Saturday, 22 July 2017

Imran's Fatherhood: Part II

Evolution in the Qur’an: The Patriarchs
Masud Masihiyyen
In our first article on the theme of Imran’s fatherhood in the Qur’an, we examined the verses affiliating Jesus’ mother Mary with Imran as his biological daughter (Surah 3:35 and 66:12). While analyzing the first verse, we demonstrated how some English translators of the Qur’an made vain efforts to interpret Mary’s relation to Imran metaphorically and suggested inaccurate and misleading translations to support their arguments. With the help of the context of Surah 66 we also showed that Mary’s identification as Imran’s daughter in verse 12 was meant to be literal rather than metaphorical. In addition to these two verses, Imran’s name occurs in the entire Qur’an for the third and last time in Surah 3:33, where he is introduced as an important patriarch along with Adam, Noah, and Abraham. In this second article we shall focus on Imran’s presentation in the Qur’an as the father of a progeny and try to explain how his being the father of a progeny is associated with his being the husband of Mary’s biological mother. The mystery of Imran’s two-folded fatherhood cannot be analyzed and understood independent of the concept of evolution in the Qur’an though.
Despite having a simple creed that is equal to insipid theology, Islam cannot be asserted to lack the notion of mystery. Although Mohammad never intended to make his statements puzzling or mysterious, he most of the time achieved to leave his followers in suspense who were later saved from the pit of suspense and bewilderment with the help of brooding commentators. The scrutiny of some vague and difficult verses of the Qur'an strikingly proves that Mohammad kept faithful neither to the Biblical accounts he copied nor to his own statements that he had devised earlier through plagiarism. In some cases Mohammad turns out to be a writer that first confirmed a doctrine he heard from the People of the Book, but later modified it in accordance with the new material he drew from some other sources. Mohammad’s reliance on this method was to such a degree that he made the notion of abrogation an official dogma of his religion and scripture. Unlike the cases of abrogation, the evolution of certain teachings and narratives in Mohammad’s mental world was hidden and thus difficult to detect, but they still illustrate his ignorance and hesitance in addition to his efforts to combine and reconcile differing materials.
What actually caused the evolution of certain Islamic doctrines was mostly Mohammad’s familiarity with the basic tenets of Judaism and Christianity, which he endorsed in a rush to win the favor of the Jews and Christians and build up his new religion on the same ground as that of the former monotheistic faiths. The elements that played a significant role in the evolution of some of those teachings were not limited to the innovations Mohammad made in the days following his migration to Medina so that he could forcefully attach himself to the lineage of the former prophets. Since his sources were mostly apocryphal writings, he felt obliged to adapt his previous teachings to what those examples of apocryphal literature suggested. These adaptations for the sake of reconciliation resulted in awkward formulations that made little sense due to odd replacements and modifications.
A brilliant example of that sort of a modification and Mohammad’s evolving teachings is found in Surah 3, which is named Âl-i `Imran (The Family of Imran). As we stated in our first article on Imran’s fatherhood, the Qur’an contends in Surah 3:35 that Jesus’ mother Mary was born of Imran’s wife. In verse 33 of the same chapter Mary’s father Imran is claimed to be the father of a family in the same way as Abraham:
God did choose Adam and Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of 'Imrān above all people. (Surah 3:33 Yusuf Ali)
The formula in this particular verse naturally begins with Adam; the first man created by God and made the father of the human race, and continues with Noah, who is remarkable in human history as the person that became the father of mankind after the flood. The third person is Abraham, who is the father of Isaac, and through him, of Jacob, the father of Israel. Things seem normal until the verse names the fourth and last person: Imran. This name is the Arabic version of the Hebrew name Amram, who was the father of Aaron, Moses, and their sister Miriam (Mary in English) according to the Biblical accounts. In the Bible, and thus in Judaism and Christianity, Imran is a figure whose name appears exclusively in genealogies and who is known only because of his famous children. Apart from his age and the name of his wife no details are given.1 This is why the occurrence of his name along with father Abraham in a verse reckoning the major patriarchs sounds quite weird.
The Qur’an baffles us all the more when it equates this patriarch Imran in verse 33 with Mary’s father and Jesus’ grandfather in verse 35! From this mysterious identification we understand that while referring to the selection/preference of certain patriarchs and their progenies, Mohammad jumped from Abraham to Jesus’ supposed grandfather Imran, skipping and disregarding many generations although most of the prophets descended from Abraham’s son Jacob, whose name we would expect to see between Ibrahim and Imran. The awkward transition in Surah 3:33 from Abraham to Virgin Mary’s father supposedly named Imran is the basic problem posed by this verse, for Imran in Judaism and Christianity, unlike in Islam, is nothing more than the father of Moses and his siblings and is not considered a significant patriarch similar to Abraham. Our analysis of the names of patriarchs and their particular order in Surah 3:35 will illustrate why Mohammad needed an evolution in one of his basic teachings about the patriarchs and how he accomplished the modification. The answer to this question will solve the mysterious reference to Imran in Surah 3:33 and 35.
Evolution from Joachim to Imran and the problem posed by it
One of the prominent historical mistakes of the Islamic scripture is certainly related to the name it ascribes to Mary's father. Although Christian Churches tend to name Mary's father “Joachim” in accordance with traditional teachings mostly drawn from apocryphal literature, Mohammad argued that Mary's father had the name Imran. The reason for the modification of the name Joachim to Imran in Islam was dependent on Mohammad's weird and faulty conclusion that Jesus' mother Mary was the same person as the woman named Mary in the Old Testament, who was said to be the daughter of Amram and sister of Aaron.
At first it seems uncanny and contradictory that Mohammad modified the name Joachim to Imran although he used apocryphal Gospels of Infancy as his primary source while trying to provide historical information on Jesus and His mother. This is an issue that cannot be dismissed with the help of the supposition that Mohammad was a careless or blind borrower. It is true that he did not necessarily keep faithful to the original version of the narratives he copied, but the particular alteration applied to Mary's father's name in the Qur'an is so unusual that it points at a deliberate act of replacement. The denial of the Christian tradition that ascribed the name Joachim to the virgin's father would give birth to a gross mistake in Mohammad's scripture when combined with the chain of a few hasty conclusions he drew from the similarities between Mary's story in the apocryphal Gospels and the 20th verse of Exodus 15.2
The first question that needs to be answered is why Mohammad reacted and objected to the name Joachim, which occurred without any exception as Mary's father's name in all of the non-canonical texts of Christ's birth and infancy. Mohammad’s desire to avoid the name Joachim was relevant to the teachings given in the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, which he consulted while forming the first Islamic narrative about Christianity: Surah 19 of the Qur'an. It is not difficult to identify the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew as the source and framework of the story about Mary in the 19th Surah since only in that chapter is it related that Mary miraculously ate fresh fruit of a palm tree (date) and drank from the rivulet created for her (v. 23-26), and this miraculous incident appears only in Pseudo-Matthew's narrative (chapter 20), missing from all the other non-canonical accounts of Jesus' infancy.
The priority given by Mohammad or his mentor to the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew for plagiarism from Christian sources tells us what a hapless person Mohammad was. He was hapless because the particular infancy Gospel that he chose did not make a single reference to John the Baptist. This omission bothered Mohammad a lot as he had heard from Christians about Zechariah and his son John, whose miraculous birth was recounted in association with Jesus. The solution he wrought to this problem necessitated the replacement of the name Joachim with Zechariah in accordance with the substitution of Zechariah's son for Joachim's daughter (Mary). Consequently, in the 19th chapter of the Qur’an:
Joachim’s daughter Mary’s miraculous birth (Pseudo-Matthew)
was changed to
Zechariah’s son John’s miraculous birth (Surah 19)
Mohammad’s faulty conclusion was that Joachim could not have been the name of Mary’s father since that male name was a fabrication by Pseudo-Matthew, who avoided the names Zechariah and John. It is baffling that Muhammad became so sure of his fallacious conclusion that he ascribed the major components of Joachim’s story to Zechariah and produced new contradictions with the Biblical accounts about Zechariah’s lineage. The fact that Pseudo-Matthew identified Mary’s father Joachim as a man descending from the tribe of Judah and that Joachim’s story had a few thematic parallelisms with the story of Joseph (Jacob’s son) in the Old Testament prompted Mohammad to designate Zechariah and his son John in Surah 19 as descendants of the house of Jacob (v. 6) instead of Aaron (Luke 1:5). This dependence of the Quranic story of the birth of John (Yahya in Islam) on the story of the miraculous birth of Mary in Pseudo-Matthew is argued at length in my article Surah Mariam: The Curse of the Apocrypha (see there the narrative about Zechariah and Appendix I and II).
Interestingly, we see that Mohammad narrated and confirmed the story of Mary’s nativity in Surah 3, which he devised in the post-migration period although he had completely ignored the same account while writing the 19th Surah. What drove Mohammad to change his mind and thus evolve his teachings in Surah 3, which belonged to a later period than Surah 19? This curious inconsistency finds an explanation when we remember that Mohammad drew heavily from another apocryphal Gospel of infancy for his teachings in the 3rd chapter: The Gospel of James. The account of Mary’s nativity in this famous non-canonical Gospel was endorsed and incorporated into the 3rd chapter of the Qur'an quite smoothly since Mohammad considered it a reliable story thanks to a reference in it to John’s father Zechariah as the priest organizing the divinely guided selection of Mary’s guardian (chapter 8). Further, unlike the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, the Gospel of James was in line with the things stated in Luke’s canonical Gospel with regard to the relation between Zechariah’s wife and Mary (compare the 12th chapter of the Gospel of James with Luke 1:39-45). These significant points may well have convinced Mohammad that there would be nothing wrong with including the account of Mary’s nativity into the list of the things to be plagiarized from the Gospel of James.
Nonetheless, Mohammad noticed that his previous nightmare concerning the name of Mary’s father in Pseudo-Matthew repeated itself in the Gospel of James, for the appearance of Zechariah’s name in this particular text had by no means changed the name of Mary’s father. In other words, James surprisingly agreed with Pseudo-Matthew that Mary’s father’s name was Joachim. This agreement was not appealing to Mohammad though. Coupling his ignorance with arrogance, he contended that Mary’s father was not called Joachim, most likely interpreting the presence of the name Joachim in all Gospels of infancy as the impact of Pseudo-Matthew’s allegedly misleading information. As a result, in the Islamic version of the account of Mary’s nativity, he had to change the original name Joachim into Imran, the alternate name he came up with through his misunderstandings.
Mohammad’s misunderstandings and hasty conclusions regarding the name of Mary’s father dated back to the days when he devised Surah 19 and had to refer in that chapter to the identity of Mary’s parents while copying from the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew the account of Mary’s interrogation by her folk with the charges of an illegitimate affair (chapter 12). As we said before, Mohammad’s giving priority to the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and his relevant objection to the name Joachim in that text marked the beginning of his misfortune. Having ignored the order of the narrative in that non-canonical Gospel, Mohammad decided to start the story about Mary with the angelic visit and annunciation, which impelled him to consider the account of Mary’s accusation as the only and perfect occasion of a reference to her family. To compare:
Then was assembled a multitude of people which could not be numbered, and Mary was brought to the temple. And the priests, and her relatives, and her parents wept, and said to Mary: Confess to the priests your sin, you that wast like a dove in the temple of God, and received food from the hands of an angel. (Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew chapter 12 )
Then she brought him to her own folk, carrying him. They said: O Mary! Thou hast come with an amazing thing. O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man nor was thy mother a harlot. (Surah 19:27-28).
The particular section that narrated Mary’s accusation by her people and referred to her family in Pseudo-Matthew described Mary as a revered female figure that had the characteristics of a prophetess. Thanks to his vague remembrance of an Old Testament verse describing Aaron’s Sister Mary as a prophetess (Exodus 15:20), Mohammad thought that the Hebrew woman named Mary was no one else than Jesus’ mother. This is why he identified Mary as the sister of Aaron in Surah 19 and then as the daughter of Imran (Aaron’s father had the name Imran) in two verses of the Medina period (Surah 66:12 and 3:35). Thus, the replacement of the name Joachim with Imran in Surah 3 was a confirmation and continuation of Mohammad’s teaching in Surah 19 that Jesus’ mother Mary was the sister of Aaron.
Now that we know how and why Mohammad changed the original name of Mary’s father (Joachim) into Imran, we can get back to the analysis of Imran’s mysterious insertion into a verse talking about forefathers and their selected progenies. With the help of our comparative study, it does not take us a long time to find out that the number and order of the figures in Surah 3:33 is actually a modified form of another verse belonging to the earlier period of the Qur'an. Thus, Mohammad’s teaching about certain ancestors is proven to have undergone evolution before taking its final form in the third chapter.
To our surprise, we find the original version of Surah 3:33 in the 19th Surah of the Qur'an, which is remarkable because both Surah 19 and 3 contain narratives about Mary and Jesus that are obviously plagiarized from the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and that of James, respectively. The awkward verse having Imran’s name next to father Abraham is located just before the account of Mary’s nativity in Surah 3 whereas its original version appears at the end of the narratives beginning with Zechariah and Mary’s story and having the recurrent formula “Mention in the book....” in Surah 19. The chronological order of the Qur’an chapters makes it clear that Mohammad first devised the following verse in the Meccan period:
These are they unto whom Allah showed favour from among the prophets, of the seed of Adam and of those whom We carried (in the ship) with Noah, and of the seed of Abraham and Israel, and from among those whom We guided and chose. (Surah 19:58 Pickthall)
and placed it after modification at the introduction to the story of Mary’s nativity, which he copied from the Gospel of James:
Lo! Allah preferred Adam and Noah and the Family of Abraham and the Family of' Imran above (all His) creatures. (Surah 3:33 Pickthall)
These two verses are amazingly similar because
- They both refer to the notion of selection with regard to certain ancestors and their progenies
- They both give four names in total.
Apart from the slight differences stemming from different word choice, the only major discrepancy between Surah 19:58 and Surah 3:33 is the name of the fourth ancestor mentioned after Abraham. Mohammad turns out to have replaced Israel (Jacob) with Imran (Mary’s father Joachim) while devising Surah 3. Needless to say, the teaching given in Surah 19:58 about forefathers and their generations is more plausible and biblically accurate, reflecting Mohammad’s faithfulness to the things he heard from Jews and Christians until he came across the apocryphal Gospel of James and altered Israel to Imran thanks to his misinterpretation.
Before solving the mystery of Israel’s (Surah 19:58) evolution to Imran (Surah 3:33), it is crucial to highlight Mohammad’s endorsement of the Judaic and Christian doctrines regarding the patriarchs, Israel’s relation to them, and Israel’s being the elected people of God. The sequence presented in the 58th verse of Surah 19 is perfectly compatible with biblical teachings as it begins with Adam, the father of the human race, and ends in Jacob (later named Israel), father of the nation called Israel. Even this chronological order reflects the influence and guidance of the Bible in the production of this verse since Mohammad mostly disregarded the significance of chronology and thus deviated from the Bible while recounting the stories of the prophets.
Further, the order of the four people confirmed by Mohammad (Adam-Noah-Abraham-Israel) reiterated the Biblical teaching that God first created mankind, but then raised up a nation for Himself. Thus, the act of creation narrowed down and turned into the act of election. Although all of the four figures were patriarchs (ancestors), two of them (Adam and Noah) were considered universal patriarchs because they had become the fathers of the human race. Abraham and Jacob, on the other hand, became fathers of the tribes descending from them. The peculiar formulation in Surah 3:33 illustrates the distinction of the fatherhood of Adam and Noah from that of the other pair.
Judaism and Christianity did not deny Adam and Noah as universal patriarchs, but laid stress on Jacob’s (and the 12 tribes descending from him) selection in accordance with the promise made in Isaac, one of Abraham’s two sons. In other words, the Bible taught a transition from universal patriarchs to tribal ones, mentioning first the fathers of the human race and then the fathers of the nation of Israel. This teaching is brilliantly displayed in Jesus’ two genealogies recorded by Matthew and Luke (chapter 1 in the former and chapter 3 in the latter). Since Evangelist Matthew essentially addressed the Hebrews and underlined the link between God’s promises made to Abraham and Jesus’ miraculous birth, he did not need to include the figures preceding Abraham into Jesus’ genealogy. Evangelist Luke, on the other hand, addressed the Gentiles and underlined the universality of Jesus’ mission along with His human nature. Therefore, he deemed it necessary to bind Jesus to Adam, the first man and forefather of mankind. We are surprised to see that in Surah 19:58 and partly in Surah 3:33 Mohammad adhered to the same teaching and referred both to the universal and tribal forefathers of the Holy Bible.
From Adam to Noah
The fact that Mohammad highlighted Adam and Noah as two patriarchs was a natural outcome of his belief that human race descended from these two men at different times: Adam before the flood whilst Noah after the flood. This was, of course, a basic biblical doctrine stipulating faith in a global flood at Noah’s time. Thus, Mohammad embraced this tenet and considered Noah as the second father of the human race after Adam, which suffices to rebut the speculative argument of some modern Islamic scholars that Noah had been sent to his folk and the flood was therefore local.3 In contrast to the efforts of some Muslim commentators who try to confine the flood to a specific region on earth, Mohammad made it clear by formulating the verses below that the human race was regenerated through Noah’s offspring after the flood:4
And Noah verily prayed unto Us, and gracious was the Hearer of his prayer. And We saved him and his household from the great distress, and made his seed the survivors. (Surah 37:75-77 Pickthall)
Mohammad even drew an implicit parallelism between Adam and Noah by recounting the beginning of Adam’s life on earth after his banishment from Heaven and the beginning of life on earth after the flood in similar terms:
He said: Go down (from hence), one of you a foe unto the other. There will be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a while. He said: There shall ye live, and there shall ye die, and thence shall ye be brought forth. (Surah 7:23-25 Pickthall)
It was said (unto him): O Noah! Go thou down (from the mountain) with peace from Us and blessings upon thee and some nations (that will spring) from those with thee. (There will be other) nations unto whom We shall give enjoyment a long while and then a painful doom from Us will overtake them. (Surah 11:48 Pickthall)
Likewise, as seen in the following verses, Mohammad associated the generations descending from Noah with the flood and the people carried in the ark:
These are they unto whom Allah showed favour from among the prophets, of the seed of Adam and of those whom We carried (in the ship) with Noah.... (Surah 19:58 Pickthall)
We gave unto Moses the Scripture, and We appointed it a guidance for the children of Israel, saying: Choose no guardian beside Me. (They were) the seed of those whom We carried (in the ship) along with Noah. Lo! he was a grateful slave. (Surah 17:2-3 Pickthall)
Abraham and Israel (Jacob)
Jacob’s presentation with the name Israel in Surah 19:58 as the last link of the chain of ancestors once more labels Mohammad a man who acknowledged what he heard from the Jews and Christians about the prophetic lineage and the related election of Israel. For the people who know the traditional Islamic arguments about Abraham’s chosen son it is shocking indeed to see Mohammad testify to the basic Biblical doctrine that God promised to make His covenant with Isaac instead of Abraham’s first-born son Ishmael (Genesis 17:19, 21:12).5
Quite interestingly, the impact of the Judaic and Christian doctrines concerning Abraham’s progeny and Israel’s election was so strong on Mohammad that in all the chapters belonging to Meccan period he skipped Ishmael and designated Jacob as the second son given to Abraham. For instance:
When he had turned away From them and from those Whom they worshipped besides God, We bestowed on him Isaac and Jacob, and each one Of them We made a prophet. (Surah 19:49 Yusuf Ali)
And his wife was standing (There), and she laughed: But We gave her glad tidings ofIsaac, and after him, of Jacob. (Surah 11:71 Yusuf Ali)
And We gave (Abraham) Isaac and Jacob, and ordained Among his progeny prophethood And Revelation, and We granted him his reward In this life; and he was in the Hereafter (of the company) of the Righteous. (Surah 29:27 Yusuf Ali)
We gave him Isaac and Jacob: all (three) We guided … (Surah 6:84 Yusuf Ali)
Still, it must be made clear that in the period prior to his migration Mohammad reckoned Ishmael as one of the former prophets and made short and simple references to his mission although he never affiliated him with Abraham in any way. One of such few references can be seen in Surah 19, where Ishmael is taught to be a messenger observing Islamic rituals:
And make mention in the Scripture of Ishmael. Lo! he was a keeper of his promise, and he was a messenger (of Allah), a  prophet. He enjoined upon his people worship and almsgiving, and was acceptable in the sight of his Lord. (Surah 19:54-55 Pickthall)
In Surah 19 God had supposedly asked Mohammad to make mention of Abraham (verse 41) and introduced the narrative that contained the story of Abraham’s objection to his father and folk’s idolatry, his withdrawal from his people, and his fathering Isaac and Jacob. Not only did this narrative lack Ishmael’s name, but was also dissociated from the particular reference to Ishmael in the same chapter through the interpolation of a reference to Moses and Aaron in verses 51-53. Below are the names of the people who are mentioned in Surah 19 until the 58th verse, which talks of four patriarchs:
Zechariah (v. 2-15)
Mary (v. 16-38)
Abraham (v. 41-50)
Moses and Aaron (v. 51-53)
Ishmael (v. 54-55)
Idris (v. 56-57)

Islamic comments making Idris in verse 56 the equivalent of Biblical Enoch6 surprisingly strengthens the possibility that Mohammad intended a latent connection between four of the six names listed above and the four names given in Surah 19:58. In that case, the account about Abraham would correspond to the seed of Abraham whilst the account about Moses and Aaron to the seed of Israel. As for the remaining two patriarchs, Ishmael would be linked to Noah’s progeny whilst Idris (who is considered the same person as Enoch) to Adam. This sort of a parallelism gives us the clue that Mohammad bafflingly tended to present Ishmael as a messenger descending from Noah rather than as Abraham’s son while devising Surah 19.
The amazing matching of the persons who are referred to in Surah 19:41-57 with the four patriarchs named in verse 58 does not necessarily leave Zechariah and Mary out of this parallelism, for the references to Abraham, Moses and Aaron, Ishmael, and Idris along the formula “Mention in the book ….” seem to be attached to the primary narratives about Zechariah and Mary in verses 2-38, which are obviously plagiarized from the non-canonical Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew through significant modifications. In other words, Mohammad first related Zechariah and Mary’s story and then added the other accounts up to verse 58, using the first two narratives as the framework for others. Surprisingly, Zechariah’s story is directly related to the seed of Israel mentioned in verse 58 since Zechariah associates himself and his son with the seed of Israel when he utters the phrase “house of Jacob” in his prayer in verse 6. Although the narrative about Jesus’ mother Mary does not make any explicit associations between her and patriarch Jacob, Moses and Aaron’s matching with the seed of Israel indirectly links Mary to the same progeny because she is called the “sister of Aaron” in verse 28.
The question why Mohammad did not adapt the erroneous and innovated teachings he invented about Ishmael in the post-migration to the names and order of the patriarchs in Surah 3:33 gets us one step closer to the solution of the mysterious inclusion of Mary’s father into the same list. Ironically, Mohammad does not affiliate Ishmael with Abraham when he gives the names of the figures and families chosen by God in Surah 3:33 even though he follows a different course and contradicts the Bible when he awkwardly places Ishmael’s name between Abraham and Isaac in the Medina verses that point at the chain of divine revelation. For instance:
Say (O Muhammad): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and that which was vouchsafed unto Moses and Jesus and the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered. (Surah 3:84)
People who naturally wonder why Mohammad skipped Ishmael and jumped to Mary’s father (another Israelite) from Abraham and thus endorsed the Biblical teaching that, of Abraham’s two sons, the line descending from Isaac was preferred should refresh their memories with regard to Mohammad’s plagiarism from non-canonical Christian writings. As we said before, Mohammad abused the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew while devising certain verses of Surah 19 and did the same thing with the Gospel of James while relating the story of Mary and Jesus’ nativity in Surah 3.
Despite its being an apocryphal text, the Gospel of James (like the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew) reiterated the basic Biblical doctrine concerning Isaac’s election and the fulfillment of the divine promises in his seed. More to the point, canonical and non-canonical Gospels of Infancy were about Jesus, an Israelite, and naturally stressed the election of the seed of Israel for the fulfillment of divine promises through the descent of the predicted Messiah from David’s lineage. (David also descended from Israel, Isaac’s son, not from Ishmael). In short, the Gospels of Infancy were unaware of Mohammad’s new allegations about Ishmael that deviated from the teachings of the Bible. While copying from the Gospel of James, Mohammad could not insert Ishmael into Abraham’s lineage either because of his short memory or because he did not have courage to apply such a drastic change to the original form of the story. Consequently, he altered only the name of Mary’s father from Joachim to Imran, keeping faithful to the other elements of the apocryphal Gospel of Infancy he borrowed from while creating Surah 3.
Continues on Part III

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