Opposing False Attacks on the Qur'an By: Allen S. Maller
Many Christian missionaries are interested in proving the superiority of the Bible to the Qur'an. They say that the Christian Bible (the Old Testament and the New Testament) is the true word of God: the Qur'an is not.
They try to prove this by asserting that when
the Qur'an's narratives differ from the Bible's narratives about the
same event; the Qur'an must be wrong. It is sad that these
missionaries, who claim to be the disciples of Jesus, ignore his
teaching to love not only your neighbors, but also your enemies.
would reply that the search for God's truth is so important that it
justifies insulting other peoples prophets and sacred texts even when
they also teach monotheism. These Christian missionaries are ignorant
of, or simply reject, two very important Ahadith, that I, a Reform
Rabbi who considers himself to be a Muslim Jew, always respect.
a Muslim Jew i.e. a faithful Jew submitting to the will of God,
because I am a Reform Rabbi. (Reform Jews are now the largest of the
Jewish denominations in the U.S. In the U.K..Reform Judaism is called
As a Reform Rabbi I believe that Rabbis
should modify Jewish traditions to prevent them from making religion
to hard to practice. This is an important teaching in the Qur'an
(7:157) and one that prophet Muhammad taught 12 centuries before the
rise of Reform Judaism in the early 19th century.
As Abu Huraira
related: The Prophet said, "Religion is very easy and whoever
overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in
that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to
perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded."
(Bukhari book 2 #38)
Islam teaches clearly that God does not have just one people or one
true religion. Rather, God chose not to create human beings as one
nation or with only one religion so that each religion could compete
with all the others in order to see which religion produces the
highest percentage of moral and loving people; and which people best
embody in their personal and communal lives the moral teachings of
As it is written in the Qur'an [5.48] "For every
one of you did We appoint a law and a way. If Allah had pleased He
would have made you one people, but (He didn't) that He might test
you in what He gave you. Therefore compete with one another to hasten
to virtuous deeds; for all return to Allah, so He will let you know
that in which you differed."
This is a wonderful further
development of the teaching of the Biblical prophet Micah (4:5) that
in the end of days-the Messianic Age "All people will walk, each
in the name of their own God, and we shall walk in the name of the
Lord our God forever."
The Jew went to the
Prophet and informed him of what had happened. The Prophet sent for
the Muslim and asked him about it. The Muslim informed him of the
event. The Prophet said, "Do not give me superiority over Moses,
for on the Day of Resurrection all the people will fall unconscious
and I will be one of them. I will be the first to gain consciousness,
and I will see Moses standing and holding the side of the Throne (of
I will not know whether (Moses) had also fallen unconscious
and got up before me, or Allah has exempted him from that stroke."
(Bukhari book 76 #524) The people of the book; Jews, Christians and
Muslims alike, should learn humility from this profound teaching of
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
the same thing when they assert that Muhammad took (stole) things
from Jewish post Biblical literature; and that he got things wrong
when the Qur'an relates different things about events in the Hebrew
Bible (what Christians call the Old Testament).
An example of these
false accusations is the Qur'an's account Cain's killing of Able
Qur'an 5:27-32: "(27) Tell them the tale of the two sons of Adam
as it really was. Both presented an offering. It was accepted from
one of them, but it was not accepted from the other, who said, "I'm
going to kill you!" The former answered, "God only accepts
from the conscientious." (28) Even if you stretch out your hand
to kill me, I am not stretching out my hand to kill you, for I fear
God, the Lord of the worlds.
(29) I would rather you bring on my sin
as well as your sin, so you will be one of those destined for the
Fire, for that is the reward of the unjust. (30) But he (Cain) did
not hold back from killing his brother (Able). He murdered him and
became one of the lost.
(31) Then God sent a raven to scratch up
the ground to show him (Cain) how to hide his brother's naked
remains. He said: Woe is me! Am I not able even to be like raven to
hide the naked corpse of my brother? So he (Cain) regretted (what he
(32) Because of that, We decreed for the Children of
Israel that whoever kills a human being for other than murder or
corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all
humankind, and whoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he
had saved the life of all mankind."
The Qur'an does not name which of his two
sons Abraham took with him for the sacrifice; the Torah does (Genesis
The Qur'an does not name the two sons of Adam; the Torah does. For Jews the names were very important because all these people were like family or tribal members.
For Muslims the names were not so
important because the Muslims were destined to be a multinational
The Qur'an does not describe what the two
offerings were, but states. "God only accepts from the
conscientious." making explicit the religious lesson that intent
is more important than the specific ritual material offering, and
this is why God accepted one and not the other.
The Torah (Genesis
4:3-8) relates that, "(3)Cain brought an offering to the Lord
from the fruit of the soil; (4) and Abel, for his part, brought the
choicest of the firstlings of his flock. The Lord paid heed to Abel
and his offering, (5) but to Cain and his offering God paid no heed.
Cain was much distressed and his face fell.
(6) The Lord said to
Cain, "Why are you distressed, and why is your face fallen? (7)
Surely, if you do right, there is uplift. But if you do not do right
sin crouches at the door; its urge is toward you, yet you can be its
(8) Cain said to his brother Abel...and when they were
in the field Cain set upon his brother Abel and killed him." The
Torah does not explicitly state the reason one was accepted and the
other one was not, as the Qur'an does, (the Torah does state "Cain
brought an offering" while Abel " brought the choicest of
the firstlings of his flock") because the Torah lesson is not just why
God chose one over the other.
The real issue for Jews is how do
people in general handle rejection and failure. We are all going to
not be chosen or lose out or be rejected sometimes; do we yield to frustration, envy and
anger or do we control ourselves-"be its master".
why the Torah states that Cain said something to Abel and then
doesn't tell us what he said. It doesn't matter what he said; there
are no words of attack or of defence that justify murder. Both lessons; the importance of
intentionally in religious behavior, and the importance of avoiding
anger and violence through mastering our self control, are important,
and both Judaism and Islam teach both of them.
A Rabbinic text from the sixth or
seventh century, Pirkey deRabbi Eli`ezer chapter 21 relates that
"Adam and his helpmate (Eve) were sitting, weeping and mourning
for him (Able), and they did not know what to do, for they were
unaccustomed to burial.
A raven whose fellow-bird died said, " I
will teach this man what to do." What did he do? He took his
fellow and dug in the earth, covered him and buried him before their
eyes. Adam said, "I'll do what this raven did." And he took
the body of Abel, dug in the earth and covered it."
say this is one of many examples of Muhammad borrowing material from
Jewish sources. As a rabbi I can tell you this is not true.
texts are usually collections of many different Oral Torah traditions
passed down orally over the generations. The early parts of this book
may date from the 4th century and the latest parts may date from the
The lesson from the raven might preceded the birth of
Muhammad by 100-150 years, or it might date from a century after his
It doesn't matter because if you believe that there is only
one God who has sent prophets to all the nations of the world, the
fact that some material from one holy text is similar to material in
another holy text is to be expected.
Indeed, you might expect there
to be much more duplication when every prophet is reciting from the
The Mishnah and the Talmud are collections of
Oral Torah, similar in function as another source for God's law for Muslims;
the Ahadith and the Sunna of Prophet Muhammad.
Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5
states, "We observe [in the case of] Cain who killed his
brother, "the bloods of your brother call out." The word is
in the plural [to teach] his blood and the blood of his descendants.
Therefore Adam was created alone, to teach you that anyone who
destroys one human soul [or, in another reading, "one Israelite
soul"] is considered as if he destroyed an entire world, and
anyone who establishes one human soul is as if he has saved an entire
And the Qur'an states, "(32) Because of that, We
decreed for the Children of Israel that whoever kills a human being
for other than murder or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if
he had killed all humankind, and whoever saves the life of one, it
shall be as if he had saved the life of all humankind. Our messengers
came to them with proofs, but many of them throughout the land are
Note that the Qur'an states explicitly that
God decreed "for the Children of Israel" by messengers
(plural) the same lesson the Qur'an is teaching right now to Muslims.
Notice that in the Oral Torah tradition the original 'mankind' has
been replaced by ' Israelite' due to several terrible experiences that the Jewish community underwent.
The first was the the two big wars that the Jews fought and lost with the Romans in 66-70 CE and 132-135 CE.
The second terrible experience were
three centuries (330-634 CE) of persecution of Jews in the Byzantine
Roman Empire until they were liberated by the Arab conquest of most
of Byzantine Rome.
Thus parallels between Muslim and Jewish texts do
not disprove the Divine origin of the Qur'an. These parallels prove
What we have in common
is what we should focus on. As the Qur'an (3:64) states: "Say;
"O People of the Book! come to common terms between us and you:
That we worship none but Allah. that we associate no partners with
Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other
than Allah." If then they turn back (reject) you. say: "Bear
witness that we (at least) are Muslims (who accept all the previous