182 The CORÂN

Seest thou not those to whom a portion of the Scripture hath been given? They were called unto the book of God, that it might decide between them. Then a party of them turned away, and went aside. That was because they say,—the fire shall not touch us, but for a limited number of days. And that which they have devised hath deceived them in their religion.

Commentators relate various incidents as to the occasion on which this verse was revealed. It does not concern us to enter into these; since, whatever the occasion, this much is agreed on all hands, that, as there existed a difference of opinion between Mahomet and the Jews, the Prophet proposed to the latter to determine the question by actual reference to their Scriptures; which, it is said, some of the Jews refused to do, and went away.

The Book, which Mahomet proposed to make the arbiter of the dispute, was the Jewish Scripture in use amongst the Jews, and acknowledged equally by them and by Mahomet to be inspired and binding; this was to be brought forth and appealed to by both parties. It is called "The Book of God;"— كتاب الله

What stronger testimony could be desired than this, to the divine origin and genuineness of the Jewish Scriptures at that time in the hands of the Jews, and proposed by Mahomet himself to be the final and absolute authority in this dispute?

CVIII.—SURA III., v. 48[49-50].

سورة آل عمران

وَيُعَلِّمُهُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَالتَّوْرَاةَ وَالإِنجِيل وَرَسُولاً إِلَى بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنِّي *** وَمُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَلِأُحِلَّ لَكُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي حُرِّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ


And (God) shall teach Him (Jesus) the Scripture, and wisdom, and the Tourât, and the Gospel ;—and (shall send Him as) an Apostle unto the Children of Israel. 
(Jesus shall say) Verily I have come unto you— * * attesting the truth of that which (Scripture revealed) before me in the Tourât, and that I may make lawful unto you a part of that which is forbidden unto you.

To save space we have omitted the recital by Jesus Himself of the miracles which He wrought. The words of Jesus, as here quoted, show that, according to the Corân, the Old Testament existed, in the time of Jesus, in its original and uncorrupted state. It was hardly needful, indeed, to refer to this passage, since the same words of attestation are used by Mahomet himself in the Corân, both in reference to the Old and the New Testaments.

CVI.—SURA III., v. 64[65-66].

سورة آل عمران

يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لِمَ تُحَآجُّونَ فِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمَا أُنزِلَتِ التَّورَاةُ وَالإنجِيلُ إِلاَّ مِن بَعْدِهِ أَفَلاَ تَعْقِلُونَ
هَاأَنتُمْ هَؤُلاء حَاجَجْتُمْ فِيمَا لَكُم بِهِ عِلمٌ فَلِمَ تُحَآجُّونَ فِيمَا لَيْسَ لَكُم بِهِ عِلْمٌ وَاللّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

Oh ye People of the Book! why do ye dispute concerning Abraham?—seeing that neither the Tourât nor the Gospel was revealed until after him; do ye not understand? 
Ah! ye are they which dispute concerning that of which ye have knowledge: why, therefore, do ye dispute concerning that of which ye have no knowledge? and God knoweth, but ye know not.