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Need for Divine Guidance
Siddiq Bukhary


The following discussion has been taken from the Discussion Forums of Studying Islam (, one of our sister sites. While Jhangeer Hanif is the moderator of this discussion, Siddiq Bukhari has compiled it for publication in the journal (Editor).


Jhangeer Hanif: Why do humans need divine guidance? Even the atheists or the agnostics profess morality and faith. What does then the divine guidance contributes to the intellectual and spiritual aspect of human life?

kaz5sam: In the module one of “Revelation of Qur’an” under the heading of “Need for a Final Revelation” it has been stated that “Originals did not survive”. None of the previous Divine Books survived in their original form and language. Only translations existed.

Can I ask for a clarification because Bible is present in Hebrew, whilst we believe not in its original form but language? So does this statement sound correct?

Khan: I have studied “Revelation of Qur’an” course last year and found its design interesting and different than I thought. Checking from the notes I made and what I understood, I find that one of the reasons for need for final revelation was that originals of previous revelations did not survive; only translations did.

What you mentioned about Hebrew is true but then whatever was left in Hebrew was not original, it was all altered. Besides, the Bible was initiated 40 years after Jesus (sws) was raised, therefore, even if some parts of Hebrew survived, we do not expect them to be necessarily a part of revelation. This is as per my humble understanding explanation of the point that you raised.

Jhangeer Hanif: The fact that the Holy Qur’an was revealed is because the earlier scriptures were not preserved in their original form. The Last Book makes several allusions to the changes which were incorporated in the previous divine scriptures. Therefore, I do not believe that the Torah or Injil are preserved as such. What I do not accede is that these scriptures are completely devoid of haq (truth). We should appreciate that the Holy Qur’an has only pointed out only some major mistakes in the previous scriptures; and it also repeals only some part of the previous shari‘ah. Otherwise, it relies on the concept/practices instituted among the previous nations.

Hischam Khan: As I understand it, we do not have a Gospel from Jesus (sws). This means that we do not even have the revelation given to him. Not at all; whether in Aramaic, Hebrew, or Greek! What we do have are collections made by people (I don’t know what you would like to call them; perhaps “historians”) many decades after the Christ (sws). These are collections of the events that were supposed to have taken place, which also included reports of his sayings (by the way; his sayings make up only about 10% of the New Testament). These sayings are not quoting him but are the narrators’ own words that explain what Jesus (sws) might have said. The following are two ways in which this is noticeable:

1) The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) give accounts of the same events and sayings of Jesus (sws) but with slight variations.

2) The words in the Gospels are believed to have been written in Greek by the writers whereas Jesus (sws) spoke Aramaic (meaning that they are only translations)

If the Gospel writers refer to the same sayings of Jesus (sws) but not with the exact same words, then this clearly indicates that just like the ahadith they are words ascribed to Jesus (sws) as understood by the narrators. We are not told who narrated these reports to the collectors (the authors of the Gospels) which is a disadvantage. Now that they are also translated, it puts them even further from being his actual words. In short, they are words ascribed to him and translated. So this I hope will suffice to clarify that we do not have the original revelation of God to Jesus (sws) at all. However, we may have the message of God in certain places among the Gospels. In my opinion, it would be a far stretch to say that they contain the words of God since they clearly are not; they are only interpretations and translations of those words. Nevertheless, these can still contain valuable jewels.

The Christian addressees of the Prophet Muhammad (sws) had, as I understand it, a different book to the general Christians. They had an Aramaic Gospel which is sometimes referred to as “the Gospel according to the Hebrews”. This Gospel, since it is in Aramaic could contain words of the original revelation given to Jesus (sws) which the Qur’an seems to refer to. However, they too seem to have contained errors, additions and deletions by humans etc. It is unfortunate that we do not have this Gospel anymore.

As for there being writings in Hebrew, some authorities claimed that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew but contemporary scholars deny this. The Old Testament is in Hebrew but is very far from being the words revealed to the Prophets to whom they are ascribed. For instance, the first five Books known as the Pentateuch (in Greek) or the Torah (in Hebrew) are ascribed to Moses (sws). But scholar’s nowadays are agreed that the actual writers of these Books are “unknown”. See the “Revised Standard version of the Bible” as an example. Furthermore, a study of the dates of the Books and when they were written shows that it was long passed the time of Moses (sws); many hundreds of years in fact. So, we may have books ascribed to prophets in Hebrew, but not from the time that they were revealed and we know that over time languages change. Thus, although both are in the same language (i.e. Hebrew), I would imagine that the original revelation given to Moses (sws) would have been quite a bit different. It would be a bit like the Arabic in the time of the Prophet (sws) compared to the Arabic of today. Nonetheless, even if the language of both was totally the same, it wouldn’t make much of a difference as it would still not be the original revelation.

Coming back to the original question of this thread my answer is as under:

Divine Guidance serves as reminders of the “faith” and “morality” that every person should indeed have in them. Sometimes, we lose touch of these, maybe due to our environment and emotions taking control. For example, belief in One God that is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Benevolent is seen according to Islam as part of man’s inherent knowledge. However, the environment in which he lives can cause him to deviate from this. The same goes for “faith” and “morality” which any person should have. Our emotions and biases can sometimes obscure our reasoning faculty which would normally stop us from committing indecencies (immorality) and thus, revelation serves as a vehicle that brings us back to the straight path. Better still, it reminds us before it’s too late. Thus, when all else fails to convince us to do well (e.g. if our inner goodness fails) then revelation is there to remind us. It is no wonder then that the Qur’an is called “The Reminder”. It reminds us of our inner nature and then also develops on it.



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