Does God commend us to refer to the people of the book when we are in doubt?
When God asked Prophet Muhammad in a verse to refer to the people of the book if he is in doubt, which people was God talking about? If the bible/torah were already forged, then how would he refer to people who followed a falsified religion? I really need to know the answer to this as I am wondering a lot about this verse.
You mean the verse in which Allah Almighty says,
So if you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you. The truth has certainly come to you from your Lord, so never be among the doubters. [Yunus: 94)
There is nothing in this verse to indicate that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) doubted the revelation, far be it from him! Rather, Allah Almighty asserts the truthfulness of the Prophet (PBUH) by declaring that the Qur`an is a Heavenly revealed Book. The verse in question was revealed after mentioning the stories of previous Prophets such as Noah and Moses (peace be upon them and on our Prophet). The verse thus invites whoever wants to verify the authenticity of the Qur`an, which is a right to those who contemplate, to follow any of these evidences which are also mentioned in the Scriptures of previous nations. These common stories prove that the source of revelation is one and the same. If this is so, then how could the Prophet (PBUH), who was unlettered, be able to tell these events without reading any of the Scriptures?
The luminary, Al-Khadimi, said, as for the verse "So if you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you", it does not mean that the Prophet (PBUH) doubted the revelation due to his human nature as it was misunderstood by some exegetes. Rather, Allah instructs the Prophet to tell the righteous, [if confronted by those who doubt the revelation], to say such and such as evidenced by His words, "O people, if you are in doubt as to my religion - then I do not worship those which you worship besides Allah; but I worship Allah, who causes your death [Yunus: 104]." It was said that this verse was not addressed to the Prophet just as the verse "And it was already revealed to you and to those before you that if you should associate [anything] with Allah, your work would surely become worthless" was not addressed to him.
With respect to the meaning of this verse and its relation to the previous verses, At-Tahir Ibn 'Ashour said, "It is considered a variation in the context of stories Allah mentions as examples and a warning to the people of Mecca and others like them. This variation, which is depicted in different forms, alludes to those who deny the revelation. The first form is a warning to the people of Mecca against meeting the same end as that of preceding nations [who belied the revelation] while the next alludes to the testimony of the people of the Book on these events and what was mentioned in previous Scriptures about the advent of Muhammad (PBUH)."