This passage may have been addressed to the Jews, as a tradition in Ibn
Ishâc's Biography supposes; or, generally, both to Jews and Christians. In
either case, its purport is absolute and unconditional in requiring from those
addressed, not only the acceptance of the Corân, but the belief and
observance of the Tourât and the Gospel likewise. It was an indispensable
condition that both Jews and Christians should obey the sacred books as
preserved amongst them, i.e. the Old and New Testaments.
How can it then be held that these have been superseded by the Corân?
This Sura was given forth several years after the Flight of Mahomet to Medîna,
and only a few years before his death, when the teaching of Islâm was complete,
or nearly complete. Yet even at this period, Mahomet, through the Corân, tells
the Jews and the Christians that. they are bound to "set up," that is,
observe the Old, and New Testaments, as well as the revelation made to himself.
"Ye are grounded upon nothing," (it is as if he had said),
" your foundation is false and insufficient, your religion futile, unless
ye observe and. follow the preceding Scriptures: your profession is vain, even
if ye obey the Corân, so long as the Tourât and the Gospel are not also set up
and observed: without these your faith is insufficient."
If the observance of these inspired books is essential to the safety
of the Jews and Christians,