[ This is the second part of our response to MENJs attack on the Apostle Paul based on the claim that he used Talmudic sources in his epistles. MENJ claimed that Pauls dependency on the Talmud disproves his inspiration and apostleship, and the authority of the New Testament. Part 1 was our refutation of this particular Muslim claim. In the following, we will now apply the Muslim criterion to the Quran and its sources to see whether the Muslim holy book passes the same test used by the Muslim polemicist. ]
Conservative Christians and orthodox Muslims do not share the same view of inspiration. Christians believe that God inspired human beings to record his word without error. Biblical inspiration does not do away with the cultural and historical settings of the authors, but uses them in recording Gods truths in order to convey the salvation message in the language and understanding of the people. Inspiration doesnt preclude the use and appeal of existing historical records. In fact, appealing to contemporary historical records provide support for the veracity of the biblical authors statements and claims.
To put it simply, discovering parallels in extra-biblical sources with the biblical stories does nothing to hurt the inspiration of the Holy Bible. This is why the authors saw no problem in appealing to extra-biblical books:
"That is why the Book of the Wars of the LORD says: ... Waheb in Suphah and the ravines, the Arnon and the slopes of the ravines that lead to the site of Ar and lie along the border of Moab." Numbers 21:14-15 NIV
"On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon. So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day" Joshua 10:12-13 NIV; cf. 2 Samuel 1:18
"The other events of Jeroboam's reign, his wars and how he ruled, are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel." 1 Kings 14:19
"Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." Luke 1:1-4 NIV
Furthermore, Christians do not believe that the Holy Bible is a replica of material existing in heavenly tablets.
The Muslim view of inspiration is quite different. Muslims believe that the Quran is a replica of that which is contained in the heavenly tablets written before the creation of the world:
We have made it a Qur'an in Arabic, that ye may be able to understand (and learn wisdom). And verily, it is in the Mother of the Book, in Our Presence, high (in dignity), full of wisdom. S. 43:3-4 Y. Ali
The ahadith allude to this book:
... The Prophet turned towards Gabriel for advice and Gabriel did not disapprove of that. So he ascended with him for the fifth time. The Prophet said, "O Lord, my followers are weak in their bodies, hearts, hearing and constitution, so lighten our burden." On that the Irresistible said, "O Muhammad!" the Prophet replied, "Labbaik and Sa'daik." Allah said, "The Word that comes from Me does not change, so it will be as I enjoined on you in the Mother of the Book." Allah added, "Every good deed will be rewarded as ten times so it is fifty (prayers) in the Mother of the Book (in reward) but you are to perform only five (in practice)." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 608)
Narrated Imran bin Husain: I went to the Prophet and tied my she-camel at the gate. The people of Bani Tamim came to the Prophet who said "O Bani Tamim! Accept the good tidings." They said twice, "You have given us the good tidings, now give us something" Then some Yemenites came to him and he said, "Accept the good tidings, O people of Yemem, for Bani Tamim refused them." They said, "We accept it, O Allah's Apostle! We have come to ask you about this matter (i.e. the start of creations)." He said, "First of all, there was nothing but Allah, and (then He created His Throne). His throne was over the water, and He wrote everything in the Book (in the Heaven) and created the Heavens and the Earth." Then a man shouted, "O Ibn Husain! Your she-camel has gone away!" So, I went away and could not see the she-camel because of the mirage. By Allah, I wished I had left that she-camel (but not that gathering). (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 414)
Narrated 'Imran bin Hussain:
While I was with the Prophet , some people from Bani Tamim came to him. The Prophet said, "O Bani Tamim! Accept the good news!" They said, "You have given us the good news; now give us (something)." (After a while) some Yemenites entered, and he said to them, "O the people of Yemen! Accept the good news, as Bani Tamim have refused it. " They said, "We accept it, for we have come to you to learn the Religion. So we ask you what the beginning of this universe was." The Prophet said "There was Allah and nothing else before Him and His Throne was over the water, and He then created the Heavens and the Earth and wrote everything in the Book." Then a man came to me and said, 'O Imran! Follow your she-camel for it has run away!" So I set out seeking it, and behold, it was beyond the mirage! By Allah, I wished that it (my she-camel) had gone but that I had not left (the gathering)." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 514)
Many Muslims believe that the Quran is the very eternal speech of Allah that was then dictated to Muhammad. Since this is not the place to discuss the intricacies of this question we can only summarize the data. Historically Muslims were fighting among themselves about whether the Quran was created or not, even killing each other over it, i.e. the Asharites vs. Mutazilites. Orthodox Islam eventually settled on the eternality and uncreatedness of the Quran (see the following links for more info: *, *).
This means that the information contained within the Quran eternally existed with Allah, otherwise if it weren't then this would imply that Allah created part of his own speech.
Because of the belief that the Quran was dictated Muslims go so far as to deny that it is the words of Muhammad fused in with the words of God, or that God used Muhammad's words to convey his truths.
The following is an example of a verse of the Quran which was allegedly written down during the time of creation:
Say: Unto whom belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth? Say: Unto Allah. He hath prescribed for Himself mercy, that He may bring you all together to the Day of Resurrection whereof there is no doubt. Those who ruin their souls will not believe. S. 6:12 Pickthall
And when those who believe in Our revelations come unto thee, say: Peace be unto you! Your Lord hath prescribed for Himself mercy, that whoso of you doeth evil through ignorance and repenteth afterward thereof and doeth right, (for him) lo! He is Forgiving, Merciful. S. 6:54 Pickthall
The ahadith state:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "When Allah completed the creation, He wrote in His Book which is with Him on His Throne, My Mercy overpowers My Anger." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 416)
Narrated Abu Huraira:
I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "Before Allah created the creations, He wrote a Book (wherein He has written): My Mercy has preceded my Anger. And that (Book) is written with Him over the Throne." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 643; see also Number 501)
At the same time the Quran incorporates pre-Islamic fables and myths. The problem this poses for the Muslim should be obvious. How can an eternal or a preexistent heavenly record contain material which coincide with what is found in pre-Islamic historical sources? The implication would be that either the claim of the Quran is false or these sources would have to be eternal as well.
In other words, if one can show that much of the Quran is nothing more than a rehashing of older material than its claim of divine inspiration goes out the window. We are not the only ones to see it this way; the unbelievers of Muhammads time also concluded that if the Quran contains narrations from older fables and stories then God did not inspire Muhammad:
And those who disbelieve say, `It is naught but a lie which he has forged, and other people have helped him with it.' Indeed, they have perpetrated a great injustice and a great falsehood. And they say, `These are fables of the ancient; and he has got them written down and they are read out to him morning and evening.' Say, `HE, Who knows every secret of the heavens and the earth, has revealed it. Verily, HE is the Most Forgiving, Merciful.' S. 25:4-6 Sher Ali
The Quran denies the charge by calling it a great falsehood and by stating that God revealed these stories. Concerning the above passage the late Yusuf Ali noted:
3058. In their misguided arrogance they say: We have heard such things before; they are pretty tales which have come down from ancient times; they are good for amusement but who takes them seriously? When the beauty and power of the Revelation are pointed out, and its miracle as coming from an unlearned man, they again hint at other men who wrote them, though they could not produce any one who could write anything like it. (The Holy Quran Translation and Commentary, p. 927; underlined emphasis ours)
3059. The answer is that the Quran teaches spiritual knowledge of what is ordinarily hidden from mens sight, and such knowledge can only come from God, to Whom alone is known the Mystery of the whole Creation. In spite of mans sin and shortcomings, He forgives, and He sends His most precious gift, i.e., the Revelation of His Will. (Ibid.; underlined emphasis ours)
Another Muslim says:
8. These Mis-believers said that Mohammad (be peace on him) had noted some parables and stories from the People of the Book or he had made someone to note down from them and the compendium of those stories and parables was repeatedly recited and commemorated day-in and day-out before him and with new styles turned over and over again... (The Noble Quran Tafseer-E-Usmani by Allama Shabbir Ahmad Usmani [Darul-Ishaat, Urdu Bazar, Karachi-1 (Pakistan); Edition: 1999], p. 1599)
In short, a Muslim cannot agree with the unbelievers that the Quran contains tales of the ancients since to do so is to falsify what the Quran says about itself.
But the problem is that the Quran does contain stories and fables from the ancients, something that has been documented for centuries. For the sake of brevity we will limit ourselves to a couple of examples.
And when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth, they said: Wilt thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee? He said: Surely I know that which ye know not. And He taught Adam all the names, then showed them to the angels, saying: Inform Me of the names of these, if ye are truthful. They said: Be glorified! We have no knowledge saving that which Thou hast taught us. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Knower, the Wise. He said: O Adam! Inform them of their names, and when he had informed them of their names, He said: Did I not tell you that I know the secret of the heavens and the earth? And I know that which ye disclose and which ye hide. S. 2:30-33
And We created you, then fashioned you, then told the angels: Fall ye prostrate before Adam! And they fell prostrate, all save Iblis, who was not of those who make prostration. He said: What hindered thee that thou didst not fall prostrate when I bade thee? (Iblis) said: I am better than him. Thou createdst me of fire while him Thou didst create of mud. He said: Then go down hence! It is not for thee to show pride here, so go forth! Lo! thou art of those degraded. S. 7:11-13
Ibn Kathir documents various Muslim narrations that give additional details on Adams creation:
Abi Musa Al-Shaarai narrated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "Allah created Adam from a handful of dust taken from different lands, so the children of Adam have been created according to the composition of the land. Therefore, from mankind we have white, red, black and yellow ones; we have good and evil, ease and sorrow, and what comes in between them."
Ibn Masud and the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) said that Allah the Almighty sent Gabriel onto the earth to get Him clay therefrom. The earth said: "I seek refuge in Allah from your decreasing my quantity or disfiguring me." So Gabriel returned and did not take anything. And he said: "My Lord, the land sought refuge in You, and it was granted."
So Allah sent Michael for the same purpose, and the land sought refuge with Allah and it was granted. So he went back and said to Allah what Gabriel had said before him.
Then Allah sent the Angel of Death, and the land sought refuge in Allah. The angel said: "I also seek refuge with you with Allah from returning without carrying His command." So he took clay from the face of the earth and mixed it. He did not take from one particular place, but rather he took white, red, and black (from different places).
The Angel of Death ascended with it, and He (Allah) soaked the clay till it became sticky. Then Allah said to the angels: <<"Truly, I am going to create man from clay. So when I have fashioned him and breathed into him (his) soul created by Me, then you fall down prostrate to him.">>
So Allah shaped Adam into a human being, but he remained a figure of clay for forty years. The angels went past him. They were seized with fear by what they saw, and Iblis felt fear most. He used to pass by the figure of Adam, buffeting it, which would make a sound like pottery. Allah told us: <<He created (Adam) from sounding clay like the clay of pottery.>> (Stories of the Prophets by Ibn Kathir, translated by Sheikh Muhammad Mustafa Gemeah, Office of the Grand Imam, Sheikh Al-Ahzar, edited by Aelfwine Acelas Mischler [El-Nour For Publishing and Distribution and Translation Est.; 38 Al-Madina Al-Monawara St., Toryl Al-Gadida], pp. 5-6)
The Quran says that Satan has children, implying that Jinn can procreate:
And (remember) when We said unto the angels: Fall prostrate before Adam, and they fell prostrate, all save Iblis. He was of the jinn, so he rebelled against his Lord's command. Will ye choose him AND HIS SEED for your protecting friends instead of Me, when they are an enemy unto you? Calamitous is the exchange for evil-doers. S. 18:50
We know that the jinn procreate for Allah the Almighty asked: <<Will you then take him (Iblis) and his offspring as protectors and helpers?>> (Stories of the Prophets, p. xi)
The traditions have some interesting things to say about Adam:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Allah created Adam in his complete shape and form (directly), sixty cubits (about 30 meters) in height. When He created him, He said (to him), "Go and greet that group of angels sitting there, and listen what they will say in reply to you, for that will be your greeting and the greeting of your offspring." Adam (went and) said, 'As-Salamu alaikum (Peace be upon you).' They replied, 'AsSalamu-'Alaika wa Rahmatullah (Peace and Allah's Mercy be on you) So they increased 'Wa Rahmatullah' The Prophet added 'So whoever will enter Paradise, will be of the shape and form of Adam. Since then the creation of Adam's (offspring) (i.e. stature of human beings is being diminished continuously) to the present time." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 74, Number 246)
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: When Allah created Adam and breathed the spirit into him he sneezed and said, "Praise be to Allah." So he praised Allah by His permission and his Lord said to him, "Allah have mercy on you, Adam. Go to those angels (i.e. a company of them who were seated) and say, 'Peace be upon you'." He said, "Peace be upon you," and they replied, "Upon you be peace and Allah's mercy." Then he returned to his Lord who said, "This is your salutation and the salutation of your descendants to one another." Then Allah said to him, keeping His hands closed, "Choose which of them you wish." He said, "I choose my Lord's right hand, and both of my Lord's hands are Right and Blessed." Then He opened it and it contained Adam and his descendants. He asked, "My Lord, what are these?" He replied, "These are your descendants." Now every man's period of life was written on his forehead, and among them there was a man who was the brightest of them (or, one of the brightest of them). He said, "My Lord, who is this?" He replied, "This is your descendant David, and I have recorded his period of life for him as forty years." He said, "My Lord, increase his life." But He replied, "That is what I have recorded for him." He said, "My Lord, I have appointed him sixty years of my life." He replied, "That is as you wish." He then lived in Paradise as long as Allah wished, after which he was sent down from it. Now Adam was reckoning for himself, and when the angel of death came to him, Adam said to him, "You have come before your time. A thousand years have been recorded for me." He replied, "Certainly, but you appointed sixty years for your descendant David." Then he denied, and his descendants denied; and he forgot, and his descendants forgot. The Prophet said that from that day orders were given that a document be drawn up and witnesses be produced. Transmitted by Tirmidhi. (Tirmidhi, Hadith Number 37, taken from the ALIM CD-ROM Version; see also Number 1214)
In connection to the soul, the Quran states:
It is he who doth take your souls by night, and hath knowledge of all that ye have done by day; by day doth he raise you up again; that a term appointed be fulfilled; in the end unto him will be your return; then will he show you the truth of all that ye did. 6:60
It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death; and those that die not (he takes) during their sleep. Those on whom he has passed the decree of death, he keeps back (from returning to life), but the rest he sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed. Verily in this are signs for those who reflect. S. 39:42
These stories seem to be fresh and new, something unknown prior to their being "revealed" since we find no mention of these in the Holy Bible.
Yet a little research shows that these Quranic stories were already circulating amongst Jews and Christians in non-canonical sources. For instance, note the following stories and their similarities with the Islamic accounts:
God in his wisdom having resolved to create man, he asked the counsel of all around him before he proceeded to execute his purpose - an example to man, be he never so great and distinguished, not to scorn the advice of the humble and lowly. First God called Heaven and earth, then upon all things he had created and last upon the angels.
The angels were not all of one opinion. The Angel of Love favored the creation of man, because he would be affectionate and loving; but the Angel of Truth opposed it, because he would be full of lies. And while the Angel of Justice favored it, because he would practice justice, the angel of peace opposed it, because he would be quarrelsome...
The objections of the angels would have been much stronger had they known the whole truth about man. God had told them only about the pious, and had concealed from them that there would be reprobates among mankind, too. And yet, though they knew but half the truth, the angels were nevertheless prompted to cry out: "What is man, that, you are mindful of him? And the son of man, that you visit him" [Sam- Psalm 8:4] God replied: "The fowl of the air and the fish of the sea [Sam- Psalm 8:8], what were they created for? Of what avail a larder full of appetizing dainties, and no guest to enjoy them?" And the angels could not but exclaim: "O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth [Sam- Psalm 8:1, 9]! Do as is pleasing in your sight"...
When at last the assent of the angels to the creation of man was given. God said to Gabriel: "God and fetch me dust from the four corners of the earth, and I will create man therewith." Gabriel went forth to do the bidding of the Lord, but the earth drove him away, and refused to let him gather up dust from it. Gabriel remonstrated: "Why, O earth, do you not hearken unto the voice of the Lord, who founded you upon the waters without props or pillars?" The earth replied: "I am destined to become a curse and to be cursed through man, and if God himself does not take the dust from me, no one else shall ever do it." When God heard this, he stretched out his hand, took of the dust of the ground, and created the first man therewith.
Of set purpose the dust was taken from all four corners of the earth, so that if a man from the east should happen to die in the west, or a man from the west in the east, the earth should not dare refuse to receive the death, and tell him to go whence he was taken. Wherever a man chances to die, and wheresoever he is buried, there will he return to the earth from which he sprang. Also, the dust was of various colors - red, black, white, and green - red for the blood, black for the bowels, white for the bones and veins, and green for the pale skin.
At this early moment the Torah interfered. She addressed herself to God: "O Lord of the world! The world is yours, you can do with it as seems good in your eyes. But the man you are now creating will be few of days and full of trouble and sin. If it be not your purpose to have forbearance and patience with him, it were better not to call him into being." God replied, "Is it for naught I am called long-suffering and merciful?"...
This spirit, or, to call it by its usual name, the soul of man, possesses five different powers. By means of one of them she escapes from the body every night, rises up to heaven, and fetches new life thence for man. (Haggadah, The Other Bible, edited with introductions by Willis Barnstone [HarperSan Francisco, A Division of Harper Collins Publishers, 1984; ISBN: 0-06-250030-9 (pbk.)], pp. 25-27; underline emphasis ours)
Like all creatures formed on the six days of creation, Adam came from the hands of the Creator fully and completely developed. He was not like a child, but like a man of twenty years of age. The dimensions of his body were gigantic, reaching from Heaven to earth, or what amounts to the same, from east to west. Among later generations of men, there were but few who in measure resembled Adam in his extraordinary size and physical perfections... (Other Bible, p. 28)
Of his own free will Adam relinquished seventy of his allotted years. His appointed span was to be a thousand years, one of the Lords days. But he saw that only a single minute of life was apportioned to the great soul David, and he made a gift of seventy years to her, reducing his own years to nine hundred and thirty.
The wisdom of Adam displayed itself to greatest advantage when he gave names to the animals. Then it appeared that God, in combating the arguments of the angels that opposed the creation of man, had spoken well, when he insisted that man would possess more wisdom than they themselves. When Adam was barely an hour old, God assembled the whole world of animals before him and the angels. The latter where called upon to name the different kinds, but they were not equal to the task. Adam, however, spoke without hesitation, "O Lord of the world! The proper name for this animal is ox, for this one horse, for this one lion, and this one camel." And so he called all in turn by name, suiting the name to the peculiarity of the animal. The God asked him what his name was to be, and he said Adam, because he had been created out of Adamah, dust of the earth. Again, God asked him his own name, and he said: "Adonai, Lord, because you are Lord over all creatures" - the very name God had given unto himself, the name by which the angels call him, the name that will remain immutable evermore. But without the gift of the holy spirit, Adam could not have found names for all; he was in very truth a prophet, and his wisdom a prophetic quality. (Ibid., p. 29)
The extraordinary qualities with which Adam was blessed, physical and spiritual as well, aroused the envy of the angels. They attempted to consume him with fire, and he would have perished, had not the protecting hand of God rested upon him, and established peace between him and the heavenly host. In particular, Satan was jealous of the first man, and his evil thoughts finally led to his fall. After Adam had been endowed with a soul, God invited all the angels to come and pay him reverence and homage. Satan, the greatest of the angels in Heaven, with twelve wings, instead of six like all the others, refused to pay heed to the behest of God, saying, "You created us angels from the splendor of the Shekinah, and now you command us to cast ourselves down before the creature which you fashioned out of the dust of the ground!"... Michael addressed Satan: "Give adoration to the image of God! But if you do not, then the Lord God will break out in wrath against you." Satan replied: "If he breaks out in wrath against me, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will be like the Most High!" [Sam- Isaiah 14:13-14] At once God flung Satan and his host out of Heaven, down to the earth, and from that moment dates the enmity between Satan and man. (Ibid., pp. 29-30)
Here is what the translator says about the Haggadah:
The Haggadah, often translated as "legend," derives from an oral tradition of stories, biblical commentary, and biblical exegesis (the Midrash), and is usually contrasted with the Halakhah, which derives from oral Law. Both Haggadah and Halakhah are originally associated with the Talmud, a vast collection of Jewish writing compiled from the post-biblical period of the fourth century A.D., for the Palestinian Talmud, and the fifth and perhaps sixth century for the Babylonian Talmud... But the Haggadah has come to include not only the Midrashic elaborations of the Talmud but the entire didactic, ethical, and narrative traditions of the pseudepigrapha and the early Kabbalah...
... Above all it is an elegant and MYTHICAL homage to the book: the Torah. Before God creates the earth, and Heaven, he creates the book. In fantastic vision, the Haggadah informs us that the Torah is "written with black fire on white fire, and [is] lying on the lap of God"... The Haggadah has stunning literary passages, graced with clarity and often HUMOROUS FANTASY. For the Jews, it is, to use the title of George Seferiss [sic] famous Homeric retelling, Mythistorema, "the MYTH of our history." (The Other Bible, p. 14; underline and capital emphasis ours)
The story about Satan falling due to his refusal to honor Adam is also found in Christian apocryphal sources:
And Bartholomew said to him: "Lord, I saw you again hanging on the cross and all the dead arising and worshiping you. Tell me, Lord, who was he whom the angels carried in their arms, that exceedingly large man? And what did you say to him that he groaned so deeply?"
"It was Adam, the first created, for whose sake I came down from heaven upon the earth. And I said to him: I was hanged on the cross for your sake and for the sake of your children. And when he heard that, he groaned and said: So you were pleased to do, O Lord." (Gospel of Bartholomew, The Other Bible, p. 352; underline emphasis ours)
But the devil said: "Allow me to tell you how I was cast down from here, and God made man. I wandered to and fro in the world, and God said unto Michael: Bring me earth from the four ends of the world, and water out of the four rivers of Paradise. And when Michael had brought them to him, he formed Adam in the east, and gave form to the shapeless earth, and stretched sinews and veins, and united everything into a harmonious whole; And he showed him reverence for his own sake because he was his image. And Michael also worshiped him. And when I came from the ends of the world, Michael said to me: Worship the image of God which he has made in his own likeness. But I said: I am fire of fire, I was the first angel to be formed, and shall worship clay and matter? And Michael said to me: Worship, lest God be angry with you. I answered: God will not be angry with me; but I will set up my throne over against his throne, and shall as he is [Isa. 14:14f.]. Then God was angry with me and cast me down, after he had commanded the windows of heaven to be opened.
"When I was thrown down, he asked the six hundred angels that stood under me whether they would worship Adam. They replied: As we saw our leader do, we also will not worship him who is less than ourselves. After our fall upon the earth, we lay for forty years in deep sleep, and when the sun shone seven times more brightly than fire, I awoke; and I looked about and saw the six hundred that were under me senseless. And I awoke my son Salpsan, and took counsel with him how I could deceive the man on whose account I had been cast out of heaven... (Ibid., p. 357, see also http://wesley.nnu.edu/noncanon/gospels/gosbart.htm; underline emphasis ours)
The above link furnishes the dates of the extant MSS of Bartholomew:
It exists in three languages, and not, apparently, in a very original form in any of them: Greek is the original language, of which we have two manuscripts, at Vienna and Jerusalem; Latin 1, consisting of two leaves of extracts, of the ninth century; Latin 2, complete: see below; Slavonic (i-iv. 15). The Greek text may be as old as the fifth century; the Latin 2 of the sixth or seventh.
In the Revue Biblique for 1913 the Latin fragments and a fresh Greek text were published by MM. Wilmart and Tisserant, with the variants of the other authorities and in 1921-2 yet another text, a complete Latin one, appeared in the same periodical, edited by Professor Moricca from a manuscript in the Casanatensian library at Rome in which the text is, in parts, tremendously expanded. This copy is of the eleventh century and came from the monastery of Monte Amiata. The Latin is exceedingly incorrect, and there are many corruptions, and interpolations which extend to whole pages of closely printed text. I cite it as Lat. 2.
The translator of The Other Bible notes:
The Gospel of Bartholomew in its original form may be assigned to the third century. The texts are preserved in varying degrees of completeness in Greek, Latin, and Old Church Slavonic. There are also Coptic fragments related to the Gospel of Bartholomew. (p. 351)
It is rather ironic that MENJ would criticize Paul for allegedly appealing to the Haggadah while failing to criticize the Quran for its obvious allusions to both Haggadic and Apocryphal Christian material!
MENJ may wish to argue that the Haggadic material contains divine truths, which were first passed on orally. A major problem with this claim is that, as we saw above, these stories were written down as legendary embellishments to the creation account found in the Torah.
Another problem with this assertion is that MENJ needs to explain to us who actually revealed these oral truths? According to the Gospel of Bartholomew, the Lord Jesus Christ first made these details known to Bartholomew and the other Apostles.
If MENJ claims that it was Moses then he faces another problem. Both the Quran and hadiths claim that the Torah wasnt transmitted orally, but was written down:
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: There was an argument between Adam and Moses (peace be upon both of them) in the presence of their Lord. Adam came the better of Moses. Moses said: Are you that Adam whom Allah created with His Hand and breathed into him His sprit, and commanded angels to fall in prostration before him and He made you live in Paradise with comfort and ease. Then you caused the people to get down to the earth because of your lapse. Adam said: Are you that Moses whom Allah selected for His Messengership and for His conversation with him and conferred upon you THE TABLETS, IN WHICH EVERYTHING WAS CLEARLY EXPLAINED and granted you the audience in order to have confidential talk with you. What is your opinion, how long Torah would have been written before I was created? Moses said: Forty years before. Adam said: Did you not see these words: Adam committed an error and he was enticed to (do so). He (Moses) said: Yes. Whereupon, he (Adam) said: Do you then blame me for an act which Allah had ordained for me forty years before He created me? Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: This is how Adam came the better of Moses. (Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6411)
According to this Hadith, the Torah was written even before the creation of Adam! Note also that this hadith equates the Torah to something that is written, not to oral tradition that was only later codified, and that God gave Moses tablets where everything was clearly explained.
Narrated Al-Bara' ibn Azib:
The people passed by the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) with a Jew who was blackened with charcoal and who was being flogged.
He called them and said: Is this the prescribed punishment for a fornicator?
They said: Yes. He then called on a learned man among them and asked him: I adjure you by Allah Who revealed the Torah to Moses, do you find this prescribed punishment for a fornicator in your divine Book?
He said: By Allah, no. If you had not adjured me about this, I should not have informed you. We find stoning to be prescribed punishment for a fornicator in our Divine Book. But it (fornication) became frequent in our people of rank; so when we seized a person of rank, we left him alone, and when we seized a weak person, we inflicted the prescribed punishment on him. So we said: Come, let us agree on something which may be enforced equally on people of higher and lower rank. So we agreed to blacken the face of a criminal with charcoal, and flog him, and we abandoned stoning.
The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) then said: O Allah, I am the first to give life to Thy command which they have killed. So he commanded regarding him (the Jew) and he was stoned to death.
Allah Most High then sent down: "O Apostle, let not those who race one another into unbelief, make thee grieve..." up to "They say: If you are given this, take it, but if not, beware!..." up to "And if any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) unbelievers," about Jews, up to "And if any do fail to judge by (the right of) what Allah hath revealed, they are no better than) wrong-doers" about Jews: and revealed the verses up to "And if any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel." About this he said: This whole verse was revealed about the infidels. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38, Number 4433; see also Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 82, Numbers 809 and 825; Sahih Muslim, Book 017, Number 4214)
These hadiths equate the Torah of Moses with a Book, not with oral tradition.
It was We who revealed the law (al-tawrata) (to Moses): therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the prophets who bowed (as in Islam) to God's will, by the rabbis and the doctors of law: for to them was entrusted the protection of God's book, and they were witnesses thereto: therefore fear not men, but fear me, and sell not my signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what God hath revealed, they are (no better than) Unbelievers. We ordained therein for them: "Life for life, eye for eye, nose or nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal." But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what God hath revealed, they are (No better than) wrong-doers. S. 5:44-45 Y. Ali
Note again that the Torah is equated with Gods book. The author even appeals to a command found in the Torah, i.e. "Life for life, ..." (cf. Exodus 21:23-25, Leviticus 24:18-21, and Deuteronomy 19:21), providing further evidence that the Torah is a Book. The following tradition provides the historical setting for the "revelation" of the preceding verse:
(This is Ma'mar's version which is more accurate.) A man and a woman of the Jews committed fornication.
Some of them said to the others: Let us go to this Prophet, for he has been sent with an easy law. If he gives a judgment lighter than stoning, we shall accept it, and argue about it with Allah, saying: It is a judgment of one of your prophets. So they came to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) who was sitting in the mosque among his companions.
They said: AbulQasim, what do you think about a man and a woman who committed fornication? He did not speak to them a word till he went to their school.
He stood at the gate and said: I adjure you by Allah Who revealed the Torah to Moses, what (punishment) do you find in the Torah for a person who commits fornication, if he is married?
They said: He shall be blackened with charcoal, taken round a donkey among the people, and flogged. A young man among them kept silent.
When the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) emphatically adjured him, he said: By Allah, since you have adjured us (we inform you that) we find stoning in the Torah (is the punishment for fornication).
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: So when did you lessen the severity of Allah's command? He said:
A relative of one of our kings had committed fornication, but his stoning was suspended. Then a man of a family of common people committed fornication. He was to have been stoned, but his people intervened and said: Our man shall not be stoned until you bring your man and stone him. So they made a compromise on this punishment between them.
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: So I decide in accordance with what the Torah says. He then commanded regarding them and they were stoned to death.
Az-Zuhri said: We have been informed that this verse was revealed about them: "It was We Who revealed the Law (to Moses): therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the Prophet who bowed (as in Islam) to Allah's will. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38, Number 4435)
The preceding citations show that, according to the Quran, the Torah was a Book entrusted to the Jews with the hadith identifying the Torah as the Book given to Moses.
The Quran says that the Lord Jesus confirmed the Torah of his day:
And We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, confirming that which was (revealed) before him in the Torah, and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein is guidance and a light, confirming that which was (revealed) before it in the Torah - a guidance and an admonition unto those who ward off (evil). S. 5:46
And a verifier of that which is before me of the Taurat and that I may allow you part of that which has been forbidden to you, and I have come to you with a sign from your Lord therefore be careful of (your duty to) Allah and obey me. S. 3:50
According to the New Testament, the Torah that the Lord Jesus confirmed is none other than the first five books of the Old Testament. In fact, Christ even quotes from the Genesis account of creation:
"Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them. Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife? What did Moses command you? he replied. They said, Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away. It was because your hearts were hard that Moses WROTE YOU THIS LAW, Jesus replied. But at the beginning of creation God "made them male and female." "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Mark 10:1-9
The Lord quotes Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, which are part of the creation account God revealed to Moses. Neither the Lord nor the Apostles ever allude to any other creation account, nor do they appeal to the Jewish legends surrounding the Genesis account of creation. They were obviously aware that Gods inspired account of creation was to be found in the first two chapters of Genesis, not to the legendary accretions to Genesis which are found in extra-biblical sources.
The Lord Jesus also provided his followers with criteria to determine when rabbinic traditions and stories were to be rejected:
"The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were ‘unclean,’ that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.) So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, ‘Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with "unclean" hands?’ He replied, ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men." You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.’ And he said to them: ‘You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!’" Mark 7:1-9
The Lord Jesus rebukes the Jews for holding to traditions that were opposed to God's Word. The Lord quotes Isaiah 29:13 as way of demonstrating that the written Word of God holds supreme authority over any and every religious tradition and knowledge; especially over extra-biblical stories like those found in the Talmud and Apocrypha.
Let us summarize the data:
The foregoing leads us to conclude that Moses did not pass on the details of the creation account orally, but wrote it down. Therefore, the material found in the post-NT Haggadah and the Apocryphal Gospels cannot have originated with Moses, or any other inspired prophet for that matter. They are simply legendary tales which were created as additional details to embellish the Biblical account of creation.
The fact that such material found its way in the Quran shows that it cannot be a divine revelation that existed before creation.
MENJ may argue that Muhammad was illiterate and therefore incapable of knowing these stories. Muhammad didnt have to be literate in order to know these stories. He could have simply heard these stories orally, which would explain some of the differences in Muhammads version of these tales. One can also account for the differences by noting that Muhammad was in the habit of changing stories so that they would agree with his theological views (see the article, I am ALL the prophets).
In fact, this is precisely what we find has occurred in the Haggadah and the Gospel of Bartholomew, i.e. that one narrated the story in line with Jewish thinking whereas the other overlaid his version with Christian jargon and theology. So it should not be surprising that Muhammad did the same thing to the same story.
MENJ may also try to say that most of these stories were "revealed" in Mecca, where there were not many Jews and Christians from which Muhammad could have learned these fairy tales. In fact, this is precisely what he does say in his response to Jameel:
And to add the final nail in the coffin of the myths perpetuating in the minds of the missionaries, the story of Abraham and the idols, as well as the majority of the stories of the past Prophets (peace be upon them) were revealed in the city of Mecca - a predominantly pagan society where there are no influence of Jewish and Christian teachings. The seat of Christianity in Arabia were in Najran and the seat of the Jews in Madinah. With the absence of Jewish and Christian sources in Mecca, the question remains: who was teaching Muhammad (P) the stories of the old Prophets and Nations which were mostly revealed in Mecca, as the following table shows:(http://bismikaallahuma.faithweb.com/abraham.html)
Just in case he does decide to bring up this objection, we remind him of the following "Meccan" passage:
Is it not a token for them that the doctors of the Children of Israel know it? S. 26:197
According to Muslim sources this passage comes from the Meccan period, and therefore shows that it was quite possible for Muhammad to have heard these fables from Jews and Christians (or at least from the Jews). For more on this issue, please consult this article.
Before concluding, we need to qualify our position lest MENJ tries to misrepresent it. We are not saying that nothing was transmitted orally. What we are saying is that details such as those found in the Haggadah and the Apocryphal gospels regarding the creation account go above and beyond the information given in the Torah, even contradicting it in some places. These tales combine elements together from different Old Testament books which came long after Moses writings, i.e. taking Psalm 8 and placing it on the lips of God and the angels or placing Isaiah 14:13-14 on the lips of Satan. This shows that these details could not have come from the time of Moses.
Furthermore, the Islamic sources claim that the Torah was a Book which God revealed, and that the information that God gave Moses clearly explains all things. The Quran even says that Moses received a fully detailed book:
We gave Moses the Book to complete (Our favor) for the righteous ones, the Book that contained a detailed explanation of all things, a guide and a mercy so that perhaps they would have faith in the Day of Judgment. 6:154 Muhammad Sarwar
Again, We gave the Scripture unto Moses, complete for him who would do good, an explanation of all things, a guidance and a mercy, that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord. Pickthall
Please note carefully that the Quran is speaking about the Book given to Moses, not to something given to Moses which was then passed on orally.
Since the Quran asserts that Moses’ Book contains details on all things, this implies that the Muslim must view the Genesis account of creation as sufficient and complete in of itself. Therefore, from a Muslim perspective the information contained in the Haggadah could not have come from God or Moses, since if it were from God then it would have been contained in Moses’ Book and not simply transmitted orally.
Hence, whereas the Holy Bible is not threatened by extra-biblical sources the Quran, on the other hand, is exposed for being a false book since it denies that its stories originate from the tales of the ancients. The evidence conclusively shows that most of its stories do originate from preexisting stories and fables.
For more on the sources of the Quran, as well as responses to the Muslim denials of them, we highly recommend the following links:
 It is indeed intriguing to read these verses carefully and actually discover that instead of denying the claim of the unbelievers, the passages seem to suggest that it was Allah who revealed these fairytales:
And those who disbelieve say, ‘It is naught but a lie which he has forged, and other people have helped him with it.’ Indeed, they have perpetrated a great injustice and a great falsehood. And they say, ‘These are fables of the ancient; and he has got them written down and they are read out to him morning and evening.’ Say, ‘HE, Who knows every secret of the heavens and the earth, HAS REVEALED IT. Verily, HE is the Most Forgiving, Merciful.’ S. 25:4-6 Sher Ali
Notice that the author does not deny that the stories of the Quran are ancient fables, but simply denies that the Quran is a forged lie. The author implies that it was Allah who sent down these ancient fables to Muhammad. This is perhaps the reason why Muslims such as the late Muhammad Asad and Faruq Sherif could so easily admit that the Quran contains fables and myths: http://www.answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/fables.htm.
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