The people who, during the prophet hood of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him), thought that the incidents mentioned in the Holy Qur’an had been derived from the Bible, were unaware of the Bible.
The Holy Qur’an and the Bible are available even today and, according to the majority of Jews and Christians, their scriptures are intact.
These scriptures can be compared with the Holy Qur’an and their contention can be challenged. It is clear, ongoing through the narratives of the earlier Prophets (peace be on all of them), in the ancient scriptures and the Holy Qur’an that they are not derived from one another.
No doubt, some portions of these scriptures are so similar and linked that it appears that their original source is one and that is revelation. But it is quite evident that one is original and the other has been interfered with and altered by man.
There is a difference in the method and manner of description and the importance of the subject. Their style is altogether different. One has the effect of revelation, the grandeur of eternity of a Divine Book and the “light” of revelation. On reading it one feels that the object of these events is not history but guidance and admonition. It does not contain the number of years or numerical figures. The number of persons and all those details which were concerned with Studying the Holy Qur’an
History and genealogy have been cut short. Only those portions which are meant for the guidance and admonition of men for all times are used:
In their history verily there is a lesson for men of understanding. It is no invented story but a confirmation of the existing (Scripture) and a detailed explanation of everything, and a guidance and a mercy far folk who believe. [ Yusuf 12: I11J
The same spirit was found in the preaching’s and incidents of the prophets (peace be on all of them) and in the communities of the past and the same dignity of the Word of Allah. It is proof of the Holy Qur’an’s miracle. The Prophet (peace be on him) himself bears these qualities. He keeps away from irrelevant discussions and far-fetched historical detail. He describes just those facts which are good for the guidance and salvation of man. The Pharaoh wanted to draw the Prophet Moses (peace be on him) into a historic dispute, but the Prophet closed the door in a graceful manner and did not lose sight of the main object – preaching. The Pharaoh said:
What then is the state of the generations of old? [Ta Ha 20:51]
The Prophet Moses (peace be on him) replied:
…the knowledge thereof is with my Lord in a Record. My Lord neither erred nor forgetteth. [Ta Ha 20: 52]
This is in contrast to the chapters in Kings, Chronicles and Genesis in the Bible. There, history is predominant, there is a superfluity of dates, ages, numbers of people and tribes and elaborate details of buildings. But we do find traces of revelation at some places and one feels inclined to say that this could be the interpretation of the Word of God.
The Narration of the Prophet Joseph in the Bible and in the Holy Qur’an
We have selected the narrative of the Prophet Joseph (peace be on him) to show the difference between the Bible and the Holy Qur’an which has been described in detail in both books. There are more details in the Bible than in the Holy Qur’an but these are the portions which list names and dates. The Bible contains the story of Judah which is outrageous for the family of the Prophet Jacob (peace be on him). Also, there are certain allegations about the Prophet Joseph (peace be on him) which are unbecoming of his dignity.
The Holy Qur’an contains some parts which are not mentioned in the Bible.
- The befitting and winsome sermon by the Prophet Joseph (peace be on him) on “tawhid” (Oneness of Allah) is a fine example of intelligent preaching and prophetic advice in which the elegance of the Prophet Joseph (peace be on him) is reflected in full, as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an and which is not found in the Bible:
And two young men went to prison with him. One of them said: I dreamt that I was pressing wine. The other said: I dreamt that I was carrying upon my head bread from which the birds were eating. Tell us the interpretation, for we see you of those who do good. He said: The food which you are given (daily) shall not come to you but I shall tell you the interpretation before it comes to you.
This is of that which my Lord has taught me. Truly, I have forsaken the religion of folk who don’t believe in Allah and are disbelievers in the Hereafter. And I follow the religion of my fathers, Ibrahim and Ishaq and Ya’qub. It never was for us to attribute anything as partner to Allah. This is of the bounty of Allah to us (the seed of Ibrahim) and to mankind; hut most men do not give thanks.
O my two fellow prisoners! Are many Lords better, or Allah the One, the Almighty? Those whom you worship besides Him are but names which you have named, you and your fathers. Allah has revealed no sanction for them. The decision rests with Allah only, who has commanded you that you worship none save Him. This is the right religion, but most men know not.
O my two fellow prisoners! As for one of you, he will pour out wine for his lord to drink; and as for the other, he will be crucified so that the birds will eat from his head. This is the case judged concerning which you inquired. [Yusuf 12: 36-41]
The Holy Qur’an tells us that when the King of Egypt had a dream and heard the interpretation by the Prophet Joseph (peace be on him), who was then in prison, he wanted to meet him. However, the Prophet Joseph chose not to come out of prison at once. He thought it fit to have an enquiry into the incident for which he was imprisoned on false charges; that way the allegation became public, his innocence was publicized and his release would not be taken as an amnesty ordered by the king, but as a result of his innocence. This was in accordance with the dignity of the Prophet, his family, his self-respect and wisdom.
The Bible says:
And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said unto his servants, can we find such “a one” as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? Pharaoh said unto Joseph, for as much as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art. Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. [Genesis 41: 37^0]
2. The Holy Qur’an states:
…And when the messenger came unto him, he (Joseph) said: Return unto thy lord and ask him what was the case of the women who cut their hands. Lo! My Lord knoweth their guile. [Yusuf 12: 50]
When the accuser at whose instance he (the Prophet Joseph – peace be on him) was sent to prison herself declared his innocence, then he gave the reason for this delay (in coming out of prison) and his demand for an enquiry into the case:
(Then Joseph said: I asked for) this, that he (my lord) may know that I betrayed him not in secret, and that surely Allah guided not the share of the betrayers. [Yusuf 12: 52]
Then to remove any doubts about self-praise, he said:
I do not exculpate myself Lo! The (human) soul enjoined unto evil, save that whereon my Lord hath mercy. Lo! My Lord is Forgiving, Merciful. [Yusuf 12: 53]
This is evidently the talk of prophet hood and an indication of the character of the Prophet Joseph (peace be on him). This important and effective portion is not found in the Bible.
- Stories about the Prophet Jacob (peace be on him) in the Bible do not have any glimpses of prophet hood and the “light” of godhood which is seen in the Holy Qur’an. If the Book of Genesis from the Bible and Surah Yusuf in the Holy Qur’an are compared, it is obvious that he is wise and has total reliance on Allah. He sees the unseen hand of Allah in every incident. He praises Allah all the time. But in the Bible he is presented as a sympathizing, venerable and seasoned family man.
- The return of the brothers without Benjamin and the Prophet Jacob’s (peace be on him) sorrowful and moving talk which shows signs of absolute trust in Allah is not mentioned in the Bible.
- It has been mentioned in the Holy Qur’an that when the Prophet Joseph (peace be on him) met his father and brothers in Egypt, he was overwhelmed with gratitude and his heart was filled with praise of Allah. The religious- mindedness of the family and the “light” of prophet hood shone in the midst of power, authority and glamour of government and his high position of honor and dignity, and his sense of obedience and devotion came to the fore. He expressed his gratitude and prayed:
O my Lord! Thou hast given me (something) of sovereignty and hast taught me (something) of the interpretation of events – Creator of the heavens and the earth! Thou art my Protecting Friend in the world and the Hereafter. Make me to die submissive (unto Thee) and join me to the righteous. [Yusuf 12: 101]
This effective verse has also been left out in the Bible. It simply says:
And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Be’er-Sheha, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob, and he said. Here am I. [Genesis 46: 1-2]
Verses 8-25 in Chapter 46 contain the “names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt…”
The Lives of Prophets as Portrayed in the Bible and the Holy Qur’an
he remarkable difference between the Bible and the Holy Qur’an is that the latter has depicted the lives of the prophets (peace be on all of them) as pious and spotless which is befitting of their high office and position. It refutes all false allegations and imputations which were current with their enemies and unlearned followers. But in the Old Testament such insinuations have been made against the prophets (peace be on all of them) so that there seems to be left neither modesty nor shame. They are accused of infidelity at some places and at other times of sin.
Genesis, Chapter 9 talks about Prophet Noah (peace be on him), Chapter 19 about Prophet Lot (peace be on him), in Exodus, Chapter 32 about Prophet Aaron (peace be on him), and in I Kings, Chapter 1 1 about Prophet Solomon (peace be on him). All are accused of infidelity and polytheism, vice and immorality. But the Holy Qur’an calls Prophet Noah (peace be on him) trustworthy and blessed with suspiciousness and it has been said about Prophet Lot (peace be on him):
And unto Lot We gave judgement and knowledge, and We delivered him from the community that did abominations. Lo! They were folk of evil, lewd. [al-Anbiya’ 21 : 74]
The allegation of cow-worship against Prophet Aaron (peace be on him) in the Bible is as follows:
And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf; and they said, these be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it, and Aaron made proclamation and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord. [Exodus 32: 4-51
The Holy Qur’an disproves this and, on the contrary, describes him as a preacher of “Tawhid” (Oneness of God):
And Aaron indeed had told them beforehand: O my people! Ye are hut being seduced therewith, for lot your Lord is the Beneficent, so follow me and obey my order. [Ta Ha 20: 90]
The Bible contains the following passage about the Prophet Solomon (peace be on him):
For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashto-reth the goddess of the Zi-do’ni-ans, and after Mil ‘com the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. [I Kings 1 1 : 4-6]
It goes further and says:
And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded. [I Kings 11: 9-10]
But his sincerity and submission, devotion and dignity are described in the Holy Qur’an as follows:
And We bestowed on David, Solomon. How excellent a slave! Lo! He was ever turning in repentance toward Allah. [Sad 38: 30]