God has sent down direct Guidance through various prophets throughout time. Among them, several have brought books of Revelation and Law with them; because of this, these prophets are also considered messengers. The followers of these books are referred to in the Qur’an as “People of the Book” and are indeed from the same source of Light. Let us examine the 5 books of revelation.
The Recitation (Qur’an)
The Qur’an, literally meaning to read or recite, was revealed in the Arabic language to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in the 6th century. It was compiled during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad and remains in its original form, which is a perpetual miracle in itself. The Qur’an contains themes describing God’s nature, guidance for daily living, stories from history and their moral messages, inspiration for believers, and warnings for disbelievers.
This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah; Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them; And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee, and sent before thy time, and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter. [Qur’an, The Cow, 2:2-4]
Gospel of Jesus (Injeel)
Jesus is an honored prophet of God and is mentioned several times in the Qur’an. His native language was Syriac or Aramaic, and the revelation given to Jesus was conveyed and shared among his disciples orally. Jesus preached to his people about monotheism (the Oneness of God) and how to live a righteous life. The revelation given to Jesus from Allah is known as the Injeel (Gospel).
Unfortunately, Jesus’ pure message has been lost, mixed with others’ interpretations of his life and teachings. The current Bible has an unclear chain of transmission and no proven authorship. The actual words of Jesus were indeed Divinely inspired, yet they have not been preserved in writing.
And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah. [Qur’an, The Table Spread, 5:46]
Psalms of David (Zabur)
The Qur’an mentions that revelation was given to the Prophet Dawud (David). Not much is known about this revelation, but Islam confirms that the Psalms were recited much like poetry or hymns. The Arabic word “zabur” comes from a root word meaning song or music. All of Allah’s prophets brought the same message, so the Psalms also contain praises of God, teachings about monotheism, and guidance for righteous living.
And it is your Lord that knoweth best all beings that are in the heavens and on earth: We did bestow on some prophets more (and other) gifts than on others: and We gave to David (the gift of) the Psalms. [Qur’an, The Night Journey, 17:55]
Torah of Moses (Tawrat)
The Tawrat (Torah) was given to the Prophet Musa (Moses). Like all revelation, it included teachings about monotheism, righteous living, and religious law. The exact text of the Tawrat generally corresponds to the first five books of the Jewish Bible. Many Biblical scholars concede, however, that the current version of the Torah was written by numerous authors over several centuries. The exact words of the revelation to Moses are not preserved.
It was We who revealed the law (to Moses): therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the prophets who bowed (as in Islam) to Allah’s will, by the rabbis and the doctors of law: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s book, and they were witnesses thereto: therefore fear not men, but fear me, and sell not my signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) Unbelievers. [Qur’an, The Table Spread, 5:44]
Scrolls of Abraham (Suhuf)
The Qur’an mentions a revelation called the Suhuf Ibrahim, or the Scrolls of Abraham. They were reportedly written by Ibrahim himself, as well as his scribes and followers. However, this holy book is considered to be lost forever. The Qur’an refers to the scrolls of Abraham several times, including the following verse:
And this is in the Books of the earliest (Revelation),- The Books of Abraham and Moses. [Qur’an, The Most High, 87:18-19]
Why Not a Single Book?
The Qur’an itself answers this question:
To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute; [Qur’an, The Table Spread, 5:48]
What is unique about Islam is that it is the last religion sent by the last prophet in a long chain of messengers – the Final Testament converging all walks of life. In addition, the Qur’an remains unchanged and in its original form. This is indeed a living Mercy and Miracle from God; a promise to be preserved by God forever and still stands today.
We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption). [Qur’an, The Rocky Tract, 15:9]