Studying the Tawraah (Torah) and Injeel (Gospel)
Fatwa No: 27803

Question

I am preparing a comparative study in an Islamic subject at a French university. As a Muslim, is it permissible for me to study the Tawraah and the Injeel within the framework of my study?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alyhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

 

Given the fact that both the Tawraah and the Injeel have been distorted and altered, there is no doubt that common and non-specialist Muslims are neither permitted to browse through nor read the books of the Jews and the Christians. Allaah The Almighty has provided Muslims with a comprehensive Book that is sufficient for them and includes all the means of guidance that they need. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it.} [Quran 5: 48]

Scholars and those who are qualified to distinguish between truth and falsehood can recognize what is sound and what is unsound. Hence, only they are permitted to study the books of the Jews and Christians. However, this should be done for the sake of clarifying the distortion, alteration and inconsistency of these books, and to call to the straight path of Allaah The Almighty. If you feel that you are qualified to comprehend and refute allegations, then it is permissible for you to study these curricula.

However, we advise you to be careful, particularly because you are in a non-Muslim country, studying in their educational institutions, and receiving knowledge at the hands of their professors and teachers. Under such circumstances, it is possible that their erroneous ideas and beliefs may infiltrate a person’s mind who is neither careful nor religiously qualified nor possesses sufficient knowledge. You should consider yourself a defender of Islam and a caller to it. When you study these books or other incorrect methodologies, you should adopt the mentality of an alert Muslim and an insightful critic.

The great Companion, Huthayfah ibn Al-Yammaan  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him used to ask the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, about evil in order to avoid it and to warn people against it. He narrated that he used to ask the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, about evil in order to avoid it whereas others used to ask him about good.  [Al-Bukhari]

The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, commanded Muslims not to gain knowledge from the People of the Book. However, this prohibition does not include qualified postgraduates and specialist scholars who study these curricula and review books of anti-Islamic methodologies because they neither mean to take knowledge from them nor to seek their guidance. This is particularly so when there is a Sharee'ah-related benefit behind this action, such as clarifying the falsehood of these books in comparison to sound revelation. There is no doubt that in such a case the falsehood of these books will be made manifest.

Regarding the command of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, not to ask the People of the Book about anything, [Ahmad], some scholars were of the view that this command was at the early stage of Islam, and later on the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, allowed the stories of Banu Israa’eel (the People of Israel) to be narrated. [Al-Bukhari]

In conclusion, common Muslims are not permitted to study these books so as not to be at risk of becoming confused by their allegations. Only qualified people are permitted to do so, and it may even be obligatory on some of them in order to realize a Sharee'ah-related benefit, such as refuting their claims and clarifying their distortion and falsehood.

Allaah Knows best.

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