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How did Previous Scriptures alter if God says His Words cannot be Changed?

Without pondering upon all the verses of the Qur’an, it is impossible to understand it correctly. Furthermore, this understanding can only be granted if God wishes. This fact has been revealed in the following verse:

 “It is such that We clarify the Revelations to a people who think.” (Qur’an 10:24)

This means, people who do not think over the Qur'an's verses, cannot grasp it correctly.

Having true faith in God is also an essential prerequisite to understand the Qur’an correctly:

“When you recite the Qur'an, We place an obscuring veil between you and those who do not believe in the hereafter. And we have placed coverings over their hearts, preventing them from understand it, and a heaviness in their ears. And if you mention your Lord alone in the Qur’an, they turn their backs and run away.” (Qur’an 17:45)

Without having the sincerity to seek exclusively for the truth, one cannot understand the Qur’an. Some non-believers, namely Jews and Christians have found certain verses of the Qur’an which uses the expression ‘words of God cannot be changed’ contradictory, given Scriptures of the past have been altered.

We will look at the verses which they find contradictory to see if there is any contradiction.

At the end of this article we reach the following conclusion. These verses metaphorically refer to 'God's decree' or 'ordainments' when it uses the expression ‘words of God’, and do not mean the literal words in God's Scriptures. One verse they put forth is the following:

"Messengers before you were denied, but they were patient for what they were denied, they were harmed until Our victory came to them; there is no changing the words
كلمات) of God. News of the messengers has come to you." (Qur'an 6:34)

The verse consoles the Prophet by saying how Messengers before were denied, how they were patient in the face of harm. It states that God's victory certainly came to them at a predetermined time. To emphasise that it is God's decree that He will help his messengers by sending 'victory' after hardship, God says 'There is no changing the words of God'. The 'words of God', is clearly meant as the 'decree' of God's help arriving. Looking at the verse, the mentioning of "there is no changing the words of God" makes sense only if we interpret it correctly to mean there is no change in the 'decree' of God referring to God's help arriving.

Here is another example:

"The angels called out to him [Zacharia] while he stood praying in the sanctuary, 'God gives you news of John, confirming a word (kalima / كلمة) from God ". (Qur'an 3:39)

The word "word (kalima /
كلمة)" is used to refer to a decree of God that John will be born. Therefore, the coming of Prophet John is now 'confirming a decree of God'.

Here is another example:

"And as such, the word (decree/command  - kalima / كلمة) of your Lord has come to pass upon those who rejected, that they are the dwellers of the Fire." (Qur'an 40:6)

This is a common usage of the expression in the Qur'an as can be seen:

"The people were but one nation, then they differed. And had it not been for a previous command/decree (kalima / كلمة) from your Lord, the matter would have been immediately judged between them for what they differed." (Qur'an 10:19)

"And Abraham was tested by commands/decrees  (kalima / كلمة) from His Lord, which he completed. He said: "I will make you a leader for the people." He said: "And also from my progeny?" He said: "My pledge will not encompass the wicked." (Qur'an 2:124)

"The angels said, 'Mary, God gives you news of a decree/word (kalima / كلمة) from Him  , whose name will be Massiah, Jesus son of Mary, who will be held in honour in this world, and the next, who will be one of those brought near to God" (Qur'an 3:45)

"And We let the people who were weak inherit the east of the land and the west of it which We have blessed. And the good word/decree/command (kalima / كلمة) of your Lord was completed towards the Children of Israel for their patience; and We destroyed what Pharaoh and his people were doing, and what they contrived." (Qur'an 7:137)

"And God promises you that one of the two parties will be defeated by you; and you wish that the one least armed be the one. But God wishes that the truth be manifest with His words/decrees/commands (kalima / كلمة), and that He eliminates the remnant of the rejecters." (Qur'an 8:7)

"The people were but one nation, then they differed. And had it not been for a previous command/decree (kalima / كلمة) from your Lord, the matter would have been immediately judged between them for what they differed." (Qur'an 10:19)

"We have given Moses the Scripture, yet they disputed in it; and had it not been for a word/decree/command (kalima / كلمة) which was already given by your Lord, their case would have been judged immediately. They are in grave doubt concerning it." (Qur'an 11:110)


Also in 11:119, 20:129, 48:15, 37:171-173, 39:19, 41:45, 42:14, 42:21, 48:26.


We conclude that the word 'word (kalima كلمة)' has been used in the Qur'an to refer to God's decrees or promises / ordainments. Therefore, the fact that previous scriptures have been altered do not pose a contradiction with these verses of the Qur'an. An analogy of this Quranic expression is with the English expression 'he kept his words', or 'I will keep my word' etc. 

“Do they not reflect on the Qur’an? If it were from other than God, they would have found in it numerous contradictions.” (Qur’an 4:82)

Writing Names alongside Allah's Name in Mosques

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See also:

 The Plight of the Hypocrites

Love for Allah

Understanding "Obey Allah & the Messenger"

Reading the Qur'an but Practising Something Else

Understanding the Arabic Language does not Mean One Understands the Qur'an


Are "Those with Knowledge" referring to Clergy / "Ulama"?

Finer Points link