In my years in the ministry, the Bible and the Quran have often been compared, due to the various similarities in some of the stories and passages.
During the inter-college academic panel last week, however, I encountered an interesting question of whether the book of Psalms has appeared in the Quran.
Having studied both religions in Theology school, I wanted to use my theological knowledge and experience to address this question for those of you who may be curious. So, is Psalms in the Quran?
Yes, Psalms does appear in the Quran where it is called ‘Zabur’. Though not all the Psalms have been directly quoted, the Book of Psalms is believed to be one of the divinely inspired texts in the Quran, revealed by Allah to his prophet David.
In this article, I bring out the instances of the appearance of the psalms in the Quran. I invite you to read on and find out the difference between Zabur and the Psalm, as well as, the views of Muslims about Psalms.
What does the Quran say about Psalms?
The Quran recognizes the Book of Psalms as one of the holy texts that preceded it. According to the Quran, the Book of Psalms referred to as Zabur, is one of the three holy books revealed by God before it.
Zabur is believed to be a collection of poems and songs revealed to Dawud, the prophet. Apart from affirming the Zabur as God’s holy text, the Quran also directly quotes some of the texts that appear in Psalms.
What is the difference between the Zabur and the Quran?
According to the Islamic religion, Zabur is one of the holy texts that preceded the Quran. They believe that Zabur was revealed to Dawud, who is perceived as one of the prophets of Allah.
The Quran, on the other hand, is said to have been revealed to the prophet Mohammod. However, Muslims believe that the Quran is the ultimate holy text that overrides the Zabur and the other two holy texts that preceded it.
Are the Psalms mentioned in the Quran?
Yes, the Quran mentions the Psalms directly on three occasions. In the first two mentions appearing in Quran 4:163 and Quran 17:55, the book of Psalms is confirmed to have been revealed to David.
The third mention is in Quran 21:105 and quotes a passage that is seen in Psalms 37:29: “The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.”
This states that the righteous will inherit the earth.
Do Muslims believe in the Psalm of David?
According to Islamic teachings, Muslims believe in the Psalm of David. As per the Quran, all three sacred texts that preceded it were revealed by God to specific prophets and should be accepted as divine guidance to the Muslims.
The Psalm of David is believed to be one of the holy texts. However, in the event of a discrepancy, they should adopt what is captured in the Quran since it is believed to be the final refined law given to them and supersedes the earlier texts.
Quran 35:31 affirms that whatsoever has been revealed in the Quran consummates all previous scriptures: “The Book We have revealed to you ˹O Prophet˺ is the truth, confirming what came before it. Surely Allah is All-Aware, All-Seeing of His servants.”
They, therefore, do not recite the Zabur as a separate book and instead use the Quran.
Are verses in the Quran the same as Psalms in the Bible?
Although the Quran does not quote all the Psalms as they appear in the Bible, it is believed that they are similar. In most cases, the Quran mentions the book of Psalms in general.
In some instances, however, verses from the Psalms are quoted. For instance, Quran 21:105 captures a phrase that appears in Psalms 37:29: “The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.”
Is there a passage in the Quran similar to Psalms 23?
The Quran does not seem to capture the exact words of Psalms 23 as it appears in the Bible. However, since it quotes Psalms 37:29 exactly as it is in the Bible, chances are that all the other chapters of Psalms would be similar if captured in the Quran.
The 23rd Psalm also appears to be one of the widely recited songs among Muslims, and they believe the words that constitute it agree with their beliefs about Allah.
What is Psalms 37:29 in the Quran?
Psalms 37:29 has been directly quoted in Quran 21:105: “Surely, following the ˹heavenly˺ Record, We decreed in the Scriptures: ‘My righteous servants shall inherit the land.'”
This verse states that the righteous will inherit the earth and abide in it forever.
It seems to be one of the few verses in the Quran that captures what has been written in the Islamic Zabur. As implied earlier, the Quran, in a few instances, simply mentions the Zabur as among the holy texts but does not capture what was written in it.
The fact that this verse that the Quran quotes is the exact one that appears in the Bible is further proof that the two books, the Zabur, and Psalms, are similar.
As a Christian, I have always been passionate about sharing God’s word with young people. This inspired me to pursue a Certificate in Christian Education, an Undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, and a Graduate degree in Theology. My knowledge in school and experience from dealing with the youth made me an expert at discussing Christian-related topics. I feel privileged working as the Coordinator of the Christian Youth Ministry at Christian Faith Guide. You can read more about me on the about us page.