We believe that Allah revealed books to His messengers as proof against mankind and a guidance for the righteous workers. They purified and taught them wisdom by these books.
We believe that Allah sent down a book with every messenger, because He says: "Indeed We sent down Our messengers with the clear signs, and We sent down with them the book and the balance, so that people may uphold justice" (57:25).
Among the books that were revealed, we know:
1) The Torah, which was revealed to Moses, peace be upon him. It is the greatest among the Israelites' books: "Surely, We sent down the Torah, wherein is guidance and light; by its laws the Jews have been judged by the prophets who surrendered themselves to Allah, the rabbis and the doctors of law, because they were entrusted the protection of Allah's book and were witnesses thereto" (5:44).
2) The Gospel, which Allah revealed to Jesus, peace be upon him. It is a confirmation of the Torah and a complement to it: "And we gave him the Gospel, wherein is guidance and light and confirming the Torah before it, as a guidance and an admonition to the God-fearing" (5:46); "And to make lawful to you certain things that, before, were forbidden to you" (3:50).
3) The Psalms, which Allah gave to David, peace be upon him.
4) The Tablets of Abraham and Moses, peace be upon them.
5) The Glorious Qur'an, which was revealed to His Prophet Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets. It is "a guidance to the people and clear signs of guidance and the criterion between right and wrong" (2:185).
The Qur'an Is Protected from Change
The Qur'an is "confirming the scripture that was before it and stands as a guardian over it." (5:48). Thus, by means of the Qur'an, Allah abrogated all the previous revealed books. Allah has also guaranteed its protection from any play or mischievous distortion: "Indeed, We sent down the message and We will guard it" (15:9), for the Qur'an is a proof against mankind till the Day of Judgment.
Previous Scriptures Changed
The previous scriptures were meant for a limited period. Their use ended with the revelation of the Qur'an, which abrogated them and exposed their distortions and changes. That is why they were not protected from corruption. They underwent distortion, addition, and omission:
"Some of the Jews pervert words from their meanings" (4:46);
"So woe to those who write the Book with their hands, and then say: 'This is from Allah,' that they may sell it for a little price. So woe to them for what their hands have written, and woe to them for their earnings" (2:79);
"Say, who sent down the Book that Moses brought as a light and a guidance to people? You put it into sheets of paper showing some of them and concealing much" (6:91);
"And there is a group among them who twist their tongues with the Book, that you may think it is a part of the Book but it is not part of the Book. And they say 'It is from Allah,' yet it is not from Allah, and they tell a lie against Allah and they know it. It is not for any human being to whom Allah has given the Book, the Wisdom and the Prophet hood to say to men 'Worship me instead of Allah" (3:78-79);
"People of the Book! Our Messenger has come to you, making clear to you many things you have been concealing of the Book and forgiving you of much. A light has come to you from Allah and a glorious Book, with which He will guide whoever follows His pleasure in the way of peace, and brings them forth from darkness into the light by His will" (5:15-16).
Virtues of Belief in the Books
1) Appreciating Allah's mercy and care for His people in that He sent down a book to every nation for its guidance.
2) Appreciating Allah's wisdom, for He revealed in these books to every nation that which suits them. The glorious Qur'an is the final book and it is suitable to all people at all times until the Day of Judgment.
3) Showing gratitude for Allah's mercy in revealing these books.
Extracted from The Muslim's Belief by Shaikh Muhammad as-Saleh Al-'Uthaimin. Translated by Dr. Maneh Al-Johani