(This chapter leans heavily on the book of the same name by W. St. Clair-Tisdall).
If Islam builds on the Quran as a revelation ("nazil", i.e. come down from heaven) as indeed it does, then it must provide evidence supporting its "nazil" character.
If, however, some or much of the Quran, i.e. the text, can be shown to have been existing knowledge that was available to Mohammed, and if it was indeed incorporated into the Quran, the argument supporting "nazil" collapses.
If the Quran reflects the Torah and the Injil (i.e. the previous revelations), this will strengthen the basis of nazil--unless, of course, such reflections can be shown to be historically and Biblically false. "Nazil" will also be disproved if what purport to be Biblical sources turn out in fact to be Talmudic, Apocryphal or heretical.
It has been alleged that Islam:
Since Mohammed was aware of Jewish and Christian criticism concerning this, he counter-attacked by claiming that the Christians and Jews had perverted their Books (see page ) We have already investigated these allegations in "Christians Answer Muslim" and need not repeated them.
But we shall have to determine the degree to which:
Quranic concepts were taken from the Arabian past
This name was well known before the time of Mohammed as can be proved by the names of relatives of Mohammed: his father's name was Abd-ullah (slave of Allah) and his uncle as well as one of the hanifs was named Obeid-allah.
Besides this, Mohammed's reference to Allah was not criticized by the infidels of Mecca, as can be seen in the chapter 'The Collection of the Quran'.
(Also called the Holy Masjid) is described as a shrine of worship by Deodorus Sicolus in 60 B.C.
The pilgrimage to the Ka'aba was practicized before Mohammed's time, including visits to Safa and Marwa and also the throwing of stones against a stone pillar, symbolizing Iblis (the devil), in Wadi Mina. This is still practised today.
The now extinct tribe of the Sabaeans who lived in the Arabian Peninsula observed seven daily prayers at appointed times. Mohammed appointed five of these. The Sabaeans also prayed for the dead, a custom that has been maintained.
The Sabaeans fasted thirty days every year and celebrated the Eid. The fast was prolonged by one day, should the new moon not be clearly visible on Eid. Again this practise was incorporated in the new religion of Islam. In the Mishna Berkhoth (Jewish Talmud) it was said that fasting should begin and stop at the time when one could begin to distinquish between a white and black thread. This custom has also been incorporated in Islamic traditions.
We cannot accept that these imitations are purely accidental. We hold that they were known to, and approved, by Mohammed and that he incorporated them in the Quran, while others were incorporated in the Hadis.
Quranic concepts taken from the Talmud
In the Arabian Peninsula there were many Jewish communities living in the diaspora after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Many of these were guided by legends (Hagadda, etc.) and Talmudic writings, rather than the Torah. Many Jews at the time believed that the Talmud had been added to the "preserved tablets" (i.e. to the Ten Commandments, which were kept in the Ark of the Covenant and were believed to be replicas of the heavenly book). Mohammed added to this the Quran. There are several traditions from Judaism that were accepted by Mohammed and incorporated in Islam:
i.e. the direction in which one faces while praying. At first, the direction was towards jerusalem, as was Jewish practice. When the Jews fell into disfavour with Mohammed, however, this was changed to Mecca. (Sura 2:142).
Whatever Mohammed knew about Abraham is not from the Torah, but from Jewish legends, the source being the Midrash Rabbah (Suras 2:260; 6:74-84; 19:42-50; 21:52-72; 26:70-82; 29:16,17; 37:83-89; 43:26-30 and 60:4).
SATAN'S REFUSAL TO WORSHIP ADAM
as reported in Sura 2:34 can also be traced back to the Talmud ("Islam" by A. Guillaume p. 62).
CAIN AND ABEL
The way the story of Cain and Abel is related in Sura 5:30-35 shows quite clearly that this is copied from the Targum of Jonathan-ben- Uzziah, the Targum of Jerusalem and Pirke Rabbi Eleazar.
THE VISIT OF THE QUEEN OF SHEBA
is related in Sura 27:17ff. We can also determine the source, which evidently is the II Targum of the Book of Esther (paraphrased translation), although Mohammed reports this as to be from the Bible.
HARUT AND MARUT
Are two angels mentioned in Sura 2:102. Harut and Marut were idols worshipped in Armenia. Their existence was inspired by Marut, the Hindu god of the wind. We find this story related in the Talmud (Midrash Yalzut, chapter 44).
SEVEN HEAVENS AND SEVEN HELLS
as reported of in Sura 15:44 and 17:44, find their source in the tradition called Hagigah and Zuhal.
Quranic concepts from the Gospel and Apocrypha
it was relatively easy for Mohammed to have access to these stories, simply because many a Christian sect had found refuge in the Arabian Peninsula from the Roman Church, which persecuted them. Because of their heretical teachings they did not gain the approval of the early Church. One of Mohammed's concubines, Mary the Copt, could have related these stories to him. Significant is the fact that the Apo- cryphal writings that had been rejected as non-apostolic and lacking in authenticity by the Church, were the main source of information to these sects. This is undeniably reflected in the Quran.
His name in the Arabic Quran is Isa. In Sura 19:16-31 it is related that He was born under palm trees. This story can be traced back to the "History of Nativity". When Mary was accused by her family for having a child without being married. the new-born Jesus speaks out of the cradle in defence of His mother. The source for this is the "Gospel of Infancy".(Both sources are not Biblical, but are from the Apocrypha).
In Sura 3:49 and 5:113 it is related that as a child Jesus made clay pigeons and by breathing on them made them come alive so that they could fly away. This was taken from the "Gospel of Thomas" (Apocry- pha). In Sura 4:156, as in the general context of the Quran and Hadis, it is related that Jesus was neither killed, nor crucified. The source for this is a Docetic or Gnostic heresy, promoted by Basilides, an erly Christian heretic of the second Century. The Hadis speaks of the return of Jesus in a way that is foreign to the Bible: He will return to earth, live forty years, marry and have children, then die and will be buried next to Mohammed in Medina.
Christians are surprised to discover in Suras 5:119, 4:171 and 5:75-76 that the Trinity comprises God, Mary and Jesus. This thought is foreign to every Christian and the Bible, but no doubt finds its origin in the veneration of Mary as "The Mother of God" by the Catholic Church.
THE VIRGIN MARY
Christians read with surprise in Sura 19:28-29 that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a sister of Aaron. Learned men of Islam, who are aware that between Miriam, the sister of Aaron, and Miriam or Mary, the mother of Jesus there is a gap of 1500 years, try to persuade us that Mary had a brother, who also happened to be an Aaron. We reject this possibility, because she is also described as the daughter of Imram (Sura 66:12), the Amram of Exodus 6:20. He was indeed the father of Aaron, Moses and Miriam. Besides that, Jelalood Deen has stated that Mary's mother was Hannah. The one who was mentioned in 1 Samuel, chapters 1-2, and who lived about a 1000 years before her "daughter".
All this is a hopeless mix-up of historical events and no argument will convince one that in fact the Quran is right and the Christian have changed their Bibles, as in fact claimed by the Muslims.
"The Gospel of James", another Apocryphal book, was the source of the report that as a girl, Mary lived in the Temple, receiving food from the Angels and that Joseph was chosen to be her husband by miraculous rods (Sura 3:35-36 and 42-47).
THE HOLY SPIRIT
Jesus is called the Spirit of God in the Quran. This could be tolerable in the light of Christian doctrine, but in Sura 61:6 we read:
This false concept has been refuted already in "Christians answer Muslims" p. 118.
is the reported ascent of Mohammed to the seventh Heaven after a miraculous night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem on a "horse" called Buraq. This story is related to us in Sura 17. More detail is furnished in the "Mishkat". We can trace this story back to a fictitious book called the "Testament of Abraham"(B.C. 200), which was written in Egypt and then translated into Greek and Arabic.
THE CAVE OF SEVEN SLEEPERS
is a story related to us in Sura 18:9-26. It is not difficult to detect its striking resemblance to a book called the "Story of Martyrs" by Gregory of Tours. It is a legendary tale of Christians under persecution who fell asleep in a cave for 200 years. In the Quran, this period was prolonged to 309 years.
Quranic concepts from Eastern sources
The description of Paradise in Suras 55:56 and 56:22, 35-36,which speak of "wide-eyed houris with eyes like unto pearls, a recompense for what they laboured", has interesting parallels in the Zoroastrian religion of Persia, where the name is not houris, but paaris.
For some strange reasons throughout the Western World, the idea of a huge set of balances that God will operate at the Day of Judgement has been in the minds of people. In fact, this is in total contrast to the basic teaching of the Bible where justification is by faith and not by good deeds.
Although the balances and judgement concept is found in the Quran, in Suras 101:5,6 and 42:17, we discover that the original source is the "Testament of Abraham". "The book of the Dead", also from Egypt, refers to judgement by Osiris, an Egyptian deity, and here the same concept of judgement by balances is apparent.
The bridge that leads over the deep gulf of hell to Paradise, is called Chinavad (the connecting link) in the Zoroastrian book "Dinkart".
These likenesses may perhaps be claimed to be accidental and they may well be, although we are aware that there was much contact between Arabia and the culturally advanced Persians. We also recall Salman the Persian, who is mentioned directly in the Siratu'l Rasool and indirectly in the Quran (pp. ). However, the concepts taken from the Bible cannot be explained in any way, other than that Mohammed's knowledge of the Bible was scanty and poor and that he was misled into believing that the legendary tales he heard were actually Biblical.
Quranic concept from the Hanifites
There are known to have been six men who rejected the polytheistic worship prevalent in pre-Islamic Mecca. They believed in one God. the God of Abraham.
One can assume that their knowledge about the one God of Abraham came from their contact with the Jews, who lived in their environment; or even that the story of Abraham has been handed down verbally from the time of Ishmael and that they had experienced a new awareness of their forefather (though this is not likely).
Hanifite concepts, the Quran, and Hadis have very obvious similarities. All three reject idol-worship and the burying of infant girls; they accept the unity of God; Paradise and hell; and call Allah "Lord Most Merciful and Compassionate." Admittedly it may have been purely accidental, but the probability is that Mohammed, when he withdrew to the cave Hira, met Zaid-ibn-amr, one of the six who, for the statement:"I worship the God of Abraham", had been expelled from Mecca and lived on Mount Hira. In Islam the word Hanifite means "One that is inclined to God" or "Orthodox". In pre-Muslim Arabia Hanifite meant "unclean" or "apostate", because Hanifites had abandoned their religion. Mohammed, however, clothed this word with a positive meaning. Abraham was called a Hanifite by Mohammed. In Suras 4:125, 3:95 and 6:161 we are strongly admonished to:
It is sad to realize that today's Muslims do not follow the faith of Abraham. Had they turned to the Taurat for their knowledge about him, history would have taken another course.
In the conclusion, it is revealing to consider what is known about the fate of the Hanifites. Obeidallah first lived in doubt, then turned to Islam, but was subsequently converted to Christianity. Uthman went to Byzantium and became a Christian. Waraca also became a Christian.(Siratu'l Rasool vss 143-144).
QUESTION: When making a choice, why should a man select as basis for eternal life a book which shows such dependence on other sources and even misrepresents them?
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