Reading Text: How did a Jewish scholar become a Muslim?
Al-Mamun, an Abbasi Caliph at the end of the second century (Hegira), was a statesman who was open to foreign countries. He showed respect to Muslim-Christians scholars; during his caliphate, science books in the foreign languages were translated into Arabic and there was an exchange of knowledge.
During those studies, Mamun asked a Jewish scholar, who attracted great attention due to his intelligence, the following question:
– Since you can study and examine events so rationally, why do you not embrace Islam? Do you not know the difference between the Quran and the Gospel and the Torah?
The Jewish scholar answered:
– I am studying on the issue. When I finish my study, I will inform you about my decision.
Mamun did not think of pushing the Jewish scholar because he knew that a person could not be a Muslim through compulsion or fear.
Mamun left the Jewish scholar on his own and did not ask him anything about the issue again. One year later, the Jewish scholar started to talk to the other scholars in the presence of Mamun. However, he was not the same person as last year. He had embraced Islam and accepted all of the decrees of the Quran.
Mamun was surprised to see it:
– I hope everything is all right. What is the difference between the Quran last year and the Quran this year? You did not embrace Islam last year but you embraced it this year.
The Jewish scholar explained:
– There is definitely no difference between the Quran last year and the Quran this year. That is exactly what made me approach Islam and become a believer.
– What is it? The fact that the Quran does not change?
– Yes. Let me tell you how my studies happened and how I became a Muslim. He went on:
– First, I went to my house. I wrote a Gospel for many days. I wrote three copies of the Gospel. In one of them, I deliberately skipped a few lines. The second one was complete. I added a few lines to the third copy. I took those three copies and went to the church with them. I showed them to the priest. The priest examined them. He bought them and congratulated me on what I had done. I returned home. I wrote three copies of the Torah similarly. I did not write some of the verses in the first one. The second one was complete. I added some verses to the third one. I took them to a rabbi. The rabbi examined them and liked them. He bought them and thanked me.
Now, it was time for the Quran. The Quran was too big. I could not write the whole Quran. I wrote only three fascicles of it. I deliberately skipped a few lines in the first fascicle. The second one was complete. I added a few lines to the third copy.
I went to all of the scholars of Islam with curiosity and attention. I showed them the Quran that I wrote and wanted them to buy it. At first, they all said they would gladly buy it but all of them found the mistakes when they examined it. They said:
– A few lines are missing in this fascicle. This fascicle is complete. These lines are added to this fascicle. There is no word like that in the Quran..
All of them read the Quran from their memory and corrected my mistakes.
I understood that the Quran has been preserved in the same form and content as it was sent down and it keeps its freshness and soundness. There are no missing parts or additions in the Quran. It is the last book that maintains the form when it was sent down exactly. After that, I became a Muslim. That is how my search that made me a Muslim took place.
Imam Suyuti narrates the event like that in his book, “Khasais”.