It is an honour to me to be asked to write a
foreword to the work of an erudite author, from whom during my student days I
have learnt many things by which I am still profiting.
The Judeo-Christian authors have so much
produced on Islam and on the venerated Prophet of Islam that it is time that
Muslims too think of beginning to repay the debt. The Judeo-Christians will
certainly profit by a perusal of this book which, far from being a polemic
against them, is an attempt to reglorify the names so dear to them. For every
Muslim believes in the Prophets of yore as he believes in Muhammad
Truth and nothing but truth is the ultimate
goal of every searcher in matters religious. Stress can never be laid too much
on the fact that one must interest in the question: wherefrom do I come?--in
order to distinguish oneself from mere animals and beasts who, like us, eat,
drink, sleep, multiply themselves and die. Religious question is no more a la
mode, but need is there that someone tells us that we are neglecting our duties
to our own selves.
It is rare to find among Muslims such authors as
simultaneously are well versed in both Qur’anic and Biblical lores. In dealing
with the stories of the Biblical and other Prophets the author has shown a
comprehensive grasp of the subject and has tried to remove the misconceptions
the Bible creates about these holy personages in the mind of its readers. I am
sure, the reader will greatly profit by the vast amount of knowledge collected
in this book.
God as declared by Himself in the Qur’an is the
Rabbul- ‘Alamin, the Creator, Evolver, Sustainer and Cherisher of all the
creatures and everything else in the world. His providence encompasses not only
the entire physical side of human beings but it also furnishes them with the
means of spiritual sustenance to enable them to attain to the ideal of becoming
his vicegerents on earth. For this reason Prophets were raised who, by their
teachings, preachings, and their practical application to life, tried to guide
mankind in the proper use of everything made available to it by God for
realising that ideal. Man by the use of his intellect, as mentioned in
connection with Adam in the Qur’an, cannot reach this stage of perfection by
himself. Therefore it was said:
(1) When there comes to you a guidance from Me,
then whoso follows My guidance, no fear shall be on them, nor shall they
grieve. And those who choose disbelief and belie Our signs, these be the
companions of fire; in that they abide (ii. 38-39).
As these Prophets were raised to guide men to
attain their perfection, it was necessary that they themselves should be
perfect specimens of humanity to serve as models to and reformers of mankind.
The Qur’an says that:
(i) All nations of the world were provided with
spiritual guidance through their Prophets:
(2) And every community had its warner (xxxv.
(3) And for each community there was a
messenger (x. 47). (ii) These Prophets were all human beings, as human beings
only could serve as perfect models to and reformers of mankind:
(4) And nothing prevents men from believing
when the guidance comes to them except that they say: Does God raise up a human
being as a messenger? Say: Had there been in the earth angels walking therein
as settlers, surely We would have caused to come down upon them from above an
angel as a messenger (xvii. 94-95).
(5) And we sent not before thee except men whom
we gave Our command. Therefore ask ye of the people of the Book if you know
not. And We gave them, not bodies not taking food and they were not exempt from
death (xxi. 7-8).
(iii) All these Prophets were sinless:
(6) It is not attributable to a prophet that he
should act unfaithfully (iii. 160).
(iv) They were all given books for the guidance
of their people:
(7) Then God sends His Prophets (Anbiya),
bearers of glad tidings and so warners, and He sends with them the Book with
the truth (ii. 213).
(8) Surely We have sent Our messengers (Rusul)
with clear proofs and We have sent down with them the Book and the balance that
mankind may keep up justice (I vii. 25).
(v) Only some among them were mentioned by name
but there were many more whose names were not mentioned:
(9) And there are messengers We have related to
thee ere this and messengers We have not related to thee (iv. 164).
(vi) Belief in the Prophets of all nations is
an essential article of a Muslim’s faith and forms the basis of the brotherhood
of all nations:
(10) And who believe in what has been sent to
thee and what was sent before thee (ii. 4).
In: our book entitled Tenets of Islam under the
heading “Belief in Prophets” we have dealt fully with this subject. We refer
the reader to it for further elucidation.
The Qur’an is not a book of history or
biography. When referring to the Prophets the Qur’an speaks of their work for
the grand object of reformation, their particular traits, the reactions of
their people to their teachings and of the extent of their success to establish
truth and uprooting evil. Mostly such incidents are chosen from their lives as
contained parallel to what happened in the life of Muhammad (may his religion
prevail) and which could bring comfort and solace to the Prophet and his
followers in facing persecution and its consequent distress, confirming from
the illustrations of previous sacred history that truth shall ultimately be
established and opposition fail.
(11) These are announcements relating to the
unseen which We reveal to thee. Thou didst not know them, neither thou nor thy
people before this. Therefore be patient: surely the end is for those who are righteous
(12) And all We related to thee of the accounts
of the apostles is to strengthen thy heart therewith and in this has come to
thee the truth and admonition and a reminder to the believers (xi. 120).
(13) And those who disbelieve say: Why has not
the Qur’an been revealed to him all at once. Just so, in order that We may
steady thy heart therewith, and We have arranged it well in arranging (xxv.
The Qur’an does not concern itself with the
details of the lives of these Prophets. It only lays stress on one fact that
all Prophets delivered the message of Unity of the Divine Being and invited
their people to obey this Being and do good to fellow-men.
In narrating these stories the Qur’an has
brought out facts which enhance the moral value of these narratives and remove
the defects and contradictions which have found way into sacred history due to
manipulation of facts or carelessness in recording them. Whatever slur is cast
on the character of a Prophet in the narratives of the Bible or Jewish and
Christian tradition, the Qur’an has invariably vindicated it. This affords the
clearest evidence that Divine inspiration and not any previous record or
tradition was the source from which the Holy Prophet obtained information. By
doing away with the profanity of sacred history, the Qur’an has done
immeasurable service to the Bible itself. This fact is hinted at in the
following verses of the Qur’an:
(14) In their histories there is certainly a
lesson for men of understanding. It is not a narrative which could be forget
but a verification of what is before it and distinct explanation of all things
and a guide and a mercy to a people who believe (xii. 111).
(15) We relate to thee their story with truth
(16) We relate to thee the best of stories by
revealing to thee this Qur’an though before this thou wast certainly of the
unaware ones (xii. 3).
(17) Thus do We recite to thee the histories of
what passed of old and indeed We have given to thee a Reminder from Ourselves
The above-quoted verses of the Qur’an must
indeed be enough to satisfy that modernised section of the Muslims who are the
advocates of “Liberal Islam” being awed by the Western civilisation and
thought, and having not studied the Qur’an properly, that the Prophet did not
make use of traditions of his time in the narratives he gave of the Prophets,
but that the incidents referred to by him were, before his inspiration came,
unknown to the Prophet and his audiences alike, and that what he said about
these Prophets was the. absolute truth delivered to him through the medium of
God’s angel Gabriel.
There are also people who feel that by the
repetition of same incidents in these stories of the Prophets a sort of
redundance, a disqualification in their estimation, has been created in the
true word of God. It is wholly a misconception. Repetition in the Qur’an has a
purpose of its own. The Qur’an was not written as a book by somebody sitting in
a cloister. It is the record of collected open- air sermons by a man who was
inspired by the Holy Spirit. His audience on every occasion consisted of
different people, each of whom was entitled to learn what was told to the
others before. Such things as had to be emphasised and driven deep into the
hearts of the listeners had to be repeated. The Qur’an is the best example of
highly effective rhetoric. So the repetition; but they are so dovetailed within
other items that if we place them all in one place they will not be a
tautological discourse. Something new is found in every repetition if examined
with reference to its context.
The modem Christian and other critics of the
Qur’an audaciously assert that the sources of the information of the Prophet
were the Bible or those Jews and Christians of his time who came into contact
with him. Let us now examine if there is any truth at all in these allegations.
The Qur’anic concept of God in its sublime
purity and majesty is so radically different from the ridiculous and horribly
unclean conception given by the Bible that one having no bias is constrained to
admit that Muhammad could possibly have no inspiration from the Bible or the
Jews or the Christians of his time. He would have thrown the Bible away if he
could have ever read a chapter of Exodus, Deuternomy or the gospels. But he had
no access to the Bible. It was not translated in his time into Arabic. He could
not have reproduced the Bible stories on the basis of hearsay, for the stories
given by him are partly confirmed by the Bible and partly by those writings
which the Jews and Christians of that time preserved as non-canonial and
apocryphal secrets, and at the same time avoided their manipulations and
blasphemies. As a matter of fact he came into contact with the Jews in his
later days in Madinah where their relations were never cordial but on a
war-footing, and. he had given mostly the facts about the former Prophets
before that time.
No religion can be based on documents which
portray its own Prophets, leaders and religious men is Satanic colours. For example,
the Bible speaks of deceit and lies attributed to Abraham, cheating and
treachery to Issac and Jacob, adultery to David, incest to Lot, idol-worship to
Aaron, apostasy to Solomon, and inhuman brutalities to Moses and Joshua, and at
the same time calls all of them men after God’s own heart, pointing
unconsciously perhaps to the defect in God Himself of approving nefarious and
In the course of the accounts given of the
Prophets in this book as narrated by the Qur’an, we have shown in detail all
those calumnies which the Bible heaps up on the holy character of the Prophets
and of which the Qur’an clears them. This is a further proof that the Qur’an
does not borrow its material from the Bible or the Jewish literature.
In clear contract to these contaminated
Biblical accounts stand the pure sublime theism and the practical code of
morals contained in the Qur’an, proving that it could not have been derived
from either the Jews or the Christians. The Jews of his time never claimed to be
Muhammad’~ teachers nor did the Christians of his day, and no twisting of
historical facts has been successful in proving this claim. The great historian
Gibbon had to admit that no such thing could have ever happened. He says.
The Story of Adam
The Story of the Prophet Nuh (Noah)
The Story of the Prophets Hud and Salih
The Story of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham)
The Story of the Prophet Lut (Lot)
The Story of the Prophet Isma’il (lshmael)
The Story of the Prophets Ishaq (Isaac) and Ya’qub (Jacob)
The Story of the Prophet Yusuf (Joseph)
The Story of the Prophet Shu’aib
The Story of the Prophet Yunus (Jonah)
The Story of the Prophet Ayyub (Job)
The Story of the Prophet Musa (Moses)
The Story of the Prophet Harun (Aaron)
The Story of the Prophet Da’ud (David)
The Story of the Prophet Sulaiman (Solomon)
The Story of the Prophets Zachariah and Yahya (John the Baptist)
Other Prophets Mentioned in the Qur’an
Other Stories of the Qur’an
Children’s Books (475)
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