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Summary of 10.11 "Source of the Quran X - Borrowing from the Bible III"

The last program was a continuation of the discussion of some of the differences between the Biblical and Quranic with respect to matters of creed.  The basic purpose was to show that the claim that the Quran was based on the Bible is not true.  The main focus of the previous program was on the issue of sin, repentance and atonement in both the Bible and the Quran.  We compared and contrasted both especially with issues related to human nature, salvation, inheritance of sin, necessity of bloodshed in order to attain repentance and reconciliation.  In addition we briefly touched on other related issues.  We tried to show that the Muslim’s sacrifice of animals has nothing to do with the notion of shedding blood for forgiveness, a brief discussion of life after death, the question of an intermediate between man and God and between the human and the creator, the absence in Islam of the notion of a Church as an exclusive authority or clergy and the view of life as an integrated and comprehensive whole.  The fundamental belief in Islam are quite independent and consistent of each-other which shows that the Quran as a unit and integrated whole is not copying or borrowing from any other source.


10.12   Source of the Quran XI - Borrowing from the Bible IV

Host:  Is there information in the Bible which is not confirmed by the Quran?

Jamal Badawi:

In the discussion of the previous program we talked about the story of Adam and Eve and we found that there are certain things in the Bible which are not in the Quran like the serpent and so on.  In the Quran we do not find any parallel to what we find in the Bible in Genesis 12 and 26 where Prophet Abraham claimed that Sarah was his sister in order to serve himself.  Nor do we find a parallel to what is in Genesis 32 about Prophet Jacob wrestling God and that is why he was called Israel afterwards.  There is no parallel in the Quran of some of the things that attributed to Prophet Aaron the brother of Moses in Exodus 12 where it was said that he made the golden calf or to Solomon heart being inclined to the pagan gods of his wives as we find in the first Kings in chapter 11.  We do not find in the Quran a parallel in the stories about Prophet Lute which are found in Genesis 19:30 or what is attributed to Prophet David with respect to his affair with the wife of the Hittite Yuria as is found in the Second book of Samuel chapter 11.

With respect to Prophet Jesus we find that while the Quran clearly indicates that he was a servant of God, a messenger like great Prophets such as Abraham, Moses or Muhammad we do not find any traces that we may find in the New Testament that could be interpreted as relating him to the question of divinity.  In addition to this point we find that there are additional things which are not found in the Quran which are in the Bible.  In the book of Genesis 27:15 we are told that Prophet Jacob deceived his father Isaac and lead him to believe that he was Esau and brought him food and so on in order to take the blessing which was meant for Esau.  The story seems to involve a deliberate change of facts on his part and nothing of this nature is found in the Quran except for praise of Jacob his father and all other Prophets.  In the book of Exodus in 12:13 we are told that God commanded the Israelites before He came to Egypt to destroy the Egyptians that the Israelites should mark their homes with blood so when God came He would recognize their homes and pass over them and not to destroy them as He would the Egyptians.  These are just a few examples that one can see that not everything in the Bible are found in the Quran.


Host:  Could what you have been alluding to are mere details that might have been dropped or left out in the proses of borrowing form the Bible?

Jamal Badawi:

I would say that these are not mere details.  Some of those differences between the Biblical stories and the Quranic stories are quite consistent in the Quran.  They are not just related to a few details here and there but are related to certain basic themes that you find in the Quran.  An example of this is that the Quran emphasizes the question of diving attributes, that God is not subject to human weakness, he doesn’t need to rest, doesn’t walk and make noise, is not in a physical form.  The difference between the Bible and the Quran is that it seems to focus more on this aspect of transcendence of deity or God.  We find that in all the Prophets in the Biblical version there seems to be some sort of refraction or major moral sin attached to the Prophet.  We find that not a single one appears in the Quran, so it is not a matter of dropping details because it is consistent with the way the Quran mentions Prophets and that they were chosen from the select of the select.  The kind of description given to them is more favorable than what we find in the Bible.  What we are saying here is that it is not only the details but they are fully related and consistent with the themes in the Quran pertaining to the various issues where there are differences.  It is not just incidental or hap hazard differences.  This indeed indicates that the source of the Quran is revelation not just a sort of borrowing from here or there.


Host: Can you give us examples of stories that are in the Quran but not in the Bible?

Jamal Badawi:

This could be an interesting aspect because if one is borrowing they may drop some details but if there is more in the Quran than what is in the Bible it would raise an interesting question.  In a previous program we mentioned repentance on the part of Adam and Eve after they ate from the tree and that their repentance was accepted.  There was no original sin at all as far as Islam was concerned.  This appears in the Quran in (2:37) and (20:122).  There are also stories of other ancient of Prophets like the people of Ad and Thamoud who had Prophet Hude and Salih for which I could not find a parallel in the Bible.  In the Quran in the story of Prophet Noah we are told in (11:42) that Noah had a dialog with his son when the flood started and Noah was in the Arc.  It says that Noah had a conversation with his son who was an unbeliever and he invited him to come on bored with but he refused and was perished with the other unbelievers.  Again I could not find a parallel of this in the Bible.  There are so many things that are found in the Quran that have no parallel in the Bible.  In (42:19) we are told of a dialog between Abraham and his father when he was trying to invite his father to become a believer.  In (2:258) we are told of a dialog that went on between Abraham and one of the tyrannical rulers who tried to challenge him by saying that he could give life and death.  Abraham said if you can do everything Allah brings the sun from the East bring it from the West which stunned this tyrant.

In (21:57) we are told of Prophet Abraham staying behind during one of the festivals of his people and going inside the temple and destroying the idols that his people used to worship.  We are told in (21:69) that when his people suspected that he was the culprit they made a big fire and threw him into it in order to kill him and we are told that he miraculously came out of it without a scratch because God ordered the fire not to hurt Abraham (a miracle).  In Surah 2 we find the story of Prophet Abraham bringing to life with the permission and command of Allah the four birds that were cut mixed up and put on different mountains.  This was in response to Prophet Abraham’s petition to Allah to show him how He brings the dead to life again.  In the story of Prophet Moses in Surah 2 in the Quran there is a detailed discussion of a command that that was given to the Israelite through Moses to slaughter a cow and the dialog between the Prophet Moses and the Israelites.  Interestingly enough in the story of Prophet Jesus (PBUH) there are more miracles mentioned than are found in the new testament.  An example is in (3:46) where it says that Jesus was able to speak to babies in the cradle.  IN (3:49) and (5:113) we are told that one of the signs that Allah gave to Jesus is to allow him to make a bird out of clay and then in the name of Allah he would breath life into it with the permission of Allah.  These are not miracles that I have ever seen in the New Testament.  How can the Quran have copied from the Bible but have so many other details about the stories of Prophets that doesn’t appear in the Bible unless there was deliberate attempt on the part of the Prophet to fabricate the stories or to make it look different.


Host:  Are stories that are common in both of the books basically identical or are there some variations

Jamal Badawi:

There are some details here and there that are similar if not even identical but there are some differences which I think are quite significant.  In the story of Prophet Abraham we are told that he is ordained to take his only son Isaac and as we indicated that is not possible because the only son he had for 14 years was Ishmael and not Isaac because were legitimate children of Abraham.  The Quran in Surah 37 clearly implies from the sequence of events that the son of sacrifice was Ishmael.  In Genesis 22 we are left with the impression that Abraham was evasive with his son about the sacrifice and that his son kept asking but he never told his son what he was going to do to him.  In the Quran it is quite different in Surah (37:102) we are told that when Abraham was directed to sacrifice his son he went to him and told him that this is what he had been ordained to do and his son told him to do what he was told and that he would find him to be patient.  In Genesis 22 we are told that Abraham took his wife Haggar and his son Ishmael to the wilderness of Bear Sheba.  In the Quran in 37 we are told that they were taken to the Holy place which is the site of the Kaaba.

In regards to Prophet Lute there are some similarities because his people practiced abominable things and he had guests who were angels in the form of humans.  And that those people were in pursuit of those guests and surrounded his house.  Till this extent there are similarities-however in the Genesis 19 we find that Prophet Lute offered his two daughters to those people and told them to do with them as they wished so that they may spare his guests.  In the Quran we do not find this.  We are told in the Quran in Surah 11 that when these people came and surrounded his house he told them “there are my daughters (plural) which are cleaner and purer for you.”  This means that speaking as a Prophet and father of the people he was referring to the females of the society as his daughters and he asks them why they have to do these abominable things when there are daughters.  This is why the verse says “they are purer for you.”  There is a big different between the two even though in both he said that these are his daughters.  In the same story of Prophet Lute according to Genesis 9:26 we are told that his wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.  In the Quran we are told that she was not even with him and was an unbeliever and did not join him to be saved and was promised the like of her people as is found in (66:10) and (11:18).

In the story of Moses in Exodus 12 one gets the impression that Moses deliberately wanted the Egyptian who was fighting a fellow Israelite.  It says that he looked around and made sure the way was clear then he killed the Egyptian.  In the Quran however in Surah 28 it was obvious that it was involuntary manslaughter.  It simply says the Egyptian was persecuting the Israelites so he sought the help of Moses who sought to strike him by way of defending the Israelite but it happened that his hand was heavy and the fellow died.  It was an involuntary manslaughter.  What I am saying is basically that these variations are not haphazard dropping or adding but are all consistent with all the principles or themes that we have seen before in the Quran.  Furthermore these are events that proceeded the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the Quran makes it clear that neither he or his people were aware of this information.


Host:  Can you clarify the point that this information was not known to the Prophet?

Jamal Badawi:

There are several references to this in the Quran.  One is after the discussion of Prophet Joseph which we find in Surah 12 which is also called Joseph.  In verse 102 it says “such is one of the stories of what happened unseen, which We reveal by inspiration unto thee; nor wast thou (present) with them then when they concerted their plans together in the process of weaving their plots.”  In a similar statement also about Prophet Noah in (11:49) it repeats the same thing indicating that this information was not known to the Prophet or his people “Such are some of the stories of the unseen, which We have revealed unto thee: before this, neither thou nor thy people knew them. So persevere patiently: for the End is for those who are righteous.”  In the Quran in the story about Mary and the fact that she was the custody of Zakariah in (3:44) it again says that the Prophet was not there and that it is from a different source - from revelation that was given to him.  The same thing is found about Moses (28:44).  It is obvious when we talk about borrowing that there is no point and if the challenge the Quran presented to the contemporaries of the Prophet or people later on for that matter were aware that this information was not true they could have easily proved that the Quran was false or did not come from revelation.  No one could challenge this information because it was new and people were not aware of it.


Host:  Some people wonder why in the Quran Mary is called the sister of Aaron and how that can possibly be?

Jamal Badawi:

The problem here is the understanding of the Arabic language and some of the expressions that are used.  In Arabic when when you say Akh or Ukht, brother or sister, can have two meanings.  One meaning is blood brother or sister and it can also mean brotherhood or sisterhood in faith.  This can mean brotherhood and sisterhood in clans.  In (46:22) it says “Mention (Hud) one of 'Ad's (own) brethren.”  This doesn’t mean he is a blood relative but that he is one of them.  In the Quran there is reference to the relationship between Mary and Aaron and the context makes it quite clear.  It says that when Mary gave birth to Jesus (PBUH) she came back to her people and they started rebuking her and accused her of committing adultery.  The context of that verse is interesting because it answers the questions and it says that when Mary gave birth to Prophet Jesus she came to her people and they started rebuking her and said “Oh sister of Aaron your father was not an evil man nor was your mother an unchaste woman” which is found int the Quran in (19:28).  The context that says “sister of Aaron” says that she was similar to Aaron who was first in priestly lineage from the Israelites.  And it meant that she was his sister in worship and devotion to God?  Aaron was the first in the priestly succession and Mary and her family and the family Zakariyah was a relative to them come from a priestly family so how is that befitting for a priestly family.  There is an interesting explanation of the sister of Aaron and the relationship in the commentary on the translation of the Quran by Yusuf Ali as we find in (3:35) and (19:28) and by the way as a side observation there are lots of learned Christians who embraced Islam during the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and this is how they understood it without any problem.  This is rather a problem of interpretation that some orientalist s created.

Host:  How do we know which version is more accurate?

Jamal Badawi:

It is true that there are certain historical events which are impossible to get addition data on in order to examine which of the versions is relatively more accurate or is the accurate one.   In addition there are some aspects which modern science can shed light on.  One of the best references on that subject was a book written by Maurice Bucaille called the Bible, Quran and Science.

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