Fatwa ID: 04908
Answered by: Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Is it permissible to quote scriptures of other religions (i.e. Bible) for dawah purposes?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
In short, it is permissible for the Muslims to quote the Bible or Torah for the purpose of Dawah. I have mentioned below the ruling with regards to studying the Bible or Torah and using Israelite (Judeo-Christian traditions)
In the books of hadith, we generally come across three types of narrations with regards to taking information or studying the Bible or Torah.
- Saaiuna Abu Hurairah Radiallahu Anhu narrates that the Jews used to read the Torah in Hebrew and interpret it in Arabic for Muslims whereupon the Prophet Of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam instructed: ‘don’t endorse the statements of the People of the Book and nor reject them.’ (Sahih Bukhari p.644 v.2)
The first hadith is informing us to be cautious when taking their sources, as it is not easy to determine which is true from false.
- Saaiduna Abdullah Ibn Amr Bin Aas Radiallahu Anhu says that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said: ‘Convey to others what I say even though it’s one message. And report from the Banu Israel, there is no problem with it. But beware that one who attributes something wrongly to me will certainly get his abode in the Fire of Hell. (Sahih Bukhari p.491 v.1)
This hadith indicates the permissibility of using Israelite traditions but at the same time, there is a severe warning for those people who attribute something to the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam which he did not say. (Fathul Bari p.618 v.6)
- Saaiduna Jabir Ibn Abdullah reports that once Saaiduna Umar Ibn Khattab Radiallahu Anhu read in a book which he had received from a Jew to the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam who got angry and said: ‘O Son of Khattab! Are you embarrassed? By the one whose hand is my life, I have brought to you something, which is pure and immaculate. Don’t ask them (Jews) anything. There is a possibility that they will tell you the truth and you refute it, or they tell you false and you confirm it. By the One whose hands is my life, even if Musa Alayhis Salam were alive today he would have followed me.’ (Mishkaatul Masabeeh p.30 v.1)
This hadith indicates that time, when the Islamic belief had become rooted in the hearts of the believers and Islam had become complete that it was not permissible to quote their sources. (Mazahirul Haqq p237 v1)
With regards to the first part of the question, it is only permissible for the scholars whose belief in Islam is strong to study the Bible and Torah to understand the differences between the religion and in what points there are differences between the religions. (Aapke Masaail p.305 v.8)
Finally, with regards to Judeo-Christian traditions, Imam Ibn Kathir (RA) has written that there are three kinds.
- Narrations the truth of which is proved from other evidence of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah. For instance the drowning of Pharaoh and the ascent of Musa Alayhis Salam onto Mount Tur. One can use these sources.
- Narrations that are false and has been certified by the Holy Qur’an and by the Sunnah to be false. For instance, it appears in Judaic narrations that Saaiduna Sulaman Alayhis Salam (God forbid) became an apostate. Such narrations would not be accepted.
- Narrations regarding which the Holy Qur’an, the Sunnah and Shariah are silent. There are differences of opinion among scholars about whether or not reporting such narrations is permissible. Imam Ibn Kathir (RA) has said that these are permissible to report but doing so is useless because they cannot be taken as authentic. (Extracted from Maariful Qur’an p.41 v.1)
Only Allah Knows Best
Written by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham