Holy Men after the time of Solomon.
Many important men might be mentioned here, but Muhammad knew but few of them, and about those whom he does name he gives for the most part nothing special, but mentions them only with other pious persons. Some only are treated with a little more detail, and we will mention them here first, so as then to put the others together briefly. Of Elijah1 his dispute with the people about the worship of Baal is related briefly. In the legends of Islam as was in those of later Judaism Elijah plays a very important part. He is that mystical person2 known under the name of Khizr. He is therefore the same as Phinehas,3 erroneously called by some the nephew of Aaron4 instead of his grandson, and, like Elijah the prophet5 in later Jewish traditions, he is the mediator between heaven and earth. It is he who appears
to the pious under the most varied forms, who visits the schools, and imparts to famous teachers that which God communicates about this or that opinion expressed by them. The Muslims too know him in this capacity, and they recognize him in the servant of God who proposed himself as a travelling companion to Moses,1 and in these actions they have the prototype of his ministry as one who appears in a miraculous manner, has intercourse with men in human fashion, and performs incomprehensible actions which only receive true significance through knowledge which in hidden from man.
Jonah is mentioned in several passages of the Quran.2 His mission to Nineveh, his being swallowed by the fish, his rescue from it, and the story of the gourd which shaded him, are all given very briefly.3 Job's4 sufferings and healing are mentioned in two passages,5 and in the latter passage Muhammad adds that Job produced a cooling and refreshing fountain for himself by stamping on the earth. We know of no parallel passage to this in the Rabbinical writings.
We come now to a passage6
hitherto wrongly referred which translated runs thus:
"Slain were the men or the pit of the burning fire,
When they sat around the same,
And were witnesses of what was done to the true believers, and they wished to punish them only because they believed in the mighty and Glorious God," &C.
Commentators make this refer to the punishment of a Jewish Himyarite King who persecuted the Christians, but the appellation "believers" as applied to Christians has no parallel elsewhere in the Quran, no detail bearing on this event is mentioned, and just this one form of persecution (burning) is not given by the martyrologists.
If we compare the passage with the story of the three children1 all fits in perfectly.
The three believers would not bow themselves before an idol, and were thrown into the fiery furnace; those who threw them in were slain by the heat and the believers were saved. Evidently, Muhammad here alludes to this.2
It is possible that there is an allusion to the story of the revival of the dry bones3 in a passage of the Quran,4 which tells us that many who left their habitations for fear of death were slain by God, but were afterwards restored to life.5 The Talmud treats the narrative given in Ezekiel more in detail.6
Another biblical reference may perhaps be found in the words:1 "Dost thou not see how thy Lord stretches (lengthens) out the shadow when he will, makes it quiescent, then sets the Sun over it as an indicator." This I think is perhaps an allusion to the Sign given to Hezekiah.2
We find more in the Quran about Ezra3, if not about his history, yet about the way in which the Jews regarded him. According to the assertion of Muhammad the Jews held Ezra to be the Son of God.4 This is certainly a mere misunderstanding which arose from the great esteem in which Ezra was undoubtedly held. This esteem is expressed in the following passage5 "Ezra would have been worthy to have made known the law if Moses had not come before him." Truly Muhammad sought to cast suspicion on the Jews' faith in the unity of God, and thought he had here found a good opportunity of so doing.
This utterance as an expression of the Jewish opinion of that time loses much in value when we consider the personality of that Phineas the son of Azariah, to whom it is attributed.
In the traditions of Islam there is a great deal about Ezra as the compiler of the Law. In this character also
he comes before us in Scripture, and the Jews believed this of him; so the probability becomes great that Muhammad, on the one hand, intentionally exaggerated, and, on the other hand, eagerly caught up the hasty and mocking utterance of some individual to prove this point against the Jews.
The Arabian commentators according to Maraccius1 refer another passage in the Quran2 to Ezra, namely, the one where it is related of some person that he passed by a ruined city and doubted if it could ever be restored. God let him die for one hundred years, then revived him and imparted to him the assurance that one hundred years had gone by, while he believed that but one day had passed. The proof was that his food and drink had perished and his ass was mouldering away. Then behold! God put together the bones of the animal and clothed them with flesh, so that the man acknowledged: "God is mighty over all." The fable is derived, as Maraccius rightly observes, from the ride round the ruined city of Jerusalem made by Nehemiah3 who is often confused with Ezra.
Two other Biblical characters are merely mentioned: Elisha4 in two passages,5 and each time strangely enough immediately after Ishmael; and Dhu'l-Kifl,6 who according to his name which means the nourisher, and from the fact related of him that he nourished a hundred Israelites in a cave, must be Obadiah.7 Perhaps however he may be Ezekiel who according to Niebuhr8, is called Kephil by the Arabs.9
Now all the historical allusions have been put together, and when we examine them we see unmistakably in them the verification of the hypothesis which we laid down at the beginning-namely, that Muhammad borrowed a great deal from Judaism, that he learned that which he did borrow from oral traditions and that he sometimes altered it to suit his purpose. We have tried to shew in the first part that external circumstances must have raised in Muhammad the desire to borrow much from Judaism, that he had the means thereto within his reach, and that other circumstances, particularly his own main aim, offered no obstacle to, but rather fitted in with each a borrowing. In the second part, we have attempted to show that Muhammad really did borrow from Judaism, and that conceptions, matters of creed, views of morality, and of life in general, and more especially matters of history and of traditions, have actually passed over from Judaism into the Quran.
And now our task is practically ended. If a thorough demonstration has been made of all these points, then the questions as to whether Muhammad did borrow from Judaism, and what and how he so borrowed, have been sufficiently answered. Now, as a supplementary note we add a summary of the passages in which Muhammad's attribute towards Judaism seems to be negative and even hostile. Some of these passages oppose Judaism, some abrogate laws binding on the Jews, and some allude to Jewish customs without imposing them upon the Arabs. But since we consider the question, the answer to which forms the subject of our theme, as now fully answered, without giving the results of further investigation, we therefore do not give these results as a part of this work itself but add them as an appendix.