Skip to content Skip to navigation
See our Campus Ready site for the most up to date information about instruction.Campus ReadyCOVID Help

QA XLI [41] Sūrat al-Kitab (The Surah of the Book) on Qur'ān 12:40


Part  XLI


سورة الكتاب

Sūrat al-Kitab (The Surah of the Book).


Qur'ān 12:40

Translation Stephen N. Lambden

1982-2018 - Last slightly updated 10-09-2018.


بسم اللّه الرّحمن الرّحيم

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate


"That which you serve, apart from Him, is nothing but names yourselves have named, you and your fathers; God has sent down no authority touching them. Judgment belongs only to God; He has commanded that you shall not serve any but Him. That is the right religion; but most men know not." (Q. 12:39 trans. Arberry). 




= Qur'an 19.

[Abjad = 20+5+10+70+90 = 195 ]

[4]  H


[6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [16] [17] [19] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41]


Probably addressing Sufis and speaking with the voice of God in the Sūrat al-kitāb (Sura of the Book = QA 41) the pre-existent Bāb affirms the revealed status of Abrahamic scripture. He associates his pre-existent Logos-Self with the quasi-messianic Dhikr (Remembrance) and the divine being who conversed with Moses on Sinai. He revealed the Injīl to Jesus who was subsequently taken up to the heaven of baqā’ (permanent abiding in God). This until the Ḥujjat-Allāh (Messianic Qā'im) appears at the time of second advent of Jesus and discloses the sealed mystery
of the identity and purpose of the messianic Dhikr (= Bāb):

O People of effacement (maḥw) !

Hearken unto my call, from the Point of Brightness (nuqtat al-Ṣaḥw), from this Arabian Youth who, with the permission of God, cried out unto Moses on Mount Sinai (al-ṭūr al-sinā'). The Torah, in very truth, was assuredly sent down unto him on the part of God... With our hands did We beckon unto Jesus. The Injīl was indeed sent down from heaven unto his person in his allotted time. Then God lifted him [Jesus] up to heaven for eternal abiding [with Him] (li’l-baqā'), until, that is, the promised Day when the mystery will be disclosed from the sealed scroll (al-Ṣaḥīfa al-makhtūma) in the platform of the courtyard (dakkat al-qaṣā') of the great Mosque of Mecca (al-masjid al-ḥarām), by the tongue of the Ḥujjat-Allāh (Proof of God, the Qā'im), the truth that is, regarding the mystery of the Dhikr who represents Muhammad, the Arabian Prophet (QA 41:153). '

Extract fron Lambden Phd 1980s/2002 :

The Bāb on taḥrīf (“falsification”) and tabdīl (“scriptural alternation”).
At several points in his writings including the Per. and Ar. Seven Proofs, the Bāb presupposes that Jews possess the tawrāt (Torah) and Christians the Injīl and the followers of David the Zabūr (“Psalter”). He had an accepting, positive view of these past sacred scriptures although their importance is abrogated, virtually negated relative to the subsequent divine revelations of the Q. and the Bayān (= the Bāb’s own revelations). The Bāb does not appear to directly refer to the (canonical) Tawrāt and Injīl as having been subject to taḥrīf in the usual Islamic (post-qur’ānic) sense, though he does indicate their loss of “elevated spirits” (<--in P.Bay 7:7 ). In the Sūrat al-kitāb (Sūrah of the Book, QA 41) he warns readers not to subject the QA to tabdīl (alternation) or taḥrīf (“corruption”) even though revelation is essentially something beyond the letter:

O servants of the All-Merciful!

Fear God regarding the taḥrīf (textual corruption) of the Book even to the extent of a single letter (ḥarf an) of what God has, in truth, sent down therein which goes beyond the [concrete] letter (`alā ghayr al-ḥarf). (QA 41:151; cf. QA 53:209).

This passage may imply that the Bāb considered divine revelation more than something written in concrete letters which can be easily corrupted. Divine revelation for him appears something more elevated than what might be subject to concrete taḥrīf (corruption). This viewpoint also seems to be reflected in P-Bayān 7:7. For the Bāb neither the Tawrāt or Injil have been subject to taḥrīf (“corruption”) in the standard Islamic sense. It is the loss of their “spirit” and “life” relative to their power to inspire religious truth that fades away before later expressions of divine revelation. The
attempt to divine theological truth after another divine revelation is assumed to be futile. When a new maẓhar-i ilāhī (divine manifestation) appears with a new book which encapsulates the `aliyyīn (“elevated spirits”) which impart haqīqa, hermeneutical reality to the pure in heart. For the Bāb sacred books have a spiritual dimension which derives from the latest maẓhar-i ilāhī and promotes insight and spirituality. ...

See further Lambden PhD :237ff.