Borrowings from external sources


What Muslims Claim

  • The Qur’an is the eternal Word of Allah
  • Its source comes from eternal tablets, “preserved” in heaven (S.85:22)
  • It was revealed to correct the errors of previous revelations
  • It is unfettered by human intervention
  • I.e. it does not come from man, but from God!


Cain and Abel

Surah 5:32:

On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people...

Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziah (2nd century)

Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5 (5th century):

We find it said in the case of Cain who murdered his brother, `the voice of your brother's blood cries out' it does not say he has blood in the singular, but bloods in the plural.'

You were created single in order to show that to him who kills a single individual, it should be reckoned that he has slain the whole race. But to him who has preserved the life of a single individual, it is counted that he has preserved the whole race.


Solomon and Sheba

Surah 27:17-44:

(Aya 17) And before Solomon were marshalled his hosts-of Jinns and men, and birds, and they were all kept in order and ranks.

(20) And he took a muster of the Birds; and he said: `Why is it I see not the Hoopoe? Or is he among the absentees?

(21) I will certainly punish him with a severe penalty, or execute him, unless he brings me a clear reason (for absence).

(22) But the Hoopoe tarried not far: he (came up and) said: `I have compassed (territory) which you have not compassed, and I have come to you from Saba with tidings true.

(23) I found (there) a woman ruling over them and provided with every requisite; and she has a magnificent throne...

(27) (Solomon) said: `Soon shall we see whether you have told the truth or lied!

(28) Go you, with this letter of mine, and deliver it to them: then draw back from them and (wait to) see what answer they return."

(29) (The queen) said: "You chiefs! Here is – delivered to me – a letter worthy of respect.

(30) It is from Solomon, and is (as follows): `In the name of Allah, most Gracious, Most Merciful: Be you not arrogant against me, but come to me in submission (to the true Religion).'"

(32) She said: "You chiefs! Advise me in (this) my affair: no affair have I decided except in your presence."

(33) They said: "We are endued with strength, and given to vehement war: but the command is with thee; so consider what you will command."

(35) She said..."But I am going to send him a present, and (wait) to see with what (answer) return (my) ambassadors."

(42) So when she arrived

(44) she was asked to enter the lofty Palace: but when she saw it, she thought it was a lake of water, and she (tucked up her skirts), uncovering her legs. He said: "This is but a palace paved smooth with slabs of glass."

II Targum of Esther (2nd century):

Solomon...gave orders...I will send King and armies against you... (of) Genii [jinn] beasts of the land the birds of the air

Just then the Red-cock (a bird), enjoying itself, could not be found; King Solomon said that they should seize it and bring it by force, and indeed he sought to kill it.

But just then, the cock appeared in the presence of the King and said, "I had seen the whole world (and) know the city and kingdom (of Sheba) which is not subject to you, My Lord King. They are ruled by a woman called the Queen of Sheba. Then I found the fortified city in the Eastlands (Sheba) and around it are stones of gold and silver in the streets." By chance the Queen of Sheba was out in the morning worshipping the sea, the scribes prepared a letter, which was placed under the bird's wing and away it flew and (it) reached the Fort of Sheba. Seeing the letter under its wing (Sheba) opened it and read it.

“King Solomon sends to you his Salaams. Now if it pleases you to come and ask after my welfare, I will set you high above all. But if it pleases you not, I will send kings and armies against you."

The Queen of Sheba heard it; she tore her garments, and sending for her Nobles asked their advice. They knew not Solomon, but advised her to send vessels by the sea, full of beautiful ornaments and gems...also to send a letter to him.

When at last she came, Solomon sent a messenger...to meet her...Solomon, hearing she had come, arose and sat down in the palace of glass. When the Queen of Sheba saw it, she thought the glass floor was water, and so in crossing over lifted up her garments. When Solomon seeing the hair about her legs, (He) cried out to her..."


Jesus and the Palm Tree

Surah 19:22-26:

So she conceived him [Jesus], and she retired with him to a remote place.

And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree: She cried (in her anguish): `Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight'!

Then [the babe ‘Isa (Jesus)] cried unto her from below her, saying: `Grieve not! for your Lord has provided a rivulet beneath you:

And shake towards yourself the trunk of the palm tree; it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon you.

So eat and drink and cool (your) eye.

The Lost Books of the Bible (2nd century):

Now on the third day after Mary was wearied in the desert by the heat, she asked Joseph to rest for a little under the shade of a Palm Tree. Then Mary looking up and seeing its branches laden with fruit (dates) said, `I desire if it were possible to have some fruit.' Just then the child Jesus looked up (from below) with a cheerful smile, and said to the Palm Tree, `Send down some fruit.' Immediately the tree bent itself (toward her) and so they ate. Then Jesus said, `O Palm Tree, arise; be one of my Father's trees in Paradise, but with your roots open the fountain (rivulet) beneath you and bring water flowing from that fount.'


Further Borrowed Jewish/Christian Sources

  • S.3:35-37 Mary, Imran, Zechariah = Proto-Evangelion’s James Lesser (2nd century)
  • S.3:49 Creating birds from clay = Thomas gospel of the infancy of Jesus Christ (2nd century)
  • S.5:31 Burying a Raven = Targum of Johanathan-Ben-Uzziah (2nd century)
  • S.7:171 Raising Mountains= The Abodah Sarah (2nd century)
  • S.19:29-33 Baby Jesus talking = the First gospel of the infancy of Jesus Christ (2nd century)
  • S.21:51-71 Abraham destroying idols in the Ka’aba, in Mecca = The Mishnah of Rabbah (2nd century)

Note: these ‘borrowings’ were written between the 2nd and 5th centuries, thus long after the Bible was canonized, suggesting that the creators of the Qur’an borrowed the wrong material!

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