Taḥrīf (Arabic: تحريف "distortion, corruption, alteration") is an arabic term used to describe the alteration in the scriptures of Tawrat, Injil and Zabur given to Prophets Musa, Isa and Dawud May Allah’s peace and mercy be upon them. All of the books sent prior to the Quran have been meddled with and hence forth they now contain many contradictions, errors and mistakes. However, Quran is the one book sent to Muhammad sws which Allah swt has sworn to protect Himself and hereby we have a book unchanged and original since it was when it revealed.
Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur'an and indeed, We will be its guardian.
[ Quran 15:9]
The word “Tahrif” [corruption] signifies to change a thing from its original nature; and there is no man who could corrupt a single word of what proceeds from God, so that the Jews and Christians could corrupt only by misrepresenting the meanings of the word of God.
‘David died in the midst of his friends. They were not led astray, nor changed [their books]. The Friends of Christ stayed in His ordinances and guidance for two hundred years’
-Ibn Kathir, Quoting Muhammad talking of the Jews and Christians
Types of tahrif
- To deliberately interpret something in a manner that is totally opposite to the intention of the author. To distort the pronunciation of a word to such an extent that the word changes completely. For example, the word ‘مروه’ was changed to ‘موره’ or ‘موريا’.
- To add to or delete a sentence or discourse in a manner that completely distorts the original meaning. For example, according to Islam, the Jews altered the incident of the migration of the Prophet Abraham in a manner that no one could prove that Abraham had any relationship with the Ka‘bah.
- To translate a word that has two meanings in the meaning that is totally against the context. For example the Hebrew word that is equivalent to the Arabic ‘ابن’ was translated as ‘son’ whereas it also meant ‘servant’ and ‘slave’.
- To raise questions about something that is absolutely clear in order to create uncertainty about it, or to change it completely.
But those who wronged among them changed [the words] to a statement other than that which had been said to them. So We sent upon them a punishment from the sky for the wrong that they were doing.
[ Quran 07:162]
Basically, at the time of Dawud A.s, he was the way of getting closer to Allah because what had been revealed to him was latest. At the time of Musa a.s, he was the way of getting closer to Allah because what had been revealed to him was latest, and similarly, at the time of Isa as, he was the way of getting closer to Allah because he had the latest revelations. However, Quran is the last book revealed sent to the last Messenger of Allah for not just his nation but all mankind and therefore outranks and overshadows everything preceding. It applies to all situations, all nations, all times, to anyone from anywhere or any age or gender. It has not been tampered with and is in it’s original form. It has no mistakes, no errors and is the final word of Allah.
Verily, this Quran guides (humanity) to that which is most just.“
[Noble Quran 17:9]