of Babylon are shown in this primeval story to have held that Ishtar, that is Zohra, ascended on high, — exactly as is told us in Muslim tradition, as also in the Jewish commentaries.

Now if we search for the Source of the above tale, we shall no doubt find it in what the Talmud says of the angels associating with women, in its commentary on the two verses in Genesis quoted below.1 Speaking of the second verse, a Jewish commentator gives us the following interpretation: — "It was Shamhazai and Uzziel who in those days came down from heaven."  Hence we see that the whole imaginative tale has come out of the mistake of this and other ignorant commentators. For the word giant, as shown below, was misconstrued by them to signify not those who tyrannically "fell" on the poor people around them, but angels who "came down, or fell, from heaven."2 And this unhappy mistake has led to the spread of the strange idol-worship just narrated. Nor was there any apparent reason for the mistake; since in the Targum we find the name (Nefīlīm) explained in its right and natural sense as

1 Genesis vi. 2 and 4: "The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and took them wives of all which they chose...There were giants in those days,...when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children unto them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown." The "sons of God," according to our Author, mean righteous men of the seed of Seth. The Commentator quoted is Jonathan son of Uzziel.
  There is a Sanskrit story of the similar ascent of two angels, and a Houry like Zohra, from which the Armenians may possibly have taken their tale; and from this idolatrous source the Jews no doubt received it; and from them, the Muslims.
2 The term is Nefīlīm, i.e. persons who fell upon the helpless around them and committed violence and oppression on the earth.


"giants." But by and by the Jews came to love the wild tales that spread abroad; and so in a counterfeit book ascribed to Enoch, we are told that 200 angels under Samyaza (i.e. Shamhazai) came down from the heavens to commit adultery on the earth, as we read:—

The angels of heaven having seen the daughters of men, fell in love with them, and said to one another, Let us take for ourselves these women, the daughters of mankind, and beget children for ourselves. And Samyaza, who was their chief, said ....Azaziel taught men to make swords, daggers, and shields, and taught them to wear breastplates. And for the women they made ornaments of kinds, bracelets, jewels, collyrium to beautify their eyelids, lovely stones of great price, dresses of beautiful colours, and current money.

Let it be remembered also that we have mention of this in the Qur'an:— Men learned from these two (Hārūt and Mārūt) that by which to cause a division between a man and his wife; but they did not injure any one thereby excepting by leave of God; and they learned that which would hurt them and not profit them.1 This is similar to what we have seen above in the Midrash Yalkut, where we are told that Azael embellished the daughters of men with ornaments to make them lovely and attractive.

But enough has been said to show that the story of Hārūt and Mārūt, as we find it in the Qur'an and Muslim books, has been derived from Jewish sources.

Fifth. A few other things taken by Islam from the Jews. — If time permitted, we could easily tell of many other narratives in the Qur'an, not in our Scripture

1 Surah ii. 96.