become corrupted (محرّف), but we shall soon see in what sense that expression is used.

Having studied the whole question, most learned Muslim theologians in India at the present day are convinced that the Books of the Old Testament and the New have not been changed (مبدّلة), altered (ّرة) or corrupted (محرّقة) in the sense in which the ignorant employ the latter word. In this view they are supported by Imam Fakhru'ddin Ar Razi. For instance, in his commentary on Surah iii. (Al 'Imran), ver. 72, in answer to the question, "How was it possible to insert corruption (التّحريف) into the Torah, when its celebrity among men was so great?" he gives an answer which should be carefully considered. He first says, "Perhaps this deed proceeded from a small company, for whom it was possible to agree upon corruption: they then presented what they had corrupted to some of the common people, and on this hypothesis the tahrif becomes possible." But this is only an hypothesis, not this commentator's own real opinion, for he next proceeds to state the latter. "And in my opinion," he says, "in explanation of the verse another method is more correct,—that the verses which proved Muhammad's prophetic office needed fixed attention and earnest thought, and the people used to produce concerning them confusing questions and observe objections: therefore those proofs were becoming doubtful to the hearers, and the Jews used to say, 'God's meaning in these verses is what we have mentioned, not what ye have mentioned.' This therefore is what was meant by 'tahrif' and ‘twisting tongues’" (Ar Razi, vol. ii, pp. 720, 721); see also his commentary on Surah iv. 48: vol. iii, pp. 337 and 338, where he mentions the same two views. But he also mentions a third, viz. that, according to some, "They used to enter in unto the Prophet and ask him about a matter, and he would inform them so that they might grasp it: then, when they came out from with him, they corrupted (حرّف) his words."


According to this opinion, it was not Holy Scripture that the Jews corrupted, but Muhammad's answers to their questions which they falsely reported when they game out from his presence. If, however, we accept Ar Razi's own view, it was not the Scriptures which the Jews corrupted, but their own explanations of what the Scriptures said. Even this was done orally, and not in writing.

In his note on Surah v. (Al Ma'idah), ver. 16, Ar Razi 1 relates a tale which shows that here also the Jews in reading aloud verses of the Torah (Deut. xxii. 23, 24) "twisted their tongues" and substituted scourging for stoning, orally, not making any change in the sacred text. In his comment on Surah v, ver. 45, Baizawi also relates the same story, thus referring this verse also to the same incident. He explains the passage, "They corrupt the words from after their places," by saying: "Deflect them from their places in which God placed them, either (1) verbally, by omitting them or altering their places, or (2) in meaning, by referring them to what is not their sense and applying them to what is not their application" (vol. i, p. 258). Now, if we wish to see which of these two explanations is the right one, all we have to do is to turn to Deut. xxii. 23, 24,2 in the Hebrew original or in any version, ancient or modern. There we find that the "Verse of Stoning" (آيَةُ الْرجِمْ) is still preserved there, just as the Qur'an and Traditions3 show that it was in Muhammad's day. Hence we see that the Jews did not in this instance omit the verse or alter the words in their places. Of course

1 Vol. iii, p. 598. Compare the Tradition on the authority of 'Abdu'llah ibn 'Umar, about the Verse of Stoning being hidden with his hand by a Jew while he read what came before and what followed it: Mishkat, Kitabu'l Hudud: cap. i, p. 301.
2 Stoning was the punishment prescribed in the Torah for unchastity in a betrothed virgin. The kind of death to which an adulterous wife should be put was not specified (Lev. xx. 10). Hence perhaps the dispute among the Jews on the subject.
3 Mishkat, p. 301.