But I Don’t Want to Be Deceived!
‘’I have to read the Bible for my courses in English literature,’’ Tariq remarked, pointing out quickly, ‘’But I only read what my courses require, and no more!’’
“But there’s so much interesting stuff in the Bible!’’ I exclaimed. ‘’It’s full of history, wisdom, poetry, and details of the stories we read in the Quran. Why don’t you want to read it?’’
‘’I don’t want to be deceived.’’ he admitted.
‘’Why would you fear being deceived?’’ I asked. “You’ve read the Quran, so you know the real story. Besides that, several times a day you ask Allah (swt) to keep you from being deceived. What possible reason could He have for refusing to grant you this prayer, unless He wants to test you? Oh, and by the way,’’ I added, smiling, ‘’if He wants to test you, I strongly suggest you submit.’’
. . . And He revealed the Torah and the gospel
The Quran itself says that the Torah (the Biblical books Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which comprise the law and history of Bani Israel) and the gospels (the books Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, which comprise the story of the life and teaches of Isa [peace be upon him]) were both inspired by Allah (swt).
He has sent down upon you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming what was before it. And He revealed the Torah and the gospel. [Quran, 3:3]
‘’But the Quran is enough,’’ Tariq insisted. ‘’All you need to know is in the Quran.’’
A Solid Standard
‘’The Quran is the standard by which we Muslims judge all other sacred writings,” I pointed out. ”And it’s the only sacred book which remains with us in its original language, alhamdulillah! If another sacred text doesn’t jibe with the Quran, you have to question whether the message in it has been distorted— by translation or worse— or ask yourself if you really understand the Quran!
‘’I don’t know about you,’’ I remarked, ‘’but my love for Allah (swt) compels me to read every message of His that I can get my hands on! And with the Quran beside me and my salats, I don’t worry a whole lot about being misled.’’
‘’But it’s so easy to be tricked,’’ Tariq whined.
‘’Do you watch the news on television?’’ I asked him.
‘’Do you ever read advertising?’’
‘’Nobody can avoid that!’’
‘’Bravo,’’ I smirked. ”You’ve willingly submitted your time and attention to the mightiest propaganda machines in the world today— the news media and the marketplace. I’d say you’re not all that worried about being deceived.’’
Tariq looked sober for a moment.
‘’The ummah,’’ I went on, ‘’is full of Christians and Jews who came to Islam because of what they read in the Bible, not in spite of it!
‘’I’m not saying you should just read it passively. But I think you’ll see that if you read the Torah and the gospels, submitting everything to the Quran, your deen will really benefit. And there’s another plus.’’
‘’What’s that ?’’ Tariq asked suspiciously.
Knowing How to Talk About Religion
‘’You’ll know how to talk to Jews and Christians about religion. Most of them know less about the Bible than you do! Once they see that you treat them with respect and you know what you’re talking about, they’ll take seriously what you have to say about Islam.’’
‘’I’ll think about it,’’ said Tariq, nodding thoughtfully.
Pray About it!
‘’Good. Pray about it, too. And if Allah (swt) does guide you to read the Bible, the most accurate English version today is the New International Version. And the Quran sitting beside it is the best guide,’’ I added.
‘’And salam aliakum.’’
‘’Wa aliakum salam.’’