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In 3:93 we read:

۞ كُلُّ ٱلطَّعَامِ كَانَ حِلًّۭا لِّبَنِىٓ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ إِلَّا مَا حَرَّمَ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلُ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِۦ مِن قَبْلِ أَن تُنَزَّلَ ٱلتَّوْرَىٰةُ ۗ قُلْ فَأْتُوا۟ بِٱلتَّوْرَىٰةِ فَٱتْلُوهَآ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـٰدِقِينَ ٩٣

When I read it, based on the particular literary style of the Quran, and based on the ان کنتم صادقین I expect the first part not to be a piece of factual information but to be a claim made by Jews, yet the subject is hidden (this is common in the Quran). I understand the meaning to be:

(Jews claimed) every food was permissible before Torah (while it was not so in fact, and they also had prohibited food too. In fact, Allah prohibits bad food for all nations.). Tell them: Read Torah to support your claim if you are right.

The reason I understand it like that is the challenge. It says ان کنتم صادقین, but nobody has said anything yet. That's why I assume the first part to be the claim of the Jews and the subject to be hidden.

However, in almost all translations it seems that they have translated the first part as a piece of factual information, and the second part as a challenge for refuting this information, like:

(The truth is) every food was permissible before Torah, (if you claim that it's otherwise and there were food prohibitions for you too like for Muslims) then bring the Torah forward and read it

But based on the Kahf story [18:25-26], it seems to me that it's a literary style of the Quran. I think sometimes Quran presents the opponents' claims first, without quoting them, then challenges them, or corrects them.

What linguistic or general reasoning (semantic or pragmatic) is in this verse for the interpretation or translation of the first part as factual information and not the claim of Jews?

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  • This verse doesn't reveal any Jewish claim it is an information Allah shared and addressed to Jews asking them if they can find anything different in the Torah and this is obvious from the beginning of the verse for any Arabic speaker. However it is unclear what your claim and understanding is based on.
    – Medi1Saif
    Feb 4, 2023 at 9:47
  • @Medi1Saif a lot of places all over Quran is unclear. I think you're unfair as a true Muslim and you have bias. I can give you tons of examples. Like for example, in Yusuf:52, who says that? Yusuf? Or Aziz wife? You can read translations. Feb 4, 2023 at 10:15
  • @Medi1Saif, if it's clear, then please explain to me why Allah (SWT) says ان کنتم صادقین at the end? Please search all of the places where this phrase is used. Feb 4, 2023 at 10:17
  • How about this search? Where in those verses it uses ان کنتم صادقین where there is no claim of any kind? Feb 4, 2023 at 10:24

1 Answer 1

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It is more likely that both 18:25 and this verse are statements by Allah because of the lack of quotation.

At least in 18:25, the interpreter could pretend the next verse refutes the statement (which is itself tenuous at best) so we should assume an implied quotation.

As for this verse, there is no indication at all here that the statement is otherwise. Allah simply mentions at the end, "So, bring the Torah and read it if you are truthful." So, there is some claim by the Jews Allah is responding to. But, there is no indication as to what it is, but we can get it through the context.

The complaint Jews had against the Muslims wasn't that Muslims forbade too many things. Their complaint was Muslims weren't fully following the Torah laws i.e. that we didn't forbid enough things.

Your interpretation assumes the opposite which is pretty hard to imagine. Everyone knows the Jews followed dietary laws... how do you expect them to deny it?? People can literally see what they eat.

So, the point of this verse is to respond to their accusation that the Quran wasn't following the law of Torah properly. Allah says that those extra prohibitions they had were as a result of Yaqub (AS) forbade on himself, not necessarily due to them being inherently forbidden by nature such that the laws need to remain for eternity. If they claim that this is a prohibition for eternity, let them bring their proof for it.

Similarly, Allah said in another place:

Say, "I do not find within that which was revealed to me [anything] forbidden to one who would eat it unless it be a dead animal or blood spilled out or the flesh of swine - for indeed, it is impure - or it be [that slaughtered in] disobedience, dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], then indeed, your Lord is Forgiving and Merciful."

And to those who are Jews We prohibited every animal of uncloven hoof; and of the cattle and the sheep We prohibited to them their fat, except what adheres to their backs or the entrails or what is joined with bone. [By] that We repaid them for their injustice. And indeed, We are truthful.

So if they deny you, [O Muhammad], say, "Your Lord is the possessor of vast mercy; but His punishment cannot be repelled from the people who are criminals." (6:145-147)

In this passage, Allah first mentions what is prohibited for the Muslims. Then, He contrasts that with the extra things forbidden for the Jews and states those things were forbidden as payment for their injustice. That is why they are not also forbidden for us.

Similarly, Allah says:

Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. [...] (7:157)

Allah mentions in this verse that our Prophet (SAW) relieves them of some of their stricter laws.

In conclusion, the Jewish objection against Islam was that we did not forbid enough things, and that is why Allah tells us the reason for many of their prohibitions to respond to this objection.

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  • In the case of 18:25, I completely disagree. It all starts on verse 22 when people try to quantify the Kahf event with blind guess, and Allah (SWT) command the prophet to not follow their guesswork. And in response to their guesswork, it's mentioned that Allah knows it not you. And 18:25 is more likely to be the continuation of that guesswork, because again in 18:26 we see Allah refuting. Feb 4, 2023 at 4:56
  • To be honest, the more I read the Quran, the more I realize how vague some parts of it are. I assume that's what has been claimed by it itlsef, having Muhkamat and Mutashabihat. Feb 4, 2023 at 4:59
  • people tend to disobey laws, not obey them. Jews are infamous in Quran for disobeying and changing the laws of the Al-Mighty. So, almost anywhere we find a conversation with Jews, it's about them doing some bad thing. To obey food commands and not consuming haram is not a bad thing. It does not need refutation. Logic tells me that they have claimed that they can eat everything. Feb 4, 2023 at 5:04
  • Let's say a Muslim prefers to drink Alcohol and commit Zina because they both deliver pleasure. A bad Muslim will change the Quran and would claim that "Every activity was lawful for Muslims, except what Muhammad personally disliked" and in response, we might hear "Then bring the Quran and recite it if you're truthful". Feb 4, 2023 at 5:04
  • The Z is right here; the Jews observe more restrictive laws concerning prohibited food than Muslim; e.g. Camel is prohibited according to the Torah, but it isn't according to the Quran and Hadith. Their implicit claim was probably that the Islamic rules allow what they read is forbidden, and the answer is that it hasn't been forbidden to Abraham; 6:145-147 says it is only forbidden for the Jews after Moses.
    – Jeschu
    Feb 5, 2023 at 16:33

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