W. St. Clair-Tisdall (W.St. Clair
Tisdal, The Sources of Islam,
The Orgins of the Koran, pp.236-237) writes that the Sabeans inhabited
. They were the followers of Seth and Idris. Sabeans fasted for 30 days
from night to sunrise, observed Eid and prayed for the dead without
prostration. Muhammad simply copied their system of fasting (only change
made was fasting from dawn to dusk) and retained the celebration of Eid
and the prayer for the dead in exactly the same fashion as the Sabeans.
Thus the rules on fasting as prescribed in verses 2:183-187 were actually
adapted from the Holy Scriptures of the Sabeans. In fact, the Qur’an
confirms itself that the system of fasting was a copy-cat from other
faith—of course, remaining coy about which religious scripture Muhammad
copied from. Here is verse 2:183 that says that the Islamic system of
fasting is the mimicry of the other faith (Sabeans, of course):
002.183O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to
you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn)
The Sabeans possessed a book
called ‘Pages of Seth. They observed 7 prayers a day 5 of which were at
the same hours as chosen by Muhammad. They also venerated Ka’ba.
Muhammad, most likely, learned about the Holy Scripture of the Sabeans
from Bahira, the monk and Salman, the Persian; because both of them had
spent a considerable amount of time in
and were well aware about the sources, rituals and the religious doctrine
of the Sabeans. Muhammad simply incorporated those in the Qur’an—passing
them as Allah’s dicta.
On the Sabeans, the Dictionary of Islam (Hughes Dictionary of Islam, p.551) writes that
they worshipped the stars secretly but openly professed to be Christians.
Others say that they were of the religion of Sabi, the son of Seth, the
son of Adam. Some say they were of the religion of Noah. Their Qiblah was
towards the south, from whence the wind blows.
No doubt, after learning about the
Sabeans Muhammad was profoundly impressed with their religion and hastened
to incorporate some of their rituals in Islam. He regarded them as the
true believers of Allah. In fact, the Dictionary
Islam (ibid) writes that the Arabs used to call Muhammad as Sabi—he
who has departed from the religion of the Quraysh. The Qur’an mentions
them 3 times in the following verses:
002.062Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish
(scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in
Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward
with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
005.069Those who believe (in the Qur'an), those
who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians,-
any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness,- on
them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
022.017Those who believe (in the Qur'an), those
who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians, Christians, Magians,
and Polytheists,- Allah will judge between them on the Day of Judgment:
for Allah is witness of all things.
Note that those verses also
contain the Jews, the Christians and the Magians (Zoroastrians).
Waraqa and Ubydallah et. al.
The Sirah (biography) of Muhammad
does not mention about the religion of Khadijah, Muhammad’s first wife.
However, it is difficult to believe that Khadijah was a 100% polytheist.
She was probably deeply influenced by his cousin brother Waraqa, who, as
mentioned before, was first a Jew, then converted to Christianity. He
became a devout Christian and reportedly translated the Gospel in Arabic.
His profound knowledge and understanding of the mainstream Christinity, as
well as Judaism, must have had profound influence on Khadijah and
Muhammad. So it will be quite reasonable to surmise that Khadijah, too,
was a follower of Christianity—at least inwardly. We find no reference
anywhere that Khadijah had ever prayed to any idol or had attended any
polytheist religious ritual; instead, we note (as told previously) that
Muhammad was, indeed, a polytheist when he married Khadijah. For 25 years
Khadijah was Muhammad’s support (financially) and counsellor. It is most
likely that Khadijah influenced Muhammad to change his religion—from
polytheism to Christianity. Waraqa and Khadijah used to discuss lots of
Christian and Jewish stuff with Muhammad that made him think deeply about
his belief system at birth (i.e., paganism).
We learn from Sahih Bukhari that Waraqa used to read the Gospel in Arabic. This confirms that the Arabic translation of the Gospel
was available during Muhammad’s time.
The Prophet returned to
Khadija while his heart was beating rapidly. She took him to Waraqa bin
Naufal who was a Christian convert and used to read the Gospels in Arabic
Waraqa asked (the Prophet), "What do you see?" When he told him,
Waraqa said, "That is the same angel whom Allah sent to the Prophet)
Moses. Should I live till you receive the Divine Message, I will support
Not only that Waraqa read the
Gospel in Arabic, he also translated Gospel
in his own version in Arabic. Sahih
Bukhari confirms this:
Please note that this is quite a
lengthy Hadis. I have quoted
only the relevant part.
Khadija then took him to Waraqa bin Naufil, the son of Khadija's paternal
uncle. Waraqa had been converted to Christianity in the Pre-lslamic Period
and used to write Arabic and write of the Gospel in Arabic as much as
Allah wished him to write……
Waraqa even knew how to read and
write in Hebrew! Sahih Bukhari
Please note that only the part
germane to the subject is quoted here.
then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin 'Abdul 'Uzza,
who, during the PreIslamic Period became a Christian and used to write the
writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as
much as Allah wished him to write……
The above information, especially
those quotes from the Sahih Bukhari
will leave one without any doubt that Waraqa, as well as Khadijah were
big-time contributors to the compilation of the Qur’an-- especially
those verses dealing with Christianity and Judaism.
Then came along Ubaydallah, the
grandson of Abd al-Muttalib and Muhammad’s cousin brother. As Ubaydallah
was a Hanif, surely Muhammad had learned a lot of good materials on
Hanifism from him. Muslim historians claim that Ubaydallah converted to
Muhammad’s religion and migrated to
, then he left Islam and embraced Christianity and died there as a
Christian. So another contributor of the Christian and Hanif stuff in the
Qur’an was definitely Ubaidallah. After Waraqa, Khadijah and Ubaydallah
died Muhammad simply incorporated in the Qur’an what he had
heard/learned from them.
We need to mention here two other
main contributors to the Qur’an. They were Abdullah
b. Salam and Mukhayariq. According to Ibn Ishaq (Ibn Ishaq, p.239) Abdullah
b. Salam b. al-Harith was a Jew from B. Qaynuqa who converted to Islam
when Muhammad arrived at
. Mukhayariq, too, was a Jewish
Rabbi from B. Thalaba and he also converted to Islam. Abdullah b. Salam
was an authority on Torah, and had undoubtedly contributed to write in the
Qur’an.the Jewish stuff--especially the Jewish laws.
Here is a brief list of some of
the materials in the Qur’an that Muhammad copied/adopted from the
Christians, the Jews, the Armenians, the Hindus and the Magians
): Copied from the Jewish Scripture the Talmud
life into birds (2:260,
, 5:110): Copied from the Coptic books.
Azazil (44:54): Learned from the foreigners in
Marut (2:102): From the Armenian books—Harut and Marut are in control of
wind and rain.
throne above water (11:7): From the Jewish tradition.
the ruler of Hell (43:77): From the Jews.
, 41:12): Adopted from the Sanskrit Scripture of the Hindus.
giving birth under the trunk of a tree (
): Copied from the Gospel of Infancy, an apocryphal Christian Gospel
Jesus talking (
): Copied from the Gospel of Infancy.
and Hell (there are many verses—see the section on Salman, the Persian:
Copied from the Magians (Zoroastrians) and the Hindus.
killed, Allah lifted up Jesus (
, 4:157-158): Copied from the Gospel of Barnabas
of Joseph (Sura 12): Copied from the Midrash, a Jewish Scripture.
of Solomon and
(21:78-82, 27:17-19, 27:22-23): Copied from the Haggada, a Jewish
original Qur’an is kept in Heaven (43:4, 85:21-22): The Talmud says it
is a preserved tablet in Heaven.
death--Azrail or Azazil, Malaku’l Maut (6:61,
, 32:11): Adopted from the Jewish and the Magian (Zoroastrian) scriptures.
Uncannily though, the Qur’an
asserts itself that the infidels of Mecca knew that Muhammad had copied
the Qur’an from various sources, especially from the Jewish Scriptures;
and that was why Allah had to admonish the polytheists for calling
Muhammad a copy-cat. This is revealed in verse 28:48
028.048But (now), when the Truth has come to them
from Ourselves, they say, "Why are not (Signs) sent to him, like
those which were sent to Moses?" Do they not then reject (the Signs)
which were formerly sent to Moses? They say: "Two kinds of sorcery,
each assisting the other!" And they say: "For us, we reject all
For more examples of plagiarism in
the Qur’an (and by Muhammad) one may refer to the books listed in the
Muhammad’s neighbour was An-Nadr
b. al-Harith. He also used to write verses similar to the Qur’an. He was
also a very good story-teller--especially of the ancient fables. Whenever,
Muhammad gathered people to listen to his tales in the Qur’an an-Nadr
would entice the audience of Muhammad with better stories than Muhammad.
Due to An-Nadr’s excellent proficiency in narrating the anecdotes
Muhammad saw his audience disappear. Muhammad considered al-Nadr’s act
extremely loathsome and had his revenge taken by capturing An-Nadr in the
battle of Badr and later beheading him.
Here are references to some
selected verses from the Qur’an that tell us that the pagans were very
much aware that Muhammad used to tell them ancient stories that they had
heard before—Muhammad did not narrated any new fable at all—he simply
regurgitated what he had heard from his sources—passing them as
Allah’s revelations to him.
unbelievers consider the Qur’an as the tales of the ancients…
unbelievers said that the revelations to Muhammad were the tales from the
pagans had heard the story of resurrection from past tales…23:83
say 'the Qur’an is ancient tales which they had heard before'…25:5
unbelievers insist that Qur’an is tales from the past…27:68
unbelievers say the Qur’an is nothing but the tales of the
unbelievers termed Muhammad’s revelations as tales from the past…68:15
Ubay b. Ka’sb was the personal
secretary of Muhammad and one of the six collectors of the Qur’an. The
other five collectors of the Qur’an, according to ibn Sa’d (ibn sa’d,
vol.i, p.457) were:
Ubayy b. Ka’b was also known as
Abu Mundhir. He took the 2nd pledge of Aqba along with other
and was one of the first persons in
to accept Islam. He was Muhammad’s greatest confidante’ and a saviour
in troubled times. Whenever Muhammad would forget some verses of the
Qur’an or he would want some explanation on some verses he would seek
the help of Ubayy. This dependence of Muhammad on Ubayy reflects that he (Ubayy
b. Ka’b) was the real writer of Muhammad’s dictations, and Ubayy wrote
whatever he fancied—subject, of course to Muhammad’s approval.
, where a sizable thriving Jewish community lived, he was profoundly
knowledgeable in Jewish scriptures and Jewish laws. Most likely, he wrote
many of the Medina Suras that deal with Islamic legal provisions. These
Medina Suras are not as poetically enchanting as the Meccan Suras. This is
because Ubayy b. Ka’b was not really a poet but a politician and a
scribe. In fact, he wrote his own version of the Qur’an which he refused
to surrender when, during Uthman’s time, all versions of the Qur’an,
except that of Hafsa’s were proscribed and burned. Ubayy b. Ka’b and
ibn Masud refused to surrender their Mushaf (Qur’an written on leaves)
and kept them in secret.
From the above evidence we can
safely surmise that many Medina Suras were actually written by Ubyy b.
Ka’b with the assistance of other scribes of Muhammad.
It is quite fascinating to note
that although Gabriel purportedly brought the Qur’anic verses to
Muhammad, he saw Gabriel only twice. This is confirmed from this Hadis in Sahih Bukhari:
I said to 'Aisha, "O
Mother! Did Prophet Muhammad see his Lord?" Aisha said, "What
you have said makes my hair stand on end ! Know that if somebody tells you
one of the following three things, he is a liar: Whoever tells you that
Muhammad saw his Lord, is a liar." Then Aisha recited the Verse:
'No vision can grasp Him,
but His grasp is over all vision. He is the Most Courteous Well-Acquainted
with all things.' (6.103) 'It is not fitting for a human being that Allah
should speak to him except by inspiration or from behind a veil.' (42.51)
'Aisha further said, "And whoever tells you that the Prophet knows
what is going to happen tomorrow, is a liar." She then recited:
'No soul can know what it
will earn tomorrow.' (31.34) She added: "And whoever tell you that he
concealed (some of Allah's orders), is a liar." Then she recited: 'O
Apostle! Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent down to you from your
Lord..' (5.67) 'Aisha added. "But the Prophet saw Gabriel in his true
Of course, this Hadis is confusing and contradictory when we recall that in other ahadith
Muhammad claimed that Gabriel visited him many times in the form other
human beings (most notably, in the guise of Dhiya al-Kalbi). So what
prevents him in saying that all those Qur’an scribes, including Ubayy b
Ka’b, were in fact, Gabriel/s in various forms?