===Persian or Syrian Aramaic words===
:See [[Islamic Terms borrowed from Judaism]]
A few other Jewish matters. - In the Qur'an are a number of Chaldaean and Syrian words which the Islamic tradition has been unable rightly to explain, as
==Second Revision==
When Muhammad appeared as a prophet, although the Arabs had many religious ideas and practices in which they were agreed, they possessed no volume which could pretend to contain a Divine revelation, and to which Muhammad could appeal when he claimed to be commissioned to lead them back to the purer faith of their fathers. Yet in Arabia there dwelt certain communities which possessed what they regarded as inspired books, and it was natural that Muhammad and his followers should therefore feel no little interest in and respect for the ideas and rites of these different religious sects. The title "People of the Book," given more especially perhaps to the Jews, but also to the Christians, in the Qur'an is an evidence of this. The four communities who then possessed book-religions in Arabia were the Jews, the Christians, the Magians or Zoroastrians, and the Sabians. These are all mentioned together in Surah XXII., Al [[Hajj]], 17. We shall see that each of these exercised a considerable influence over nascent Islam, but that of the Sabians was by no means the slightest. Hence we begin by stating what is known of these sectaries, who are mentioned again in Surah II., Al Baqarah, 59.
Our knowledge of the Sabians is slight, but sufficient for our purpose. An early Arabic writer, Abu ‘Isa'l Maghribi, is quoted by Abu'l Fida as giving the following account of them. "The Syrians are the most ancient of nations, and Adam and his sons spoke their language. Their religious community is that of the Sabians, and they relate that they received their religion from Seth and Idris (Enoch). They have a book which they ascribe to Seth, and they style it ‘The Book of Seth.’ In it good ethical precepts are recorded, such as enjoin truth-speaking and courage and giving protection to the stranger and such like: and evil practices are mentioned and command given to abstain from them. The Sabians had certain religious rites, among which are seven fixed times of prayer, ''five of which correspond with that of the Muslims''. The sixth is the prayer at dawn, and the seventh a prayer, the time for which is at the end of the sixth hour of the night. Their prayer, like that of Muslims, is one which requires real earnestness and that the worshiper should not let his attention wander to anything else when offering it. They prayed over the dead without either bowing down or prostration, and fasted thirty days; and if the month of the new moon were a short one, then they kept the fast for twenty-nine days. In connexion with their fast they observed the festivals of ''Fitr''" (breaking the fast at the end of the month) "and ''Hilal''" (new moon), "in such a way that the festival of ''Fitr'' occurred when the sun entered Aries. And they used to fast from the fourth quarter of the night until the setting of the disk of the sun. And they had festivals at the time of the descending of the five planets to the mansions of their dignity. The five planets are Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury. And they used to honour the House of Mecca" (the Ka'bah)<ref>Abu'l Fida, ''At Tawarikhu'l Qadimah'' (''Hist. Ante-Islamica''), p. 148.</ref>.
We now turn to the Jews from whom Muhammad borrowed so very much that his religion might almost be described as a heretical form of later Judaism. In Muhammad's time the Jews were not only very numerous but also very powerful in various parts of Arabia. No doubt many of them had settled in that country at different times, when fleeing from the various conquerors — Nebuchadnezzar, the successors of Alexander the Great, Pompey. Titus, Hadrian, and others — who had overrun and desolated Palestine. They were especially numerous in the neighbourhood of Medina, which city they at one time held by the sword. In Muhammad's time the three large Jewish tribes called Banu Quraidhah, Banu Nadhir, and Banu Qainuqa', settled in the neighbourhood of Medina, were so powerful that Muhammad, not long after his arrival there in A.D. 622, made an offensive and defensive alliance with them. Other Jewish settlements were to be found in the neighbourhood of Khaibar and the Wadi u'l Qura' and on the shores of the Gulf of 'Aqabah. The fact that the Jews possessed inspired books and were undoubtedly descended from Abraham, whom the Quraish and other tribes claimed as their ancestor also, gave the Israelites great weight and influence. Native legends would naturally therefore undergo a process of assimilation with the history and traditions of the Jews. By<ref>Sir W. Muir, ''Life of Mahomet'', 3rd ed., Introd., pp. xcii, xciii.</ref> a summary adjustment, the story of Palestine became the story of the Hijaz. The precincts of the Ka'bah were hallowed as the scene of Hagar's distress, and the sacred well Zamzam as the source of her relief. The pilgrims hastened to and fro between [[Safa and Marwa ]] in memory of her hurried steps in search of water. It was Abraham and Ishmael who built the temple, imbedded in it the Black Stone, and established for all Arabia the pilgrimage to 'Arafat. In imitation of him it was that stones were flung by the pilgrims as if at Satan, and sacrifices offered at Mina in remembrance of the vicarious sacrifice by Abraham. And so, although the indigenous rites may have been little, if at all, altered by the adoption of Israelitish legends, they came to be received in a totally different light, and to be connected in Arab imagination with something of the sanctity of Abraham the Friend of God<ref>Surah IV., An Nisa, 124.</ref> ... It was upon this common ground Muhammad took his stand, and proclaimed to his people a new and a spiritual system, in accents to which the whole Peninsula could respond. The rites of the Ka'bah were retained, but, stripped of all idolatrous tendency, they still hang, a strange unmeaning shroud, around the living theism of Islam.
"Familiarity with the Abrahamic races also introduced the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection from the dead; but these were held with many fantastic ideas of Arabian growth. Revenge pictured the murdered soul as a bird chirping for retribution against the murderer; and a camel was sometimes left to starve at the grave of his master, that he might be ready at the resurrection again to carry him. A vast variety of Biblical language was also in common use, or at least sufficiently in use to be commonly understood. Faith, Repentance, Heaven and Hell, the Devil and his Angels, the heavenly Angels, Gabriel the Messenger of God, are specimens acquired from some Jewish source, either current or ready for adoption. Similarly familiar were the stories of the Fall of Man, the Flood, the destruction of the Cities of the Plain, &c. — so that there was an extensive substratum of crude ideas bordering upon the spiritual, ready to the hand of Muhammad."
This is the shortest Arabic account we have. We proceed to translate the most important part of the narrative given in the '' 'Araisu'l Majalis''. There we read that Abraham was brought up in a cave without any knowledge of the true God. One night he came forth and beheld the glory of the stars, and was so impressed that he resolved to acknowledge them as his gods. The account then proceeds as follows, incorporating as many as possible of the passages of the Qur'an which deal with the subject:—
"''When therefore the night overshadowed him he saw a star. He said, ‘This is my Lord.’ Then when it set, he said, ‘I love not those that set.’ Then when he saw the moon rising, he said, ‘This is my Lord.’ And when it set, he said, ‘Verily if my Lord guide me not I shall assuredly be of the people who go astray.’ Then when he saw the sun rising, he said, ‘This is my Lord, this is greater,’'' for he saw that its light was grander. ''When therefore it set, he said, ‘O my people! verily I am guiltless of the polytheism which you hold, verily I turn my face to him who hath formed the heavens and the earth, as a [[حنيفا|Hanif]]''<ref>This term will be explained in Chapter vi</ref>, ''and I am not one of the polytheists<ref>''The italicized passages are from Surah VI., Al An'am, 76-9</ref>.’ They say his father used to make idols. When therefore, he associated Abraham with himself, he began to make the idols and to give them over to Abraham to sell. Abraham (Peace be upon him!) therefore goes off with them and cries aloud, ‘Who will buy what injures and does not benefit?’ Hence no one purchases from him. When therefore they proved unsaleable to him, he took them to a river. Then he smote them on the head and said to them, ‘Drink, my bad bargain!’ in mockery of his people and of their false religion and ignorance, to such an extent that his reviling and mocking them became notorious among his people and the inhabitants of his town. Therefore his people disputed with him in regard to his religion. Then he said to them, ‘''Do ye dispute with me about God? and He hath guided me,’ &c. ... And that was Our reasoning which We brought to Abraham against his people: We raise (many) steps whomsoever We will; verily thy Lord is all-wise and all-knowing<ref>''Surah VI., Al An'am, 80-3</ref>. So that he vanquished and overcame them. Then verily Abraham invited his father Azar to embrace his religion. Accordingly he said, ‘''O my father, why dost thou worship that which heareth not nor seeth nor doth profit thee at all?<ref>''Surah XIX., Maryam, 43</ref>’ &c. Then his father refused assent to that to which Abraham invited him. Thereupon verily Abraham proclaimed aloud to his people his abjuration of their worship, and declared his own religion. He said therefore, ‘''Have ye then seen that which ye worship, ye and your fathers the ancients? for verily they are hostile to me, except the Lord of the worlds.<ref>''Surah XXVI., Ash Shu'ara, 75-7</ref>’ They said, ‘Whom then dost thou worship?’ He said, ’The Lord of the worlds.’ They said, ‘Thou meanest Nimrod.’ Then said he, ‘No! Him who has created me, and who therefore guideth me,’ &c. That matter accordingly was spread abroad until it reached the tyrant Nimrod. Then he called him and said to him, ‘O Abraham, hast thou seen thy God, who hath sent thee, and to whose worship thou dost invite men, and whose power thou recordest and on account thereof dost magnify Him above all other? What is He?’ ''Abraham said, ‘My Lord is He who preserveth alive and causeth to die.’'' Nimrod said, ‘''I preserve alive and cause to die.''’ Abraham said, ‘How dost thou preserve alive and cause to die?’ He said, ‘I take two men to whom death is due in my jurisdiction, then I slay one of them, thus I have caused him to die; next I pardon the other and let him go, thus I have preserved him alive.’ Accordingly Abraham said unto him thereupon, ‘''Verily God bringeth the sun from the East, do thou therefore bring it from the West<ref>''Surah II., Al Baqarah, 26</ref>’ Thereupon Nimrod was confounded and gave him no answer."
The story goes on to inform us that the custom of the tribe to which Abraham belonged was to hold a great festival once every year, during which everyone for a time went out of the city. (This may contain a confused reference to the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, for the ''forte'' of the Qur'an is undoubtedly the number of its anachronisms, and Muhammadan tales regarding the patriarchs and prophets are in general distinguished by the same characteristic.) Before leaving the city, we are told, the citizens "had made some food ready. Accordingly they placed it before the gods, and said, ‘When it shall be time for us to return, we shall return, and the gods will have blessed our food and we shall eat.’ When therefore Abraham<ref>He had remained at home on the plea of being ill, Surah XXXVII., As Saffat, 87.</ref> beheld the idols and the food which was before them, he said unto them in mockery, ‘''Will ye not eat?''’ And when they did not answer him, he said, ‘''What is the matter with you? will ye not speak?’ Then he turned upon them, striking a blow with his right hand<ref>''Ibid. vv. 89-91</ref>, and he began to dash them in pieces with an axe which he held in his hand, until there remained none but the biggest idol, on the neck of which he hung the axe. Then he went out. Such then is the statement of the Honoured and Glorified One: ‘''So he broke them into pieces, except the largest of them, that perchance they might come back to it''’ (and find what it had done<ref>Surah XXI., Al Anbiya, 59; and Jalalain's Commentary</ref>). When therefore the people came from their festival to the house of their gods, and saw them in that condition, ''they said, ‘Who hath done this to our gods? verily he is one of the unjust.’ They said, ‘We heard a youth who is called Abraham make mention of them.'' It is he, we think, that hath done this.’ Then that matter reached Nimrod the tyrant and the nobles of his people. They said therefore, ‘''Bring him then to the eyes of men, that perchance they may bear witness'' against him that it is he that hath done this.’ And they disliked to arrest him without poof. ... When therefore they had brought him forward, they said unto him, ‘''Hast thou done this unto our gods, O Abraham?''‘ Abraham said, ‘''On the contrary, the biggest of them did it:'' he was angry at your worshipping these little idols along with him, since he is bigger than them, therefore he dashed them in pieces. ''Do ye then inquire of them, if they can speak.''’ The prophet — may God bless and preserve him! — hath said, ‘Abraham told only three lies, all of them on behalf of God Most High: when he said, ''"I am sick,"'' and when he said, ''"On the contrary, this the biggest of them did it,"'' and when to the king who purposed to take Sarah, he said, ''"She it my sister."''’
But even if, for the sake of argument, we admit that reading and writing were arts unknown to Muhammad, that admission does not in the slightest degree invalidate the proof that he borrowed extensively from Jewish and other sources. Even if he could read Arabic, it is hardly likely that he was a student of Aramaic, Hebrew, and other languages. The parallels which we have drawn between certain passages in the Qur'an and those resembling them in various Jewish writings are close enough to show the ultimate source of much of the Qur'an. But in no single case are the verses of the Qur'an ''translated'' from any such source. The many errors that occur in the Qur'an show that Muhammad received his information orally, and probably from men who had no great amount of book-learning themselves. This obviates the second assumption of the Muslims. It was doubtless for many obvious reasons impossible for Muhammad to consult a large number of Aramaic, Zoroastrian, and Greek books; but it was by no means impossible for him to learn from Jewish<ref>In fact, in Surah X., Yunus, 94, Muhammad is bidden to ''ask'' the People of the Book for information to clear up his doubts</ref>, Persian, and Christian friends and disciples the tales, fables, and traditions which were then current. His enemies brought against him in his own time the charge of having been assisted by such persons in the composition of the Qur'an, as we learn both from the Qur'an itself and from the admissions of Ibn Hisham and of the commentators. Among others thus mentioned as helping in the composition of the book is the Jew spoken of in Surah XLVI., Al Ahqaf, 9, as a "witness" to the agreement between the Qur'an and the Jewish Scriptures. The commentators 'Abbasi and Jalalain in their notes on this passage tell us that this was Abdu'llah ibn Salam, who, if we may believe the Raudatu'l Ahbab, was a Jewish priest or Rabbi before he became a Muslim. In Surah XXV., Al Furqan, 5, 6, we are told that Muhammad's enemies said, "Others have helped him with it," and stated that he had merely written down certain "Tales of the Ancients," which were dictated to him by his accomplices morning and evening. 'Abbasi states that the persons thus referred to were Jabr, a Christian slave, Yasar (also called Abu Fuqaihah), and a certain Abu Takbihah, a Greek. In Surah XVI., An Nahl, 105, in answer to the accusation, "Surely a human being teacheth him," Muhammad offers the inadequate reply that the language of the man who is hinted at was foreign, whereas the Qur'an itself was composed in plain Arabic. This answer does not attempt to refute the obvious meaning of the charge, which was that (not the style of the language used but) the stories told in the Qur'an had thus been imparted to Muhammad. 'Abbasi says that a Christian named Cain was referred to, while Jalalain's Commentary again mentions Jabr and Yasar. Others suggest Salman, the well-known Persian disciple of Muhammad, others Suhaib, others a monk named Addas. We may also note the fact that 'Uthman and especially Waraqah, cousins of Khadijah, Muhammad's first wife, were acquainted with the Christianity<ref>See the quotation from Ibn Ishaq, pp. 264, 265 below</ref> and the Judaism of the time, and that these men exercised no slight influence over Muhammad during his early years as a prophet, and perhaps before. Zaid, his adopted son, was a Syrian, according to Ibn Hisham, and must therefore have at first professed Christianity. We shall see that other persons were among Muhammad's friends, from whom he might easily have obtained information regarding the Jewish, Christian, and Zoroastrian faiths. The passages borrowed from such sources are, however, so disguised in form that it is quite possible that those from whom Muhammad made his inquiries may not have recognized the imposture, but may have really fancied that these passages were revealed, as they professed to be, to confirm the truth of the respective creeds, at least so far. If so, Muhammad adroitly employed the information he obtained from these men in such a manner as to deceive them, though he could not deceive his enemies. Hence, despairing of silencing the latter, he finally turned upon them with the sword.
==See AlsoNoahide Muslims==[[Image:Noahide Islam.jpg|right]]Some followers of Islam, who also believe in the truth of the teachings concerning Noahide Law, believe that if it could be shown that Islamic teachings have been based in part on earlier Jewish teachings this could be proof of their contention that Islam was indeed the faith of Adam and a reaffirmation and renewal of the Covenant of Nuh. ==External links==*[http://web.archive.org/web/20080516185655/http://answering-islam.org.uk/Books/Tisdall/Sources0/p011-012.htm Jewish Sources of the Qur'an]*[http://web.archive.org/web/20061012111723/http://www.answering-islam.org.uk/Books/Tisdall/Sources/chap3chapt3.htm Influence of Sabian and Jewish ideas and practices.]
==References==
[[Category:Judaism Religion]]
[[Category:Sabian Religions]]
[[Category:Noahide Islamic Religion]]

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