Answered by Sidi Wasim Shiliwala
Question: The Qur’an mentions the book of Abraham, but it doesn’t seem we know as much about it as the Bible and Torah. Could you clarify this a bit?
Answer: Walaikum As-salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,
May Allah reward you for your concern with learning about the details of your religion.
The Scriptures of Abraham (upon him peace)
As you noted, the scriptures of Abraham (upon him peace) are mentioned twice in the Qur’an:
“Or has he not been informed of what is in the scriptures of Moses and Abraham…” [53:36-37]
“Verily, this is in the earlier scriptures, the scriptures of Abraham and Moses” [87:18-19]
The reason we do not hear as much about the scriptures of Abraham (upon him peace) as we do about the Bible, Torah, or Psalms is because, unlike the others, very little is known about them, nor does any major religious community claim to have a copy of them. So all we do know about them comes from the Qur’an itself as well as a few isolated reports.
One such report claims that these scriptures contained educational parables, such as one wherein a tyrant king is rebuked by God for his amassing wealth, as well as general pieces of advice, such as the encouragement for people to divide their time between worship, remembrance and reflection, and worldly matters such as the acquisition of livelihood and fulfilling one’s needs [Uthmani, Ma`ariful Quran] It is also reported that this scripture was revealed on the first day of Ramadan. [Musnad Ahmad]
Aside from this, not much else appears to be known about this scripture.
While it is lamentable that we do not have much knowledge about this scripture, we should also remember that it, like all other scriptures prior to the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), were abrogated by the Qur’an. Furthermore, we believe that these other scriptures have been altered and distorted, so even the “surviving” and published copies of these scriptures cannot be taken to be reliable representations of the original scriptures brought by Jesus, Moses, and David (upon them peace).
However, what we do know is that all Prophets (upon them peace) come with a similar message, so we can imagine that the scripture that Abraham (upon him peace) brought was similar, at least in its messages, to the Qur’an. After all, this is what the Qur’an itself affirms when it says that these same messages are found in both the scriptures of Moses and Abraham (upon them peace). [87:18-19]
In other words, the messengers and scriptures may be different, but the central message – that of worshiping God and God alone – remains the same.
May Allah give us the tawfiq to follow the path of His Prophets, including Abraham, Moses, and our beloved messenger Muhammad, upon them be peace!
Jazakum Allahu Khairan,
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani