204 The CORÂN

And We have revealed unto thee the book in truth, attesting that (Scripture) which precedeth it, and a custodian (or a witness) thereof. Wherefore judge between them in accordance with that which God hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires (by swerving) away from that which hath come unto thee. To every one of you have We given a law and a way; and if God had pleased, He had made you all of one faith;—but (He hath not done so, in order) that He might try you in that which He hath given you.

This passage contains the clearest evidence that, according to the Corân, the Scriptures, in current use amongst the Jews and the Christians (عندهم ) in Mahomet's time, had been "sent down" or revealed, (أنزل ) had been "given" (أتي) by God himself; that they were, in their then extant form, authentic and genuine, and were to be held an indisputable rule of judgment. The same expressions are used both of the Old and the New Testaments; and it is added with reference to each, "Whoever doth not judge according to that which God hath revealed, they are the UNBELIEVERS,—the TRANSGRESSORS,—the FLAGITIOUS." To add solemnity to the sentence, it is reiterated three times. Scriptures, thus authoritatively set up in the Corân as the absolute test of right and wrong, must needs have been regarded by its author as pure and unadulterated.

The candid Mussulman may easily satisfy himself, (and he ought to spare no labour to satisfy himself,) that the very same Old and New Testaments are now in use amongst the Jews and Christians, as were in use amongst them in the seventh century. Abundant proof will without difficulty be found of


this in manuscripts, translations, commentaries, and quotations, of a date long prior to the time of his prophet. When we call upon him, then, "to judge according to that which God hath revealed," let him beware of disobedience to the command of God; let him take heed lest in rejecting the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, and blaspheming their sacred contents, he should bring upon himself the punishment denounced against the contemnor of the word of God;—and, "refusing to judge according to the Scriptures which God hath revealed," or even to acknowledge them, he incur the doom of "the unbeliever" (kâfir,الكافر ) of "the transgressor" (الظالم) or of "the flagitious" (الفاسق) here solemnly pronounced by the Corân.

The Corân, besides attesting the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, is here further declared to be itself their custodian or witness. "A custodian over it, that is, a keeper over the whole of the (sacred) books, such as shall preserve them from change, and witness to their truth and authority", ومهيمنا عليه ورقيباً على سائر الكتب يحفظه عن التغير ويشهد لها بالصحة والثبات Baidhâwi.

Where are the books thus preserved in their integrity, watched over, and witnessed to by the Corân, if they be not those same Scriptures, which we now,—as did the Jews and Christians of Mahomet's age,—hold in our hands, and read in our Churches and in our houses, and have done so uninterruptedly ever since the time of Mahomet, and for centuries before?