Praise be to Allah.
Allah delegated the preservation of the Torah and Gospel to
their scholars and monks, based on the evidence of the verse (interpretation
of the meaning):
“Verily, We did send down the Tawrat, therein was guidance
and light, by which the prophets, who submitted themselves to Allah’s Will,
judged for the Jews. And the rabbis and the priests [too judged for the Jews
by the Tawrat after those prophets], for to them was entrusted the
protection of Allah’s Book, and they were witnesses thereto.” [5:44].
Allah did not guarantee to preserve them as He guaranteed to
preserve the Quran. There are a number of reasons for this:
1. Allah wanted the Quran to remain the eternal Book and the
law that would abide until the Day of Resurrection. Allah says
(interpretation of the meaning):
“And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad (peace and
blessings of Allah be upon him)) the Book (this Quran) in truth, confirming
the Scripture that came before it and Muhaymin (trustworthy in highness and
a witness) over it (old Scriptures).” [5:48].
There was no need for the previous Books to be preserved,
especially since the time of the Quran was close to the time of the Gospel,
and there were only six hundred years between them.
2. That it was to be a test for those who had been given the
Book – would they play their role in preserving the Scripture? Would they
believe in what it said? Would they follow the Messenger, the Unlettered
Prophet, whom they found mentioned in the Torah and Gospel? Or would they
persist in their stubbornness and distort, conceal and falsify?
3. This was also a test for all the followers of Christianity
until the Day of Resurrection. They can see that the Book in which they
believe is not free of distortions, doubts and loss, and they can see that
the Book of the Final Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be
upon him) has been preserved and transmitted by so many from so many that no
one can doubt its authenticity, so that calls them to believe in the clear
Book, the Noble Quran.
During the Jahiliyyah (days of ignorance), before the coming
of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the people were
polytheists (mushrikeen) and idol-worshippers. Most of them had no real
religion or decent laws, except a few who followed the way of the Messiah
(peace be upon him), such as Waraqah ibn Nawfal, and a few Haneefs who
followed the religion of Ibrahim (peace be upon him). These few people
shunned shirk, idols, alcohol and immorality, and prostrated to Allah alone,
the Lord of the Worlds, such as Zayd ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl, of whom it is
narrated in a saheeh (authentic) report in al-Bukhari that he said: “I will
not eat of that which you slaughter on your stone altars, and I will not eat
anything but that over which the name of Allah has been mentioned.” And he
also used to say: “O Quraysh, by Allah, there is no one among you who is
following the religion of Ibrahim (peace be upon him) except me.” He used to
try to stop people burying their daughters alive, and he would say to a man
who wanted to kill his daughter: Do not kill her; I will sponsor her. And he
would take her and when she grew up he would say to her father: If you wish,
I will give her to you, and if you wish, I will sponsor her. [al-Bukhaari].
And Allah knows best.