Introduction to the Holy Taurat (Law)
The name Taurat comes from the Hebrew word Torah, which literally means instruction. The Taurat is the instruction which Allah gave to Bani-Israel through the Prophet Musa (pbuh). The revelation of Musa (pbuh) contains five books or sections as follows: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Collectively, these five are also called the Pentateuch, a word of Greek origin meaning “the five-fold book.”
However, the instruction given to Bani-Israel (also called the Jews) did not end with Prophet Musa (pbuh). Well-known prophets followed in Musa‘s footsteps including Prophet Ilyas, Dawud, Sulayman, Yunus, Zakariyya and many others (peace be upon them all). Their writings are collected here along with all the instruction given to the Jewish people that started with Musa (pbuh). As a result, altogether they are called the Taurat, the revelation given to the Jews, as the following verse says, “It was we who revealed the Taurat: in it is guidance and light. By its standard the Jews have been judged, by the prophets who submitted to Allah’s will…” (Quran, Surah 5:44).
Today this collection is often called the Old Testament by Christians. The Jews call it the Tanakh, which is a brief way of referring to the TAurat, the NAbhim, and the KHetubim (the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings). Here we simply call it the holy Taurat, that is, the instruction given to Bani-Israel.