Books of Revelation

What Islam teaches about the Gospel, Torah, Psalms, and more

Muslims believe that God (Allah) has sent guidance through His prophets and messengers. Among them, several have also brought books of revelation. Muslims therefore believe in the Gospel of Jesus, the Psalms of David, the Torah of Moses, and the Scrolls of Abraham. However, the Quran which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad is the only book of revelation which remains in its complete and unaltered form.

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The Quran
David Silverman / Getty Images. David Silverman / Getty Images

The holy book of Islam is called the Quran. It was revealed in the Arabic language to the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century C.E. The Quran was compiled during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, and remains in its original form. The Quran contains 114 chapters of varying length, with interspersed themes describing God's nature, guidance for daily living, stories from history and their moral messages, inspiration for believers, and warnings for disbelievers.

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Gospel of Jesus (Injeel)

Injeel
An illuminated page from St Luke's Gospel, dating to 695 C.E. Muslims believe that the Injeel (Gospel) is not the same as the version which is in print today. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Muslims believe Jesus to be an honored prophet of God. His native language was Syriac or Aramaic, and the revelation given to Jesus was conveyed and shared among his disciples orally. Muslims believe that Jesus preached to his people about monotheism (the Oneness of God) and how to live a righteous life. The revelation given to Jesus from Allah is known among Muslims as the Injeel (Gospel).

Muslims believe that Jesus’ pure message has been lost, mixed with others’ interpretations of his life and teachings. The current Bible has an unclear chain of transmission, and no proven authorship. Muslims believe that only the actual words of Jesus were “divinely inspired," yet they have not been preserved in writing.

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Psalms of David (Zabur)

Psalms of David
A pocket-size book of Psalms, dating back to the 11th century, went on display in Scotland in 2009. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
The Quran mentions that revelation was given to the Prophet Dawud (David): "... and We preferred some of the prophets above others, and to David We gave the Psalms" (17:55). Not much is known about this revelation, but Muslim tradition confirms that the Psalms were recited much like poetry or hymns. The Arabic word "zabur" comes from a root word meaning song or music. Muslims believe that all of Allah's prophets brought essentially the same message, so it is understood that the Psalms also contain praises of God, teachings about monotheism, and guidance for righteous living.

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Torah of Moses (Tawrat)

Tawrat
A parchment from the Dead Sea Scrolls is displayed in December 2011 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
The Tawrat (Torah) was given to the Prophet Musa (Moses). Like all revelation, it included teachings about monotheism, righteous living, and religious law.

The Quran says: “It is He Who sent down to you, in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it. And He sent down the Law [of Moses] and the Gospel [of Jesus] before this, as a guide to mankind. And He sent down the criterion [of judgment between right and wrong]” (3:3)

The exact text of the Tawrat generally corresponds to the first five books of the Jewish Bible. Many Biblical scholars concede, however, that the current version of the Torah was written by numerous authors over several centuries. The exact words of the revelation to Moses are not preserved.

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Scrolls of Abraham (Suhuf)

The Quran mentions a revelation called the Suhuf Ibrahim, or the Scrolls of Abraham. They were reportedly written by Ibrahim himself, as well as his scribes and followers. This holy book is considered to be lost forever, not due to deliberate sabotage but rather just due to the passage of time. The Quran refers to the scrolls of Abraham several times, including this verse: “Most surely this is in the earlier scriptures, the Books of Abraham and Moses” (87:18-19).

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Why Not a Single Book?

The Quran itself answers this question: “We sent you the Scripture [the Quran] in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that has come to you. To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but [His plan is] to test you in what He has given you; so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah. It is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which you dispute” (5:48).