Friday, 16 March 2012

Islam's Dark Past; Part V

Continuing from Part IV

Next we learn that the Arabic found in the Qur'an was not as sound as Muslims infer. In the Itqan, Suyuti speaks explicitly about things which no one expected to find in the Qur'an - defects which shouldn't occur in any Arabic book. For example: "The word 'after' was used twice in the Qur'an so as to mean 'before.' As in this saying: (Qur'an 21:105) "We have written in the Psalms after the reminder" while He meant 'before.' Also in this saying, (Qur'an 79:30) "The earth after that He has extended" while Allah meant "before" Suyuti wrote: "The Qur'an means: 'Do not those who believe "know" that had Allah willed, He could have guided all mankind', but Allah said, 'Do not those who believe "despair"' instead of writing "know" as He meant. The Qur'an says in chapter 2:23: '... your martyrs', but it means, '... your partners.' The martyr is supposed to be the person who is killed, but here it means 'your partners.' In chapter 20 on Joseph the word 'bakhs' (too little) is meant to be 'haram' (forbidden or sacred). In surah 46, Mariam, the phrase, 'I certainly will stone you' is interpreted to mean, 'I certainly will curse you', and not, 'I will kill you' as its literal meaning suggests."

In another illustration from Itqan, Jalal al-Suyuti claims, "In the Rahman chapter the Qur'an says: 'The "nagm" stars and the trees bow themselves.' Here the Qur'an does not mean by 'the stars' but the plants which do not have trunks. This is the far-fetched meaning." There are hundreds of similar examples, but there is no need to belabor the point.

As you have read, the Qur'an claims that it is pure Arabic. But this is not true. First the erroneous claim: Qur'an 46:2 "And before it the Book of Musa was a guide: and this [Qur'an] is a Book verifying (it) in the Arabic language." Qur'an 39:27 "We have coined for man in this Qur'an every kind of parable in order that they may receive admonition. (It is) a Qur'an in Arabic, without any crookedness (therein)." Qur'an 41:3 "A Scripture Book, whereof the verses are explained in detail; a Qur'an in Arabic, for people who have knowledge." Then... Qur'an 41:44 "Had We sent this as a Qur'an (in the language) other than Arabic, they would have said: 'Why are not its verses explained in detail? What! (a foreign tongue, a Book) not in Arabic and (a Messenger) an Arab?' Say (to them, Muhammad): 'It is a Guide to those who believe; and for those who do not believe it, there is a deafness in their ears, and a blindness in their (eyes)!'" While the purpose of these Qur'an quotes was to confirm Allah's Arabic claims, consider the number of words the translators had to add inside the parenthesis for Allah's message to make any sense.

The Qur'an's Arabic assertion is not true. There are many foreign words or phrases which are employed in the Qur'an. Arthur Jeffrey, in his book Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur'an devoted 300 pages to this study. One must wonder why so many foreign words were borrowed, as they refute the Arabic claim and put doubt on whether "Allah's language" was sufficient to explain what Muhammad intended. According to Alphonse Mingana in his Syriac Influence on the Style of the Qur'an, almost all of the religious terms found in Allah's book were derived from Christian Syriac. These include the words Muhammad used for: priest, Christ, judgment, scribes, parable, salvation, infidel, sacrifice, resurrection, heaven, garden, angel, holy spirit, soul, sign, verse, proof, God, prayer, fast, sin, pagan, hanif, Muslim, idolatry, Qur'an, faith, creation, grace, and even the zakat tax. The proper names of Biblical personages found in the Qur'an are used in their Syriac form rather than Hebrew or Arabic. These include: Solomon, Pharaoh, Isaac, Ishmael, Israel, Jacob, Noah, Zachariah, Mary, John, Jonah, and Isa supposedly for Yahshua (commonly known as "Jesus"). The words for demons, the path, disciple, and Muhammad's first "god," Ar-Rahman are Persian. Rahman is a derivative of the Persian name for the Devil.

Adam and Eden are Akkadian words from Mesopotamia. A more correct term for "Adam" in Arabic would be basharan or insan, meaning "mankind." "Eden" should have been janna in Arabic, which means "garden." Yet the foreign words were repeated over twenty times. Abraham, sometimes recorded as Ibrahim, comes from the Assyrian language. The correct Arabic equivalent is Abu Raheem.

Harut and Marut are Persian names for angels. The Persian "sirat" meaning "the path" was repeated thirty times yet it has an Arabic equivalent, altareeq, which was not used. The Persian "hoor" meaning "disciple" has the Arabic equivalent, tilmeeth. Guess which one Allah selected?

The Persian word "Jinn" meaning "demon" is used consistently throughout the Qur'an. Entire surahs are dedicated to Satan's allies. Yet there is an Arabic equivalent, Ruh. Going the other way, Islam's decadent heaven is called by the Persian word "firdaus" meaning "the highest or seventh heaven" rather than the Arabic equivalent, jannah.

Some of the Hebrew words are: heber, Sakinah for Yahweh's presence, maoon, taurat, jehannim, and tufan, which means deluge. The Greek word "Injil," which means "gospel" was borrowed, even though there is an Arabic equivalent, bisharah. Iblis, the Qur'anic name for Lucifer or Satan, is not Arabic. It is a corruption of the Greek word Diabolos. Muhammad said that believing in the "Day of Resurrection" was a third of his message, yet he chose a Christian Syriac derivative of an Aramaic word, Qiyama, for resurrection rather than the Arabic one.

The Qur'an is fixated on stripping the Messiah of his divinity and of the sacrifice he made to save mankind. You'd think that Allah would at least get his name right.
But Christ's Qur'anic name, "Isa," is erroneously applied. Isa is the Arabic equivalent of Esau, the name for the twin brother of Jacob. The correct Arabic name for Yahshua would be Yesuwa, yet the "all-knowing" Allah doesn't mention it. And this mistake is unlike the erroneous translations of the Bible. God got his name right in Hebrew; the English translators erred. Even Arabic speaking Christians in the Middle East use the name Yesuwa for "Jesus." Only Muslims use Isa.

By way of recap, we've learned that the Qur'an wasn't, as Allah claims, a book memorialized on heavenly tablets, but instead consisted of evolving text. The oldest Qur'ans differ from one another and from today's version. We discovered that the original written copies were devoid of diacritical points, so most words were chosen on the basis of educated guesses. Their meanings were interpreted two centuries after the Qur'an was revealed orally. It's not pure Arabic as Allah claims, as there are a plethora of foreign words. There are also missing words, wrong words, and meaningless words. And most important of all, the leading authority of the initial script of the Qur'an, studying the oldest fragments says: "One out of every five verses is indecipherable - meaningless in any language."

Moving on, let's see if what is left is accurate historically and scientifically. Allah's claim, "This Qur'an must be the Word of Allah or they would have found fault in it" is torn asunder if it contains obvious errors of fact.

A number of online websites were kind enough to chronicle a plethora of errors, so I have elected to present some of their findings. Let's start with the historical blunders. The Qur'an claims that the Samaritans enticed Israel to make a golden calf when Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. Yet the term "Samaritan" hadn't been coined when the events depicted in Exodus unfolded. The Samaritan people could not have existed during the life of Moses as they didn't become a nation until 800 years later. The city of Samaria was founded by King Omri in 875 B.C. and the Samaritans became a "people" just after the tribes of Israel were dispersed by the Assyrians in the seventh century B.C. Thus Qur'an 20:85-7, and 95-7 are erroneous.

In surahs 7:124 and 26:49 we find Pharaoh admonishing his sorcerers because they believed in the superiority of Moses' power over them. Pharaoh threatens his magicians with cutting off their hands and feet on opposite sides (Qur'an 5:33), and then says they will all die on the cross by crucifixion. But there were no crosses in those days. Crucifixion was first practiced by the Assyrians in 519 B.C. under the rule of Darius I. Encyclopedia Britannica reports: "Crucifixion did not exist any earlier than about 500 B.C." Muslim scholar, Malik Farid, in his translation of the Qur'an, says in footnote 1033, "Incidentally, the verse shows that even as early as in the time of Moses the punishment of death by crucifixion was in vogue" Rather than admit the Qur'an contained a historical blunder, a Muslim rewrote history to bail his god out.

Another interesting historical glitch occurs when Allah erroneously calls Mary the sister of Aaron in Qur'an 19:28, and the daughter of Imran (the Biblical Amran) in 66:12. While Miriam and Mary are the same name, the first Miriam, the sister of Aaron and the daughter of Amran, died 1,500 years before Mary, the mother of Yahshua, was born. (18:28; 66:12; 20:25-30) (…).

Another difficult passage concerns Haman. In the Qur'an he is a servant of Pharaoh and built a high tower to ascend up to the God of Moses (Qur'an 28:38; 29:38; 40:25,38). Yet the Babel tower dates 750 years earlier and is Babylonian, not Egyptian. The name Haman is brought to us by Esther. She writes about what became Persia 1,100 years after Pharaoh. While Muslim apologists say it is simply another Haman, the name is not Egyptian, but uniquely Babylonian.

Qur'an 17:1 claims Muhammad went to the "farthest mosque" during his Night's Journey. Consistent with the Hadith, Muslims believe this was the either the Jewish Temple or the Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem. But neither existed in 620 A.D. The last Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., and the Dome of the Rock was not built until 691, 59 years after Muhammad's death! There are a host of other chronological breakdowns. One of my favorites is Allah's insistence that Nimrod was a contemporary of Abraham.

This ignorance of history and earlier Scripture speaks of a certain isolationism, which one would expect if the stories had been transmitted orally in an environment distant from that in which they originated. Although Muslims attempt to talk their way out of Mary being called a sister of Aaron, the misplaced and mistimed the tower of Babel, and Samaritans at the time of Moses, they just throw in the towel without a fight and proclaim world history wrong when it comes to crucifixion.

As impossible as it is to reconcile these Qur'anic mumblings with the historical record, the "setting place of the sun" and the tales of Alexander the Great are more challenging still. Qur'an 18:86 states, "Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it he found a people: We said: O Dhu al Qarnayn..." The sun does not set in a muddy spring. There are no extraterrestrials living where the sun goes to bed, and no human - and that would include Alexander the Great - has ever visited with such creatures.

In the continuing story of the Islamicized version of the Greek conqueror, we learn that Alexander's power was given to him by Allah. Muslims contend, as the Hadith confirms, that he was an Islamic prophet. He was even credited with building an enormous wall of iron and brass between two mountains, which was tall enough and wide enough to keep an entire army at bay. Muhammad claimed that a hole was cut in the wall during his lifetime. Yet it is simple to test these claims because Alexander lived in the full light of history. We know that he was a great general whose debauchery and drunkenness contributed to his untimely death. He was an idolater, actually claiming to be the son of the Egyptian god Amun. The temple drawing depicting Alexander worshiping the sun god Amun is still present in Egypt. To say that he was an Islamic prophet, and that Allah was the agent for his power, is historically inaccurate. And why is there is no evidence anywhere that Alexander built a wall of iron and brass between two mountains, a feat which would have proven him to be one of the greatest builders and engineers in history? It's one thing that the Qur'an has no prophecies - predictions of things that are to come - but it can't even get the past right.

Moving from history to science, surahs 16:15; 21:31; 31:10; 78:6; 88:19 tell us that Allah threw down mountains like tent pegs to keep the earth from shaking. For illiterate men this would sound logical, since mountains are large and therefore, their weight would seemingly have a stabilizing effect. Yet the opposite is true. Mountains were built up, not thrown down. Rather than create stability they are the result of instability. Colliding tectonic plates push up the earth's surface forming all non-volcanic mountains.

Qur'an 16:66 says that cow's milk comes from between the excrement and the blood of the cow's abdomen. That doesn't make sense, and it isn't true. In Qur'an 16:69 we're told that honey comes out of a bee's abdomen. That's not true either. Then, Qur'an 6:38 claims all animals and flying beings form communities like humans. While some do, most don't. Take for example spiders, where in some species the female eats the male after mating. That's not exactly a community like ours. Qur'an 25:45 maintains that the sun moves to create shadows. In other surahs it is shown orbiting and swimming. Even the moon was said to be effaced and racing the sun.

Other statements make no sense at all. Qur'an 4:59 states, "Greater surely than the creation of man is the creation of the heavens and the earth; but most men know it not." This implies that greatness is only measured by size. Yet we have learned that the complexity of life is much greater than the simplicity of all stars and dirt combined. Qur'an 65:12 reads, "It is Allah who has created seven heavens and as many earths." Where might we find the other six earths? If these refer to the planets in our solar system, then they are short by two or three depending upon how one looks at Pluto.

Meteors, and even stars are said to be missiles fired at eavesdropping Satans and Jinn who seek to listen to the reading of the Qur'an in Heaven
(15:16-8; 37:6-10; 55:33-5; 67:5; 72:6-9 & 86:2-3). Are we to believe that Allah throws meteors (which are made up of carbon dioxide or iron-nickel) at non-material devils who listen to heavenly council? Are we to believe that there is a Jinn convention each time there's a meteor shower? I don't think so.

Adlibbing on the Bible, Allah stammers. He claims king Solomon was taught the speech of birds and the language of ants (27:16-9). In addition to birds and ants, Jinn were forced to work for Solomon, making him whatever he pleased, such as palaces, statues, large dishes, and brass fountains (34:11-3). A malignant jinn was even commissioned to bring the Queen of Sheba's throne in the twinkling of an eye (27:38-44).

Following Solomon's lead, in the 105th surah, Allah claims to have used birds to drop clay pebbles on Abraha's army. But according to the historical record, his troops withdrew after smallpox broke out, not because they were dirty.

Qur'an 18:9-25 tells the story of "some youths and a dog who sleep for 309 years with their eyes open and their ears closed" which is a clever trick in itself. The object was to show Allah's ability to keep people and dogs without food or water for as long as he likes. In actuality the whole story was pilfered from a 6th century Syriac Christian manuscript: The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus.

In surahs 2:65-6 and 7:163-7, Allah turns people who break the Sabbath into apes for their disobedience. Darwin must have been confused because he had it the other way around.

In Qur'an 11:81 and 15:74 the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are turned upside-down with angelic wings. There are as many errors in the accounting as there are sentences. We know this because these cities have been unearthed. The Bible's account is accurate. The Qur'an's is not.

Moving on to theological errors, Qur'an 5:116 represents Christians as worshipping Mary as the third member of the Trinity. The Qur'an says: "Allah will say, O Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to the people, Make me and my mother idols beside Allah?" It was not until the seventeenth century - a thousand years after the Qur'anic revelation - that Alphonsus Liguori, (1696-1787) wrote his book, The Glories of Mary, in which he hoodwinked Catholics into promoting Mary to her present-day status. Interestingly, an insignificant and heretical sect called the Cholloridians held this view, and lived in the Middle East at the time of the Qur'an's compilation in the eighth century. While this might have been be the source for such a gross error, an all-knowing God should have been aware of a core tenet of the Christian faith. But Allah got the whole of Yahshua the Messiah's message and mission wrong.

In an effort to show the scientific accuracy of the Qur'an, Muslim's are quick to say that the embryology revealed in it was beyond what man had discovered for himself. However, Muslims are completely unaware that all of the information in the Qur'an about embryology had already been revealed many centuries before. Furthermore, it has all been shown to be scientifically inaccurate - as is the totality of the Sunnah on this subject. The alleged "genius" of the Qur'an is found in its repetitive stories concerning the stages of formation of a fetus (surahs 22:5; 23:12-4; 40:67; 75:37-9; & 96:1-2). According to these surahs it passes through four stages, starting with torab, which means dust. Using a little hocus pocus, Muslims scholars translate torab as sperm, just to keep Allah from looking foolish. It becomes nutfah and alaqa. Though no one seems to know what the words "nutfah" or "alaqa" mean. Many have tried, contending that they are something which clings, a clot, an adhesion, an embryonic lump, and even chewed-up meat. The alaqa then creates motgha and uncreated motgha. But no one has a clue what motgha means. So some brilliant scholar suggested: "bones that are finally covered by flesh." The alaqa to bone stage is also in Qur'an 23:13-4 which introduces us to: "We made him a nutfah (mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge) in the safe lodging. Then We made the nutfah into an alaqa (piece of thick coagulated blood), then a motgha (little lump of bones clothed in flesh)." A more accurate translation would be: "I haven't got a clue."

Yet even the translators' wishful interpretations are inaccurate. Neither sperm nor dust becomes a "lump" or "adhesion." There is no clotting stage during the formation of a fetus. "The thing which clings" does not stop clinging to become "chewed meat," but remains clinging for nine months. And the skeleton is not formed independent of flesh. In fact, muscles form several weeks before there are calcified bones, rather than arriving later as the Qur'an implies. It is, therefore, ironic to hear the above accounts cited as proof by modern day apologists of the Qur'an's divine authority, when in fact, once the truth is known, the very science which they hope to harness for their cause proves to be their undoing

Before we leave professor Allah's lecture on gestation, I'd like to repeat what Muhammad had to say about such things: Bukhari: V4B55N549 "Allah's Apostle, the true and truly inspired said, 'As regards to your creation, every one of you is collected in the womb of his mother for the first forty days, and then he becomes a clot for another forty days, and then a piece of flesh for forty days. [Four months, not nine.] Then Allah sends an angel to write four words: He writes his deeds, time of his death, means of his livelihood, and whether he will be wretched or blessed. Then the soul is breathed into his body. So a man may do deeds characteristic of the people of the Hell Fire...but he enters Paradise. A person may do deeds characteristic of Paradise...but he will enter the Hell Fire.'" It's easy to see where Allah got his material and why he was so confused.

In Qur'an 16:4, one of Allah's twenty-five variant creation accounts, says, "He has created man from a sperm-drop," But this was understood 2,000 years before Allah's book was revealed. The Bible says, "Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother's wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother." (Genesis 38:9) Another Qur'anic assertion, that "man was created from the dust of the earth" was recorded in Genesis a few millennia before Muhammad ennobled his town's rock idol.

Muslim doctors, like Ibn-Qayyim, were first to blow the whistle when they saw the Qur'anic material mirrored by a much earlier Greek doctor named Galen
. He lived in 150 A.D. In 1983 Basim Musallam, Director of the Center of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge, concluded, "The stages of development which the Qur'an and Hadith established for believers agreed perfectly with Galen's account. In other words when it comes to embryology, the Qur'an merely echoes the scientific knowledge man had already discovered 450 years earlier."

The Qur'an is wrong when it states: "He is created from a drop emitted, proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs." This echoes the error of Hippocrates who believed semen originated from all the fluid in the body, starting from the brain down the spinal chord, before passing through the kidneys, testicles and penis. While Hippocrates error is understandable, Allah's is not.

In addition to factual errors, grammatical mistakes are prevalent and frequent. And while that wouldn't be a big deal if we were talking about the Bible, it destroys the Qur'an. Yahweh never claimed that the Bible was inerrant. He knew better because he inspired men to write it with an imprecise tool called language. Allah wasn't that smart. He claimed that his Qur'an was perfect because he says he wrote it himself. A single deficiency in a book claiming to be written by God, and dictated letter for letter as Muhammad memorialized it, is sufficient to destroy its credibility. But as you have grown to expect, grammatical errors abound. In Qur'an 2:177, the word sabireen should be sabiroon because of its position in the sentence. In 7:160, the phrase "We divided them into twelve tribes," is written in the feminine plural: "Uthnati ashrat asbaataan." To be grammatically correct, it should have been written in the masculine plural: "Uthaiy ashara sibtaan," as all human plurals are automatically male in Arabic.

In Qur'an 4:162, the phrase "And (especially) those who establish regular prayer" is written as "al Muqiyhina al salaat," which again is in the feminine plural form, instead of the masculine plural. The following phrases, "(those who) practice regular zakat, and believe in Allah" are both correctly written in the masculine plural form. So the first phrase is simply a grammatical error. Qur'an 5:69 uses the title al Sabioon, referring to the Sabians, but it should be al Sabieen. And then we have schizophrenia. Allah refers to himself in first and third person, singular and plural, in the same surah. Subjects, verbs, and objects are routinely omitted from Allah's sentences and dangling modifiers abound.

While there are scores of examples, copyediting Allah is hardly entertaining. So for those who are still in doubt as to whether the Qur'an is subject to grammatical errors, consider the insights of one of the last Muslim scholars to write before such revelations became a dead sentence. Dashti said: "The Qur'an contains sentences which are incomplete and not intelligible; foreign words, unfamiliar Arabic words, and words used with other than the normal meaning; adjectives and verbs inflected without observance of the concords of gender and number; illogically and ungrammatically applied pronouns which sometimes have no referent [dangling modifiers]; and predicates which in rhymed passages are often remote from the subjects... To sum up, more than one hundred Qur'anic aberrations from the normal rules and structure of Arabic have been noted." (Ali Dashti, Twenty-Three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Muhammad, p 48)

The Qur'an contains so many grammatical errors, Muslims defend it by finding similar errors in pre-Islamic poetry. What they don't know, however, is that this poetry was fabricated for the specific purpose of defending the Qur'an. Egyptian scholar Taha Hussein, said, "The vast quantity of what is called pre-Islamic poetry has nothing to do with the pre-Islamic literature, but it is fabricated after Islam. Thus our research will lead us to a very strange conclusion; that this poetry cannot be used in interpreting the Qur'an." (Fil-Adab al-Jaheli, Taha Hussein, Dar al-Ma'aref, p. 65-7)

As we analyzed the Qur'an's bastardization of the Biblical patriarchs, I suggested that Muhammad garnered much of his errant material from Jewish oral traditions - the Talmud, Midrash, Targum, and other apocryphal works. Here is proof as revealed by Abraham Geiger in 1833, and further documented by Jay Smith and Dr. Abraham Katsh, of New York University (The Concise Dictionary of Islam, Katsh; The Bible and the Qur'an, Jomier; Studies, Sell; Islam, Guillaume).

I'll begin with Smith's analysis. "Possibly the greatest puzzlement for Christians who pick up the Qur'an and read it are the numerous Biblical stories which bear little similarity to the original accounts. The Qur'anic versions include distortions, amendments, and some bizarre twists. So where did these stories come from, if not from the previous scriptures?

"Upon investigation we discover that much of it came from Jewish apocryphal literature, the Talmud in particular. These books date from the second century A.D. - about seven hundred years before the Qur'an was canonized. By comparing stories we destroy the myth that the Qur'an was inspired by God. The similarities between these fables, or folk tales, and the stories which are recounted in the Qur'an, are stunning."

It's ironic in a way. By plagiarizing fairytales and claiming that they were divinely inspired histories, Muslims actually destroyed the credibility of the book they were trying to bolster. And by writing such nonsense, the Jews loaded the gun Muslims are using to kill them.

The Talmudic writings were compiled from oral folklore in the second century. They evolved like the Islamic Hadith. As Jews became more numerous and urbanized, clerics and kings desired a more comprehensive set of laws and religious traditions to help them control their subjects. So Jewish rabbis set an example for Islamic imams. They created laws and traditions and artificially traced them back to Moses via the Torah. Then to help make the medicine go down, the rabbis coated their new commands in a syrupy slew of fanciful tales. Very few Jews consider the Talmudic writings authoritative, and none consider them inspired. They are only read for the light they cast on the times in which they were conceived.

So how did these uninspired Jewish Talmudic writings come to be included in the Qur'an? There are two ways, equally likely. After being hauled into captivity by the Babylonians, many Jews elected to stay. In fact, in 1948 when Israel became a state, the fourth largest concentration of Jews was in Iraq. So the Persians who canonized the Qur'an in the eighth and ninth century would have had ample access to them. And we know that Yathrib was principally a Jewish community. According to the Qur'an and Sunnah, Muhammad bought oral scripture recitals from the Jews before he robbed, banished, enslaved, and killed them.

Some scholars believe that the Islamic compilers of the eighth to ninth centuries merely added this body of literature to the nascent Qur'anic material to fill it out and make it seem more like scripture because scores of Qur'anic tales have their roots in second century Jewish apocryphal literature
. Since the devil is in the details, I beg your patience as we work our way through them.

One of the Qur'an's Cain and Abel stories
is found in Qur'an 5:30. It begins much as it does in the Biblical account with Cain killing his brother Abel, though Allah doesn't seem to recall their names in this rendition. Yet the moment one unnamed brother kills the other, the story changes and no longer follows the Biblical trail. The Qur'an's variant was plagiarized from books drafted centuries after the Old Covenant had been canonized, after even the Renewed Covenant was written: the Targum of Jonathan-ben-Uzziah, The Targum of Jerusalem, and The Pirke-Rabbi Eleazar. All three are Jewish myths composed from oral traditions between 150 to 200 A.D.

The Qur'an says: Qur'an 5:31 "Then Allah sent a raven who scratched the ground to show him how to hide the shame of the dead body of his brother. 'Woe is me!' said he; 'Was I not even able to be as this raven, and to hide the dead body of my brother?' Then he became full of regrets." We find a striking parallel in Talmudic sources. The Targum of Jonathan-ben-Uzziah says: "Adam and Eve, sitting by the corpse, wept not knowing what to do, for they had no knowledge of burial. A raven came up, took the dead body of its fellow, and having scratched at the ground, buried it thus before their eyes. Adam said, 'Let us follow the example of the raven,' so taking up Abel's body, he buried it at once." Apart from the contrast between who buried whom, the two stories are otherwise uncannily similar. We can only conclude that it was from here that Muhammad, or a later compiler, obtained his "scripture." A Jewish fable came to be repeated as a historical fact in the Qur'an.

Continues on Part VI



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