Click to View




This remarkable book has been written by the Rev. W. St. Clair-Tisdall, Missionary, C.M.S., Julfa, Persia. It takes up a subject never as yet brought properly under discussion either by Muslims or Christians — namely, the origin of the Qur'an, and the Sources from which both it and Tradition have been derived. By the teaching of Muhammad the Qur'an is of divine origin, and was brought down, as Tradition tells us, word by word by Gabriel to the Prophet's ear. The original is "written on a Tablet, kept in Heaven,"1 "sent down on the night of al Cadr"2 by the Almighty. Thus the Qur'an comes from God alone, heavenly, divine, and uncreate from all eternity. Now if it be shown that much of this grand book can be traced to human Sources existing daily around the Prophet, then Islam falls to the ground. And this is what the Author proves with marvelous power and erudition.

Such Sources as were derived from the Arabs them-

1 Surah lxxxv. 21; vi. 19.
2 Surah xcvii. 1. Sent down, the, as they say, to the lowest Heaven, and thence by Gabriel communicated to the Prophet, bit by bit, as occasion required.



selves are treated first (chap. ii).  The shadow of divine unity still subsisted among them. There were a multitude of gods and idols, of which each tribe had its special ones, as Lât and Ozza for the Coreish. The intercession of these was sought; but above and beyond them all was the ancient memory of one great God, Allah — the Al ("the") a proof of sovereign unity. Curious that the word occurs in the Prophet's family, his father and uncle being called Abdallah and Obeidallah. There was thus a local Source to build upon. Then we have the multitude of national habits and practices, as the Hajj, the Kaaba, etc., maintained in the new faith, though all of earthly origin. It was indeed the Prophet's endeavor to pull down all purely idolatrous worship;1  and so he did, except the kissing of the Black stone, too popular a practice to be abandoned. A curious example of a purely local Source may be found in a number of verses of the Qur'an which are shown to be taken from the Moallaqât, a plagiarism rather difficult for the Muslim to conjoin with the heavenly origin of his Revelation.

Chapter iii. explains the influence of Judaism. And first we are told that the Five times of prayer were borrowed from the Sabeans. The Jews were numerous and powerful throughout Arabia, and Muhammad, having sought their conversion in vain, at last fought against them and banished them from the country. But in the meantime he had taken much of his teaching from their books, the Talmud, their Commentaries, etc. The

1 "What think ye of Allat and Al Uzza and Monât, the other third?...They are but empty names which ye and your fathers have named Goddesses." Surah liii. 19.

Click to View