Assalamu alaikum peace b&e, we’re back for another episode of Islamic focus. We’re continuing with our series dealing with the sources of Islam. And today we’ll be having the second program dealing with the topic of the Bible as a possible source of the
Quran. I’m your host timing machine and I have joined me on the program as usual Dr. Jamal battery of St. Mary’s University. Brother Jamal Assalamu alaikum
This is a very fascinating question the Bible as a possible source of the of the Quran. Could I perhaps have you summarize very quickly the main points that we touched on last week when we began our discussion on this, this question? Certainly, as you mentioned, the Abrahamic the main theme, really of this discussion is the
examination of the statement, which is made quite frequently. But unfortunately, it’s not very correct. That because the Quran was revealed after the Bible, then the Quran must have borrowed from the Bible in anything that’s similar.
And in the previous program, we discussed two basic areas. One is the conception of God, in both books, our conception of Allah, and we indicated that there are some important differences with sure that the Quran could have never really been based on the Bible.
From the analytical, strictly analytical point of view, we talked about the anthropomorphism or the way the Bible sometimes depicts God in sort of superhuman form, that he has an image he
works and makes sound when he walks that he take rest, that you sometimes forget that he doesn’t know what is going to happen. And that’s why he regrets some of his decisions that he at times fear the competition of the power of humans, as in the study of the Tower of Babel. Many times is referred to in a sort of tribal meaning like the God of Israel, as if he were a tribal type of God. And in some cases, as we discussed, even the human could even prevail over him like history with Jacob.
And we indicated that in contrast to this, we find the Quran while emphasizing on the neatness of God and His intimate relationship with the pious. And we still find a great deal of emphasis on the transcendence of God. We don’t see any notion AT ALL OF GOD being
physical or materialized or reincarnate in some form or the other. And all of this description that you find in the Bible are totally absent and in the Quran.
Always look on aspects of him as the Lord of the universe. The second main question was the question of prophethood. And we indicated again, that while there may be some similarity on the surface of the concept of profits and the relation between the Bible and the Quran, it was clear from the various documentation and references made to the Bible, that the conception or perception of profits in the Bible is quite different, that many times great profits, well known figures are accused of compromising in the matter of faith.
Like, for example, in Solomon and Aaron, other prophets have been accused of major modern sense. In contrast to that we have seen again how the Quran emphasizes a great deal about the holiness of those individuals, but why they were humans, they weren’t the best models of humans.
So in both items that were discussed, it was quite obvious that there is no ground really to say that the Quran was influenced, quote, unquote, or bullets from the Bible, or else, at least some of these notions that you find amply mentioned in the bible would have crept
and affected the content of the Quran.
Well, I’d like to move now to an examination of another comparative aspect and that is with respect to the question of sin and atonement. Some people claim that the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible in the Quran is nearly identical. How would you respond
to a position or to a person who held that position? Well, it’s basically the same also, like some people, for example, refers to the concept of one God and civil rights, you know, it’s basically the same, you have seen by further analysis that it may not be as simple as it may sound on the surface.
First of all, just start from the same the points that are similar with the common ground, if you will.
The only thing that you can say that is nearly identical nearly, between the Quran and the Bible, is that they were the first creatures first human beings, Adam and Eve, that they were in the garden that they were allowed to eat from any tree, except for one tree. I’m not specifying I’m talking about the common one, one specific thing that they were forbidden, that somehow they succumbed, and they ate from that tree. And then they were sent to us where they were supposed to really learn
that much, perhaps you can say all right, it’s common, but beyond the surface, you will find that there are four important differences which I am not minor, in my opinion. First of all,
in the Bible, in the second book of Genesis, we are told that this was a tree of knowledge as we mentioned in the previous program.
In the Quran, however, there is no such mention of a tree of knowledge. Indeed, there are many
citations in the Quran, which indicate that it was not really actually of knowledge. Because, for example, in 91, verse eight, Chapter 91, in the Quran, it shows that when God or Allah created the human, he inspired into that human the knowledge of good and evil, and right from wrong. So according to the way the Quran present the story of the creation of the humans, the symbol of the human being created from clay, is but a clear indication that humans know from their instinctive or innate nature, how to distinguish between right and wrong. And as such, they don’t need really a three to each one in order to arrive at this type of, of knowledge.
A second difference is that in the Bible, also, we find that the woman seem to be the one who carries the burden of that first mistake. For example, in Genesis, chapter three verses one through 16. We are told that it was mainly Eve, who attempted Adam and somehow persuaded him to eat from from that tree. The same verses indicate that as a result of this, God decided to multiply her sorrow through pregnancy, and childbirth. And by the way, this is the same meaning or notion that was emphasized in the New Testament also by Paul, and his second Timothy, chapter two, when he also seemed to repeat the same kind of notion.
That’s as far as the Bible is, it goes, again, when you go to the Quran, despite of the similarity on the surface that you mentioned earlier, in terms of the basic elements of the story or some basic elements, we find that there is no single citation or passage in the Quran, that seemed to imply in any way, shape or form, that woman alone carries the burden of that, or even the primary burden for that first mistake or infection committed by first humans. Indeed, the Quran always speaks about both of them as being responsible like and for example, in chapter two verses 121 on
and in one verse, even it points the finger to Adam. Not that he’s alone. But then we can just point the finger to Adams, which shows that there’s no sort of orientation towards woman being blamed for it. On the other hand,
if you compare, for example, in Genesis three, where woman suffering through childbirth and pregnancy is a sort of consequence of that mistake. We find the concept in the Quran is quite different. In fact, pregnancy and childbirth is described in the Quran as something which is very novel, very praiseworthy, something which makes the mother entitled to love, affection, respect, and compassion, as we find for example, in chapter 29, verse eight and the Quran 4650 and then there are numerous you might recall the many more details on this particular issue are given in the series on such a system in Islam. The part that deals with the woman, as detected in Judeo Christian and
Muslim scriptures are
A third major difference also is that in the book of Genesis, chapter three, we are told that Eve in turn, was tempted by the serpent.
And again in the Quran, there is absolutely no mention of the serpent being responsible to whisper to him to eat from that forbidden tree. We have discussed in the programs I cited in such a system, the origin of this mythology about the serpent being the symbol of evil. In fact,
as opposed to that, we find that the Quran in chapter two speaks about Satan, tempting both Adam and Eve rather than a serpent tempting, even if tempting Adam talks about the Satan
trying to persuade them to disobey God by whatever promises that he gave them, and description which might have not necessarily been true. Of course, and perhaps the most important of all of these differences is that after Adam and Eve ate from that tree, there is no mention whatsoever that I have seen in the book of Genesis, for example, in the Bible, about Adam and Eve repenting to God and asking for forgiveness. And this is something that the Quran emphasizes very strongly, that they realize their mistake. They want to pray to Allah or God, they asked for forgiveness, Allah knowing their weakness, because he created them and he knows that weakness, and nothing their sincerity and
you know, regret of their mistake. And being Merciful Creator, also, he forgives them, you find that just give references for shortness of time, of course, any viewer can check that for his own in the Quran, in chapters two, verses 37 122. And in chapter seven, verse 23, we find no explanation of this whole notion, which is totally absent in the Bible. So in the basis of these four comparisons, it appears to me that
the story of Adam and Eve in both scriptures
is not really as nearly identical as some people may think of it. And I think the differences are important to
why you’ve calculus is definitely being major as being important. Why do you consider them to be major differences and as opposed to minor differences might be suggested by others, when I consider them to be major differences, because some of these have important theological implications. In other words, they have some impact on the way the person believes the Creed’s themselves, for example, take the issue of the type of the tree. And of course, somebody might say, oh, what difference does it make whether it was this theory or that there was this?
But I think it has more significance than what may appear on the surface.
It raises the question as to whether Adam was, in fact perfect, before he ate from that tree. And then as a result from eating from that tree, he lost, that perfection and his essential nature was changed. That is the biblical version. Or is it as the Quran protect, you know, depicted or presented, that the human is created partially from clay, so he has this material or human nature is subject to temptation. And because he is subject to temptation, he succumbed by eating from the tree so that eating from that tree actually was a result from his nature’s not the reverse. So there’s an important implication here is yes.
A second question is, which related to the first one is whether a human would have to attain perfection, quote, unquote, to the perfect before he can achieve salvation and Felicity and the hero hereafter on come back to paradise
as a precondition for salvation,
as might be implied from the, you know, biblical version, at least as interpreted by Christian theologians, or whether Allah or God capital G, knowing the weakness of the human
and being, just God does not require human beings anything more than they can? And if it is, by definition, impossible for any human being, no matter what to be perfect, then how could Allah expect anyone to be perfect, and as the Quran depicts, it’s that it’s a person you
Make some mistake and try to correct that mistake to come back and pretend that Allah will accept him. So Allah expect us to have lapses on the way but it depends on whether we are trying or not. And that’s a major Creedon difference.
Thirdly, it raises a question also as to whether the human inherits sin, which is committed by his or her ancestors. Is every child born with the stigma of the sin that was committed by Adam and Eve, as might be somehow interpreted from the biblical version? Or is it as the Quran presented, that every child is born innocent and pure, that no inheritance of sending that nobody can carry the sin of any other person, and that each person is responsible for his or her own behaviors, and the way the person tried to relate to his creator, as we find amply documented in the Quran, for example, in chapter 17, verse 113, and 5338 and others were this emphasis on that question of individuation
responsibility for one’s own sin, but not something inherited.
Of course, the point which is perhaps even more important, is whether
as a result of this original sin, in terms of the biblical understanding of biblical interpretation,
there must be bloodshed before forgiveness take place, which of course, as you know, is the basis of the whole notion of God becoming man, and having to have his blood shed in order to reconcile himself to mankind or mankind reconcile himself themselves to him,
or whether according to be stomach version of it, that God does not really need to become man or does not require bloodshed in order to forgive, and that if a person really repent, he will find not only acceptance, but warm welcome. And just for the sake of those who might wish to research that topic any further just mentioned, lessening the number of verses. And for example, in 440-741-1011 114 1549, to 50, and on in Surah, 20, verse 82, and 39 verse 33, on this are examples of many
numerous other citations in the Quran, emphasizing that Allah is interested in r&d in our facility and our attempt to correct our path. So from the analysis of those differences, it appears to me that they are not just as you mentioned, entry, for example, it’s not really
minor type of difference, but as you get it, they are really measures an important difference which negates any notion of the Quran being based on the Bible.
On the question about sacrifice, someone would claim that Muslims to believe in but sacrifice for forgiveness, and they refer to the practice of sacrificing the animals at the feast of sacrifice.
Is that analogy? A correct one? In your view? No, in an on humbleness, it’s, it’s not. It’s a common one like the previous notions. But I’m glad that you raised this let at least you can clarify. Because I remember that question being directed to me also by some Christian friends, when we had some discussion on the topic. No, there has nothing to do with this. Number one, the sacrifice of, of animals in the feast of sacrifice are the hidden uphoff. And the most one of the to measure, Muslim festivals has nothing to do with the question of forgiveness of original sin because there is no resonance center start with a an Islamic thinking.
And the reason or to give you two evidence is that it’s not related to the forgiveness in the way it’s understood, for example, in Christian theology, is that first of all, the sacrifice of these animals is mandatory only on people who are in pilgrimage or doing pilgrimage. And forgiveness, as we know is required for everybody. So how come it’s limited to one group? Secondly, even for those who are not doing pilgrimage, it’s highly commendable, of course, that they do it. But obviously, if a person is poor,
he does not have to sacrifice the animal. Again, we know that poor and rich alike need to atone for their sins. They can say that one make more sense than the other. They’re both
need it? So these are two logical reasons why it’s not connected with the with the question of sacrifice. This is just one point. The second aspect is that, according to the Quran, the story of Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael, they presented an excellent example and lesson in obedience to God, in submission to him, and willingness to sacrifice anything upon the command of God. And as the Quran presented that the Prophet Abraham received the revelation or directed from God to sacrifice, his only son, Ishmael. And I’d like to emphasize here, Ishmael, because not only is that implied from chapter 37, in the Quran, which speaks about the sacrifice story, and then after that, it says
that, in reward to Abraham, he was giving the glad tidings of another son, to be born to him, which is, who’s Isaac. And of course, this is very essential, because
it’s sometimes puzzling when one reads the book of Genesis when it says that God ordained Abraham to take his only son, Isaac, Isaac was never the only son, the one who was the only son for 14 years was Abraham before Isaac was even born. So I mean, this
point here so that nobody thinks that it’s a typographical error in our mistake, according to the current position, there’s no question about it. Logically, it was the smile, being the only son, even if you take it from the biblical narrative standpoint. But the whole notion is that Abraham
took Ishmael to sacrifice him and then the last minute,
God out of his mercy, having already tested the faith of Abraham. And since Abraham and his son Ishmael showed this submission and willingness to sacrifice, the engine stopped them and he brought around to be sacrificed in place of wish mine. Now,
this kind of celebration then which Muslim do by sacrificing animals and that festival is basically a commemoration of that act, but not necessarily something that has to do with the forgiveness of sin as such.
Another point is that nowhere in the Quran Do you find any implication or reference that God or Allah is interested in any blood, whether the blood of animals or humans as such, in fact, it’s put beautifully in chapter 22, verse 37, Langan Allah Ha, ha, well, I do not
that even when you sacrifice this animal, it says, It is not the blood flesh of this animal that reaches God. But what reaches him is your piety. That’s your obedience to Him. It’s a symbol of obedience rather than anything connected with the mysterious or mystical idea of forgiveness. Another element that many people might not be aware of which is reflected in the same chapter, chapter 22, is that the sacrifice of animals has another symbolical meaning, and that is the idea of Thanksgiving, that this is an occasion where when people slaughter this animal, they thank Allah for whatever animals he made available to them to use or eat. This system is mentioned specifically in
verse 34, and chapter 22.
But there’s also an addition to this, another social and charitable
Angular element involved in the sacrifice. And that’s also mentioned in the Quran. And in verse 28, in the same chapter, that’s 22. If I could omit what I’m about to eat you for out of this meat that you sacrifice and feed the poor. So it’s,
it’s a multi dimensional thing, and none of which really has any connotation whatsoever with the notion of blood sacrifice as a precondition or prerequisite for,
for forgiveness of sins, the way it is understood or was understood by
the Jews, for example, or in Christian theology, this has nothing to do with it at all.
Well, are there other aspects of belief which relate to this question of the Quran born from the Bible, which you wish to wish to highlight or touch on? Well, there are several. You start with first, with the three elements the question on the belief in God, the prophet who then the concept of sin and atonement,
Being pillars of, of any faith for that matter. But in addition, yes, there are numerous other points, maybe just take a few of them take the question of belief in the hereafter.
There is a common ground also that both Muslims and
Jews and Christians, all biblical and Quranic versions, is that there is life here after.
that does not necessarily deal with substantial
differences. For example, my understanding of the verses in the Bible, both Old and New Testament, that is the wages of sin, as Paul put it is death. And that’s such the punishment of those who have infractions is that they will not have this eternal life.
Whereas the Quran indicates clearly that whether the person is good or bad, whether he is quote, unquote, saved or not. Everybody with resurrects in the Day of Judgment, everybody would be subjected to judgment and everybody again would be placed either in the paradise or the hellfire. So the death is not the end of it, regardless of what person is exposed to.
The other aspect also that might be related here is that
while there is believe in afterlife, the description,
at least that I interpret from the Christian position on that
the measures position are generally upheld is that afterlife is mainly spiritual.
In the Quran, however, we find that it is both spiritual, as well as physical even though the same physical here does not mean the exact same similar physical body that we have here on Earth. But it is, it is not totally spiritual, there is some elements also of physical life involved, even though of course, as the Prophet has warned, so that we don’t really take some of the descriptions in the Quran in a superficial way and take it literally. And when you said that in Paradise, there are things that no AI has ever seen, no ear has ever heard. And no thought even could have occurred to the mind
of any person. So it’s something that we don’t know, but it is both physical as well as spiritual.
The question of salvation also that we discussed, the absence of any notion of original sin, the absence of inheritance of that sin, the absence of the necessity of blood sacrifice, is quite obvious points are related quite closely to another important concept in Islam, and that is the lack of intermediary. That is the belief in Islam is that the relationship between the human and the Creator is our primary, direct relationship. So the question of having intermediaries to reach for God or to pray, for example, in the name of someone else, no matter how great that person may be, profit or otherwise, is absent in Islam. I haven’t never seen a Muslim for example, saying I pray to
God in the name of Muhammad, for example, no matter how great the last prophet of Allah has been, yes. But that is beyond even the question of praying in the name of someone else, not directly to, to the Creator. It’s related relates also to the notion or concept of, quote, unquote, church, at least as you know, in Christian theology, that when Jesus said that, on that, Peter was the rock on which he is going to build the church, that has been interpreted to mean that in a way, he is like the successor or you know, someone to mediate or stand
between the human and, and God, the concept of church, as as has been interpreted for hundreds of years is that it is basically an institution that you have to go through. In other words, you have to belong you have to be a member of a church in order to, you know, reach for God, the idea of priesthood, especially before the Protestant Reformation movement still carries a great deal of this sense of intermediary. And this notion is does not exist in Islam. There is nothing in Islam, like quote, unquote, a church, an exclusive institution, with an ordination type of procedure that nobody else who did not go through that training has any right to speak on religion or teach it. Ideally,
every Muslim is quote, unquote, is a priest unto himself and others. There’s no such distinction and the ideas that might have emerged later in Christianity might have been in fact an influence of Islam.
Because as you know, Protestant Reformation movement came hundreds of years after Islam was already one spread all over the world and the ideas and the notions of direct human divine relationship has been very much
emphasized. And one final point if I may add also the orientation towards life in general, that while there may be some legal aspects involved in the Bible, especially in the Torah, we find the Quran is much more comprehensive. It approaches life as an integrated whole, dealing not only with the moral and spiritual aspects of life and acts of worship, but also with the social, political and economic aspects of life as well. And any third person who examines both scriptures, who would not come with the conclusion that many authors hastily put without any verification or evidence that the Quran borrowed from the Bible, or any other scriptures, for that matter.
We’ll leave it for today. We want to thank you for watching, I invite you back next week and we’ll continue this discussion. Assalamu alaikum peace be unto you