Essay On Judaism And Islam

...Faith is the foundation of many religions, Islam and Judaism included. The first of the Five Pillars of Islam, testimony of faith, requires Muslims to say with conviction, "There is no true god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah." The first half of this testimony states that only Allah is to be worshiped. Muslims take this very seriously and do not consider Muhammad to be Allah or even divine. They simply believe he was the last in a series of prophets. Besides Muhammad, Muslims believe in many of the same prophets as the Jews. (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus) Similarly, the first commandment states that, "You shall put no other gods before me." Judaism is a monotheistic religion, as is Islam, and they do not believe in the Trinity. Prayer is a way to speak with and learn from God for both Muslims and Jews. Muslims believe that the first mosque, the Kaaba, was built by Abraham and his son Ishmael. Unlike Jews, who had priests offer sacrifices to atone for sin, Muslims believe there are no intermediaries between God and themselves. Before beginning their prayers, Muslim's say, "Allah Akbar" (god is greater than all else). Although works based doctrines do not allow absolute assurance of an ultimate salvation, Muslims claim prayer lets them feel at peace with Allah. Jews are to pray to God and no other. They pray several times a day, but their prayers are broken into three...


I undertook to translate this Prize Essay by the Rabbi Geiger at the request of the Rev. Gr. A. Lefroy, the Head of the Cambridge Mission at Delhi, who thought , that an English translation of the book would be of use to him in his dealings with Muhammadans. The Rev. H. D. Griswold of the American Presbyterian Mission at Lahore has very kindly put in all the Hebrew and Arabic citations for me, and has also revised my translation.

March tfth, 1896.


I VENTURE to offer to the general public a work which was primarily undertaken with somewhat scanty materials. The question propounded by the Philosophical Faculty at Bonn, viz., " Inguiratur in fontes Alcorani seu legis Mohammedicae eas, qui ex Judaismo derivandi sunt," served as an inducement to the undertaking. The point of view from which the subject was to be approached was left by the terms of the question entirely to the different workers ; and that from which I have regarded it must be considered, in order that a right judgment upon my essay may be formed. It is assumed that Muhammad borrowed from Judaism, and this assumption, as will be shewn later, is rightly based. In this connection everything of course is excluded which appears only in the later development of Islam, and of which no trace can be met with in the Qur&n ', but on the other hand all such religious ideas and legends as are hinted at in the Quran, and are explained and developed at the hands of later writers, deserve and receive consideration. Secondly, a comparison between Jewish sayings, and those of the Quran, in the hope of setting forth the former as the source of the latter, can take place only on condition that the Jewish sayings are actually found in Jewish writings prior to Islam ; or unless it is certain that such sayings, though only recently recorded, existed earlier in the synagogue.

But this certainty cannot easily be attained, and historical criticism must find its doubt as to this the more deeply rooted in proportion to the number of times in which the sayings are found among those of other creeds, from which there is probability that they were adopted. Thirdly, those who undertake this work must consider seriously the question, whether a mere similarity iu the tenets of two different religious sects establishes the. fact that an adoption from one into the other has taken place. There are so many general religious ideas that are common to several of ,the positive religions existent at the time of the rise of Muhammadanism, that we must be very careful not to assert rashly that any one idea found in the Quran is taken from Judaism.

I have therefore given in the different sections the marks and indications, and in the case of some points of greater difficulty, the reasons also, from which I believe myself justified in the conjecture that there has been such a borrowing.

For these three reasons many citations which I might have made from later Islam and later Judaism are excluded, and in like manner many statements also, which do not bear the impress of a borrowing.

On the other hand, the first division had to be added, in order to shew the basis on which the probability of a general borrowing from Judaism rests. After I had once settled the subject in this way, the arrangement of the whole, and more especially of the many disconnected divisions and sub-divisions, gave me no less trouble. The borrowings are of details not of anything comprehensive ; they are fragmentary and occasional in that they were chosen according to what Muhammad's reporters knew, and according to what was agreeable to the prophet's individual opinion and aim, consequently there is no close connection. How far I have succeeded in reducing these details to order the reader may see and judge from the book itself.

The materials at my disposal, when I first undertook this work, were only the bare Arabic text of the Quran in Hinckelmann's edition from which the quotations are made,[1] Wahl's Translation of the Quran, and an intimate acquaintance with Judaism and its writings, A transcript from Baidh&wi's Commentary on the Qura'n on some passages in the second and third Surahs, which Professor Freytag made for himself and which he with his usual kindness allowed me to use, was the only help outside the Quran. I had thus the advantage of having an unbiased mind ; not, on the one hand, seeing the passages through the. spectacles of the Arabian commentators, nor on the other finding in the Qurdn. the. 'views of the Arabian dogmatists, and the narratives of their historians. I had besides the pleasure of finding out independently many obscure allusions, and explaining them correctly, as I afterwards learned from Arabic writings. In this form . my work received the prize, and only after that had been gained was I able to collect more materials, and to use them for the remodelling of the work in Grerman. To these belong especially the valuable Prodromi and Comments of Maraccius in his edition of the Quran, the Commentary of Baidhawi on the 10th Surah (in Henzei's Fragmenta Arabica), and two parts of an excellent unpublished Commentary by Blpherar which .begins with the 7th Surah and was bought by the famous Seetzen at Cairo in 1807, and is now in the library at Grotha, whence I received it through the kind mediation of Professor Freytag at the expense of the University Library at Bonn. To these may be added Abulfedse Annales Maslemitici and Historia Anteislamica, the works of Pococke, D'Herbelot's Bibliotheque Orientah, and many other works which will be found quoted in the book itself. All observations drawn from writings to which I first obtained access while the work was in the press are given in an Appendix. The advantages of a three-fold register, viz., of the explained Arabic and Babbinical words, of the cited passages of the Quran, and of quotations from other Arabic authors (with' the exception of the constantly-quoted Elpherar and Maraccius) need not be dwelt upon in detail. The Jewish writings which I have used consist almost entirely of the Bible, the Talmud, and the Midrashim, and in accordance with my determination to reject all Jewish writings later than Muhammad's time, they had to be thus limited. The few passages which are taken from other writings, of which the age is not so exactly known, such as the sections of Eabbi Elieser, the ' Book HayydsTidr, and the two differing Recensions of the Jerusalem Targum on the Pentateuch (which are placed in a somewhat later period than that of the composition of the Quran by the learned Zunz in his latest valuable work Die Gottesdienstlichen Vortrdge der Juden historisch entwickelt : Berlin, 1832, A. Asher) are all of such a kind that one can generally point to some decided declaration in Holy Scripture itself from which such opinions and traditions may have arisen, and therefore their priority of existence in Judaism can be accepted without hesitation.

I must publicly offer my thanks to Professor Freytag for the many different kindnesses he has shown me in connection with this work, and also to my dear friends S. Frensdorf and J. Dernburg for their help in the correction of the proofs. Finally, I here express my heartfelt wish that this little work may be true to the spirit of our time, the striving after true knowledge, and that learned men may give me the benefit of their criticisms upon it.

May m, 1833.


IT will be found, speaking generally of the whole sphere of human thought; whether we consider matters which have already become the clear and certain possession of mankind, or those which are left for the future to unveil and to determine with scientific precision, that almost always a correct intuition precedes scientific knowledge, so that a generally correct idea, though not yet supported by adequate evidence, obtains some hold on the minds of men. In this way the thesis of this treatise has long been recognised as probable, namely that Muhammad in his Quran has borrowed much from Judaism as it presented itself to him in his time, though for this opinion no sufficient grounds have hitherto been advanced. And the very endeavour to give this just conjecture its place among scientific certainties seems to have produced in the faculty the wish to see the subject accurately and thoroughly worked out by scholars, conversant with both the Quran and Judaism in their original sources ; and to meet this wish I take up my present task, conscious indeed of feeble powers, but determined to use unsparing industry in the steadfast pursuit of my purpose. This is the end which we have in view, to wit, a scientific presentation, and not a mere list of apparent adaptations from Judaism, nor a statement of isolated facts dissevered from their historical connections. For this we must study the connection of the facts to be demonstrated with the whole life and work of Muhammad, as well as with those events 'of his time, which either determined his actions or were determined by him. And so this treatise falls into two divisions, of which the first has to answer the following questions :

Did Muhammad wish to borrow from Judaism ? Could Muhammad borrow from Judaism ? and if so, how was such borrowing possible for him ? Was it compatible with his plan to borrow from Judaism ? The second division must bring forward the facts to prove the borrowing, which has been stated on general grounds to have taken place. Only in this way can an individual proof of the kind referred to acquire scientific value, partly as throwing light upon the nature of Muhammad's plan, and partly as showing the intrinsic necessity of the fact and its actual importance by virtue of its connection with other facts of Muhammad's life and age. To this an appendix will be added, in which will be given a collection of those passages in which Muhammad seems not so much to have borrowed from Judaism, as to have reviewed it and that too in a hostile spirit.



Did Muhammad wish to borrow from Judaism ? Could Muhammad borrow from Judaism ? and if so, how was such borrowing possible for him? Was it compatible with Muhammad's plan to borrow from Judaism ?

It is not enough for us to give a dry meagre summary of the passages which appear to have some connection with Judaism,- in order to shew that Muhammad really possessed a certain knowledge of it, and used it in the establishment of his new religion, and that, further, a comparison with it makes clear many passages in the Quran. Bather is it our task to shew how it was bound up with the spirit, the striving and the aims of Muhammad, with the mind of his time and the constitution of his surroundings, and thus to demonstrate the fact that, even were we deprived of all proofs which undeniably shew Judaism to be a source of the Quran, the conjecture that a borrowing from Judaism had taken place would still have great probability. Thus it is necessary for us first to account for this as the philosophical development of a process, afterwards to be confirmed by historical evidence. Three questions come prominently forward here :

First : Did Muhammad really think he would gain any object by borrowing from Judaism ? or, in other words, Did Muhammad of set purpose borrow from Judaism ?

Second : Had Muhammad means, and what means had he, of attaining to a knowledge of Judaism ? i. e., Could he thus borrow ? and if so, how was it possible for him ?

Third : Were there not other circumstances which militated against, or at all events limited such a borrowing ?


Was it compatible with the rest of his plan so to borrow ? Was it permissible for him, and if so on what grounds ?

These three enquiries form the different Sections of the first division. ...

FIRST SECTION. Did Muhammad wish to borrow from Judaism,?[edit]

Although we may by no means ascribe to Muhammad a special liking for the Jews and for Judaism and indeed in his life, as well as in the writings which he left behind him as laws for posterity, there are traces of hatred against both ; still it is evident that, on the one hand, the power which the Jews had obtained in Arabia was important enough for him to wish to have them as adherents and, on the other, that they were, though themselves ignorant, far in advance of other religious bodies 1 in that knowledge which Muhammad professed to have received by Divine revelation, 2 as indeed he liked to assert of all his knowledge. The Jews, moreover, gave him so much trouble with witty and perplexing remarks that the wish to propitiate them must certainly have arisen in him.

That the Jews in Arabia at the time of Muhammad posses- sed considerable power is shown by the free life of many quite independent tribes, which sometimes met him in open battle. This fact is known especially of the Banu Qainuqa' 3 in the second or third year of the Hijra, also of the Banu Nadhir 4 in the 4th year. The latter are spoken of by

1 See Josfc's Geschiehte des israelitischen Volkes, Vol. II. pp,'207.

2 Suva XXIX. 47

' Thou didst not read any book before this, neither couldest thou write it with thy right hand." (i. e., the Word of God). Sale's Translation.

3 gUlJ ^i Abulfeda (Vita Mohammedis ed. Gagnier, p. 67).

^~J& iM In Pooocke (Specimen Historiae Arabum p. 11) ^a> See also Commentators on. Sura lix, and also Vita Mohammedis p. 71.



Janab as a great family of the Jews, l This fact is further known of the Jews in Khaibar 2 with whom he fought in the 7th year. The Banu Nadhir are supposed to be referred to in Quran, lix. 2. They are there described as so powerful that the Muslims despaired of their conquest, and the fastnesses which they possessed would have banished thoughts of a capture, if as Muhammad with probable exag- geration expresses it, they themselves had not destroyed their houses with their own hands, or if, as Abulieda with greater historical probability asserts, they, fearing a long siege, had not withdrawn themselves and turned to quieter regions. The want of settled civil life, which continued in Arabia till the rule of Muh.ammad, was very favourable to the Jews, who had fled to that country in large numbers after the Destruction of Jerusalem, inasmuch as it enabled them to gather together and to maintain their independence. A century before Muhammad, this independence had reached such a pitch that among the Himyarites the Jewish ruler actually had jurisdiction over those who were not Jews ; and it was only the mistaken zeal of the last Jewish Governor, Dim Nawas, 3 which led him to a cruel attempt to suppress other creeds (which attempt is pictured for us with the very colours of a martyrologist) , that brought about the fall of the Jewish throne by the coming of the Christian Abyssinian King. 4 Although it seems to 'me altogether improbable that the passage in Quran Ixxxv. 4 refers to this event, partly because of the indefin- iteness of the allusion and partly because on this supposition the Christians are called " the believers," 5 which is never the case elsewhere, though as a rule Muhammad's treatment

2 j^ Pec. Spec. p. 11.

4 Comp. Assemani Bibliotheca Orientalis I. 361 pp. and Michaelis Syrische Chrestomathie p. 19 ff.

5 Qur4n LXXXV. f. Q


of the Christians was indulgent ; and although I give an entirely different interpretation to this passage an interpre- tation borne out by every word, 1 nevertheless this very mistake of the commentators shews the importance which the Arabs attached to this conquest of the Jewish ruler, and is a proof of the greatness of his former power. That the remains of such a power, even when shattered continued to be of importance is plain in itself, and is moreover clearly shown in a passage soon to be quoted, 2 where the Himyarites are depicted as particularly unbelieving. An Arabian author 3 mentions other tribes beside the Himyarites as adherents of Judaism, viz., the Banu Kinna Banu Hareth ben Kab, and Kinda. 4

While this physical power of the Jews inspired partly fear, partly respect in Muhammad's mind, he was no less afraid of their mental superiority and of appearing to them as ignorant ; and so his first object must have been to conciliate them by an apparent yielding to their views. That the Jewish system of belief was even then a fully developed one, which penetrated the life of each member of the community, is proved both by its antiquity and by the iact that the Talmud had already been completed. Though the Jews of that region were among the most, ignorant, as is shown by the silence of the Talmud concerning them, and also by that which was borrowed from them and incorporated

1 See Division H, Section II, Chapter II, Part IV.

2 Baidhawi on Quran II. 91.

3 Vide Pococke Spec. p. 136.

  • A good voucher for the importance to which some Jewish families had

attained might be found in a poem of Hamasa (ed. Freytag p. 49), which is full of the spirit of chivalry and self reliance, if only the evidence that the family referred to was a Jewish one were sufficiently certain. The

j *~ - G3

only thing for it is the name of the author Js^J\ which, as a commen- tator cited by Elgherar remarks, is a Hebrew name ( Js^*J\e^*5\ ^\ J\J ^ ^>j*> n**Sj rs 5 ^** *^) but which might easily have come into uso among the Arabs, Even in the verse U^afii page 52, where the pure and unmixed descent of the family is praised, and where one might expect a mention of its Jewish origin, no such allusion is found.


in the Qurdn, yet very many traditions and pithy sayings survived in the month of the people, which doubtless gave to the Jews an appearance of intellectual superiority in those dark times and regions of ignorance, and so gained for them honour in the sight of others. Thus it came about naturally that Muhammad wanted to learn their views and to include them in his community. It was not only the idea of swelling his society with these numbers of adherents 1 that produced this wish in him, but also the way in which they defended their own cause and their mode of dealing with him. The fact that Muhammad very often came off second best in religious disputes is evident from several sayings, and particularly from 'the following very decided one : " When thou seest those who busy themselves with cavilling at Our signs, depart from them until they busy themselves in some other subject; and if Satan cause thee to forget this precept, 2 do not sit with the ungodly people after recollection." This remarkably strong statement, in which he makes Grod declare it to be a work of the devil to be present at controversies about the truth of his mission, shews how much Muhammad had to fear from argument. Intercourse with the Jews appeared to him to be dangerous for his Muslims also, and he warns them against too frequent communication or too close intimacy with the Jews. 3 He naturally puts this forward on grounds, other than the right ones ; but the real reason for the warning is obviously that Muhammad feared the power of the Jews to shake the faith of others in the religion revealed to him. 4

" An inheritance for the assembly of Jacob." Dent, xxxiii. 4.

_ * G C3 *^ ^ y}f- c j c3

2 MUs^^ eU^-Jii U\ Sura VI. 6*7.

4 Stira LX. 18. Ou this Elpherar remarks :


Most characteristically, and doubtless quite in accordance with the intellectual manner of the Jews, this is shown in a witty and satirical play of question and answer, about which Muhammad complains bitterly, and which often gave him apparent weapons against the Jews, in that he regarded their utterances as bona fide expressions of opinion and not as mere teasing mockeries,

Thus, in order to gain reputation, and also because he was under the impression that, if some (he says ten) of the Jews would join him, all the rest would become his adherents, 1 he made the attempt with some, who either did not have the courage to withstand him, or else did not wish to enter upon a long dispute with him. They either got rid of him with an answer which he could not gainsay, or they mixed up the words which he required from them with others of similar sound, but of different and even contrary meaning. Thus they said to him once : te we can do nothing for our unbelief, for our hearts are uncircumcised." 2 On another occasion they advised him to go to Syria, as the only place where prophetic revelations were possible, accor- ding to the Jewish saying : 3 " Prophecy is not found out side the Holy Land." This is given by some expositors as the cause for the revelation in Sura XVII. 78 4 , but others assign a different reason for the verse. Further the,

" This (was revealed) because some of the poor Muslims instructed the Jews in the doctrine of the Muslims, so that there was unity between them and the former received of the fruits of the latter."

1 Comp. Stnma 445, Fundgruben des Orients, Yol, I. p. 286.

2 Sura II. 82 <Jfe \j)J SQ^ ^ s^y Oomp. Deut. x. 36. " Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart and be no more stiff necked."


  • Jalalu'd-din (Maracci in loco).

" This verse was revealed when the Jews said ; If thou art a Prophet, then go to Syria, for Syria alone is the land of prophets." Bo Elpherar et al.


commentators cheerily relate many anecdotes by way of explaining the reason for certain passages, which appear to the unprejudiced quite in the same light. As the occasion of Quran II. 91, Baidhawi relates the following tale: * " It is said that Omar went once into a school 2 of the Jews and asked them about Gabriel. They replied : ' He is our enemy, he reveals our secrets toMuhammad, he is also the messenger of wrath and punishment ; Michael on the contrary brings us prosperity and plenty/ Then Omar said: 'What is their position with regard to God ?' and the Jews replied : ( G-abriel on His right and Michael on His left, but between these two there is enmity.' But he said : ' God forbid that it should be as you say ; they are not enemies, but you are more unbelieving than the Himyarijb. 3 Whosoever is the enemy of either angel, he is the enemy of God. 3 Then Omar went away and found that Gabriel had preceded him with a revelation, and Muhammad said to him, 'Thy Lord has already agreed with thee, Omar/ "

Although what is here brought forward is to some extent what is really held by the Jews, as e.g. that Gabriel is the messenger of punishment, 4 and although accordingly there is much of truth in this narrative;



3 These are the words referred to above, p. 5,

4 R. Salomo Ben Adereth on Tracfc Baba Bathra 74. 2.



nevertheless even the quoted saying is perverted, for Gabriel is regarded as the messenger of God for the punishment of sinners only, and in another passage of the Talmud l it is actually said of him that he is called the 2 one who stops up, because he stops up the sins of Israel i.e., wipes them away, and therefore he could never be represented to the Israelites as their enemy.

Further, Muhammad's intentional misrepresentation 3 is shown by his changing the order assigned by the Jews to the Angels. The Jews assert that Michael stands at God's right hand and Gabriel on His left. 4 This position is reversed by Muhammad, in order to give the highest rank to Gabriel 5 to whom he attributes all his revelations. This


" Our sages, blessed be their memory, attributed the execution of God's punitive judgments to Gabriel, as, for instance, Gabriel came and over- threw them in the earth (Sanhedrin 19. 1), and Gabriel came to destroy Sodom." Comp. also Sanh. 21. 26. 95, 2. 96. 1 Sanhedrin 44.

3 These words must be taken in the sense explained at the end of the 3rd Section of the 1st Division.

4 Comp. the evening prayer of the Jews.

Also the prayer on the Day of Atonement.

bbatt bkstpE b^-ps bbn$ paja

5 Comp. also Midrash Tanchuma Sect. ttf^T f. 21. c. 2. Venetian Ed. 1545, where it is written inD! bSO^ Pit btZ?H to 1715} b$an

ny. Piy-Ta p T s i a ? wn ^D bw^i. a^rj ^a bp^D bw^s nt'

vai^aa ciba? nfc'!> ^p's ^rj ny. n

" The versa Job, xxv. 2, ' Dominion and fear are with Him,' refers to Michael and Gabriel, in that the former is made out of water, and the latter out of fire ; still they do not hurt each other, because ' He maketh peace in His high places."' Here all the facts which we sought out separately are given briefly. Michael is the milder, Gabriel the more terrible, but they are nevertheless in perpetual harmony.


is in spite of the fact that the other view is so fully in accord with the spirit of the doctrine about angels as accepted by the Jews, according to which the positions " on the right" and " on the left " mean only the decision to adopt either merciful or punitive measures. There can of course be no question of enmity between Gabriel and the Jews, or between Gabriel and Michael, and the speech is nothing but a repartee, which however to Muhammad's thinking- justified him in making an accusation against the Jews. This is even more clearly shown in the following narrative related by a commentator on the words " God is poor " J : " Thus spoke the Jews when they had heard : ( Who is he that will lend unto God a goodly loan ?' Quran II. 246> It is related that Muhammad with Abu Bakrhad written to the Jews of the Banu Qainuqa' calling them to Islam, to faithful observance of prayer, to offer free will offerings and to give God a good loan. Then Phineas the son of Azariah 2 said : ' Then God is poor, that he desires a loan 5 ? Abu Bakr boxed his ears and said : ' If there were not a

1 Baidhawi on Qurdn III. 177.

&T y\ " God is poor."


U &5Vi U

2 Phineas the son of Asai'iah (n">"1t5) *p Dn55)> tte same t the utterance that Eera 13 the son of God (ix. 30) is attributed by some.

" ' Abid ben ' TJmr says : Only one Jew used this expression, and that was Phineas the Bon of Azariah, the same man who said ; God is poor and we are rich." (Elpherar on ix. 30.)


truce between us, I would have broken your neck.' He then took him bound to Muhammad, and Phineas denied having made the speech. Then came this revelation." The same thing is found in another passage 1 : " The Jews say the hand of Grod is tied up." The meaningless character of the sentence shews in itself that the Jews were not in earnest } and. if we take into consideration the occasion of the remark, and the way in which it was made, we shall see clearly the teasing and scoffing tendency of the Jews in their dealings with Muhammad. It was an answer to an expression, which in its simple meaning " To lend to Grod" must have seemed to them ridiculous, and which might easily give rise to the retort, " if Grod now needs money, He must be poor." It was only by a certain amount of distortion and mutilation that Muhammad could twist this speech into an accusation against the Jews. A good story is preserved for us in Sunna 608 which runs as follows : " After the conquest of Khaibar the Jews set a poisoned lamb before Muhammad. When he discovered this, he had them called together, and putting them on oath to tell him the truth, he asked if they had poisoned, the lamb. They confessed, and he then enquired, ' For what reason ? ' -' To rid ourselves of you, if you are a deceiver/ was their reply ; ( for if you are a prophet, poison will do you no harm.' " Who can fail to see in this answer a desire to free themselves from the importunity of Muhammad by biting repartee ?

At other times they changed his words, or used words of double meaning. In the prescribed salutation they said indeed " Ra/ina," 2 but not in the sense intended by Muhammad, viz., " look on us " ; but either in the sense of " count us guilty, or with a play on the Hebrew " ra" in

V. 69, 'tl&i &&T *>.


the sense of the evil one," l So that he was obliged to substitute " andhurna," which also means " look on us." 2 Further instead of hifctat 3 , "forgiveness", they said probably " Khatiat" 4," "Sin." Jalalu'd-din 5 gives ano- ther variation and says that instead of the required word hubbat", love, the Jews said "habbat fi sh'airat" i.e., A grain in an ear of barley." Then they changed the salutation " As-salam 'alaika" 6 i.e., " Peace be upon thee", into " As-sam 'alaika" ? which means " Mischief on thee," 8 and this is the ground of Muhammad's complaint in Surah Iviii. 9. Such occurrences, though they led later to a great hatred on his part towards the Jews, must at first, while he still had a hope of converting them, have induced him to try all possible means to conciliate them ; for they



1 3H ra." Jalalu'd-din says (Maracci in loco) :

&jfiji\ yw <__v* 6&3\ &i> yfc j " And this is among the Jews a word of reproach meaning folly."

3 tijfif Quran II. 98, IV. 48. 49. 3 1L VII, 161, 162, II. 55, 56.

5 Jalalu'd-din (Maracci.)

"habbat "i.e. love.

o a ^a. " habbat fi sh'aicafc " i,e. a grain in an ear of barley, 6

On this Elpherar comments as follows :

The meaning "death" which Elpherar here assigns to the word *\ is quite foreign to it, as is also " contempt", which is more appropriate for f>)*>. The commentators appear, therefore, to have had in mind the Hebrew

word DDj which with fT]&n understood would mean " poison."


were not only important politically, but were also able to hold him up to derision by their intellect and wit, He was anxious therefore to persuade them that his views were on the whole the same as theirs with some few differences.

We have given sufficient reasons for Muhammad's treating the Jews with consideration, and we shall now give proofs that he actually made great efforts to win them over to his way of thinking. Besides the frequent religious controversies already alluded to, there are many passages in the Quran specially addressed to the Jews, in all of which they are admonished in a very friendly way that the Quran would serve as an arbitrator in their own disputes. Not only did he address them with gentleness and consideration, he actually did many things on purpose to. please them. At first simply and solely on account of the Jews the Qibla, or place towards which prayer was to be made, was changed by Muhammad to Jerusalem, from Mecca the spot which the ancient Arabs had always regarded as holy ; and it was only when he recognised the fruitlessness of attempting to conciliate the Israelites that he changed back to the former direction.

The first change is not, it is true, stated in so many words in the Quran, only a complaint about the second alteration is "given, but some commentators maintain that the allusion is to the former change. 1 In disputes between Muslims and Jews he shewed himself at times perhaps too lenient. This is said to have given occasion to some believers to

_ o. . j -. 53-o j -C G .. G_*e3.-^

1 Quraa TI. 136. Vg/J,a us \i (^^i *8'^* M* t*&rj JaMlu'd-din. (Maracci in loco) hag as follows :

fc f*

" After his Flight he ordered his followers to turn to the Temple at

Jerusalem (tzHpSH jT3) 5 this however, which was done to conciliate the Jews, held good for six or seven months only, and then he changed it



refuse to submit to his judgment, of which he complains in Surah IY. 63. In another passage 1 he guards himself against the accusation of giving wrong judgment by saying that he judges only according to the right ; and again in another passage 2 he asks, if they are afraid that God and His apostle will do them wrong, though the commentators relate another event as the occasion for this utterance. He advises his Muslims also to go gently in disputes with the Jews, 3 as e.g. in the following passage : " Dispute not against those who have received the Scriptures, unless in the mildest manner; except against such of them as behave injuriously towards you : and say, ' We believe in the revelation which hath been sent down unto us, and unto you ; our God and your God is one, and unto Him are we resigned' ", 4 A strong proof that Muhammad held the Jews

Surah IV. 106.

" Dispute not for those who deceive one another."

. ->J ...... O G-_ j5) - _ OS ^ j, , CS

9 Surah XXIV. 49. &y>)) (*& t&\ -&*=* Q\ 0jiV&> p\

" Or do they fear lest God and His Apostle act unjustly towards them ?'* 3 Surah XXIX. 45. ^ll\ ^ Jl> JW v^! Jaf\ \}t& 5 J


  • In the opinion of Arabic commentators thia passage is more a proof

of fear of the Jews than a recommendation to mild dealing. Elpherar in a long chain of traditions beginning with LS 4-*U5\ &s>\\ <^c- and ending with E>,fc i\ says : "

" The possessors of the Scriptures (the Jews) read the Law in Hebrew and explained it to the Muslims in Arabic; so Muhammad said: 'Neither agree with, the possessors of the Scriptures, nor call them liars, and say we believe, etc.' " Further, there is another similar narrative first related by AbuSa'id, ^JbVlsll Ji*s4 ^ &&\ ^c .x**^ j>\ bnt which can be traced back to Abu Namlatu'l-Ansari ^la>liS\ dU> f\ , which reads as follows :.


in great respect lies in the fact that in passages enumerating the different creeds *, he mentions the Jews immediately after the Muslims.

In two of these passages he even promises Godfearing Jews absolute equality with Muslims ; and though in the third and last he is not so lenient, and threatens that a distinction between them will be made, yet even in this ^passage it is very plain that precedence over other religious bodies is given to the Jews. In Muslim traditions it is said that the sinful among the Muslims will go into the first, the mildest of the seven hells, 2 the Jews into the second, Christians 3 into the third, and so on. 4

In addition to all this, which produced in Muhammad the wish to adopt much from Judaism into his religious system, we must consider the fantastic development which the

<$JJ\ J_y*> Jl2* SjU 6.X& fj&S Ji. d*^* b JUS

" While he was sitting by Muhammad, a Jew who had jusb passed by a corpse came up and said : ' Muhammad, does this corpse speak ? ' He said : ' Neither agree with the possessors of the Scriptures, nor call them liars, but say : We believe in God, His angels, His word and His Apostles. If what the Jews say is vain, do not confirm them j if it is true, do not give them the lie,' " i.e, preserve a strictly negative attitude, so as on no account to expose yourselves; thus the meaning here seems to be

C3-- -^

almost identical with that of the word \jJy8 2 referred to above.

1 Sarahs II. 59, Y. 73, XXII. 17.


{$i.&\ the Muslims.

""* & i (>S^ the Jews.

2 See Division I. Section II. Chap. i. Part II A,

. ' D'Herbelot in his Bibliotheque orientale (under " Jahoud " page 441,) asserts on the contrary that the Muslims give the Jews a lower place in hell than the Christians, bat this is /probably the opinion of a later age.

4 Pococke notse miscellanse, Cap, 7 p. 289.


Jewish, traditions and history had reached in the mouth of the people, as certain to appeal powerfully to the poetic genius of the prophet ; and so we cannot doubt that, in so far as he had the means to borrow from Judaism, and so long as the Jewish views were not in direct opposition to his own, Muhammad was anxious to incorporate much borrowed from Judaism into his Quran. Whether he had any such means will be discussed in the second section.


Could Muhammad borrow from Judaism ? and if so, how was such borrowing possible for him ?

The possibility of borrowing from Judaism lay for Muhammad, partly in the knowledge which, might be imparted to him by word of mouth through intercourse with the Jews, and partly in personal knowledge of their Scriptures; while allowing him the first source of information, we must deny him the second.

From passages already quoted to which we might add many others we gather that there must hare been great intimacy between Muhammad and the Jews, leading at times even to mutual discussion of views ; but this is still more clearly shown in a passage in the second Sura, 1 where the Jews are represented as double faced, professing belief when they were with him and his followers, and then when they were alone saying : " Will ye acquaint them , with what God has revealed unto you, that they may\ dispute with you ? " This shows that the Muslims learned the Jewish views from conversation_only. We shall speak later of Muhammad's intimacy with f Abdu'lMh ibn Salam, and with Waraka, the cousin of Khadija, who was for some time a Jew, a learned man and acquainted with the Hebrew

1 Sura II. 71. &>



language and scriptures ; * so also was Habib ben Malik, a powerful Arabian prince, 2 who for some time professed the Jewish religion. These all afterwards became followers of the Prophet. Thus Muhammad had ample opportunity ef becoming acquainted with Judaism, That his knowledge thereof was not obtained from the Scriptures is clear, from the matter actually adopted, since there are mistakes, which cannot be regarded as intentional alterations, and which would certainly have been avoided by anyone who had the very slightest acquaintance with the sources. 3 It is evident also from the low level of culture to which Muhammad himself and the Jews of his time and country had attained- The contempt in which the compilers of the Talmud held the Arabian Jews, in spite of their political power, can be attributed only tO'the ignorance of the latter. Though we must not conclude from this that the Jews knew nothing of the Scriptures and, though we hear of schools among them 4 and even of their reading the sacred writings in the original, 5 still we must doubt, if there was any widely diffused critical knowledge of the Scriptures, and we may be quite certain that Muhammad himself possessed nione. Many passages testify to this. First, we may take a passage already quoted, 6 where he says he had formerly no knowledge of reading and writing, and then Sura XLIL 52, ? where he denies any previous acquaintance with " the Book" or the " Faith." Even if these are mere figures of speech to prove the divine character o his mission, still it

1 Vid. Elbecar in Maracc. Prcdomi I. p. 44 3 and WahJ, Einleitnng zur TTebersetffung des Koran XXX,

2 Wahl, Einleitung XXXY,

5 This will be explained in detail later.

  • Comp. the passage quoted above from Baidhawi in the 1st Section,

5 Comp. the passage quoted above from Elpherar in the First Section (foot note). <? Sura XXIX. 47.

? " Thou didst not understand before this what the book of the was, nor what the faith was, etc." (Sale).


Is evident from them that he never enjoyed any reputation for learning, such as would necessarily have been accorded to him, had he really known anything of the Jewish writings, and possessing which knowledge he would have lived in fear of being proved to be an impostor.

The order in which he 'gives the prophets is interesting, for immediately after the patriarchs he places first Jesus, then Job, Jonah, Aaron, Solomon, and last of all David; 1 In another passage 2 the order is still more ridiculous, for here we have David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Zacharias, John, Jesus, Elijah, Ismael, Elisha, Jonah, and Lot ! The incorrect spelling of the names of these prophets, as well as the parts which he assigns to them in history, proves that he had never even looked into the Hebrew S criptures . He actually asserts that before John the Baptist no one had borne the name of John. Had he known anything of Jewish history he would have been aware that, apart from some historically unimportant people of the name mentioned in Chronicles, the father and the son of the celebrated Maccabean high priest, Mattathias, were both called John. This mistake must have been obvious to the Arabic commentators, for they try to give another meaning to the clear and unmistakable words. Muhammad himself was aware of his ignorance, and defends himself very neatly against the possible charge. For instance in two passages- 3 he asserts that Grod said to him : " We have not spoken to thee about all the former prophets, only about some of them, of others we said nothing to thee;" thus cleverly defending himself against the accusation of having over- looked some of the prophets. We have quite enough proofs in these passages, apart from those which will come before us fully in the second part, that Muhammad was singularly ignorant of the Jewish writings, and so we

IV. 16L 2 Qnrn YI. 84 ff.


can afford to give up one thing which is generally brought forward as specially proving our point. This is the fact that in certain passages Muhammad calls himself an " ummiyun" * a word which is usually translated " unlearned " " ignorant." Wahl takes it so, and mentions ife as a proof of Muhammad's ignorance. But this word has here the same meaning that is expressed by it in other passages, viz., belonging to the Arabs. It is used, like the word " jahiliyat," 2 of the Arabs in their former ignorance of Islam, and Muhammad, having risen from among them, thus designates himself 3 without reference to his own individual knowledge. 4 But, as already stated, even without this proof our conclusion holds good, viz., that because of his own ignorance especially, but also on account of that of the Jews around him, Muhammad could

3 fjjlttt Sura III. 148, III. 69.

- .- iviv^a - t w

6 /A*A/;5\ y, mina 1-nmmfyina or ,j<\ mmniytra.

4 The derivation of the word seems to me to support this view, Many different derivations have been suggested, but all are unsatisfactory. Some

ummat, and give B - a -_

as .examples of a similar formation ^# makiyun, and .J&* madaniyun

553- g^

from & makka and Ju. madina (see Ewald's Critical Grammar

of the Arabic language, I. 261. 2) j bufc then they do not explain the connection between the meanings of two words. This becomes clear, however, when we consider the development in the meaning of the similar Rabbinical word lil goi. This word, meaning in the Hebrew " people," later on came to mean a " non-Jew; " because the Jews became conscious that they themselves were a little community among the other inhabitants of the land, who were the "people" proper (compare the

expression Vlty^ ^^' ^ afc ^ rs * ; *^ e ^ us ^ m8 a ^ so m ^st have looked upon themselves as a small community in the midst of the populace,


the &\, each man who was not counted among themselves, being

%te a uas

to them one of the <!U\, or an ( ^*\, and so the word came to be used of all those who did not believe in repealed religion past and present,


attain to no knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures, though on the other hand he had abundant opportunity to study Judaism with its wealth of tradition and legend as it lived in the mouth of the people.

In the first section we have shown that Muhammad had good reasons for incorporating much taken from Judaism in his Quran. By so doing he hoped to strengthen the opinion that he was taught by direct revelation from Grod j he had also a strong wish to win over the Jews to his kingdom of the faithful upon earth, and then, too, the legends and fanciful sayings of the Jews harmonised with his poetic nature. In the second section we have shown that he had abundant opportunities of acquainting himself with Judaism ; and now in the third section, before finally determining that a borrowing from Judaism really took place, we have to consider and answer the question : Would such a borrowing have been consistent with the other views and opinions held by Muhammad ?


Was it compatible with Muhammad's, plan to borrow from Judaism ?

We must consider this question from two sides.

First, it might have appeared to Muhammad as inadvisable to borrow from the system of any other religious body lest he should be accused of want of individuality ; and secondly, there might have been something in the very fact of adopting from Judaism which would militate against his other plans. On closer examination, however, we find that neither was the case. In general he was in favour of borrowing from earlier religions. He desired no peculiarity, no new religion which should oppose all that had gone before ; he sought rather to establish- one founded on the ancient creeds purified from later changes and additions, one which should adopt this or that new idea, and which


should above all things acknowledge him as a divinely commissioned prophet. He let all that was already estab- lished stand good, as is seen from the lists of the prophets quoted above ; and he counts it as a point in favour of his Quran that it is 1 in accord with the earlier writings recognised by him as revelations. Another time he even says that the Quran is similar to the earlier religious writings, that it is only a Repetition of them, i.e., if I am not mistaken in forsaking the general interpretation and translating the passage Sura XXXIX. 24 2 as follows : <f Grod hath sent down the most excellent tidings, 3 a writing like unto others, a repetition." If this is not the meaning, it is incomprehensible how Muhammad could try to prove the superiority of his Quran by pointing to its continual and almost wearisome repetitions. But if his assertion were true, he might gain some advantage by being in accord with earlier revealed writings, and by restoring to their proper position those of them which had been spoiled by additions and perversions, and those which had been too little accounted of. He claims for himself only the same honour which is paid to the other givers of revealed law ; 4 with this distinction however that he, as the last of the

iStira XL VI. 11. CJ

3 On the word ^fa masani which is omitted by Elpherar see below

Second Division, Third Section, First Chapter, First Part.

4 He seems to distinguish between lawgivers and prophets ; for while he gives the names of the latter in utter confusion, he mentions the former in their right order, viz., Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus (Suras XXXIII. 7. X'LII. 11.) Arabic commentators recognise this difference j thus Elpherar on Sura XXXIII. f :

He distinguishes these five viz., the four given above and Muhammad, naming them alone of the prophets, because they were the compilers of writings and laws revealed to them, and were men of strong character .among the apostles.


prophets, is to be considered as the seal of the prophets, 1 and therefore as the most perfect among them, because his- book is so clear 2 that no disputes or misunderstandings can arise about it, and, therefore, no apostle would be needed after himself. Thus it is clear that a borrowing from other religions was quite compatible with Muhammad's general aim. Consideration for his Arab followers, i.e., the fear of being called a mere compiler, a reproach which he did not altogether escape, did not hinder him, from such borrowing, partly, because he believed that he might rely on their ignorance; partly, because he had only to prove the harmony which must necessarily exist between the various revelations of the same Grod. Muhammad maintained that it was all revelation, that he derived nothing from Jew or Christian, but that Grod Himself revealed to him the contents of earlier Scriptures, and the historical facts concerning them. With regard to Judaism in particular Muhammad found no special difficulty. We have already observed that much in it accorded with the Prophet's poetic spirit, and who can now assert that any objection to an agreement with Judaism would have been raised by Muhammad's contemporaries? In those days people had not reached such a pitch of so-called enlightenment, as to consider the followers of one creed only as in the right, and to regard everything belonging to another belief as worthless ; to restrict to Christians the elements common to humanity, and to condemn Judaism as crafty and lifeless. Thus it was possible for Muhammad to lay before the Jews- the points of union between his religion and their own, carefully avoiding the while those points in his doctrine- which would be unacceptable to them. It is clear in itself that he could not adopt the whole o

Sura XXXIII. 40,


Judaism into his system, but parts only and even these he was obliged to alter and rearrange. In bringing the Jews to his opinion he had to be careful not to alienate others j he could not, therefore, adopt from them such points as stood in complete contradiction to the views of other religious bodies ; and so, while he totally excluded some things, he was obliged to elaborate and alter other things with which he could not dispense, in order that they might still more , strengthen his own position. Of this he either became aware himself, or others reproached him with it, so that he was forced to assert 1- that the Quran is not a new invented fiction. He could not maintain with the Jews that their Law was immutable, for that would have been fatal to his system of religious syncretism j nor could he with them expect a Messiah, because if there were another prophet yet to come, he Muhammad could no longer claim to be the seal of the prophets. This last point was carried so far that the Arabs later on confounded the doctrine of a Dajjal, or deceiver, which they had borrowed from the Christians, with the doctrine of the . expected Messiah of the later Jews ; and the saying existed : 2 " The name of Dajjal among the Jews is Messiah the son of David." Much in confirmation of what has been stated above will be brought forward in the Second Section of the Second Division, and also in the Appendix.

While this investigation has for the most part consisted in enquiring into what was, or might well have been, in Muhammad's mind, it is by no means to be imagined that we regard him as a deceiver who deceived intentionally, and with a well-weighed consideration of each step as to whether or no it would help him towards his aim of deluding others. Wahl regards him in this light. On the

Sura XII. iii.

>~>\ Pococke Notsa Miscellanea,

appendix to Porta Mosis, cap. 7, page 260.


contrary, we must guard ourselves carefully against such an opinion, and look upon it as a sign of persistent prejudice and total misunderstanding of the human heart. Muhammad seems rather to have been a-genuine enthusiast, who was himself convinced of his divine mission, and to /whom the union of all religions appeared necessary to the welfare of mankind. He so fully worked himself into this idea in thought, in feeling and in action, that every event seemed to him a divine inspiration. Every thing necessary to the attainment of his aim stood out clearly before him, just because this one idea ruled him'. He could think of nothing but what fitted in with it, could feel nothing but what harmonised with it, could do nothing but what was demanded by it. There is no question here of design, for this one idea so possessed his spirit, heart and will as to become the sole thought of his mind, so that every thing which entered his mind was shaped by this idea. Of course, in the most fanatical minds there are occasional lucid intervals, and during these Muhammad certainly deceived himself and others ; it is also undeniable that at times ambition and love of power were the incentives to his actions, but even so the harsh judgment generally passed upon him is unjustifiable.

We may say, as a result of this investigation, that it would be very remarkable if there were not much to be found in the Quran which is clearly in harmony with Judaism. It is evident that Muhammad sought to gain the Jews to his side, and this could best be done by approximating to their religious views ; it is also evident that he had ample means of acquainting himself with these views ; and lastly, that other considerations favoured rather than hindered such a borrowing from Judaism. And now the chief work remains to be done, and that is, to demonstrate by careful reference to the Quran that borrowing from Judaism has actually taken place.



Did Muhammad borrow from Judaism ? If so, what did he "borrow ?

Before we pass to the consideration of individual pas- sages as instances of borrowing from Judaism, we must show some general historical grounds for the opinion that a borrowing from that source has taken place ; and thus this division falls again into two sections, a general and a particular.

FIEST SECTION. Did Muhammad lorrow from Judaism ?

For the answer to this question we are thrown back entirely on the Quran, * as we have no other literature

1- The following story, is related by Kazuin (Poo. Spec. p. 309):


" It is said that when the Apostle of God came to Madina, he found the Jews fasting on 'Ashura. He asked them their reason for so doing, and they answered : ' Because on this day Pharaoh and his people were drowned, but Moses and his followers were saved ' ; on which Muhammad said : ' I stand in closer connection with Moses than they do ', and then he commanded the fast day 'Ashura. The cause of the institution of the fast day 'Ashura, which like ""l'W?} the tenth day of the seventh month, (Leviticus XXIII, 27) clearly means the day of atonement, is very uncertain. Elpherar is not more exact, for he assigns an equally erroneous cause. On Sura XI. 4-6 he says :

" And they went out (of the ark) on the day 'Ashura, and Noah fasted and commanded all with him to fast out of gratitude to God." In any case, however, the important fact remains, that Muhammad adopted one of the fast days of the Jews, which was afterwards abolished like the Jewish Qibla. See also D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, nnder the word Aschour, page 127.


of the same date which treats of the matter in question. Still there are plenty of passages there preserved to us, which, in a general way sufficiently prove our point ; and indeed they all contain either the blame expressed by Muhammad's contemporaries at his borrowing from Judaism, or else an appeal from him to the Jews, as witnesses of the truth of his assertions, He complains bitterly in many passages that the Arabs said his words were not original, 1 and even called them antiquated lies. 2 Sometimes they said still more definitely that a certain man taught him, 3 and the addition of the words : 4 " The tongue of the person unto whom they incline is a foreign tongue, but this is the perspicuous Arabic tongue," shows plainly that this man was a Jew. Commentators take this view, and indeed think that it was ' Abdullah Ibn Salam, a learned Rabbi, with whom Muhammad was in constant and close intercourse, and who is frequently mentioned in the commentaries. 5 Another rather more general statement is as follows : 6 " Other people have assisted him therein; 3 ' on which Elpherar remarks 7 : " Mujahid says, by this he means the Jews." Could any one desire a clearer historical witness than this accusation, which was so often brought against Muhammad,

Comp. Suras YIII. 31, XVI. 26, XXIII. 85, XXV. 6, XXVII.'W, XL VI. 16, LXVIII. 15,LXXXIII. 13.


8 * jJ ci\ Sura XLVI. 10. ' a

\ Sura XVI. 105.


_, a - , - - a ~c& c- _ j c,j * ~

6 Abulfeda annales Moslemitioi I. 283.

SSdraXXV.5. ^"~ & " ^' J '"'


and which appeared to him so important that he constantly referred to it in the hope of refuting the charge ? He himself confesses, however, that much related by him is to be found in the earlier Scriptures. To the embarrassing question, as to why he never worked a miracle, he constantly answered that he who was called to be a preacher only, not a wonder-worker, had yet told them plainly of the miracles which are mentioned in the earlier writings, l and which the learned Jews knew well. 2 They could testify to the truth of these narratives, 3 and among them one man 4 especially, the aforesaid ' Abdu'llah Ibn Salam, 5 to whom the laudatory passage in Sura III. 68 is said to refer, Not only were they to corroborate his words to others, but also to remove any doubt from Muhammad's own mind, as to the truth of his Mission. Thus we have in one place the injunction given to him : 6 "If thou art in doubt concerning that which we have sent down unto thee,

1 Suras XX. 133. , Jfl\ JWJ\ , j XXVI. 196. t ,

2 Sura XXVI. 197.

On which Elpherar : . !L ^ <lS\ J**c ***. \Jli" ^SsC ^\ Jlj

3 Sura XVII. 103. Jfjp ^> jC'S


5 Elpherar in the name of several commentators, says :

A^s j;\_*o A

& (^*\

"This is , who testified to the prophetic mission of

Mnhamtnad, the chosen one, and believed in him ; but the Jews were arrogant and would not believe in him."

Cf _ji^G.- ^ o^o SG-o _ C O^Cf S3 ut O C

6 Sura X. 94. V^ Qy% e?.^^ J UU ^^ ^j 5 ^ l^ c=U ^ t^/ y\i

. >_- a - a

- C- O


ask them who have read the "book "before thee." 7 If he then, however cunningly, acknowledges the Jews as to a certain extent witnesses to his revelations, we are justified in expressing our opinion, that Judaism was one source of the utterances in the Quran, and in this certainty we may proceed at once to discuss the actually borrowed passages.

SECOND SECTION. What did Muhammad borrow from Judaism ?

In the case of any single instance o! borrowing, the proof that the passage is really of Jewish origin must rest on two grounds. First, it must be shown to exist in Judaism, and to prove this we have every facility. Secondly, in order to attain to certainty we must prove that it is really borrowed, i.e. } that it is not founded on anything in old Arabian tradition, which Muhammad used largely as a foundation though he disputed some points. Then again we must shew that it had its origin in Judaism and not in Christianity. For the complete discussion of the last two points it would be necessary to write two treatises similar to the one on which I am now engaged, of which the respective subjects would be (1) the points of contact between Islam and the ancient tradition of the Arabs, and (2) the points of contact between Islam and Christianity ; and only in this way could certainty on these points be attained. But these investigations would, on the one hand, lead us too far away from our particular subject,


7 On this Elpherar says : ............... JL.U

" By that which we have sent down to thee, the Quran is meant; those who have read before thee may instruct thee, that thon art foretold in the Law which they have ; " and again ; ^A*^ J^ ($* ("\ I** ,yi*> &W*\ j |!L> y) iU\ tU* " He means the believers among the possessors pf the Scriptures, e.g., 'Abdu'llah ben Salam and his fellows."


and, on the other, they would require a much more exact treatment than could be given while handling our main subject. Then, too, they are made unnecessary by the means which we use in each individual case, and which will be shown in the different divisions of the work ; so that on most points we can without them attain to a high degree of probability, practically sufficient for all scientific purposes. For the sake of clearness, it may be well to divide the material borrowed from Judaism into thoughts belonging to it, and narratives taken from' it, and later we shall have to subdivide again.


Thoughts belonging to Judaism which have passed over into the Quran ?

The new thoughts borrowed by one religion from another are of a twofold nature. Either they are radically new, there being hitherto in the borrowing religion not even a foreshadowing of them, so that the very conceptions are new, and require accordingly new words for their expression ; or else the component parts of these thoughts have long been in existence but not in this combination, the form in which these conceptions are blended being a novel one, and the view, therefore, which arises from this unusual presentation being new. We must therefore divide this chapter according to these distinctions.


First Part.

Conceptions borrowed from Judaism ? As the ushering in of hitherto unknown religious con- ceptions is always marked by the introduction of new words for their expression, and as the Jews in Arabia,


even when able to speak Arabic, kept to the Rabbinical Hebrew names for their religious conceptions ; so words which from their derivation are shown to be not Arabic but Hebrew, or better still Rabbinic, must be held to prove the Jewish origin of the conceptions expressed. The passage already quoted about the foreign language spoken by those who were accused of helping Muhammad in writing the Quran seems to point to the use among the Jews of a language other than Arabic. The object of this chapter is to enumerate the words which have passed from Rabbinical Hebrew into the Quran, and so into the Arabic language.

Tablet, ! Ark. The termination fit is a fairly certain evidence that the word is not of Arabic but of Rabbinical Hebrew origin ; 2 for this dialect of Hebrew has adopted in the place of other endings this termination, which is very common also in Ghaldaic and Syriac ; and I venture to assert that no pure Arabic word ends in this way. 3 Our word appears in two different passages with two different meanings : first, where the mother of Moses is told to put her son into an ark, 4 the signification being here purely Hebrew ; but from this it arose that the ark of the covenant 5 was also called by this name. It is used thus especially 6 in the sense of coming before the ark in prayer. In the second Sura 7 we find it mentioned as a sign of the

2 Rabbinical Hebrew

3 Oomp. w*\ and

4 Sura XX. 39. Comp. ^2 rQfl Ex. II. 3.

5 p-1^ in the Bible. 6

^S?b. "HI? Comp. Mishna Berachoth V. 4.

The Arabians sometimes use &i*J\ *-. also in the meaning of "ark of the covenant" (D'Herbelot Bibliotheqne Orientate under " Aschmouil.")


rightful ruler that through him the ark of the covenant * should return. 2

Taurtit, the Law. 3 This word like the Greek equivalent in the New Testament is used only for the .Jewish revelation; and although Muhammad, having only oral tradition, was not able to distinguish so exactly, yet it is obvious that he comprehended the Pentateuch alone under . this name;* for among the Jewish prophets after the patriarchs he counts Moses alone as a lawgiver. For the most part the Law is mentioned in connection with the Gospel. 5

Jannatu 'Adn, Paradise. 6 The word "*Adn" is not

1 Sura II. 249.

3 The masculine gender here given to this word, as indicated by the fact that &/j refers to it, would appear strange, were it not that perhaps,

a j the old word l1")H was in mind ; and the termination "^J being foreign

to Arabic is in that language no sure indication of gender.

3 o

4 Later Arabians maintained just the opposite. Ahmad ben 'Abdu'l- Halim (Maracc. Prod. I. p. 5.) says :

Ifltf s-aS3\ u~& ** ^j ** Rjj&\ ts* U\ Jj-j &-

" If one says : Instruct me about the allusions to the Apostle of God in the Torah, one understands by that expression all revealed scriptures, since they are all called Torah; and further:

"It is acknowledged that by the word Torah are meant revealed writings, particularly those which the possessors of the scriptures (Jews and Christians) alike read ; therefore it includes the Psalms, the prophecy of Isaiah and other prophecies, but not the Gospel."

However this does not alter the conviction which we have already expressed.

. j OCB

5 JA^S\ Comp. Suras III. 2, 43, 58, 86, V. 70, VII. 157, IX. 112,

LXL 6, LXII. 5.


known in the Arabic language in the sense of pleasure or happiness, but this is the meaning which suits the word in this connection. 1 In Hebrew this is the radical meaning ; still this expression, viz., Garden of Eden, which occurs often in the Bible, is never to be explained out and out as Paradise ; but rather Eden 2 is there the proper name of a region which was inhabited by our first parents in their innocence, and the part in which they actually lived was a garden of trees. It is only natural that this earthly region of the golden age should by degrees have come to be regarded as Paradise, in that the word itself 3 no longer stands for the name of a place but is applied to a state of bliss ; 4 though the Jews still held to Eden as a locality also. It is clear from the translation " gardens of pleasure " that the Jews of that time not merely transferred the name Eden into Arabic, but carried over its supposed etymology as well. The more distinctively Christian name 5 occurs seldom in the Quran, though it also is not quite

1 The Arabic commentators give widely different meanings to the word,

but they know nothing of that given by us just because it is foreign to the

o, Arabic language. Elpherar seems to decide for the view that SUu\

5 O_

as well as 0^c, means permanence, as the pious will remain there for ever.


4 Muhammad uses it thus in Suras IX. 73, XIII. 23, XVI 33 XVIII. 30, XIX. 62, XX. 78, XXXV. 30, XXXVIII. 50, XL. 8, LXI. 12J and in other places he translates it A**Ji yU^. e. g, V. 70, X. 9 XXII. 55, XXXI. 7, XXXVII. 42, LXVI1I. 34. Sometimes also he uses it in the singular p*x$ 14 XXVI. 85; and even without the article,

LVI. 88, LXX. 38.

-> j -

5 >jrtjOj6)\ i>uts. E


strange to later Judaism, as is shown by tlio story of the four who went alive to Paradise. 1

Jahannam, Hell. 2 This word also, like its opposite Paradise, is of Jewish origin. According to its primary meaning and Biblical usage it too is the name of a place, though of a locality far less important than that which gave its name to Paradise. The vale of Hinnom. was nothing more than a spot dedicated to idol worship ; and it is remarkable that the horror of idolatry led to the use of its name to designate hell. That this is the ordinary name for it in the Talmud needs -no proof, and from it is derived the New Testament name Gehenna. Now, it might be asserted that Muhammad got this word from the Christians ; but, even setting aside the argument that, as the name for Paradise is Jewish the probabilities are in favour of a Jewish origin for the word for hell also, the form of the word itself speaks for its derivation from Judaism. We lay no stress on the fact that the aspirate he, which is not expressed in the Greek, reappears in the Arabic, because this aspirate though not always indicated by grammarians in writing, appears to have been always sounded in speech. This holds good of other Greek words which have passed into Syriac. 3 The letter mim which stands at the end of the Arabic (Jahannam), not being found in the Syriac word, proves the derivation from the

1 DT]S Paradise, Chagiga fol. 14. Compare Sura, XVIII. 107. XXIII. 11.

Among many wrong explanations Elpnerar gives the following correct one : ,J>\

" Mujahid says it means a garden in Greek, and Zajdj says it has passed iato Arabic."

3 E.g. <TWoSo9, i.e., Sunhadus and especially <yeVVd } which is pronounced in Syriac, as Gihano.


Hebrew word, (Gehinnom) . The word is found in many places in the Quran. 1

Ahba-r 2 . This word is found in several places in the Qur&n in the sense of teacher. Now the real Hebrew word 3 " habher, " companion, has acquired in the Mishna a meaning similar to that of " parish ; " 4 only that the latter was the name of a sect, and the former the name of a party within a sect. The word p&rush means, properly speaking, one separated, i.e., one who withdraws himself out of motives of piety, a Pharisee, as distinguished from one who grasps without scruple all the pleasures of this life, a Sadducee. Among those who were thus separated there grew up a difference from others not only in social customs, but especially in that they adopted a different doctrinal view, viz., a belief in oral tradition. They had also some very strict principles for the guidance of their lives. But the matter was no longer merely one of great carefulness in life and conduct, it became one of special learning and knowledge, which naturally could not be imparted in equal measure to all members of this sect. Hence these learned men, each of whom possessed some special knowledge, became greatly reverenced ; and in this way again a community was formed in contra-distinction to which the remaining people of the country were called the laity. 5 The individual members of this community however were called habherim, 6 " fellows;" and thus, though the meaning f teacher 7 is not, properly speaking, in the

Suras II. 201, III. 10, 196, IV. 58, 95, 99, 115, 120, etc.

enrin. v. 48, 68, ix. 31, M.

3 "i3p



from Xao?,


word itself , yet the peculiar development o this com- munity is the cause of the new meaning of the word.

The excessive veneration paid to these " fellows " by the Jews gives rise to Muhammad's reproof in the two passages- last alluded to. He reproaches the Christians too in both places l on account of the esteem in which they held the ruhbdn. This word ruhban is probably not derived from rahiba, 2 to fear (thus god-fearing) ; but, like qissisun 3 the word which accompanies it in Sura Y. 85, is to be derived from the Syriac, which language maintained its preeminence among the Christians in those regions ; thus ruhban is derived from the Syriac word rabhoye, and qissistin from the Syriac qashishoye.

So then ruhban does not really mean the ordinary monks, who are called daire, but the clergy; whereas qissis stands for the presbyter, the elder, who is called qashisho in Syriac.

Daras 4 =to reach the deep meaning of the Scripture by exact and careful research. Such a diligent enquiry is mentioned in several passages. 5 But this kind of interpretation, which is not content to accept the obvious and generally accepted meaning of a passage, but which seeks out remote allusions this (though it may bring much of importance and value to light, if used with tact and knowledge of the limits of the profitable in such study)

1 Sura IX. 31. 34, /X>) ruhban.

5 Sui-as III. 73, XXXIV. 43, LXVIH, 37, VII. 168. On the last passage Elpherar says ; ^^\ A*> Jiy fi^A> $ t$\ji \~Ax&\ y*)0_j


The (jjj of a writing means, to read it and arrange it over and over again.


is very apt to degenerate and to "become a mere laying of stress on the unimportant, a searching for meanings where there are none, and for allusions which are. purely accidental. And so the word acquired a secondary mean- ing, viz., to trifle, to invent a meaning and force it into a passage. Compare the standing expression ! current among many who seek 2 the simple primary meaning. The word in this usage occurs in the Quran, particularly in the mouth of Muhammad's opponents ; though until now this fact has not been recognised. The obviously misunder- stood passage in Sura VI. 105 3 is thus explained, also that in VI. 157. 4 The former may be thus translated : " And when we variously explain our signs, they may say if they like : Thy explanations are far fetched, we will expound it to people of understanding " ; and the latter as follows : " Eest ye should say : the Scriptures were only sent down unto two peoples before us, but we turn away from their system of forced explanation" ; i.e., they have left the Scriptures to us so overlaid and distorted that we cannot follow them. It is remarkable that this word, which is not a usual one in the Quran, appears in this sense only in the sixth Sura where it occurs twice ; and this is evidence that just at the time of the composition of this Sura the word in its secondary meaning was used by some persons as a reproach to Muhammad. This observation furthermore^ might well serve to indicate the unity of this Sura. Rabbdni 5 teacher. This Rabbinical word is probably


formed by the addition of the suffix an * (like mi) to the word " rab, " thus, our lord or teacher. For though the termination "an" is common in later ,Hebrew, 2 yet the weaker word "rabbi " shows that people did not hesitate to append a suffix to the word rab, and then to treat the whole as a new word. However that may be, rabban is a word of itself now, and is only conferred as a title on the most distinguished teachers. The Eabbinical rule runs thus 3 ' ' Greater than rabbi is rabban. " It appears as a title of honour in Suras III. 73, V. 48, 68. Rabbani is evidently a word of narrower meaning than the word ahbar explained above ; and this explains why rabbani is put before ahbar in the two passages last mentioned, where they both appear, and also the striking omission of our word in the other two places where ahb&r occurs, and where Muhammad finds fault with the divine reverence paid to teachers, describing them with the more general word. The case is the same with qissis and ruhban. Both classes are mentioned with praise in Snra V. 85, and with blame in Sura IX. 31, 34, the latter class however only in connection with, ahba>, in that ruhban (like ahbar) is of wider meaning : and further, on account of the combina- .tion in one passage of two different classes among the Jews and Christians, viz., the ahbar and .the ruhban, (Cf. other similar combinations) no special differentiation was to be attempted.

Sabt 4 day of rest, Saturday. This name continued to be applied to Saturday throughout the Bast by Christians as well as Muslims, though it had ceased to be a day of

1 Suffix ] like sfo

e 8 Suffix } Syriac, ono, Arabic ()>



rest. ! In one place 2 Muhammad seems rather to protest against its being kept holy. The well-known Ben Ezra remarks on this in his commentary on Exodus xvi, I, 3 where he says : " In Arabic five days are named according to number, first day, second day, etc. But the sixth day is called the day of assembly, 4 for it is the holy day o the week ; the Sabbath however is called by the Arabs salt, because the Shin 5 and the Samech, (i.e., the Arabic sin which is pronounced like the Hebrew Samech) interchange in their writings. They have taken the word from Israel." Sakinat 6 the Presence of (rod. In the development of Judaism in order to guard against forming too human an idea of the Godhead, it was customary to attribute the speaking of God, when it is mentioned in the Scripture, to a personified word of (rod,? as it were embodying that emanation from the Deity which came in Christianity to a veritable Incarnation. In like manner also when in the Scriptures the remaining stationary, or the resting of God is mentioned, something sensible proceeding from Him is to be thought of. This is especially so in the case of God's dwelling in the Temple ; 8 and this ' emanation of the

1 Stow II. 01, VII. 163. a Sura XVI, 125.

3 ofy ->st?En ijtn

5an o'vn snb s

5 BJ Shin,


^0705 TOW

i EX, xxv. 8, of . rent, xxxin. 12, ie.


Godhead 3 to adopt the speech of the Gnostics, was called on this account the Shekinah, the resting. From this derivation Shekinah came to be the word for that side of Divine Providence which, as it were, dwells among men and exerts an unseen influence among them. In the original meaning, viz. that of the Presence in the Temple over the Ark of the Covenant between the Cherubim, 1 the word is found in Snra II. 249. In the sense of active interposition and visible effectual rendering of aid it occurs in Sura IX. 26, 40 ; 2 in the sense of supplying peace of mind and at the same time giving spiritual aid it is found in Sura XLYIII. 4, 18, 26.3 It is remarkable that the word appears in three Snras only, (but several times in the two last mentioned,) and with a somewhat different meaning in each ; and it seems here again, as we remarked above on the word damsa, as though outside influence had been at work, i.e., that the use of this word by other people seems to have influenced Muhammad at the time of the composition of these Suras.

Tdghtit 4 error. Though this mild word for idolatry is

1 Ex. XXY. 22,

2 Arabic commentators do not seem willing to recognise this mean- ing. Elpherar on Sura IX. 26 says the word means &uUi>J\j security and rest ; and on Sura XL VIII. 4 he says distinctly ;

" Ben 'Abbas says this word Satinat in the Quran always means rest except in the second Sura." But even if &u}li> does mean inward peace of mind, still the meaning of outward security need not be excluded,

3 Elpherar uses the expression jVSj5\ j &u>U!aS \ to explain verse 4, and U J\ . &i*5USa5\ to explain verse 18. In the same way D'Herbelot (Biblio- 'theque Orientals under Thalout, page 862) gives in the name of the commentators the explanation j*\^\ yt&^S i.e., tranquillity of the


FURQA.N. - - 41

not found in the Rabbinical Writings, 1 still the Jews in Arabia seem to have used it to denote the worship of false gods, for it appears in the Qurdn 2 in this sense. 3

Furqdn, 4 : deliverance, 5 redemption. This is a very important word, and it is one which in my opinion has till now been quite misunderstood. In the primary meaning it occurs in the 8th Sura : " true believers t if ye fear God, He will grant you a deliverance 6 and will expiate your sins, etc." Elpherar gives five different explanations to this verse, each as unsuitable as "Wahl's translation, and the passage seems to me truly classical for the primary meaning of the word. This meaning appears also in Sura VIII. 42, where the day of the Victory of Badr is called the day of deliverance, 7 and in Sura II. 181 where this name is given to the month Ramadhan as the month of redemption and deliverance from sin. Muhammad entirely diverging from Jewish ideas, intended to establish his religion as that of the world in general; further he condemned the earlier times altogether calling them times of ignorance. 8 He declared his creed to have been revealed through Grod's Apostles from the earliest times, and to have been only renewed and put into a clearer and

1 It is to be observed however that the Targums frequently use this word in the plural NH^*:? ^ the idols themselves, but not for idolatry. 8 Sdras II. 257, 259, IT. 63, XVI. 38, XXXIX. 19. 3 M\*$ as Elpherar explains it, . 5 jo;

4 0V 1ICT 1 ? ;

  • Ibn Said according to Elpherar explains this word as follows :

" Furqan is help against the enemy." Sura XXI. 49. 6 Sura VIII. 29. Gtfji



more convincing form by himself. Hence the condition of any one outside his belief must have seemed to him a sinful one, and the divine revelation granted to himself and his predecessors appeared to him in the light of deliverance from that sinful life which could only lead to punishment ; and therefore he calls revelation itself in many places Furqdn, as in many he calls it rahmat, * mercy. In some passages he applies the term to the Quran, 2 and in others to the Mosaic revelation. 3

In this way all the passages fit in under the primary signification of the word, and there is no need to guess at a different meaning for each.

Md< un, 4 refuge. This word bears a very foreign impress, and is explained by the Arabic Commentators in a variety of ways. Golius following them, forces the most diverse meanings into it. It appears in Sura CVII. 7, and seems to me to mean a refuge ".they refuse refuge," i.e., they give no shelter to those asking for help. Later on the word seems to have been regarded as derived from ' ana 5 (certainly not from ma'ana to which Grolius refers it), and thence it acquired the meaning of support, alms.

Masdni, 6 repetition. There has been much perplexity about'this word, mainly because it has been considered as an Arabic word and has not been traced back to its source. As by degrees other teaching viz., tradition, 7 grew up by the side of that contained in Holy Writ, the whole law

2 Suras III. 2, XXV. title and verse 1,

3 Suraa II. 50, XXI, 49.

JOj _ 4 Mi

e ^j\u, nsiiJD

1 , o-(,m

1 Compare under .l^*>\

MASiNI. 43

was divided into two parts, l the written teaching, that is the Bible, and the teaching by word of mouth or tradition. To occupy oneself with the former was called " to read ;" 2 to occupy oneself with the latter was called "to say." 3 In the Chaldaic Gremara the latter word means to speak after, to repeat the teacher's words after him. In like manner the word tinnah 4 was used almost exclusively of choral music, in which the choir repeated verses after the precentor. Thus teaching by word of mouth was called mishnah, 5 and so also the collection of oral teaching the whole tradition ; and afterwards when this was all written down the book received the same name. Now, however, an etymological error crept in and derived this word from shanah in its true Hebrew meaning " to repeat," and then applied it to the repetition of the written teaching. 6 The error of this explanation is shown both in the use of the word and in its inflection. 7 Still it seems to have been accepted by the Roman Jews, and thus it came about that in Justinian's Novels the Eishna is called secunda editio. 8 The same thing happened in the case of the Arabian Jews, and so we get our word masani. Muhammad putting his book in the place of the whole Jewish teaching calls it not only Quran (miqra) but also masani. 9

nnin and ns

tt connected with the poetic nSJfi and the Syriac tano.



7 fi3$a in construct, not



9 Suras XV. 87, XXXIX. 24.

The Arabian commentators on Sura XV. 87 differ much in their explanation of this word, but one among them gives what seems to us


Malaktit, l government. This word is used only of God's rule, in which connexion it invariably appears also in Kabbinical writings. 2 It occurs in several passages in the Quran. 3 From this narrow use of the word, and from a false derivation from mala,k or malak 4 (a word which comes from quite a different root, and which in Arabic has only the meaning of a messenger of God) it came to be used for the realm of spirits. 5

These- fourteen words, which are clearly derived from the later, or Eabbinical Hebrew, shew what very important religious conceptions passed from Judaism into Islam, namely, the idea of the Divine guidance, saki'nat, malakut j 6

the true meaning. Elpherar has : ^^ \ ^\^\ y*jUaS\ Jtfj " Tavua

says the whole Quran is called Masani." At the same time also a

reference is made to the other passage cited by us, viz., Sura XXXIX. 24.

The word \** in Sura XV. 87, seems to me to mean either that this

Sura was really the seventh (the order of the Suras was afterwards much

changed, and we may safely assert that Sura II is of later date than those

oc- a(,j s

following it), or else g* bears the meaning *> and *-> the

seventh part, as fifteen Suras make up about one-seventh of the Qur&n. Elpherar omita the word ^U* in the latter passage, a fact not satis- factorily accounted for by the supposition that he relied on an earlier explanation, for the Arabic writers always give the unexplained passages in full in their commentaries 5 and thus it seems that this word must have been altogether missing from Elpherar's text.

8 D^tj? fVOyC) j) $a(7iXeia TWV ovpav&v. 3 Sura VI. 75, VII. 184, XXIII. 90, XXXVI. 83.


5 Compare the words uyjXU3\ ^lc in Professor Freitag's work, Fakiha Elcholafa 85. 3.

O C & >*

6 &u~, wj&* God's guiding Presence.

6 - C j --



Judgment after death.


of revelation, furqan, masani; of judgment after death, jannatu ' adn and jahannam, besides others which will be brought forward as peculiar to Judaism.

Second Part. Views borrowed from Judaism.

While in the foregoing section we were content to consider it certain that a conception was derived from Judaism, if the word expressing that conception could be shown to be of Jewish origin, we must now pass on from this method of judging and adopt a new test. We must prove first in detail that the idea in question springs from a Jewish root ; then to attain to greater certainty we must further shew that the idea is in harmony with the spirit of Judaism, that apart from Judaism the conception would lose in importance and value, that it is in fact only an off- shoot of a great tree. To this argument may be added the opposition, alluded to in the Quran itself, which this foreign graft met with from both Arabs and Christians. For the better arrangement of these views we must divide them into three groups : A. Matters of Creed or Doctrinal views, J5. Moral and legal rules, and 0. Views of Life.

A.. Doctrinal Views.

We must here set a distinct limit for ourselves, in order on the one hand that we may not drift away into an endless undertaking and attempt to expound the whole Qur&n ; and on the other that we may not go off into another subject altogether and try to set forth the theology of the Qurdn ; an undertaking which was begun with considerable success in the Tubingen Zeitschrift fur Evang. Theol. 1831, 3tes Heft. Furthermore, certain general points of belief are so common to all mankind that the existence of any one of them in one religion must not be considered as


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