STATEMENTS IN THE QURAN HOSTILE TO JUDAISM.
Just as we tried before to show from the personality of Muhammad and from the spirit of his time that borrowing from Judaism had taken place, even so we wish here to show that statements hostile to Judaism are to be found in the Quran. Muhammad's aim was to bring about a union of all creeds, and no religious community stood more in the way of the attainment of this end than the Jews with their many cumbersome laws, unknown to other religions. Further, Muhammad's aim was to establish in and through this union such religious doctrines only as were in his opinion purified. The observance of individual laws did not seem to him of great importance, except in so far as such laws resulted immediately from those special doctrines; moreover, he loved the old Arabian customs and kept to them. The Jews on the contrary laid the greatest stress upon the punctilious fulfilment of the revealed law, and showed not the slightest desire to depart from it. While these two causes of mutual separation were founded upon the difference in the fundamental opinions of Muhammad and the Jews, another may be added which arose more from an external difference. As we have already remarked, the Jews pressed Muhammad very hard, and often annoyed him with repartee and evasions, thus rousing in him an inextinguishable hatred. Governed by this he misunderstood their religious doctrines, putting false constructions upon them, and so justifying his own deviation from them. He wished therefore to make a final separation from these hateful Jews, and to this end he established entirely different customs. Later Arabians confess that he made charges1 from the
necessity of abolishing resemblances to the Jews."1 Thus, Muhammad asserts that the Jews are the enemies of the Muslims,2 that they slew prophets,3 a probable reference to Jesus; further, that they in common with Christians thought themselves specially favoured by God,4 that they believed that they alone should possess Paradise,5 that they held Ezra to be the son of God,6 that they trusted in the intercession of their self-pious predecessors,7 that they had perverted the Bible8 because in its existing form that Book contained no allusions to him, and that the Jews built temples on the graves of the prophets.9 Such accusations and the reasons given earlier supplied Muhammad with grounds on which to justify his departure from Jewish laws.
A. Prayer. - Supper precedes prayer.10 This is in direct opposition to the Talmud, which lays down exactly how long before prayer one may eat that the hour of prayer may not be let slip. Truly in this Muhammad wished to live so as to please his Arabs.
B. Laws about women - Muhammad says:11 It is lawful for you on the night of the fast to go in unto your wives." This is clearly prescribed in opposition to the directly contrary ruling in the Talmudic Law prohibiting cohabitation on the night before the fast day in Abh, that being counted as part of the fast day itself.
The laws of divorce12 are probably identical with those of the ancient Arabs. There is a remarkable passage in the Quran,13 which says that the man after he has put away his wife for the second time cannot marry her again until she has married another man, and been divorced by him, too. This is directly contrary to the teaching of the Bible.14
The Muslims assert1 that the Jews of that period laid down that cohabitation was to take place in the usual way. On this Muhammad to please himself and his Arabs says:2 "Your wives are your tillage, go in therefore unto your tillage in what manner soever ye will," etc.
C. The most important and prominent change to be considered in this connection is the removal of the prohibition about food, concerning which Muhammad asserts that it "as imposed upon the Jews only on account of their iniquity.3 (It is interesting that Jesus states just the converse when he speaks of the abolition of divorce.4) Muhammad abolishes the law about meat in several passages,5, but holds to part of it in others,6 following it would seem the precedent of the apostles, to whom almost the same utterance is attributed in the New Testament.7 Thus he forbids carrion, blood, swine's flesh, and that which had been slain for an idol; to which he adds in the first passage, that which is not properly killed, viz., that slain by strangling, or by a blow from an axe, that killed by a fall from a mountain, that is gored, and that torn by wild beasts. These last rules, considering the total silence about them in other later passages, may be regarded as "abolished."8 In another passage9 Muhammad mentions particular meats which were forbidden to the Jews.10
D. Lastly, the following utterance11 of Muhammad is decidedly combative: "We have therein commanded them that they should give life for life, and eye for eye, and nose for nose and ear for ear; and tooth for tooth; and that wounds should also be punished by retaliation but whoever should remit it as alms it should be accepted as an atonement for him. And whoso
judgeth not according to what God hath revealed they are unjust?" The passage of Scripture which Muhammad here has in mind is in Exodus;1 and those who do not observe it are the Jews, in that they extend to all cases the permission to make atonement with money, which is given only when the injured party agrees to it. The Mishna2 runs as follows: "If a man has blinded another, or cut off his hand, or broken his foot, one must regard the injured person as though he were a slave sold in the market, and put a price upon him and reckon how much he was worth before the injury and how much now, etc."
These are about all the chief points showing a consideration of Judaism, and the collecting of them gives us another proof that Muhammad had a personal knowledge of Judaism through acquaintance with the Jewish manner of life and through intercourse with the Jews.
If we now once more consider this treatise as a whole, we shall find that by the establishment of the fact which was to be demonstrated, viz., that Muhammad borrowed from Judaism, we come to a clear understanding of the Quran in general as well as of individual passages in it. Furthermore, the state of culture of the Arabians of that day, and especially of the Arabian Jews, is to some extent made clear, and light is thrown upon the plan of Muhammad and upon his intellectual power and knowledge by many authentic documents. Then in collecting the passages which serve as proofs we are compelled to dismiss at once the ill-considered confidence with which people are apt to speak of each legend as a dream of the rabbinical Talmudists; for although the author neither can nor will maintain that no passage bearing on his thesis has escaped him in the Rabbinical literature, still this must be accepted as a fact until it can be proved that this
or that has been omitted, and thus for the present we must attribute to some other source everything of which the Jewish origin has not been proved. By this, however, I do not intend to say that everything which, according to our ideas, is mythical and for which a Jewish source appears to be forthcoming, may be laid upon Judaism; for, on the one hand, the opinion or legend may originally have had a different signification and it may have reached its present extravagant development in the mouth of the people, and, on the other hand, the source itself may have had no obligatory importance, and therefore does not hold the same place with regard to Judaism as the Quran holds with regard to Islam. We must distinguish between Judaism and views derived from the Jews; this distinction, however is unfortunately either from ill-will or ignorance often not made.
And now I submit this treatise to you, honoured readers, and your judgment will convince me of the correctness or falsity of my opinions, and as to whether my work fulfils its end or has failed in its purpose.