Muhammad in the Quran, Vol. 3: Chapter 66



WHERE ARE THE STORIES IN THE QURAN FROM?

Practically nothing in what Muhammad told and which is referred in the Quran is original stuff - it is "borrowed" from older sources and often twisted a little - or much - to fit the new religion.

We do not here comment the places the Quran twists the Bible. We only add that in Syria and Arabia there were many from partly Christian Gnostic sects living, and many of the stories pretending to be from the Bible in the Quran, are from made up - often Gnostic - tales or simply from religious legends or fairy tales based on - but far from in accordance with - the Bible. The list below far from is complete, but at least will give you some good samples.

Very little of the claimed Biblical tales Muhammad used, really were from the Bible.

(sources: Among others Slot-Henriksen: "Comments on the Quran", and Ibn Warraq: “Why I am not a Muslim”).

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  1. Moses and the fish - from Arabic folk tales about search for eternal life. May be originally from Babylon - the Babylonian Ugarit texts has a very similar story about the god El (a story known in and around Arabia).
  2. Solomon listening to the ants - fairy tale perhaps inspired by the Bible, Sol. 6/6, but mainly from legends. These stories – also repeated other places in the Quran - about King Solomon, the ants, the jinns slaving for him, the hoopoe, and not to mention the Queen of Sabah – are fantastic like were they from a fairy tale - - - which is what they are: They are “borrowed” from the made up - apocryphal, and hardly even apocryphal - scripture “Second Targum of Ester”.
  3. Jinns working for Solomon - from local fairy tales, folk tales and myths (jinns were beings in Arab folklore and the old pagan Arab religion, who are incorporated in Islam). Anyone who has read f.x. 1001 Nights knows that supernatural beings sometimes worked for humans. And not least: You find this "story" in the "2. Targum of Ester".
  4. Mary working in the Temple (in Jerusalem) as child/youth - from “The Proto Gospel after Jacob”, part 8,1 and 8,1b. (But impossible to be true, as only men - and only men from the Levi tribe (Mary was from the Judah tribe) - worked in the Temple. This even is admitted - but tried to explain away - by Islam.)
  5. Jesus talking in the crib - from the religious legend “The Egyptian Child Gospel” perhaps via the as made up “The Arab Child Gospel” (originally from Syria) - both are fairy tales about fantastic things concerning the child Jesus. “The Arab Child Gospel” also got stories from “The Proto Gospel after Jacob” and “The Thomas’ Child Gospel” - both made up religious legends or myths.
  6. Jesus making birds from clay - read the heretical Gnostic “Child Gospel after Thomas” verse 1 - 4, a very made up child gospel, and you find it there. (Actually none of the stories about Jesus in the Quran is reckoned by scientists to be true ones. Most of what is said in the Quran about Christian religion, is from apocryphal - made up - sources. Not unnatural as there f.x. were many Gnostics and other semi-Christian and semi-Jewish sects in the fringes of Christianity. Arabia definitely was in - and outside - those fringes).
  7. Mary and the palm - from the made up religious fable “The Proto Gospel after Mathew”, chapter 20.
  8. Muhammad’s Night Journey to Heaven - read about different such travels in Jewish Merabah mysticism or even more the Gnostic “Enoch’s Journey to Heaven” (nearly identical to Ibn Ishaq’s by Islam accepted story after Abu Said al-Chudri. Enoch's Journey also is nearly identical to what is told in Hadiths).
  9. There is no basis for this story in the Quran. There only is mentioned something about a trip in 17/1 (Muslim sources may indicate it was from al-Jirana (some 9 miles/15 km from Mecca) to Mecca and back), but nothing about a trip to heaven, and you may bet large money on that if Muhammad really had visited Heaven and talked with the god, he had TOLD about it.).
  10. The sleepers in the cave - the even today a well known religious fable from Ephesus, about the 7 youths who fled from emperor Decius (a real emperor reigning only 2 years around 250 AD) and went to sleep in a cave, and then woke up maximum 196 years later (the Quran says 300 or 309 years) under the more well known emperor Theodosius). Just read it - it normally even is better told than in the Quran. (Some Muslims claim that legend is based on an even older Jewish one, but that in case does not make the story in the Quran more true.)
  11. Alexander the Great/Dhu’l Quarnayn (Muslims often denies that Alexander the Great = Dhu'l Quarnayn, but this is well documented) - anyone knowing the story of Alexander from history; read this part of Surah 18 and weep - or laugh. Copycatting at its most naïve. (He f.x. was no Muslim, he never went west - this we know from history - there no place in the world were enough iron blocks to close off a whole valley around 330 BC, etc., etc.). Not to mention that the sun does not rise from or settle on Earth.

    We may add that Muhammad took his version from a known "coq-and-bull" story - or a "sword-and-sorcery" story - written by a Syrian a century or so earlier.
  12. The stories about Ad (many times repeated) - copied from Arab folk tales, presumably a story from more than 2000 years before Muhammad (before Moses (around 1230 BC) according to the Quran), and Muhammad had no written sources. Besides all the other: How big is the chance that a folk tale is true and identical to the reality after 2ooo years? (Another point is that there is a possibility for that those people really existed once, but in case many centuries later than Moses.)
  13. The stories about Thamud - copied from Arab presumably 2ooo years old folk tales. See the tales about Ad just above.
  14. The stories about Median - copied from Arab folk tales.
  15. The stories about the jinns - copied from Arab folk tales, fairy tales, and legends and not least from the old pagan Arab religion. (If you look, may be you will find more copycatting.)
  16. The 7 heavens. Originally from Greek and Persian wrong astronomy, but quite likely via the Zohar and/or the Hagigah.
  17. The 7 hells (7 gates to different parts - and differently hellish - of Hell): Likely from the Zohar and/or the Hagigah.
  18. 87/19: The books of Abraham. Taken from the made up book "Testament of Abraham".
  19. 91/13-14: The camel "proof". Taken from an old Arab legend well known in Arabia at the time of Muhammad: A camel came out from a cliff and became a prophet.
  20. 101/6-9: The scale to weigh the good and the bad deeds. From "The Testament of Abraham" - though likely originally from the Zoroastrians (mainly in Persia).
  21. The houris: From the Zoroastrians (Persia), where they were named paaris.
  22. The bridge over Hell: From the Zoroastrians (Persia).

Just a few questions:

  1. Would an omniscient god need to copy old stories?
  2. Would he in case tell them in much more boring ways than the originals?
  3. Would he in case tell them with historical wrong facts?
  4. If the Quran is only the truth and the full truth; why then is it hardly ever used as source in real science of history? And never for anything which happened before 610 AD !
  5. If Allah is a god for all the world, why then are all the stories in his revered "mother book" - of which the Quran is claimed to be a copy - only from Arabia and its neighborhood ("Arabisms")?

Sub-total Chapter 66 = 21 + 6.092 = 6.113.


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This work was upload with assistance of M. A. Khan, editor of islam-watch.org and the author of "Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism, and Slavery".