JEWS, JUDAISM. The Jews are mentioned in the Qur’an and Traditions under the names of Yahudi يودي, p,. Yahud, and Bani Isra’il بني اسرايل, “Children of Israel.” No distinction is made between Jews and Israelites. They are acknowledged to be a people in possession of a divine book, and are called Ahlu ‘l-Kitab, or “people of the book.” Moses is their special law-giver (Abraham not having been a Jew, but a “Hanif Muslim”); they are a people highly-favored of God, but are siad to have perverted the meaning of Scripture, and to have called Ezra “the Son of God.” They have an intense hatred of all true Muslims; and, as a punishment for their sins, some of them in times past had been changed into apes and swine, and others will have their hands tied to their necks and be cast into the Fire at the Day of Judgment.
The following are the selections from the Qur’an relating to the Jews:-
Surah ii. 116: “O children of Israel! Remember my favor wherewith I have favored you, and that high above all mankind have I raised you.”
Surah v. 48, 49: “Verily, we have sent down the law (Taurat) wherein are guidance and light. By it did the prophets who professed Islam judge the Jews; and the doctors and the teachers judged by that portion of the Book of God, of which they were the keepers and the witnesses. Therefore, O Jews! Fear not men but fear Me; and barter not away my signs for a mean price! And whoso will not judge by what God hath sent down – such are the Infidels. And therein have we enacted for them, ‘Life for life, an eye for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, and tooth for tooth, and for wounds retaliation’: – Whoso shall compromise it as alms shall have therein the expiation of his sin; and whoso will not judge by what God hath sent down – such are the transgressors.”
Surah iii. 60: “Abraham was not a Jew, nor yet a Christian. He was a Hanif Muslim, and not an idolater.”
Surah ix. 30: “The Jews say, ‘Ezra (‘Uzair) is the son of God’; and the Christians say, ‘The Messiah is a son of God.’ Such the saying in their mouths! They resemble the saying of the infidels of old! God do battle with them! How are they misguided!”
Surah vi. 147: “To the Jews did we forbid every beast having an entire hoof, and of both bullocks and sheep we forbade them the fat, save what might be on their backs, or their entrails, and the fat attached to the bone. With this have we recompensed them, because of their transgression: and verily, we are indeed equitable.”
Surah iv. 48, 49: “Among the Jews are those who displace the words of their Scriptures, and say, ‘We have heard, and we have not obeyed. Hear thou, but as one that hearth not; and LOOK AT US’; perplexing with their tongues, and wounding the Faith by their reviling. But if they would say, ‘We have heard, and we obey; hear thou, and REGARD US’; it were better for them, and more right. But God hath cursed them for their unbelief. Few only of them are believers!”
Surah ii 70-78: “Desire ye then that for your sakes the Jews should believe? Yet a part of them heard the word of God, and then, after they had understood it, perverted it, and knew that they did so. And when they fall in with the faithful, they say, ‘We believe’: but when they are apart one with another, they say, ‘Will ye acquaint them with what God hath revealed to you, that they may dispute with you about it in the presence of your Lord?’ Understand ye their aim? Know they not that God knoweth what they hide, as well as what they bring to light? But there are illiterates among them who are not acquainted with the Book, but with lies only, and have but vague fancies. Woe to those who with their own hands transcribe the Book, corruptly, and then say, ‘This is from God,’ that they may sell it for some mean price! Woe then to them for that which their hands have written! And, Woe to them for the gains which they have made!”
Surah v. 64-69: “SAY: O people of the Book! Do ye not disavow us only because we believe in God, and in what He hath sent down to us, and in what He hath sent down aforetime, and because most of you are doers of ill? SAY: Can I announce to you any retribution worse that that which awaiteth them with God? They whom God hath cursed and with whom He hath been angry – some of them hath changed into apes and swine; and they who worship Tagut are in evil plight; and have gone far astray from the right path! When they presented themselves to you they said, ‘We believe’; but Infidels they came in unto you, and Infidels they went forth! God well knew what they concealed. Many of them shalt thou see hastening together to wickedness and malice, and to eat unlawful things. Shame on them for what they have done! Had not their doctors and teachers forbidden their uttering wickedness, and their eating unlawful food, bad indeed would have been their doings! ‘The hand of God,’ say the Jews, ‘is chained up.’ Their own hands shall be chained up – and for that which they have said shall they be cursed. Nay! Outstretched are both His hands! At His own pleasure does He bestow gifts. That which hath been sent down to thee from they Lord will surely increase the rebellion and unbelief of many of them; and we have put enmity and hatred between them that shall last till the day of the Resurrection. Oft as they kindle a beacon fire for war shall God quench it! And their aim will be to abet disorder on the earth; but God loveth not the abettors of disorder.”
Nearly all the leading scripture characters connected with Old Testament history are either mentioned by name in the Qur’an or are referred to in the Traditions and commentaries.
(a) In the Qur’an we have Adam (Adam), Abel (Habil), Cain (Qabil), Enoch (Idris), Noah (Nuh), Abraham (Ibrahim), Lot (Lut), Isaac (Ishaq), Ishmael (Ism’il), Jacob (Ya’qub), Joseph (Yusuf), Job (Aiyub), Moses (Musa), Aaron (Harun), Korah (Qarun), Pharaoh (Fir’aun), Haman (Haman), David (Da’ud), Goliath (Jalut), Solomon (Suaiman), Saul (Talut), Jonah (Yunus), Elisha (Al-yasa’).
(b) In the Traditions and in the earliest commentaries on the Qur’an, are mentioned: Eve (Huwwa), Hagar (Hajar), Nebuchadnessar (Bukhtnassar), Joshua (Yushar), Jeremiah (Armiya), Isaiah (Sha’ya), Benjamin (Binyamin), Ezekiel (Hizqil), Baalam (Bal’am), Daniel (Daniyal), Sarah (Sarah), and many others. But it is remarkable that after Solomon, there is no mention of the Kings of Israel and Judah.
(c) The chief incidents of Jewish history are recorded in the Qur’an with a strange and curious admixture of Rabbinical fable. The creation of the world, the formation of Adam and Eve, the fall, the expulsion from Eden, Cain and Abel’s sacrifices, the death of Abel; Noah’s preaching, the Ark built, the deluge, the tower of Babel; Abraham, the friend of God, his call from idolatry, Isaac, the son of promise, Sarah’s incredulity, Hagar and Ishmael, the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son, Lot and the cities of the plain; Jacob and the tribes, Joseph sold into Egypt, Potiphar’s wife, Joseph tempted, the dreams of the baker and butler, and of the king: Moses, his preservation in infancy, kills and Egyptian, flies to Midian, works miracles in the presence of Pharaoh, manna from heaven, the giving of the law, Aaron’s rod, the golden calf, the passage of the Red Sea; Job’s patience; Balaam cursing the Israelites; David’s psalms, his sin and repentance; Solomon’s wisdom, the Queen of Sheba, the building of the temple; Jonah’s preaching, his escape from the fish: these and many other incidents, evidently taken from the Old Testament, and worked up into a narrative with the assistance of Talmudic interpretations, form the chief historical portion of the Qur’an.
(d) Many of the doctrines and social precepts of the Qur’an are also from Judaism. The Unity of God, the ministry of angels, the inspired law, the law of marriage and divorce, domestic slavery, the day of Sacrifice, prayer and ablution, the lex talionis, the degrees of affinity, the stoning of the adulterer, and many other injunctions, are precisely those of the Mosaic code, with some modifications to meet the requirements of Arabian social life.
Whilst, therefore, Muhammad took little of his religious system from Christianity, he was vastly indebted to Judaism both for his historical narratives and his doctrines and precepts. Islam is nothing more nor less than Judaism plus the Apostleship of Muhammad. The teachings of Jesus form no part of his religious system. [CHRISTIANITY.]
(e) The Quraish charged Muhammad with want of originality in his revelations. For even at the end of his career, and when he was uttering his latest Surahs, “they said, as out verses were rehearsed to them – ‘This is nothing but tales of yore.'” (Surah viii. 31.) “And when it was said to them, What is it your Lord sent down? They said, ‘Old folk’s tales.'” (Surah xvi. 25) The Quraish even charged him with having obtained assistance. “They said it is only some mortal who teaches him.” And Muhammad admits there was someone who might be suspected of helping him, for he replies, “The tongue of him whom they lean towards is barbarous and this (Qur’an) is plain Arabic.” (Surah xvi. 105.) Husain, the commentator, in remarking upon this verse, says, “It is related that there was a slave belonging to ‘Amr ibn ‘Abdi ‘llah al-Hazrami, named Jabr (and according to some a second slave named Yasar), who used to read the Law and the Gospel, and Muhammad used, when he passed to stand and listen.”
And the whole construction of the Qur’an bears out the supposition that its subject matter was received orally and worked into poetical Arabic by a man of genius. Whatever he may have heard from the readings of Jabr and Yasar of the text of the Old and New Testament scriptures, it is very evident that he obtained his explanations from one well versed in Talmudic lore. A Jewish Rabbi, Abraham Geiger, in A.D. 1833, wrote a prize essay in answer to the question put by the university: Inquiratur in fentes Alcorani seu legis Muhammedicae eos, qui ex Judaeismo derivandi sunt.” His essay in reply is entitle, “Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen?” In this treatise it is clearly demonstrated how much the whole system of Islam is indebted to Talmudic Judaism for its teachings. Its narratives, its doctrines, and its theological terms, are chiefly derided from those of the Talmud.
The works of Geiger, J.M. Arnold, Hershom, McCaul, Bishop Barclay, Deutsch, Lightfoot, Schottgen, Ugolini, Meuschen (which pending a complete translation of the Talmud, can be consulted), will upon comparison with the teachings of the Qur’an reveal how entirely Muhammad constructed his religious system on the lines of Talmudic Judaism. We are indebted to the late Dr. J.M. Arnold’s Islam and Christianity, for the following review of the subject, he having largely availed himself of the facts given in Geiger’s celebrated essay, already referred to.
The seven heavens and the seven earths which are held in the Talmud, have found their way into the Qur’an1. During the creation, God’s glorious throne was placed in the air upon the water2. According to the Talmud, “the world is the sixtieth part of the garden, the garden is the sixtieth part of Eden”; and Muhammad states that the breath of the garden is that of heaven and earth3. Both in the Qur’an and Talmud we find seven hells as the appointed abode for the damned, and each hell has seven gates in both documents4. The entrance of Jahannam is marked, according to the Sukkah by two date trees, between which smoke issues, and the Qur’an speaks of a tree in hell [ZAQQUM] of which the damned are to eat and of which many terrible things are related.5 In the Talmud the prince of hell demands supply for his domain, and a similar request is made in the Qur’an6. Between the seven heavens and the seven hells is an intermediate place [A’RAF], for those who are too good to be cast into hell and too imperfect to be admitted into heaven7. This intermediate abode is, however, so narrow, that the conversations of the blessed and the damned on either side may be overheard. Again, the happiness of Paradise [PARADISE] is similarly described in both Talmud and Qur’an8; also the difficulty of obtaining it. The Talmud declares that it is as easy for an elephant to enter through the eye of a needle; the Qur’an substituting a camel for an elephant9. That the dead live in the sight of God is stated in both documents in the same terms, and that there is no admission to the actual presence of the Almighty before the Day of Judgment and the resurrection of the dead10. The signs of the last day as given in the Qur’an are borrowed equally from the Scriptures and the Talmud11. [RESURRECTION.]
The lengthened descriptions in the Qur’an of the future resurrection and judgment are also tinged with a Talmudic coloring. That they several members of the human body shall bear witness against the damned, and that idols shall share in the punishment of their worshipers, is stated in both the Talmud and Qur’an12. The time of the last judgment Muhammad declined to fix, resting upon the Jewish or Scriptural sentence, that “one day with God is like a thousand.”13 The Jews, in speaking of the resurrection of the dead, allude to the sending down of rain; the Qur’an also affirms that this means of quickening the dead will be employed14. Further still, the Talmudic idea that the dead will rise in the garments in which they were buried, likewise has been adopted by Islam15. The Jewish opinion was that “all the prophets saw in a dark, but Moses in a clear mirror16.” In the Qur’an, God sends down His angelic messenger, Gabriel, as “the Holy Ghost,” with revelations; and this very
1 Chagiga, ix. 2.
2 Rashi on Gen. i. 2; and Surahs xi. 9; xxvii. 26; xxiii. 117; lxxxv. 15.
3 Thaanith, x.; Pesashim, xciv.; and Surah iii. 127.
4 Talmud Eurbin, xix. 1; Midrash on Ps. xi.; and Surah xv. 44.
5 Sukkah xxxvii.; and Surahs xxxvii. 60; aliv. 43.
6 Othioth by Rabbi Akiba, viii. 1; and Surah l. 29.
7 Midrash on Eccles. vii. 14; and Surah vii. 44-47.
8 Mishnah Aboth, iv. 17; and Surahs ix. 38; xiii. 26.
9 Surah vii. 38.
10 Surahs lxxv. 23; lxxxix. 27.
11 Surahs xxi. 104; xxxix. 67; xliv. 9; xvii. 60; xxi. 98; xxii. 2; xxvii. 89. Compared with Isa. xxiv. 4; Ezek. xxxviii, xxxix.
12 Chagiga, xxvi.; Thgaanith xi.; and Surahs xxiv. 24; xxxvi. 65; xli. 19; Sukkah, xxix.; and Surah xxi. 98.
13 Ps. xc. 4; Sanhedrin, xcv.2; and Surah xxii. 46; xxxii. 4; Exek. Xxxvii. 13; and Surah c. 9.
14 Thaanith, at the beginning; and Surahs vi. 95; xxx. 49; xxxvi. 33; xli. 39; xliii. 10.
15 Sanhedrin, xc. 2; Khethubhoth, cxi. 2.
16 Jebhamoth, xlix.; and Surah xliii. 50.
notion of Gabriel being considered the Spirit of God seems to be borrowed from the Jews1.
Again, the demonology of the Qur’an is chiefly taken from the Talmud. Three properties the demons have in common with angels, and three with men – they have wings like angels, they can fly from one end of the world to the other, and know things to come. But do they know future events? No, but they listen behind the veil. The three properties common with men are: they eat and drink, indulge in physical love, and die2. This Jewish idea was adopted in the Qur’an, and spun out ad libitum; for instance, whilst listening once to the angelic conversations, they were hunted away with stones. Their presence in places of worship is admitted both in the Talmud and the Qur’an; thus it happened that “when the servant of God stood up to invoke Him, the Jinns all but pressed on him in the crowd3.” [GENII.]
Amongst the moral precepts which are borrowed from the Talmud, we may mention that children are not to obey their parents when the latter demand that which is evil4. Prayer may be performed standing, walking, or even riding5; devotions may be shortened in urgent cases, without committing sin6; drunken persons are not to engage in acts of worship7; ablutions before prayer are in special cases enforced, but generally required both in the Talmud and the Qur’an8 , each permit the use of sand instead of water [TAYAMMUM], when the latter is not to be procured9. The Talmud prohibits loud and noisy prayers, and Muhammad gives this short injunction: – “Cry not in your prayers”;10; in addition to this secret prayer, public worship is equally commended. The Shema prayer of the Jews is to be performed “when one is able to distinguish a blue from a white thread,” and this is precisely the criterion of the commencement of the fast in the Qur’an.”11 [RAMAZAN.]
The following social precepts are likewise copied from Judaism: a divorced woman must wait three months before marrying again12 [DIVORCE]; mothers are to nurse their children two full years; and the degrees of affinity within which marriages are lawful13. [MARRIAGE.] The historical incidents which Muhammad borrowed from Judaism are embodied, regardless of the sources from which he gleaned them, and indifferent to all order or system. Ignorant of Jewish history, Muhammad appropriates none of the historical way-marks which determine the great epochs recorded in the Old Testament, but confines himself to certain occurrences in the lives of single individuals. At the head of the ante-diluvian patriarchs stands the primogenitor of the human race. In Surah ii. 28-83 we read, “When thy Lord said to the angels, Verily I am going to place a substitute on earth, they said, Wilt thou place there one who will do evil therein and shed blood? But we celebrate Thy praise and sanctify Thee. God answered, Verily I know that which ye know not; and He taught Adam the names of all things, and then proposed them to the angels, and said, Declare unto me the names of these things if ye say truth. They answered, Praise be unto Thee, we have no knowledge but what Thou teaches us, for Thou are knowing and wise. God said, O, Adam, tell them their names. And when he had told them their names, God said, Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of heaven and earth, and know that which ye discover, and that which ye conceal?” Let us examine whence the Qur’an obtained this information. “When God intended to create man, He advised with the angels and said unto them, We will make man in our own image (Gen i. 26). Then said they, What is man, that Thou rememberest him (Psalm viii. 5), what shall be his peculiarity? He answered, His wisdom is superior to yours. Then brought He before them cattle, animals, and birds, and asked for their names, but they knew it not. After man was created, He caused them to pass before Him, and asked for their names and he answered, This is an os, that an ass, this is a horse, and that a camel. But what is thy name? To me it becomes to be called ‘earthly,’ for from ‘earth’ I am created14.” To this may be added the fable that God commanded the angels to worship Adam 15, which is likewise appropriated from Talmud writings. Some Jewish fables record that the angels contemplated worshiping man, but were prevented by God; others precisely agree with the Qur’an16, that God commanded the angels to worship man, and that they obeyed with the exception of Satan.
The Sunnah informs us that Adam was sixty yards high, and Rabinnical fables make his extend from one end of the world to the other; but upon the angels esteeming him a second deity, God put His hand upon him and reduced him to a thousand yards!17 [ADAM.]
The account given in the Qur’an of Cain’s murder is borrowed from the Bible, and his conversation with Abel, before he slew him18, is the same as that in the Targum of Jerusalem, generally called pseudo-Jonathan. After the murder, Cain sees a raven burying
1 1 Kings xxii. 21.
2 Chagiga xvi. 1; and Surahs xv. 17, 34; xxxvii. 78; xxii. 5; xxxvii. 7; lxxii.
3 Surah xxii. 19.
4 Jebhamoth, vi.; and Surah xxix. 7.
5 Berachoth, x.; and Surahs ii. 230; iii. 188; x. 13.
6 Mishnah Berachoth, iv. 4; and Surah iv. 102.
7 Berachoth, xxxi. 2; and Surah iv. 46.
8 Mishnah Berachoth, iii. 4; and Surahs iv. 46; v. 9.
9 Berachoth, xlvi; and Surah v. 8.
10 Berachoth xxxi. 2; and Surah xvii. 110.
11 Mishnah Berachoth, i. 2; and Surah ii. 183.
12 Mishnah Jebhamoth, iv. 10; and Surah ii. 228.
13 Talmud Kethoboth, lx. 1; and Surahs ii. 233; xxxi. 13; xxiv. 31; Joseph., Antiq. ii. 9.
14 Midrash Rabbah on Leviticus, Parashah xix.; and Genesis, Parashah viii.; and Sanhedrin, xxxvliii.
15 Surahs vii. 10-26; xv. 28-44; xvi. 68-69; xviii. 48; xx. 115; xxxvii. 71-86.
16 Midrash of Rabbi Moses, examined by Zunz, p. 296.
17 Eisenmenger, Judenthum, vol. i. p. 365.
18 Surah v. 30.
another, and from this sight gains the idea of interring Abel. The Jewish fable differs only in ascribing the interment to the parents: “Adam and his wife sat weeping and lamenting him, not knowing what to do with the body, as they were unacquainted with burying. Then came the raven, whose fellow was dead; he took and buried it in the earth, hiding it before their eyes. Then said, Adam, I shall do like this raven, and, taking Abel’s corpse, he dug in the earth and hid it.” 1 The sentence following in the Qur’an – “Wherefore we commanded the children of Israel, that he who slayeth a soul, not by way of retaliation, or because he doth corruptly in the earth, shall be as if he had slain all mankind; but he who saveth a soul alive shall be as if he saved all souls alive,” would have no connection with what precedes or follows, were it not for the Targum of Onkelos, in the paraphrase of Gen. iv. 10, where it is said that the blood of Cain’s brother cried to God from the earth, thus implying that Abel’s posterity were also cut off. And in the Mishnah Sanhedrin, we find the very words which the Qur’an attaches to the murder, apparently with sense or connection.2 [ABEL, CAIN.]
Noah stands forth as the preacher of righteousness, builds the ark, and is saved, with his family;3 his character is, however, drawn more from Rabbinical than Biblical sources. The conversations of Noah with the people, and the words with which they mocked him whilst building the ark4, are the same in the Talmudical writings as in the Qur’an; and both declare that the generation of the flood was punished with boiling water.5 [NOAH.]
The next patriarch after the flood is Hud, who is none other than Eder; another sample of the ignorance of Muhammad. In the days of Hud the tower is constructed; the “obstinate hero,” probably Nimrod, takes the lead; the sin of idolatry is abounding; an idol is contemplated as the crowning of the tower; but the building is overthrown, the tribes are dispersed, and punished in this world and in the world to come.6 These particulars are evidently borrowed from scripture and Rabbinical writings. In the Qur’an, however, the dispersion is caused by a poisonous wind, and not by the confusion of tongues. The significance which the Qur’an gives to Hud is again in perfect accordance with Rabbinical Judaism: “Eber was a great prophet, for he prophetically called his son Peleg (dispersion), by the help of the Holy Ghost, because the earth was to be dispersed.7.” Among the patriarchs, Abraham was most esteemed by Muhammad, as being neither Jew nor Christian, but a Muslim. That he wrote books is also the belief of the Jewish doctors.8 His attaining the knowledge of the true faith, his real to convert his generation; his destruction of the idols; the fury of the people; their insisting on his being burned, and his marvelous deliverance: all these particulars in the life of Abraham, as given by the Qur’an, are minutely copied from Jewish fictions. 9 [HUD, ABRAHAM.]
The Qur’an states that the angels whom Abraham received appeared as ordinary Arabs, and he was astonished when they declined to eat. According to the Talmud, they also “appeared to him no more than Arabs;”10 but another passage adds: “The angels descended and did eat. Are they, then, said to have really eaten? No! But they appeared as if they did eat and drink.” As a proof of Muhammad’s uncertainty respecting the history of Abraham, we add, that the doubt regarding their having a son in their old age is expressed in the Qur’an by Abraham instead of Sarah, and she is made to laugh at the promise of a son, before it was given. Again, the command to offer his son is given to Abraham before Isaac is born or promised, so that the son who was to be offered up could be none other than Ishmael, who was spoken of immediately before as the “meek youth!” Muslim divines are, however, not agreed whether Ishmael was to be offered up, although it is reported by some that the horns of the ram, which was sacrificed in his stead, were preserved at Makkah, his dwelling place! [ISHMAEL.] We may account for Muhammad’s reckoning Ishmael among the prophets and the patriarchs, from his being considered the patriarch of the Arabs and the founder of the Ka’bah.
Among the sons of Jacob, Joseph occupies the pre-eminence. His history is mainly the same as in the Bible, embellished with the fabulous tradition of the Jews. Among these is the assumption that Joseph “would have sinned had he not seen the evident demonstration of his Lord.” That this is borrowed is clear from the following fable: Rabbi Jochanan saith, “Both intended to commit sin: seizing him by the garment, she said, Lie with me…. Then appeared to him the form of his father at the window, who called to him Joseph! Joseph! The names of thy brothers shall be engraven upon the stones of the Ephod, also thine own; wilt thou that it shall be erased?”12 This is almost literally repeated by a Muslim commentary to the Surah xii. 24. The fable of Potiphar’s wife inviting the Egyptian ladies to a feast, to see Joseph, because they had laughed at her, and of their being so overcome with admiration of Joseph13, that they accidentally cut their hands in eating fruit, is exactly so related in a very ancient Hebrew book, from which Muhammad doubtless derived it. The story about the garment being rent, and the setting
1 Pirke Rabbi Elieser, xxi.; and Surah v. 34.
2 Mishnah Sanhedrin, iv. 5.
3 Geiger’s Essay, p. 109; and Surahs vii. 57; x. 72; xxii. 43; xxiii. 23; xxv. 39; xxvi. 105; xxix. 13; xxxvii. 73; liv. 9; lxxi. 1.
4 Sanhedrin, cviii.
5 Rosh Hashanah, xvi. 2; Sanhedrin, cviii.; and Surahs xi. 42; xxiii. 27.
6 Mishnah Sanhedrin, x. 3; and Surah xi. 63.
7 Seder Olam, quoted Midrash Jalkut, lxii.
8 The Jews ascribe to him the Sepher Jezirah.
9 Midrash Rabbah on Genesis, Parash. Xvii.
10 Kiddushim, lii.
11 Sotah, xxxvi. 2.
12 Surah xii. 26; and the Commentary of al-Farrar.
up of an evidence of guilt or innocence respecting it, is also borrowed, to the very letter from the same source1. In this Surah it is also stated, that “the devil made him (Joseph) forget the remembrance of his Lord,” in perfect harmony with the Jewish tradition, “Vain speech tendeth to destruction; though Joseph twice urged the chief butler to remember him, yet he had to remain two years longer in prison2.” The seeking protection from man is here represented as the instigation of Satan. [SATAN.]
The Qur’an causes Jacob to tell his sons to enter at different gates, and the same injunction is given by the Patriarch in the Jewish writings: “Jacob said to them, Enter not through one and the same gate3.” The exclamation of the sons of Israel, when they found the cup in Benjamin’s sack – ‘Has he stolen? So has his brother also” – are clearly a perversion of the words which the Jewish traditions put into their mouths: “Behold a thief, son of a female thief!” Referring to the stealing of the Seraphim by Rachel4. Muhammad again, acquaints us that Jacob knew by divine revelation that his son Joseph was still alive, and Jewish tradition enables us to point out whence he obtained the information. We read in the Midrash Jalkut, “An unbeliever asked our master, Do the dead continue to live? Your parents do not believe it, and will ye receive it? Of Jacob, it is said, he refused to be comforted; had he believed that the dead still lived, would he not have been comforted? But he answered, Fool, he knew by the Holy Ghost that he still really lived, and about a living person people need no comfort5.”
Muhammad made but scanty allusions to the early patriarchs, Joseph only excepted; but concerning Moses, it was his interest to be more profuse in his communications, possibly from the desire to be considered like him, as he is generally thought to have taken that prophet as his model. Among the oppressions which Pharaoh exercised towards the Jews, are named his ordering their children to be cast into the water. Moses, the son of ‘Imran was put into an ark by his mother; Pharaoh’s wife, observing the child, rescues him from death, and gives him back to his mother to nurse. When Moses was grown up, he sought to assist his oppressed brethren, and kills an Egyptian; being the next day reminded of this deed by an Hebrew, he flees to Midian, and marries the daughter of an inhabitant of that country6. When about to leave Midian, he sees a burning bush, and, approaching it, receives a call to go to Egypt to exhort Pharaoh, and perform miracles: he accepts the mission, but requests the aid of his brother Aaron7. Pharaoh, however remains an infidel, and gathers his sorcerers together who perform only inferior miracles; and, in spite of Pharaoh’s threats, they become believers8. Judgment falls upon the Egytpians; they are drowned whilst the Israelites are saved9. A rock yields water. Moses receives the law10, and desires to see the glory of God11. During Moses’ absence, the Israelites make a golden calf, which he destroys, and reducing it to powder, makes them drink it12. After this Moses chooses seventy men as assistants13. The spies sent to Canaan are all wicked with the exception of two: the people being deceived by them, must wander forty years in the desert14. Korah, on quarreling with Moses, is swallowed up by the earth14 [KORAH.] The marvelous journey of Moses with his servant is not to be emitted in this summary of events15. Among the detail deserve to be mentioned, that Haman and Korah were counselors of Pharaoh16. It is not surprising that Muhammad should associate Haman with Pharaoh as an enemy of the Jews, since he cared little when individuals lived, provided they could be introduced with advantage. Korah, according to Jewish tradition, was chief agent or treasurer to Pharaoh17. The ante-exodus persecution of the Jews is ascribed to a dream of Pharaoh18. This is in exact accordance with Jewish tradition, which, as Canon Churton remarks, has in part the sanction of Acts vii. and Hebrews xi., though not found in Exodus: “The sorcerers said to Pharaoh, A boy shall be born who will lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Then thought he, Cast all male children into the river, and he will be cast in among them19. The words (Exod. Xi. 7), “I will call one of the Hebrew women,” produced the Rabbinical fiction, “Why just a Hebrew woman? This shows that he was handed to all the Egyptian women; but he would not drink, for God said, The mouth which shall once speak with me, should it drink what is unclean?20 This was too valuable for Muhammad to omit from the Qur’an21. Although it is nowhere said in the Bible that the sign of the leprous hand was wrought in the presence of Pharaoh, yet the Qur’an relates it as having there taken place22. And in this also it was preceded by Jewish tradition – “He put his hand into his bosom, and withdrew it leprous, white as snow; they also put their hands into their
1 Midrash Jalkut, cxivi.
2 Midrash Rabbah on Gen. xl. 14; Geiger, p. 146; and Surah xii. 42.
3 Midrash Rabbah on Genesis, Parash. xci.; and Surah xii. 67.
4 Midrash Rabbah xcii.; Gen. xxxi. 19; and Surah xii. 77.
5 Midrash Jalkut, cxliii.; and Surah xii. 86.
6 Surahs xx 37; xxviii. 2.
7 Surahs xx. 8; xxvi. 9; xxxviii. 29; lxxix. 15.
8 Surahs vii. 101; x. 76; xi. 99; xx. 50.
9 Surahs ii. 46; vii. 127; x. 90; xx. 79; xxvi. 52; xxviii. 40; xliii. 55.
10 Surah vii. 143.
11 Surahs vii. 135; ii. 52; ix. 152.
12 Surahs ii. 48; vii. 147; xx. 82.
13 Surah vii. 155.
14 Surah v. 23.
15 Surah ssviii. 16.
16 Surah xviii. 59.
17 Surah xxviii. 38; xxix. 38; xl 25; Midrash on Numbers, Parash. xiv.
18 Surah xxviii. 5.
19 Pirke Rabbi Elieser, xlviii.
20 Sotah xii. 2.
21 Surah xxiii. 11.
22 Surahs vii. 105; xxv. 32.
bosoms and withdrew them leprous, white as snow.”1 Again, among Moses’ own people, none but his own tribe believed him.2 This Muhammad doubtless inferred from the statement of the Rabbis: “The tribe of Levi was exempted from hard labor.”3 Among the sorcerers of Egypt, who first asked for their wages, and then became believers, when their serpents were swallowed by that of Moses,4 Pharaoh himself was chief.5 Here, again, Muhammad is indebted to Judaism: “Pharaoh, who lived in the days of Moses, was a great sorcerer.”6 In other places of the Qur’an, Pharaoh claims divinity,7 and Jewish tradition makes him declare: “Already from the beginning ye speak falsehood, for I am Lord of the world, I have made myself as well as the Nile”; as it si said of him (Ezek. xxix. 3), “Mine is the river, and I have made it.”8 The Arab prophet was much confused with regard to the plagues; in some places he enumerates nine9, in others only five, the first of which is said to be the Flood!10 As the drowning in the Red Sea happened after the plagues, he can only allude to the Deluge.
The following somewhat dark and uncertain passage11 concerning Pharaoh has caused commentators great perplexity. It is stated that Pharaoh pursued the Israelites until actually drowning, when, confessing himself a Muslim, he was saved alive from the bottom of the sea, to be a “witness for ages to come.”12 But we find that it is merely a version of a Jewish fable: “Perceive the great power of repentance! Pharaoh, King of Egypt, uttered very wicked words – Who is the God whose voice I shall obey? (Exod. v. 2). Yet as he repented, saying, ‘Who is like unto thee among the gods?’ (xv. 2) God saved him from death; for it saith, Almost had I stretched out my hands and destroyed; but God let him live, that he might declare his power and strength.”13
As Jewish commentators add to Exod. xv. 27, where we read of twelve fountains being found near Elim, that each of the tribes a well,14 so Muhammad transposes the statement, and declares that twelve fountains sprang from the rock which had been smitten by Moses at Rephidim.15 The Rabbinical fable, that God covered the Israelites with Mount Sinai, on the occasion of the lawgiving,16 is thus amplified in the Qur’an: “We shook the mountain over them, as though it had been a covering, and they imagined that it was falling upon them; and we said, “Receive the law which we have brought unto you with reverence.”17 The Qur’an adds that the Israelites, now demanding to see God, die, and are raised again.18 It will not be difficult to trace the origin of this figment. When the Israelites demanded two things from God – that they might see his glory and hear his voice – both were granted to them. Then it is added, “These things, however, they had not power to resist; as they came to Mount Sinai, and He appeared unto them, their souls escaped as He spake.’ The Torah, however, interceded for them, saying, ‘Does a king give his daughter to marriage and kill his household? The whole world rejoices (at my appearance), and thy children (the Israelites) shall they die?’ At once their souls returned; therefore it is said, The doctrine of God is perfect, and brings back the soul.”19 In the matter of the golden calf, the Qur’an follows as usual the fabulous account of the Rabbinical traditions. Both represent Aaron as having been nearly killed when at first resisting the entreaty of the people. The Sanhedrin relates: “Aaron saw Chur slaughtered before his eyes (who opposed them), and he thought, If I do not yield to them they will deal with me as they dealt with Chur.”20 According to another passage in the Qur’an, an Israelite named as-Samiri enticed them, and made the calf.21 Like the wandering Jew in Christian fable, as-Samiri is punished by Moses with endless wandering, and he is compelled to repeat the words: “Touch me not.”22 Jewish traditions make Mikah assist in manufacturing the idol calf;23 but Muhammad either derived as-Samiri from Samael, or, and the Samaritans are stated by the Arab writers to have said, “Touch me not,” he may have considered as-Samiri as the author of the sect of the Samaritans. That the calf thus produced by as-Samiri from the ornaments of the people, lowed on being finished,24 is evidently a repetition of the following Jewish tradition: “The cal came forth (Exod. xxii, 24) roaring, and the Israelites saw it. Rabbi Jehud says, Samael entered the calf and roared to deceive the Israelites.” The addition, that the tribe of Levi remained faithful to God, is both Scriptural and Rabbinical.25 The matter of Korah is honored with singular embellishment; for instance, Korah had such riches, that from ten to forty strong men were required to carry the keys of his treasures.26 Abu ‘l-Fida says forty mules were required to convey the keys. Jewish tradition is still more extra-
1 Pirke Rabbi Elieser, xlviii.
2 Surah x. 23.
3 Midrash Rabbah, Parash. v.
4 Surahs vii. 11; xxvi. 40.
5 Surahs xx. 47; xxvi. 48.
6 Midrash Jalkut, clxxxii.
7 Surahs xxviii. 38; xliii. 50.
8 Rab. Exodus, Parash. v.
9 Surahs xvii. 103; xxvii. 112.
10 Surah vii. 130.
11 Surah x. 90.
12 See al-Baizawi, Husain, al-Jalalan, and others.
13 Pirke Rabbi Elieser, xliii; Midrash Jalkut, ccxxxviii.
14 Rashi on Exodus, xv. 27.
15 Canon Churton pointed out to Dr. J.M. Arnold that the statement of twelve streams flowing from the rock occurs in the Liturgy of St Thomas (vide Howard’s Christ of St. Thomas, p. 224).
16 Aboda Sarah, ii. 2.
17 Surah vii. 170.
18 Surahs ii. 52; iv. 152.
19 Aboda Sarah, ii. 2.
20 Sanhedrin, v.; and Surah vii. 150.
21 Surah xx. 87, 90, 96.
22 Surah xx. 97.
23 Rashi to Sanhedrin, ci. 2.
24 Pirke Rabbi Elieser, clix.; and Surah vii. 147; xx. 90.
25 Pirke Rabbi Eliser, xlv; and Surah vii. 159; see Exodus xxxii. 26.
26 Surah xxvii. 76.
vagant: “Joseph buried three treasures in Egypt, one of which became known to Korah. Riches are turned to destruction to him that possesses them (Eccles. v. 12), and this may well be applied to Korah. The keys to the treasures of Korah made a burden for 300 white mules1.”
The accusation from which God cleared his servant Moses, of which the Qur’an makes mention, was occasioned by Korah. “Abu Alish says it refers to Korah hiring a harlot to reproach Moses before all the people, upon which God struck her dumb, and destroyed Korah, which cleared Moses from the charge2.” This is unquestionably an amplification of the following passage: “Moses heard, and fell on his face. What was it he heard? That they accused him of having to do with another man’s wife3.” Others conceive the unjust charge from which Moses cleared, to have been that of murdering Aaron on Mount Hor, because he and Eleazar only were present when Aaron died! That they had recourse to Jewish tradition, will appear from the subjoined extract: “The whole congregation saw that Aaron was dead; and when Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountains, the whole congregation saw that Aaron was dead; and when Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain, the whole congregation gathered together, asking, Where is Aaron? But they said, He is dead. How can the Angel of Death touch a man, by whom he was resisted and restrained, as it is said, He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stayed? If ye bring him, it is well; if not, we will stone you. Moses prayed, Lord of the World, remove from me this suspicion! Then God opened and showed them Aaron’s body.” And to this the passage applies: “The whole congregation saw,” &c. (Numb. xx. 29, 75.) [MOSES.]
The time of the Judges is passed over un-noticed, and from the manner in which the election of a king is introduced4, it would appear that Muhammad was ignorant of the long interval between Moses and Saul5. [SAUL.] Of David’s history, only his victory over Goliath and his fall through Bathsheba are recorded. [DAVID.] The Traditions make mention of the brevity of his slumbers, and the commentators of the Qur’an affirm the same: “The Apostle of God said David slept half the night; he then rose for a third part, and slept again, a sixth part.” This is derived from the Rabbis, who assert that the king slept only for the term of “sixty breathings.6” Of the wisdom of Solomon, the Qur’an makes particular mention; and to support the statement, adds that he understood the language of birds; this was also the opinion of the Jewish doctors. The winds, or more probable spirits, obeyed him; and demons, birds, and beast formed part of his standing army 7. Jewish commentators record that “demons of various kinds and evil spirits were subject to him 8. The story of the Queen of Sheba, and the adventures of the lapwing 9, are only abridgements from Jewish traditions. With regard to the fable, that demons assisted Solomon in the building of the Temple, and being deceived, continued it after his death, we may here add that Muhammad borrowed it directly from the Jews 10. When Solomon became haughty, one of his many demons ruled in his stead, till he repented. The Sanhedrin also refers to this degradation: “In the beginning Solomon reigned also over the upper worlds”; as it is said, “Solomon sat on the throne of God”; after that only over his staff, as it is said, “What profit hath a man of all his labor?” And still later, “This is my portion of all my labor 11.” On repenting, he maimed his horses, considering them a useless luxury. In the Talmud and the Scriptures, we find allusion to his obtaining them as well as to their being prophibited 12. [SOLOMON.]
Elijah is among the few characters which Muhammad notices after Solomon; nothing indeed, is mentioned of his rapture to heaven, yet he is considered a great prophet 13. Among the Jews, Elijah appears in human form to the pious on earth, he visits them in their places of worship, and communicates revelations from God to eminent Rabbis. In the character Elijah also appears in Muslim divinity. [ELIJAH.] Jonah is the “man of the fish”14; Muhammad relates his history in his usual style, not omitting his journey to Nineveh, or the gourd which afforded him shade. [JONAH.] Job, too, with his suffering and cure is noticed 15 [JOB.]; also the three men who were cast into a burning fiery furnace 16 (Dan. iii. 8); the turning back of the shadow of degrees on the occasion of Hezekiah’s recovery 17.
(See Arnold’s Islam and Christianity, Longmans, London, 1874; p. 116 seqq. Dr. J.M. Arnold gives in many instances the original Hebrew of his quotations from the Talmud.)
In the Qur’an there are several Hebrew and Talmudic terms which seem to indicate that its author had become familiar with Talmudic teaching. The following are the most noticeable:-
(1) The Qur’an قران, from qara’; “to read,” and equivalent to “reading.” See Neh. viii. 8: “And caused them to understand the reading”
1 Pirke Rabbi Elieser, xlv.
2 Al-Farrar on Surah xxxiii. 69.
3 Pirke Rabbi Elieser, xlv.
4 Surah ii. 257; “Dost thou not look at a crowd of the children of Israel after Moses’ time, when they said to a prophet of theirs, Raise up for us a king, and we will fight in God’s way.”
5 Muhammad ascribes to Saul what the Scriptures relate to Gideon. Judges vii. 5.
6 See Berachoth.
7 Surahs xxi. 81; ssvii. 15; xxiv. 11; xxxviii. 35.
8 The second Targum on Esther i. 2.
9 Dr. J.M Arnold gives a translation of the story from the Targum. (See Islam and Christianity, p. 146.)
10 Gittin, lxviii; and Surah xxxiv.
11 Sanhedrin, xx.; also Mid. Tab. on Numbers, Parash, xi.
12 Sanhedrin, xxi.; and Surah xxxviii. 29.
13 Surah vi. 85; xxxvii 123, 130.
14 Surah vi. 85; x. 98; xxi. 87; lxviii. 48.
15 Surah xxi. 83; xxxviii. 40.
16 Surah lxxxv. 4.
17 Surah xxv. 47; and Kings xx.9.
(2) The Masdni, مثاني, “repetitions,” Surah xv. 86, which is the Talmudic .
(3) The Taurat, used for the Books of Moses, the Heb. of the Old Testament.
(4) The Shechinah, or Sakinah,سكينة Surah ii. 249: “The sign of his kingdom is that there shall come to you the ARK (Tabut), and the SHECHINA (Sakinah) in it from the Lord.” Heb. . A term not used in the Bible, but used by the Rabbinical writers to express the visible presence of God between the Cherubim on the Mercy seat of the Tabernacle.
(5) The Ark, Tabut, تابوت. In Surah ii. 249, for the Ark of the Covenant, and in Surah xx. 39, for Noah’s Ark. The (which is used in the Bible for Noah’s Ark and the ark of bulrushes) and not the former being Rabbinical.
(6) Angel, Malak, ملك, an angel or messenger of God.
(7) Spirit, Ruh, روح, A term used both for the angel Gabriel and for Jesus Christ.
(8) The Sabbath Sabt, سبت. Surah vii. 164; ii. 62.
(9) Jahannam hell, جهنم. The Rabbinical , and not the of the Old Testament. The final letter مproves that it was adopted from the Talmudic Hebrew and not from the Greek.
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam