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Was Qur'an Plagiarized From The Bible?
Many critics state that while Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself was not the author of the Qur’an he learnt it from other human sources or plagiarized it, i.e. copied or adapted from previous scriptures or revelations.
  • MUHUMMAD (PBUH) LEARNT THE QUR’AN FROM A ROMAN BLACKSMITH WHO WAS A CHRISTIAN:
Some pagans accused the Prophet (pbuh) of learning the Qur’an from a Roman Blacksmith, who was a Christian and lived in the outskirts of Mecca. The Prophet very often use to go and watch him do his work. A revelation of the Qur’an was sufficient to dismiss this change. The Qur’an says :

“We know indeed that they say, 
“It is a man that teaches him.” 
The tongue of him they wickedly point to is notably foreign, 
while this is Arabic, pure & clear.”
(Al Qur'an 16:103)

 How could a person whose mother tongue was foreign and could hardly speak little but of poor broken Arabic be the source of the Qur’an which is pure, eloquent, fine Arabic? To believe that the blacksmith taught the Prophet (pbuh), the Qur’an, is somewhat similar to a Chinese immigrant to England, who did not know proper English, taught Shakespeare.
  • MUHAMMAD (PBUH) LEARNT THE QUR'AN FROM WARAQA - THE RELATIVE OF KHADIJAH (R.A.)
Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) contact with the Jewish and Christian scholars was very limited. The most prominent Christian was an old blind man called Waraqa Ibn-Naufal who was a relative of the Prophet’s first wife Khadijah (R.A.). He, although of Arab descent was a convert to Christianity and was very well versed with the New Testament. The Prophet (pbuh) met him only twice, first when Waraqa was worshipping at the Ka'aba, (before the prophetic Mission) and he kissed the Prophet’s forehead affectionately. The second was when the Prophet (pbuh) went to meet Waraqa after receiving the first revelation. Waraqa died 3 years later and the revelation continued for about 23 years.
  • PROPHET’S RELIGIOUS DISCUSSIONS WITH THE JEWS AND CHRISTIANS:-
It is true that the Prophet (pbuh) did have religious discussions with the jews and christians but these discussions took place in Madinah more than 13 years after the revelation of the Qur’an had started. The allegation that these Jews and Christians were the source is the reverse, since in these discussions Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) was the teacher inviting them to embrace Islam and pointing out that they deviated away from their true teaching of Monotheism. Several of them later embraced Islam.
  • PROPHET LEARNT THE QUR’AN FROM JEWS AND CHRISTIANS THAT HE MET OUTSIDE ARABIA:
All historical records available show that Muhammad (pbuh) had made only three trips outside Makkah before his Prophethood.
i)   At the age of 6 he accompanied his mother to Madinah.
ii)  Between the age of 9 & 12, he accompanied his uncle Abu – Talib on a business trip to Syria,
iii) At the age of 25, he led Khadija’s (R.A) caravan to Syria.

It is highly imaginary to assume that the Qur’an resulted from the occasional chats and meetings with the Christians or Jews from any of the above three trips.


  • LOGICAL GROUNDS TO PROVE THAT THE PROPHET DID NOT LEARN THE QUR’AN FROM JEWS OR CHRISTIANS:

The day-to-day life of the Prophet (Pbuh) was an open book for all to see. In fact a revelation came asking people to give the Prophet some privacy in his own home. If the Prophet (pbuh) had been meeting people who told him what to say as a revelation from God, this would not have been hidden for very long.

The extremely prominent Quraish nobles who followed the Prophet and accepted Islam were wise and intelligent men who would have easily noticed anything suspicious about the way in which the Prophet brought the revelation to them – more so since the Prophetic mission lasted 23 years.

The enemies of the Prophet kept a close watch on him in order to find proof for their claim that he was a liar – they could not point out even a single instance when the Prophet may have had a secret rendezvous with particulars Jews and Christians.

It is inconceivable that any human author of the Qur’an would have accepted a situation in which he received no credit whatsoever for originating the Qur’an.
Thus, historically and logically it cannot be established that there was a human source for the Qur’an.

  • MUHAMMAD (PBUH) WAS AN ILLITERATE

The theory that Muhammad (Pbuh) authored the Qur’an or copied from other sources can be disproved by the single historical fact that he was illiterate.

Allah testifies Himself in the Qur’an

And you were not (able) to recite a Book before this (Book came), nor were you (able) to transcribe it with your right hand: in that case, indeed, would the talkers of vanities have doubled.”
(Al Qur’an 29:48)

Allah (swt) knew that many would doubt the authenticity of the Qur’an and would ascribe it to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). Therefore Allah in his Divine Wisdom chose the Last and Final Messenger to be an ‘Ummi’ i.e. unlettered, so that the talkers of vanity would not then have the slightest justification to doubt the Prophet. The accusation of his enemies that he had copied the Qur’an from other sources and rehashed it all in a beautiful language might have carried some weight, but even this flimsy pretence has been deprived to the unbeliever and the cynic.

Allah reconfirms:

“Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (Scriptures) in the Law and the Gospel” (Al Qur’an 7:157)

The prophecy of coming of the unlettered Prophet (Pbuh) is also mentioned in the Bible in the book of Isaiah:

“And the book is delivered to him that is not learned “ (Isaiah 29:12)

The Qur’an testifies in no less than four difference places that the Prophet (Pbuh) was illiterate. It is also mentioned in Al-Qur’an 7:158 and 62:2.

  • ARABIC VERSION OF THE BIBLE WAS NOT PRESENT :

This Arabic version of the Bible was not present at the time of Prophet Muhammed (Pbuh). The earliest Arabic version of the old Testament is that of R. Saadias Gaon 900 C.E. - more than 250 years after the death of our beloved Prophet. The oldest Arabic Version of the new testament was published by Erpenius in 1616 C.E. - about a thousand years after the demise of our Prophet.

  • SIMILARITIES IN THE QUR’AN AND THE BIBLE DUE TO COMMON SOURCE :

Similarities between the Qur’an and the Bible does not necessarily mean that the former has been copied from the latter. In fact it gives evidence that both of them are based on a common third source, all divine revelations came from the same source - the one Universal God. No matter what human changes were introduced into some of these Judeo-Christian and other older religious scriptures that had distorted their originality, there are some areas that have remained free from distortion and thus are common to many religions.

It is true that there are some similar parallels between the Qur’an and the Bible but this is not sufficient to accuse Muhammad (Pbuh) of compiling or copying from the Bible. The same logic would then also be applicable to teachings of Christianity and Judaism and thus one could wrongly claim that Jesus (Pbuh) was not a genuine Prophet (God forbid) and that he simply copied from the old testament.

The similarities between the two signify a common source that is one true God and the continuation of the basic message of Monotheism and not that the later Prophets have plagiarized from the previous Prophets.

If some one copies during an examination, he will surely not write in the answer sheet, that he has copied from his neighbour or Mr. XYZ. Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) gave due respect and credit to all the previous Prophets (Pbut). The Qur’an also mentions the various revelations given by Almighty God to different Prophets.

  • MUSLIMS BELIEVE IN THE TAURAH, ZABOOR, INJEEL AND QUR’AN

Four revelations of Allah (swt) are mentioned by name in the Qur’an: the Taurah, the Zaboor, the Injeel and the Qur’an.

Taurah, the revelation i.e. the Wahi given to Moosa (a. s.) i.e. Moses (Pbuh).

Zaboor, the revelation i.e. the Wahi given to Dawood (a. s.) i.e. David (Pbuh).

Injeel, the revelation i.e. the Wahi given to Isa (a. s.) i.e. Jesus (Pbuh).

‘Al-Qur’an’, the last and final Wahi i.e. revelation given to the last and final Messenger Muhammed (Pbuh).

It is an article of faith for every Muslim to believe in all the Prophets of God and all revelations of God. However, the present day Bible has the first five books of the old Testament attributed to Moses and the Psalms attributed to David. Moreover the New testament or the four Gospels of the New testament are not the Taurah, the Zaboor or the Injeel, which the Qur’an refers to. These books of the present day Bible may partly contain the word of God but these books are certainly not the exact, accurate and complete revelations give to the Prophets.

The Qur’an presents all the different Prophets of Allah as belonging to one single brotherhood; all had a similar prophetic mission and the same basic message. Because of this, the fundamental teachings of the major faiths cannot be contradictory, even if there has been a considerable passage of time between the different prophetic missions, because the source of these missions was one: Almighty God, Allah. This is why the Qur’an says that the differences which exist between various religions are not the responsibility of the Prophets, but of the followers of these Prophets who forgot part of what they had been taught, and furthermore, misinterpreted and changed the scriptures. The Qur’an cannot therefore be seen as a scripture which competes with the teachings of Moses, Jesus, and the other Prophets (Pbut). On the contrary, it confirms, completes, and perfects the messages that they brought to their people.

Another name for Qur’an is the ‘The Furqan’ which means the criteria to judge the right from the wrong, and it is on the basis of this Qur’an that we can decipher which part of the precious scriptures can be considered to be the word of God.

  • SCIENTIFIC COMPARISION BETWEEN QUR’AN AND BIBLE: CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE IN SIX DAYS:


According to the first book of Bible Genesis chapter no. 1, the universe was created in six days, and each day is defined as a twenty-four hours’ period.
However, the Qur’an mentions that the universe was created in six ‘Ayyaam’. ‘Ayyaam’ is the plural of ‘Yaum’ which has two meanings: firstly, a standard twenty-four hours’ period i.e. a ‘day’ and secondly this Arabic word also means a stage, a period or an epoch consisting of a very long period of time. Here the Qur’an refers to the creation of the heavens and the earth in six long periods or epochs, which the scientists have no objection to. According to science the creation of the universe has taken billions of years, which contradicts with the concept of creation given in the Bible, which states it took six earth days of twenty-four hours.

  • SUN CREATED AFTER THE DAY:

The Bible says in Genesis chapter 1 verses 3 to 5 that the phenomenon of day and night was created on the first day of creation. The light circulating in the universe is the result of a complex reaction in the stars, which according to the Bible Genesis chapter 1 verses 14 to 19, was created on the fourth day. It is illogical to mention the result that is the light (the phenomenon of day and night) was created on the first day of Creation when the cause or source of the light was created three days later, as has been mentioned in the Bible. Moreover the existence of evening and morning as elements of a single day is only conceivable after the creation of the earth and its rotation around the sun.

However, the Qur’an does not give this unscientific sequence. To say that Muhammad (pbuh) copied the creation of the universe from the Bible and missed out copying this unscientific sequence is absurd.

  • CREATION OF THE EARTH, THE SUN AND THE MOON:

We are aware that the earth and the moon emanated from their original star, the sun. However, according to the Bible, in the book of Genesis chapter 1 verses 9 to 13, the earth was created on the third day of creation, and according to verses 14 to 19 the sun and the moon were created on the fourth day of creation. This biblical sequence of creation of the earth before the creation of the sun is contrary to the established idea about the formation of the solar system.

  • VEGETATION CREATED ON THE THIRD DAY AND SUN ON THE FOURTH:

According to the book of Genesis, Chapter 1 Verses 11 to 13, vegetation was created on the third day along with seed bearing grasses, plants and trees, and sun was created on the fourth day (verses 14-19). How is it scientifically possible for vegetation to have appeared on earth without the presence of the sun?

If Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was indeed the author of the Qur’an and he merely copied from the Bible, how did he manage to avoid the factual and scientific errors that the Bible contains?

The Qur’an does not contain any statements, which are incompatible with the scientific facts.
  • LIGHT OF THE SUN AND THE MOON?

According to the Bible, both the sun and the moon emit their own light. Genesis Chapter 1 verse 16 says “And God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night.”

Today, science tells us that the moon does not have its own light. This confirms the Qur’anic concept that the light of the moon is a reflected light. To say that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) 1400 years ago corrected these scientific errors in the bible and then copied the “corrected passages” onto the Qur’an is to state the impossible.

  • ADAM (PBUH), THE FIRST MAN ON EARTH, LIVED 5800 YEARS AGO:

If one studies the genealogy of the first man on earth i.e. Adam (pbuh), through to Abraham and Jesus (peace be upon them), as stated in the Bible, one would come to the conclusion that Adam (pbuh) appeared on the earth approximately 5800 years ago. Check it out for yourself:

i)   1948 years between Adam and Abraham (pbut)
ii)  Approximately 1800 years between Abraham and Jesus (pbut)
iii) About 2000 years from Jesus (pbuh) till today.

These figures are further confirmed by the fact that the Jewish calendar is currently on or about 5800 years old. There is sufficient evidence from archaeological and anthropological sources to suggest that the first human being on earth was present tens of thousands of years ago, and not merely 5,800 years ago as is suggested by the Bible.

While the Qur’an too speaks about Adam (pbuh) being the first man on earth, it does not suggest any date or time-frame for his appearance on earth, unlike passages from the Bible which are not compatible with science.

  • NOAH (PBUH) AND THE FLOOD:


The Biblical description of the flood in the book of Genesis chapters 6, 7 and 8 indicates that the deluge was universal and it destroyed every living being on earth, except those present with Noah (pbuh) in the ark. This description suggests that the event took place 1656 years after the creation of Adam (pbuh) or 292 years before the birth of Abraham (pbuh), when Noah (pbuh) was 600 years old. Thus the flood may have occurred in the 21st or 22nd century B.C.This story of the flood conflicts with scientific evidence from archaeological sources. The eleventh dynasty in Egypt and the third dynasty in Babylonia were in existence without any break in civilization, and were unaffected by any major calamity which took place in the 21st century B.C. This is contrary to the biblical story that the whole world had been immersed in flood water.

The Qur’anic presentation of the story of the Noah (pbuh) and the flood does not conflict with scientific evidence or archaeological data because, firstly the Qur’an does not give any specific time frame to this event and secondly the Qur’an does not state that this flood was a universal phenomenon nor does it state that the flood destroyed all life on earth. The Qur’an specifically mentions that the flood was a localized event only involving the people of Noah (pbuh).

It is illogical to assume that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had borrowed this story of Noah (pbuh) and the flood from the Bible and corrected the mistakes before mentioning it in the Qur’an.

  • MOSES (PBUH) AND PHARAOH OF THE EXODUS:

The story of Moses (pbuh) and the Pharaoh of the exodus is very much similar in the Qur’an and the Bible. Both scriptures agree that the Pharaoh drowned when he tried to pursue Moses (pbuh) while leading the Israelites across a stretch of water that they crossed. What is important to note here is that the Qur’an gives an 
additional piece of information in Surah Yunus chapter 10 verse 92, that the body of the Pharaoh would be saved and it indeed was saved and discovered centuries later and is preserved in an Egyptian museum.



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About Liaqat Qazi

Student of BA in Islamic Studies at the Islamic Online University. Can be reached at @LiaqatQazi
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