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In the Name of God بسم الله

Has Anyone Ever Tried To "reconstruct" The Corrpted Kutub?

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(bismillah)

(salam)

I am sorry, this became a bit longer than I expected.

I am sure most of you know much the information in (1) below quite well, so skip the first part if you wish. I will provide it as a brief reference to clarify the issue at hand, before turning to various questions.

1. GENERAL BACKGROUND

It is revealed in the Holy Quran that before Allah (sw) gave humanity the profound and magnificent gift of His direct words through the Prophet Muhammad (saww), He blessed mankind with a number of earlier revelations, also in the form of His direct words. These were the older Kutub (Holy Books). The Kutub specifically named in the Holy Quran are as follows:

The Suhuf-i-Ibrahim

The Tawrat

The Zabur

The Injil

Information about the Suhuf-i-Ibrahim seems to be very limited (perhaps one of the brothers or sisters here can inform us; I can't find much about it anywhere ), but it is clear that the other three early Kutub were tragically corrupted (so-called tahrif or tabdil) by mankind over time. The corrupted versions of the Tawrat and the Injil are today the central texts for Judaism and Christianity, respectively, and I believe both of these faiths also revere the corrupted version of the Zabur.

2. QUESTIONS AND ISSUES

So, with the above as background, I have been pondering the topic of the older Kutub recently, although my overall knowledge of this topic is extremely limited. I have been wondering how much we can discover about the original sacred versions of these texts, which were the direct words of Allah (sw).

Are any brothers or sisters here aware of any serious and comprehensive scholarly attempts to "reconstruct" the original texts as much as possible? I think any attempt to recover of Allah's (sw) direct revelations could potentially be a glorious undertaking, even if the results end up being limited (although it might instead present serious potential dangers, as I discuss a bit below). I imagine it might be possible to create vague outlines or general ideas about the content in parts of the early Kutub based on an analysis of similarities and differences between the currently damaged versions and the direct the truth as revealed in the Holy Quran. It may sound impossible at first impression, but scholars of Islam can do marvelous things with rigorous textual analysis. I imagine a kind of textual "backwards engineering" might be possible to a limited extent, so as to arrive at some knowledge of the original versions, even if it is ultimately limited.

I have certainly seen lists of passages in the Christian Bible and Jewish Torah that were confirmed by the truths revealed by the Holy Quran. I recall reading about efforts to approach to the Christian Bible and the Jewish Torah using methods similar to the way unreliable Hadith are examined, for example. This might be a good basis for tackling the issue.

3. POSSIBLE NEGATIVE POINTS OR DANGERS

I must note that I have also begun to have concerns that it might be sinful or dangerous to study along these lines. My first instinct was that it would seem glorious rather than sinful to seek any knowledge of the direct revelations of Allah (sw) in any possible way. However, this is a complex issue. For example, the Holy Quran clearly and explicitly states that all older Kutub are abrogated by the revelations of the Holy Quran. Since we already have the Holy Quran, why should we want these older books?Shouldn't the message that Allah (sw) intended for our time be enough? Another concern: this study would involves engaging deeply with the texts of unbelievers, which raises other suspicions and problems and requires a very advanced level of scholarship and wisdom. It could be easy to fall into wrong doctrines this way.

Another point: Even if we find similarities between the texts of unbelievers and the Holy Quran, it certainly does not by itself prove that such passages are derived from the actual words of Allah (sw) or even that their general topics and content were revealed by Allah (sw) at all. For example, it is possible that the unbelievers could have changed their already-corrupted texts after the Holy Quran had been revealed (their texts have changed constantly in many centuries). In this case, similarities with the Quran would mean nothing. On the other hand, the Holy Quran does teach a certain degree of respect for all Kutub, which suggests that these texts still contain aspects of Allah's original message, so the situation may not be hopeless. But even so, this doesn't mean that we as weak and fallible humans will have the wisdom to discern the truth in these sadly damaged books. Certainly, a great deal of caution is required.

QUESTIONS

In conclusion, I'll put forth a few questions for discussion, if anyone has interest.

1) Have you ever pondered these issues yourself or consulted reutable clerics or scholars about them? If so, did you arrive at any solid conclusions?

2) Is anyone aware of good books, media, websites, or other information that would pertain to these ideas?

3) Have you ever heard of a serious and careful investigation by reputable authorities or wise men at any point in history to try to reconstruct or learn in depth about the original Kutub texts before their corruption?

4) Does anyone with proficiency in textual analysis have ideas about the topic?

5) Sadly, my knowledge of the Twelve Imams (as) and the Ahlul Bayt (as) in general is still insufficient, although I try to study their works and related hadith as much as possible. Have any members of the Ahlul Bayt (as) ever addressed this topic?

Well, if any of you bothered to read all that, I thank you for your time and interest. I personally find the idea of the original Kutub fascinating and compelling, whether or not we ever are permitted to learn more about these older gifts from Allah (sw) to his human creations.

Edited by Blueline
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