Hence any Muslim who affirms that the Old Testament and the New are corrupt (محرّف) in text, and no longer exist as they did in Muhammad’s day, is contradicting the Qur'an, and thereby denying the truth of the book which all true Muslims believe to have been sent down by God Most High to Muhammad with the object of confirming1 the Torah and the Injil. It is impossible to say that the Qur'an teaches both that the Torah and the Injil are true and inspired, and also that they have been so altered as to be no longer reliable; for to say this would be to accuse the Qur'an of self-contradiction. No believer in God who is the Truth (الحقّ) can believe that He sent down the Qur'an in order to confirm a corrupted book, and one which, in consequence of such corruption, taught false doctrine. The commentators whom we have quoted support our contention that the Bible had not become corrupted before or during Muhammad's time.

The only question which remains is, "Has it been corrupted since his time?" It is not difficult to answer this. The MSS. to which we have already referred, written in most cases long before Muhammad's birth, are those from which the copies of the Bible now in circulation are printed. Hence the impossibility of supporting the suggestion that since Muhammad's death either Jews or Christians have corrupted the Bible in any way.

But let us hear what is said on the other side. Among Muslims all the ignorant and some of their learned men who have not carefully studied this subject still fancy that the Bible as it now exists is corrupt. If they are asked when this corruption took place, they are not agreed as to their answer. Some say "before Muhammad's time", some "after that", some "both before and after". To prove their point they have carefully picked out and repeated every foolish and unsupported accusation which has been brought against the Bible by unbelievers, by such pagans as Celsus,

1 Surah v. 52.

and by such heretics as the followers of Mani. These objections have long since been completely refuted. They do not therefore influence men of learning in the West, and it is impossible that really learned men among the Muslims should long continue to be deceived by them. It is sometimes said that certain Christians of the first few centuries accused the Jews of corrupting the text of the Old Testament. Some ignorant Christians did say that the Jews had altered the numbers in the ages of the Patriarchs given in Gen. v. and xi, because it was found that some difference in these numbers existed between the Hebrew text and that of the Greek Septuagint Version. But it is not true (as has been asserted) that Augustine1 shared this opinion. Now that the matter has been studied for some 1,400 years longer, no man of learning in the West believes that the Jews were guilty of corrupting their Scriptures either in these passages or in any others.

Some Muslim writers speak of the many different readings to be found in the Bible, and say that these prove the corruption of its text. But this argument is baseless. We have such a large number of Biblical MSS. in Hebrew and Greek and other languages that, when we compare them with one another, it is natural to find various readings. They are found in the same circumstances in all other ancient books too. But what is the nature of these various readings? Most of them are merely differences of spelling, as if in Arabic one book had صلَوة and another صلاة; one حيوَة and another حياة; one توريت and another تورات; one قيامة and another قيَمة. In other instances there are differences of verbal forms, such as those that so frequently meet us in the various readings given by the commentators on the Qur'an. For instance, Baizawi 2 gives us the

1 He records it, but does not adopt it. In De Doctrina Christiana, lib. ii, cap. 15, he seems to favour the numbers in the LXX, but in De Civitate Dei, lib. xv, capp. 10, 11, 13, he decides in favour of the Hebrew text on this point.
2 Vol. i. p. 78.