In the same way the author of the Kashfu'z Zunun (كشف الظَّنُون) tells us that the same Khalifah ordered the libraries of Persia also to be destroyed when Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas (سعد ابن ابي وقَّاص)1 conquered Persia. If the Muslims had preserved some of the copies of the Bible that then fell into their hands, they would have been able to prevent the possibility of the falsification of these books in later times, should anyone have wished to corrupt Holy Scripture. Believing as they did that the Qur'an was the "Protector" (مُهيمِنَأ Surah v. 52) of "the Book of God", such conduct would have been very suitable on the part of Muslims. But what the Muslims failed to do the Christians did, for (as we have seen) we have in our possession not a few MSS. of the Bible which were written some centuries before the Hijrah, and which escaped the fate that probably befell many in the Alexandrian Library and elsewhere. Learned Muslims who visit Rome, or St. Petersburg, or Paris, or London, can see some of these ancient MSS. for themselves. Moreover, photographic reproductions of some of them have been published. It is from a comparison

1 See Part III, ch. vii.

of these MSS. with one another that our present Greek New Testament and Hebrew Old Testament are published, and from them come the translations now circulated in more than 400 languages.

From the evidence which we have briefly summed up in this chapter it is clear that the most learned Muslim commentators of the past and the leading scholars at present among them are right in asserting that the Sacred Scriptures of the Jews and Christians have not undergone corruption either before or since Muhammad's time. We have also seen that the Old Testament and the New have never been abrogated and can never be abrogated in the facts which they relate or in the doctrines and moral principles which they teach. It has been shown that the Old Testament and the New now in circulation are those which were in the hands of Jews and Christians in Muhammad's time, and that the Qur'an itself bears witness to them, calling them by many lofty titles, bidding Muslims profess faith in them,1 and asserting that it was itself sent down by God Most High in order to confirm the Bible and to be a "Protector"2 to it.

Hence it follows that those Muslims who truly believe in the Qur'an must see that it is their duty not to let themselves be misled by the prejudices of the ignorant, but to obey the Qur'an by taking the Bible for a light and a guidance.3 To do this it is necessary to study it with sincere prayer to the Most Merciful God that He may open their hearts to understand its teachings and walk in the right way, the way of those unto whom He is gracious, not of those who go astray.

1 e.g. in Surahs ii. 130; iii. 78.
2 Surah v. 52.
3 Surah xl.56.

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