The language of the Torah

Question: Moses (peace be upon him) lived in Egypt, as did his father and grandfather before him. Certainly, he spoke the language of the Egyptian people. So Was the Torah revealed to him in the Egyptian language, or was it revealed in the language of his forefathers – in other words, the language of Jacob (peace be upon him)?

Answered by Sheikh Fawzî Sa`âtî
Moses (peace be upon him) was of Hebrew blood. He was a descendant of Abraham through Isaac. Moses was born in Egypt and spent his formative years at the court of the Egyptian Pharaoh.

The reason for this is that at the time of Moses’s birth, Pharaoh has ordered the death of all male children born to the Hebrew people. So, when Moses was born, his mother hid him away for three months. Then Allah commanded her to cast the baby floating upon the Nile river, from where he was later retrieved by Pharaoh’s daughter.

The baby refused to nurse at any woman’s breast until a certain Hebrew woman was brought to nurse him. This woman, unbeknown to Pharaoh’s household, was of course the child’s mother.

Allah says: ” And we ordained that he refused suck at first, until (His sister came up and) said: ‘Shall I point out to you the people of a house that will nourish and bring him up for you and be sincerely attached to him?” Thus did We restore him to his mother, that her eye might be comforted, that she might not grieve, and that she might know that the promise of Allah is true: but most of them do not understand.” [Sûrah al-Qasas: 12-13]

After he was weaned, his upbringing was taken over by Pharaoh’s court. Moses (peace be upon him) remained at Pharaoh’s court until he was 30 years old. Then, after being charged with murder, he fled to Midian, where he was to remain for the next ten years before returning to Egypt, and from whose people he was to marry. He was clearly able to converse with the people of Midian from the time he arrived there, and the language of Midian was very close to Hebrew. This means that Moses was clearly conversant in both the Coptic language of Egypt and the Hebrew language of his forefathers.

As for the term “Torah” is used to refer to the Five Books of Moses (or Pentateuch), namely Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. It constitutes the first of the three parts of the Hebrew sacred book, the Tanakh, which includes 24 Books between its three sections. It is also recognized in Christianity as being the first five books of the Old Testament, which contains 39 books altogether.

These five books were originally in Hebrew. However, they were recorded later in various languages. Therefore the Torah was originally in Hebrew, but was later recorded in Greek and Latin.

And Allah knows best.


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Filed under Aqidah/Belief, Islam, Quran, Religion

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