Abraham's Progeny

The below arrangement might look strange at first, but it is written that way to make the structure of the text clearer. Surah 6:83-89 states:

83  That was the reasoning about Us, 
    which We gave to Abraham (to use) against his people:
    We raise whom We will, degree after degree: 
    for thy Lord is full of wisdom and knowledge. 

84           We gave him  Isaac and Jacob: all (three) guided: 
          and before him,  We guided Noah,
          and among  his  progeny, 
                          David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, and Aaron: 
    thus do We reward those who do good: 

85                   And  Zakariya and John, and Jesus and Elias: 
    all in the ranks of the righteous: 

86                   And  Isma'il and Elisha, and Jonas, and Lot: 
    and to all We gave favour above the nations: 

87  (To them) and to their fathers, and progeny and brethren: 
    We chose them, and we guided them to a straight way. 

88  This is the guidance of Allah: 
    He giveth that guidance to whom He pleaseth, of His worshippers. 
    If they were to join other gods with Him, 
    all that they did would be vain for them. 

89  These were the men to whom We gave the Book, 
    and authority, and prophethood: 
    if these (their descendants) reject them, 
    Behold! We shall entrust their charge to a new people 
    who reject them not. 

What is the reason to give this list of names so completely jumbled up? Arranged in the correct time line the sequence of the mentioned names of Abraham's progeny should be Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Aaron, Moses, David, Solomon, Elias, Elisha, Jonas, Zakariya, John, Jesus. However, confusion in itself is not error.

Several points need to be raised about this passage.

First, Lot and Job are NOT of the progeny of Abraham. Lot was a nephew of Abraham who came with him to Israel when Abraham was still without any descendants (Genesis 11:27-30, 12:4-5). Although not much is known about Job, he was from a different nation, and not part of the descendants of Abraham either. From the structure of the passage it is clearly speaking about Abraham, and all names are stated in relationship to him. Noah as one who came before him and all other names are listed as being his descendants.

Furthermore, the Qur'an states in ayah 89, "these were the men to whom We gave ‘the Book’." What book is in view? Should it not rather say that each of them was given "a book" (part of God's revelation)? How can all of them be given the same book? Which book? In other passages it is said that Moses was given the Torah, David was given the Zabur, and Jesus was given the Injil. Is that each time the same "the book"?

Muhammad is also given "the book". Is the Torah = Zabur = Injil = Qur'an? (Some Muslims go to the extreme of claiming that this is indeed the case.) Why is such a claim not known elsewhere and the Torah and the Psalms and the Gospel are clearly different scriptures in the possession of the People of the Book?

What book was given to Zakariya, the father of John, or for that matter, to John himself? What book was given to Isma'il? All these statements contradict what is known from God's revelation in the Bible. And they even contradict the rest of the Qur'an and Muslim belief since these are not among those who have received a book (a section of the eternal tablet).

A similar statement is found in Surah 29:27 proclaiming:

   And We bestowed on him Isaac and Jacob, 
   and We established the prophethood and the Scripture among his seed, 
   and We gave him his reward in the world, 
   and lo! in the Hereafter he verily is among the righteous.

Some debate whether "his seed" refers to Jacob as the last person mentioned or to Abraham to whom Isaac and Jacob were given. In either case prophethood is like in the above linked to Abraham's descendents. And this even though Lot is mentioned in the verses directly preceding (29:26) and following (29:28) this verse. Lot is not of Abraham's or Jacob's seed. Nor is Job or Noah.

Furthermore, the above ayah also contradicts Surah 16:36.

Another issue: In the above it is said that Ismai'l is among those given the Book (al-Kitab). But 6:156-157 seems to indicate that it was sent before to TWO people only, and the Arabs were not one of them. How does that fit together? Is that then a proof that the Quraish are not descendants of Ismail, not part of this people (descendants) of Isma'il who received it?

Contradictions in the Qur'an
Answering Islam Home Page