Does Islam discourage Muslims from Studying the Bible?
Question asked by .
Answered by Tariq Haashmi

I am a Muslim and I want to study the Bible to increase my knowledge. My seniors tell me we are not allowed to study the Bible. What do the sources say in this regard?


Islam does not discourage Muslims to study the Bible. On the contrary, the Holy Qur’ān frequently refers to the Old and the New Testament. In fact, today we need to study these texts as these are the only reliable sources for the explanations of some of the Qur’ānic descriptions. Besides, how can we understand other religions without studying them? I think you have been warned because of a saying ascribed to the Holy Prophet (sws) in which he forbade ‘Umar (rta) to consult the Bible.

The Holy Prophet (sws) discouraged ‘Umar (rta) from consulting Bible because of the fact that during the days the Qur’ān was revealed he wanted to avoid any confusion regarding the texts in the mind of the people. On the basis of this very reason, the Holy Prophet (sws) even did not allow the Companions (sws) to record his own sayings. ‘Umar (rta) was not interested in studying the Bible for the reason you or I do; rather he consulted it for the sake of seeking guidance which obviously could not have been obtained better than what the Qur’ān offered, as it was the final and pure revelation from God. We know that the Holy Qur’ān claims that the Bible was tampered with. But that does not mean that each and every word of the book is a fabrication. It is still replete with words of Hikmah (wisdom) emanating from the same source.

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