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Of a truth this, your religion, is the one religion and I am your Lord; therefore serve me. Sura Al-Anbiya' (xxi) 92.

The references to Old Testament history are now many and varied. It is said that the object of the Qur'an is not only to attest its own divine origin, but also to confirm what had gone before.

Before the Qur'an was the book of Moses, a rule and a mercy, and this book confirmeth it (i.e., the Pentateuch) in the Arabic tongue. Sura Al-Ahqaf (xlvi) 11.

It is alleged that the Jews with whom Muhammad at Mecca was friendly said to him that God was often called the Merciful (ar-Rahman) in the Pentateuch, and that they noticed he did not use the term. Then the verse came:—

Call upon God (Allah), and call on the Merciful (ar-Rahman), by whichsoever ye will invoke Him. He hath most excellent names. Sura Al-Isra' (xvii) 110.

The title ar-Rahman was dropped in the later Suras, 1 evidently from the fear lest Allah and ar-Rahman should be supposed to be two distinct Gods; a danger against which they were warned in the verse:—

For God hath said, 'take not to yourselves two gods for He is one God.' Sura An-Nahl (xvi) 53.

The Quraish also objected to the term and according to the Qur'an said:—

Who is the God of Mercy (ar-Rahman) shall we bow down to what thou biddest? Sura Al-Furqan (xxv) 61.

1 The use of the term ar-Rahman is, therefore, one of the internal evidences of the date of a Sura.

When the Quraish said: 'Shall we abandon our gods for a crazed poet?' the answer is : 'Nay! he cometh with truth and confirmeth the sent ones of old,' that is, according to the commentators, the prophets who preceded him:—

To the children of Israel gave we of old the Book, and the gift of prophecy . . . .
Afterward we set thee over our divine Law: follow it then and follow not the wishes of those who have no knowledge. Sura Al-Jathiya (xlv) 15-17.

There are many such expressions showing that Muhammad now gained some general knowledge of the ancient history of the Jews. There is no evidence that he ever had the Bible before him.

1 There can be no doubt that Muhammad did not himself read any Jewish or Christian books. Hence the Old Testament Traditions in the Qur'an resemble more the embellished Haggada tales than they do the original, while the New Testament Traditions are quite legendary and are similar to the reports of the Apocryphal Gospels. (Noldeke, Geschichte des Qorans, p. 6.) The term النّبِىِ اْلاُّمِىّ [Sura Al-A'raf (vii) 156, 158], ' the illiterate Prophet' bears on this point. In Sura Al-Baqarah (ii) 73 also we read وَ مِنْهُم اُّمِيُّونَ and amongst them (Jews) are illiterates,' that is, those who are unacquainted with the Book (Pentateuch), and so the term clearly refers to those who did not know the Scriptures. So, with reference to Muhammad, the term اَلاُمِىُّ simply means that he had no previous acquaintance with the Bible and not as Muslims say that, being an ignorant man, he had not the learning required to compose such a book as the Qur'an, which must, therefore, be the words of God. See Faith of Islam (4th ed.), pp. 18-21. It does not touch the question of his power to read, or show that he was in the general sense of the term an ignorant man. (Noldeke, Geschichte des Qorans, p. 11.) See also an interesting note in Geiger's Judaism and Islam, p. 20.
The only text from the Old Testament quoted in the Qur'an is:—

Since the Law was given, have we written in the Psalms that, My servants, the righteous, shall inherit the earth. Sura Al-Anbiya' (xxi) 105.

This is taken from  Psalm xxxvii. 24: 'The righteous shall. inherit the land.'
[Footnote continued on next page]

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