An Analysis of the Qur’an in the Light of Documented History

By Dr. Rafat Amari

 

What is the Documented History?

To begin well address the question, What is documented history? History is based on documented narration which is information provided by historians through what they wrote in books during the times in which they lived.

One example of documented narration is the writings of the Greek historian, Herodotus, who was born in Asia Minor and lived in the 5th century B.C. Cicero considered him the father of history. He wrote a history of the world, especially focusing on the Persian Wars. His work simply titled Histories covers a period from the middle of the 6th century B.C. to the early part of the 5th century B.C. Ancient historians such as Herodotus not only can be a reliable source for information on the era in which they lived but their information can be vital to our understanding of the previous century. Other Greek and Roman historians who came after Herodotus also wrote valuable works which can be considered reliable sources of documented history.

Still others who contributed to documenting history are written records or chronicles of kings and nations. The chronicles of the Assyrians, Chaldeans and Persians are especially helpful. The most ancient chronicles come from the Assyrians and date back to the 7th or 8th centuries B.C. These sources would be enough in themselves, but we have more resources for documenting history, including the annals and the inscriptions on stones and other archaeological findings.

 

 

The Bible as a Valid Resource for Ancient History

It is true we have all of these resources to validate ancient history, but the single most reliable resource is the Bible. The books of the Bible were written by various prophets who lived at various times. Moreover, they were inspired by God to ensure accuracy. Most of the inspired writers of the Old Testament lived and wrote before the historians themselves.

The first Biblical writer was Moses who lived in the 15th century B.C. Moses chronicled the nations as they branched and grew from Noah's sons after the flood. Moses writings make up Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Though in the past, scholars doubted some of the Biblical narrations, today, we have found archaeological discoveries which confirm the historical accuracy of the Bible. Although the Bible covers a period in history where there were no historians, archaeology has increased our knowledge through its excavations in different sites throughout the Middle East. Since archaeology has never contradicted the Biblical narration, the Bible is considered a valuable resource, especially for ancient history.

 

 

The unhistorical and false chronology of the narration found in the Quran

On the other hand, Islam does not have a single resource to document its claims. Mohammed wrote in the 7th century A.D., a long time after the documented histories which had preceded him. He never presented a chronology of history like we find in the Bible because he never had one. All he had were stories which he mixed with the personalities he borrowed from the Bible. In some cases, Mohammed inserted these accounts in other time periods hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of years from the time in which those personalities lived.

 

The Quran Placed Haman and the Tower of Mesopotamia in Egypt at the Same Time as Moses

 

For example, he placed Haman, the prime minister of the Persian king, Ahasuerus, and the tower of Mesopotamia in Egypt, at the same time as Moses. Ahasuerus has been identified by most scholars as Xerxes who became king in the year 486 B.C., not at the time of Moses who lived in the 15th century B.C. Mohammed claims Pharaoh asked Haman to burn bricks and build a tower so he could go to heaven and see the God of Moses. Here is Mohammeds account in Surah Al-Qasas, 28:38,

 

Pharaoh said, O people, I know no god except me. Therefore, Oh Haman, light me a kiln to bake bricks out of clay and build me a lofty tower, that I may mount up to see the God of Moses because I think Moses is a liar.

 

Mohammed borrowed this story from Genesis, 11:3, 4. After the flood:

 

They said to each other, Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly. They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.

 

We know that the Pharaohs never built towers which were characteristic of the towers of Mesopotamia. The Egyptians didnt use burnt bricks until the Roman occupation of Egypt. They used stones for the pyramids and their temples. For houses, they used bricks which were dried with the suns heat.

 

Mohammed Applied the Name Samaritan to the Time of Moses, Even Though the Samaritans did not Appear Before the 6th Century B.C.

One example of a misapplied title is found in Mohammeds narration concerning the golden calf, which the book of Exodus says Aaron made in the wilderness. This occurred when Moses went to the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments. Due to pressure from the Israelites who saw that Moses was delayed for 40 days, Aaron submitted to the Israelites demands and made the golden calf idol for them to worship. Mohammed reported the event in Surah Ta Ha 20:85-97 when he wrote:

 

Allah said, We have seduced your people in your absence. The Samaritan had led them astray. Moses returned to his people in a state of anger and sorrow. He said to them, Oh people, did not your lord make a good promise to you? Did the promise seem too long for you, or did you want the wrath to come down on you from the lord, and so you broke your promise to me?

They said, We broke not the promise to you, as far as it lay in our power, but we were made to carry the weight of the ornaments of the people, and we threw them into the fire, and thats what the Samaritan threw. Then he brought a lowing calf before them. So they said, This is your god and the god of Moses.

Then Moses said, What is the matter with you, O Samaritan? He replied: I saw what they saw not, so that I took a handful of dust from the footprint of the Apostle, and threw it into the calf Go Moses said to him. Your punishment in this life will be that you will say, 'Touch me not.' And you will have a day of punishment that will not fail. So look to your God from whom you have gone astray and whom you have worshipped.

 

When Mohammed attributed these words to the Samaritan, he certainly had had Simon, the Samaritan magician in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, in mind. Simon deceived the people of the city of Samaria with his magic and was rebuked by the Apostle Peter. The similarity between the rebuke of Moses to the Samaritan in the Quran and the rebuke of Peter to the Samaritan in the book of Acts, indicates Mohammed wanted to use the Samaritan in the book of Acts to place him at the time of Moses, even though there were 1500 years between the two events.

The city of Samaria was built by Omri, King of Israel, around the year 880 B.C., but the name Samaritans was not coined until the 6th century B.C. when it was given to the people whom the Assyrians brought to Samaria after Sargon II occupied the city in year 721 B.C. Mohammed, who was ignorant of the history of the Samaritans, was caught in a major historical mistake.

 

Mohammed in the Quran Confused Mary, the Mother of Jesus, with Mary, the Sister of Aaron and Moses

 

Another example of Mohammeds confusion of the historical facts was in the Biblical chronology concerning Mary. Mohammed was misled by the Mandaeans when he considered Mary, the mother of Jesus, to be Mary, the sister of Aaron and Moses mentioned in the Bible. Mary, the mother of Jesus, in Arabic is called Miriam, the same name as the sister of Aaron and Moses as found in Numbers 26:59. In Sura Maryam 19 :28, the text addresses Mary, the mother of Jesus, Oh sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor your mother a woman unchaste.

Mohammed intended in this Quranic verse to show that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the same Mary who was the sister of Aaron and Moses. This is confirmed in another Surah in which Mohammed contends that Jochebed, the wife of Amram, who was the father of Aaron and Moses, dedicated Mary, the mother of Jesus, when she was born. This we read in Surah 3 al-IImran: 35 and 36:

 

Oh my lord I am delivered of a female child. And Allah knew best what she brought forth. In no way is the male like the female. And I have named her Mary.

 

Mohammed made these statements even though Mary, the sister of Aaron and the daughter of Amram, was born near the end of the 16th century B.C, while Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born between 26 and 20 B.C. 

 

Mohammeds confusion resulted from the fact that he was misled by the Mandaeans, a sect that appeared for the first time in Mesopotamia in the 2nd century A.D. The Mandaeans were known in Arabia as Sabians. Mohammed was acquainted with their teachings, and sometimes called Sabian by his contemporaries because they saw him practicing many Sabian rituals, such as: praying five times a day;  preceding each prayer with ablution like the Sabian Mandaeans did; and adopting the same movements during prayer, and  other rituals. The Mandaeans thought that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a member of the family of Moses and Aaron. In their book Haran Gawaita, dated in the 3rd century A.D, we read about Jesus who, according to their book:

 

was placed in the womb of Mary, a daughter of Moses. He was hidden in her womb for nine months. When the nine months were fulfilled, she entered labor and brought forth the Messiah.[1][1]

 

Mohammed was called a Sabian by his co-citizens. For example, on his return from one of his campaigns, he was thirsty. His companions asked a woman who carried a water skin to carry water for him. The woman asked, Where? They said To the prophet of Allah, to which she replied, To that one who is called a Sabian? and they answered, Exactly, to the one you call a Sabian.  The woman returned to Mecca and said,  Two men I encountered brought me to the one called Sabian.[2][2] We see that Mohammed was recognized by the people of Mecca as a member of the Sabian community. Earlier Islamic literature says that the tribe of Quraish called Mohammed a Sabian, and they called the followers of Mohammed Sabians as well,[3][3] demonstrating to us that the Arabians at the time of Mohammed were  acquainted with the Sabian sects, their rituals and teachings. They knew the relationship Mohammed enjoyed with the Sabian sects of Mecca, so when Mohammed came out with new religious claims, it appeared to the Quraish tribe as coming from the Sabians who lived among them.

When Hasin, the father of a Muslim named Umran,   became Muslim, the tribe of Quraish said he Saba,[4][4] which means he converted to the doctrines and  religion of the Sabians. When Hamzeh, the uncle of Mohammed, entered the mosque to support Mohammed, they said to him, We see only that you became a Sabian.[5][5]  Abu Lahab, an uncle of Mohammed who disagreed with Mohammed, called Hamzeh the stupid Sabian.[6][6] All these historical facts show that the tribe of Quraish classified Muslims as a Sabian sect.

Not only did the tribe of Quraish make this judgment, but other Arabian tribes followed suit as well. A man named Labeid went to visit Mohammed and became a Muslim. He returned to Bani Amer, his tribe, doing ablutions, which were ceremonial washings like the Sabians performed. He adopted Sabian slogans such as the cry, Allah Akber, which means, Allah is greater.  Labeid began bowing and kneeling like the Sabians,  praying like them and saying the Fatihah. All the rituals of prayer known to the Arabians as Sabian rituals became incorporated into Islam. Sirafa Bin Auf Bin al- Ahwas, the poet of the tribe of Bani Amer, saw Labeids Sabian rituals and mocked him in a poem in which he described Labeid  as one who came to them with the religion of the Sabians.[7][7]

 

Confusion on the Timing of the Tribes of Ad and Thamud

Another example which shows Mohammeds ignorance of historical chronology is where he placed the Arabian tribes of Ad and Thamud. Ad was a small Arabian tribe which lived in northern Arabia in the 2nd century A.D. Claudius Ptolemy of Alexandria, Egypt, was born in the year 90 A.D. and died in 168 A.D. He wrote his famous book of geography in the first part of the 2nd century A.D. Among the tribes he mentioned in one of his maps was Oaditae, which many identify with Ad. Ptolemy placed Oaditae in the area east of Gulf Aqaba. No other geographer had previously mentioned this tribe; though classical authors like Pliny (who wrote around the years 69-70 A.D.) had mentioned all tribes in the region, yet he did not mention this tribe. Prior to him, Strabo wrote about the same region without mentioning this tribe. Other classical Greek authors, such as Agatharchides of Alexandria who wrote between 145-132 B.C., described the region, but he did not mention this tribe. All this shows that the tribe of Ad was a small tribe which appeared in the 2nd century A.D.  It is not known for how long it existed there; most probably was absorbed by greater tribes in the area such as Thamud.

 

Mohammed claimed members of this tribe inhabited of the earth in the second generation after Noah. We read in Surah al-A'raf 7, 69:

Call to your remembrance that he made you inheritors after the people of Noah, and gave you a stature tall among the nations.

 

And in Sura 23:32:

Then we raised another generation after them - by which he means after the people who died in the flood at the time of Noah - and we sent a messenger to them from among themselves saying Worship Allah.

 

Mohammed claimed that the tribe of Ad was destroyed by a cloud or wind that Allah brought against it.

The phrase stature tall among the nations in Sura 7:69 indicates that Mohammed was influenced by Manichean literature, which claimed that the people who lived on earth at the time of the flood were giants, very tall in stature. Mani, the founder of Manicheism, wrote a book which he entitled The Giants.  We also find this idea in other Gnostic literature embraced by the Manicheans in the 4th century A.D. In 1 Enoch we read that the angels married the human women and the women became pregnant and bore great giants, having heights of three thousand cubits.[8][8] (about 4,500 feet). The idea in the Quran of the two angels Harut and Marut who came down to Babel and taught magic to people is taken from the book of Giant of Mani[9][9] The connection between Mohammed and the Manicheans is affirmed by the fact that many people in the tribe of Quraish, from which Mohammed came, embraced Manicheism. The Manicheans were called Zandik at Mecca.[10][10]

Mohammed created a dilemma for Muslims by placing the Arabian tribes, Ad and Thamud,  in a period connected with that of Noah, that is  5000 6000 B.C., so they searched for a remedy or a way out from this problem. The first Muslim who proposed a remedy for this contradiction was Ibn Ishak, who died around 774 A.D. (152 years after Mohammed's emigration to Medina).[11][11] Ibn Ishak changed the geneologies in Genesis to fit the Qur'ans historical mistakes. He added names to the genealogy of Shem son of Noah; Arabic names of his generation stile , that were not known as stile even in four or five centuries prior to his times. He inserted the name of Ad as son of Uz who is mentioned in Genesis 10: 21-24. as son of Aram, son of Shem, son of Noah. He then changed the genealogy of Noah arabizing it.[12][12]

 Ibn Ishak was considered by the educated people of his time as one who fabricates false genealogies and as a liar and deceiver.  Since no one before him had mentioned such modified genealogies, his educated Islamic contemporaries considered him to be a false historian. Yet, in the generations which followed Ibn Ishak's writings became the foundation for a new history which backs the Qur'an. Based on the genealogy that Ibn Ishak invented, Ibn Khaldun (A.D. 1332-1406) claimed that Ad occupied the south of Arabia and part of western Africa. [13][13]  He invented this claim without any precedent from history to draw upon. We find no support for his historical fabrication in any archaeological find or writing. The Muslims found an old tomb in Hadramot, among the tombs of southern Arabia, and attributed it to Hud as his tomb without any evidence to support such a claim prior to the Islamic era.

 

Muslims today look to Surah 50, verse 50, where it says he destroyed the ancient Ad,  to claim that there were two Ads: the ancient one (which they placed in southern Arabia) and another Ad that appeared in the north in the area of the Gulf of Aqaba. But the Qur'an called Ad as ancient because Mohammed placed it as second generation after Noah, and he did not intend to distinguish it from another more recent Ad.

Muslims also look to Surah 46, verse 21, where it is mentioned mention the brother of Ad who warned his people about the winding Sandtracts; in Arabic the winding sand tracts is Ahqaf. They say the first Ad lived in Al-Ahqaf, which they considered as a place in southern Arabia in the desert of Rub al-Khali at the border of Hadramot. But the Qur'an spoke about Hud as a prophet who, according to the Qur'an, was a prophet to Ad, and who warned Ad of a destruction which would come to Ad through winding Sandtracts. This is what the Qur'an intended by this verse. In verse 24 we find the Qur'an describing the coming of this wind over the tribe of Ad which, according to the Qur'an, destroyed every thing.

The earlier Islamic writers understood the word of Ahqaf not as a place but as windy sand. Among these writers I mention al-Feiruzabadi.[14][14]

The Qur'an intended in this ancient Ad a place in northern Arabia and not in the south. The Qur'an intended that this ancient Ad inhabit the same area that Thamud inhabited immediately after Ad's destruction through wind. The Qur'an specified the area where ancient Ad and Thamud lived by describing the area where houses are being hewed in the rock of the mountains, which we know existed only in a certain place in northern Arabia near the city of Hegra. In reality it was a Nabataean city where some Thamud lived in north western Arabia. In Surah 7 called al-A'raf, verse 69, we see that Mohammed spoke of Ad existing one generation after Noah, and dealt with destroying them; then immediately in verses 73 and 74 he began speaking about the tribe of Thamud as coming a generation after Ad and inheriting their land:

 

To the Thamud we sent Salih, one of their brothers Remember how he made you inheritors after the Ad people and gave you habitation in the land, you build for yourselves palaces and castles in the plains and hew homes from the mountains.

 

It is clear that Mohammed placed this ancient Ad (which he placed after Noah) in the area where houses were hewed in the rocks which in Surah al-Hijr 15:80 he specified that the area was the city Hegra (known also as Hijr):

 

The inhabitants of Hijr have rejected the messengers. We sent them our signs, but they turned away from them. Out of mountains they hewed homes where they were safe. But the cry seized them one morning and gave them no avail.

 

We know Hegra is in north western Arabia, and was built by the Nabataeans, who alone were known as people who hew their houses in rocks. So we see that Mohammed meant by the "ancient Ad" a tribe who lived before Thamud in the area of Hegra in north western Arabia, and not a tribe who lived in southern Arabia. He placed such a tribe as second generation after Noah, though we know that Thamud appeared in the 8th century B.C. (as I will discuss in the coming paragraphs) and Ad appeared in the same area of Thamud only in the 2nd century A.D.

Muslim writers claim the "ancient Ad" lived in southern Arabia and disappeared two or three centuries before the Christian era. But there is no tribe or nation who lived in southern Arabia whose history lacks archaeological documentation. Not even one archaeological finding supports this Islamic position. No inscriptions in southern Arabia speak of Ad, though the southern Arabian Inscriptions are the richest in the whole world. Even the smallest nations are richly attested to with hundreds of inscriptions.

 

 

 Serious Historical Mistakes of Mohammed About the Tribe of Thamud

This brings us to the tribe of Thamud. Mohammed claimed the inhabitants of Hegra, a city built in the 1st century B.C. whose houses were hewn from the rock by the Nabataeans, were Thamudic. Mohammed placed them in the third generation of history after the people of the flood, immediately after Ad and Noah. He also claimed that they would be removed from history through a magical cry. Verses  73 and 74 of Surah7 al-A'raf tell us:

 

To the Thamud we sent Salih, one of their brothers Remember how he made you inheritors after the Ad people and gave you habitation in the land, you build for yourselves palaces and castles in the plains and hew homes from the mountains.

 

Historically, Thamud was an Arabian tribe that did not appear before the 8th century B.C. During the end of that period, they attacked the Assyrian borders with other Arabian tribes, and they were defeated by Sargon II who brought some of them to live in Samaria.[15][15]

Mohammed in Surah al-Hijr 15:80 placed them as inhabitants of an Arabian city called Hegra. I quote again the verse:

 

The inhabitants of Hijr have rejected the messengers. We sent them our signs, but they turned away from them. Out of mountains they hewed homes where they were safe. But the cry seized them one morning and gave them no avail.

 

At the time of Mohammed, Hegra was called Hijr. Today the term Hijr is still used for the ruins of Hegra. Hegra is  about 24 kilometers from the old city of Dedan.[16][16] The city of Hegra was hewn from solid rock by the Nabataeans in the 1st century B.C.[17][17] The Nabataeans were the only ones to practice building this way. The place the Nabataeans occupied was originally a small Lihyanite village. The Lihyanites appeared in the 6th century B.C.  Although the city was built by the Nabataeans in the 1st century, Mohammed assigned the city to the third generation after Noah's flood.

Mohammed attributed this city and its construction to the Thamud tribe even though the Thamud never hewed their houses in rocks as did the Nabataeans, though some Thamuds lived in tents in the city when the tribe flourished after the Christian era began. What happened to the tribe of Thamud? Mohammed claimed that they were judged through a cry, and removed from history as we see in Sura Hud 11: 67, 68:

 

The cry overtook the wrongdoers, and they lay prostrate in their homes before morning. As if they never dwelt and flourished there. Behold, the Thamud were removed.

 

Yet we know Thamud continued to live as an organized tribe until the 5th century A.D.

 

THE CASE OF THE MIDIANITES

 

Mohammed placed the Midianites close to the time of Sodom and Gomorrah and eventually removed them completely from history

The Thamuds were not the only people for whom Mohammed claimed extinction.  Mohammed placed the Midianites close to the time of Sodom and Gomorra and eventually removed them completely from history. In Surah Hud 11, verse 89, Mohammed invented the prophet Shuyeb to speak to the Midianites. Shuyeb addresses his people:

 

Oh my people. Let not my dissent with you cause you to suffer a fate similar to what occurred to the people of Noah or of Hud or of Salih nor are the people of Lut far off from you.

 

Hud and Salih were the name of prophets Mohammed assigned to the tribes of Ad and Thamud. He dated Midian very close to Gods judgment of Lut, only one or two generations from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra which happened around 2070 B.C. According to Mohammed's chronology, the Midianites would have lived around 2010-2040 B.C.

The Bible tells a different story. The Midianites came from Keturah, whom Abraham married after Sarah died as reported in Genesis 25:1-6:

 

Abraham again took a wife, and her name was Keturah.  And she bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. Jokshan begot Sheba and Dedan.  The sons of Dedan were Ashurim, Letushim and Leummim, and the sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abidah and Eldaah.  All these were the children of Keturah.

 

It was not until the 18th century B.C. that the descendants of Midian became a nation.

Heres Mohammeds account from Surah Hud 11: 94, 95 where we read about the cry that removed the Midianites from history:

 

The cry seized the wrongdoers and they lay prostrate in their houses in the morning. As if they had never dwelt and flourished there. Behold, this is how the Midianites were removed just as were the Thamud were removed.

 

Removing the Midianites from history at a time close to when Lut lived shows how Mohammed simply dealt promptly and quickly with the people of the world by using magical cries. He was completely ignorant of their history. Not only did he display total ignorance about the chronology of the people as to when they appeared in history, but he also completely removed nations from history who lived close to his time. He claimed that they had been exterminated in ancient times.

On the other hand, the Bible tells us a lot about Midian. Moses lived among them 40 years when he was in south Sinai. He married a Midianite woman. Though he had contacts with Jethro, his father-in-law who was a priest of the Midianites, Moses never reported what the Quran alleges to be the extermination of the tribe of Midian. Nor did Moses ever mention Shuyeb, the prophet which Mohammed said was sent to the people of Midian. History tells us the Midianites continued to exist in the Sinai and north Arabia during the time of the Old Testament and into the Christian era, as well.

 

Mohammed In the  Quran Claimed a Magical Cry Destroyed the City of Antioch In The 1st Century A.D.

 

The use of a cry to destroy people and to remove them from history was used by Mohammed in the Quran to exterminate the people of Antioch in the 1st century A.D. We read the text of the  Quran in Surah Ya Sin, Surah 36, starting from verse 13:

 

By way of a parable, I set forth the story of the inhabitants of the city. Then the messengers came to it. We sent to them two messengers whom they rejected, but we strengthened those two with a third. They said to the inhabitants, We have been sent on a mission to you. The people replied, You are only men like ourselves, and the Rahman sent no sort of revelation. You do nothing but lie. They replied, Our lord does know that we have been sent on a mission to you, and our duty is only to proclaim the clear message. The people replied, for us, we conjured an evil omen from you. If you desist not, we will certainly stone you and we will inflict a grievous punishment on you.

 

The reporters of the Hadith of Mohammed and his biographers confirmed the city intended by the Quran is Antioch in Asia Minor. Al-Khurtubi was among the oldest expositors of the Quran who said that Antioch was the city meant by the  Quranic verse.[18][18]

The Quran text surely demonstrates that Mohammed had in mind Barnabas and Paul, the two apostles who preached and taught in Antioch. Then their testimony in the city was strengthened by the arrival of Silas, which the  Quranic text expresses clearly by the words we strengthened them with a third.

The threat of stoning the apostles did not occur in Antioch as the Quran portrays, but in another Antioch, the Antioch in Pisidia. Evidently Mohammed failed to accurately remember the early mission to Antioch and the rest of the missionary trips as reported in the Book of Acts. We read in the Book of Acts that the Holy Spirit sent Paul and Barnabas on a mission trip where they were joined by Mark. In Antioch of Pisidia, the people wanted to stone them. Evidently Mohammed, thinking that Antioch of Pisidia was the main city Antioch, he combined the events of the mission to Antioch with the events of Antioch of Pisidia to form one event which he expressed in one paragraph. He had a habit of reporting great chapters of the Bible in small confused sentences and paragraphs.

 Then we read in the same Surah 36, verse 29, that the magic cry which judged and destroyed the inhabitants of Antioch "was just one cry, and behold they were quenched like ashes." The main reporters of the Hadith of Mohammed confirm that the city of Antioch was destroyed with its king and inhabitants because of this cry. One of the reporters was Khutadeh, a main reporter of the Hadith of Mohammed. Another was Abdullah Ibn Abbas,[19][19] the cousin of Mohammed. His sayings are considered by Muslims to be next to the  Quran in importance.

The city of Antioch in the Christian era was full of Greek philosophers and geographers, as well as Christian fathers. We have rich literature coming from Antioch which relates even secondary things that happened in the city. We have Roman historians who precisely recorded the deeds done in each city in the empire. Although Antioch was the third most important city in the empire after Rome and Alexandria, no one mentioned a magical cry which destroyed the inhabitants, or even part of them. Mohammed, when he applied his habitual cry to destroy and remove nations in ancient times, was unaware that Antioch in Asia Minor was ineligible to receive his claims. This reveals the ignorance of Mohammeds companions who accepted his claims. They were ignorant of the civilized world which was in existence in their time.

 The Qur'an displays an inadequate knowledge of historical chronology when it presents unsubstantiated statements, confuses the personalities of the Bible, and adulterates history. Mohammed took advantage of his local environment at Medina where the people were generally deficient in the knowledge of history. Mohammed was able to use the ignorance of his companions who were unable to compare his narrations with the true facts of history. Will Muslims today continue to defend the Quran in our generation when the knowledge of documented history reveals the obvious mistakes it makes ?

 

THE HOOPOE AND SOLOMON AND THE QUEEN OF SABA

 

A Comparison Between the Biblical Narration of the Visit of the Queen of Saba to Solomon and its Mythological Narration of the Quran

We will compare the Qur'anic position about the visit of the Queen of Saba to King Solomon with the Biblical and historical facts about the same visit.

First of all, I'd like to turn your attention to the trading relationship between Saba, called Sheba, in Yemen and the Mediterranean countries such as Israel.

God gave Solomon a great gift of wisdom.  So much so, that other rulers heard about his wisdom and came to him bearing gifts. The Queen of Sheba was among them. In I Kings, chapter 10, we read about the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon. The Bible says:

 

Now when the Queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels that bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones, and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart. So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her.  Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in great quantity, and precious stones. There never again came such abundance of spices as the Queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

 

When did the Queen of Sheba visit Solomon?

The book of I Kings specifies that King Solomon had completed most of his important accomplishments before the visit of the Queen of Sheba. Among the things he did was the construction of the Temple at Jerusalem, the construction of his palace, and the building of his marine fleet with the help of Hiram, King of the Phoenician city of Tyre. (Solomon later married Hiram's daughter.) Solomon ascended to the throne in the year 971 B.C.  Five years later, he began building the Temple, which he finished in seven years. That takes us to around 959 B.C. Then he started building his palace.  According to I Kings 7:1, Solomon took thirteen years to build his own house. The completion of his palace brings us to about 945 B.C. Then he wanted to trade gold with Ophir on the Persian Gulf, so he built a fleet of ships in Ezion Geber near Elath on the Red Sea.  We read about this in I Kings 9: 26-28 which says:

 

King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion Geber, which is near Elath on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. Then Hiram sent his servants with the fleet, seamen who knew the sea, to work with the servants of Solomon. And they went to Ophir and acquired four hundred and twenty talents of gold from there.

 

According to the Bible, all these accomplishments were made before the Queen of Sheba visited Jerusalem. When we add all the numbers, we conclude that the visit of the Queen of Sheba was between 940 and 935 B.C.

 

How the Queen of Sheba Knew of the Wisdom of Solomon.

We could ask ourselves how the Queen of Sheba heard of the wisdom of Solomon. Perhaps Sabaean merchants were already traveling the land route through northern Arabia by the 10th century B.C. If so, the cities on the oases of northern Arabia, such as Teima, Dedan and Qedar, may have been only small villages, which facilitated trade along the land route from Yemen to Israel. This is probably the reason the Queen was convinced to travel by land to Jerusalem rather than by sea. In the previous century it was impossible to make the trip by land.

I believe that Solomon's name was famous in Saba many years before the visit of the Queen of Sheba because of his ships, built many years before her visit. The fleet traveled across the Red Sea to Ophir on the Persian Gulf and made many stops along the way, many of which were to Sabaean ports, the most important ports on the Red Sea. The Sabaean ports were places where ships traded merchandise and re-supplied themselves with water and food. This made the King of Israel well known among sailors for his wisdom and the beauty and greatness of his Temple which, along with the Great Wall of China and the pyramids, was already considered one of the greatest marvels of the ancient world. What else other than the wisdom of Solomon, which impressed Israel and other kings of the earth, would have been the reason for the servants of Solomon, who served in the ships, to speak to the Sabaeans about him?

Many years before Solomon's fleet was constructed, King Hiram, the Phoenician king of Tyre, began sailing his fleet on the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf. Hiram traveled to Ophir, passing through the Sabaean ports. As we saw previously, Hiram traded in the Mediterranean and even provided Solomon, his son-in-law, with gold, special wood and precious stones. Mediterranean nations were connected to the Gulf region, where there were important kingdoms such as Dilmun (which is present Bahrain) and Magan (which is present Oman). There were also rich ports like Jerra, which traded with India and made far-away Asian products available to the Phoenicians. So the main news of kings, like the wise and famous Solomon, were spread to many kingdoms through this international marine trade. This allowed other rulers to learn about the wisdom of Solomon and consequently prompted them to try to create friendships with him. We see this in the Biblical narrative of I Kings 4: 31, 34 where it is written:

 

For he was wiser than any other man....Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon's wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world who had heard of his wisdom.

 

All the marine traffic from India to the Persian Gulf passed through the ports of Saba, carrying with it all the news of the Mediterranean, especially news of the famous King Solomon who was given special wisdom from God. He became known in the ports of Saba. So how would the Queen of Saba (Sheba) be the only woman in Saba to not hear about the wise king of Jerusalem? How would she be the only monarch of the earth who did not hear about him? The marine connection between Solomon and Ophir on the Gulf region through Saba leads us to believe that the Queen of Saba was the first monarch of the earth to hear about Solomons kingdom. Also, this leads us to believe which the kingdom that Solomon was most acquainted with was the kingdom of Saba and her Queen.

 

The mythological Quranic narration regarding the visit of the queen of Sheba to Solomon, copied from the II Targum of Esther

You will find this difficult to believe, but the  Quran claims that King Solomon never heard of the Kingdom of Saba or its famous Queen until a bird, a hoopoe, told him about her. The  Quran in Surah 27, called al-Naml, or the chapter of ants, gives us a mythological narration of the visit of the queen of Saba to Solomon. Solomon gathers his army composed of Jinn (meaning devils), men, and birds to fight the ants. Afterward Solomon missed the hoopoe and threatened to execute him. The hoopoe returned to announce the discovery of the Kingdom of Saba and its Queen. Then Solomon sent a message with the hoopoe threatening to wage war if the Queen didn't submit to him. The Queen submitted but before she arrived, the Jinn, under the order of Solomon, brought her throne to Jerusalem in only one second.

This Quranic myth is copied with little variation from the mythological Jewish book called the Second Targum of Esther. The bird in the Targum is a wild rooster, while in the  Quran it is the hoopoe. The Targum uses eagles as carriers to the throne while the  Quran uses the Jinn. Other than this, the  Quranic narration is identical to the Targum.

 

The Second Targum of Esther was written before Christ and was widespread among Arabian tribes who embraced Judaism. We find this myth in Arabian poems written before Mohammed's time, and in the poems of people claiming to be prophets in Arabia before Mohammed's time. One of these was Umayya bin abi al-Salt, a cousin to Mohammed on his mothers side of the family.[20][20] Prior to Umayya, Tubb'a, the Yemeni leader who occupied Mecca around the year 425 A.D., spoke about the hoopoe, Solomon and the Queen of Saba.[21][21] This is because Tubb'a, when he occupied Yathrib (Medina), he took two rabbis from the Jewish communities there and brought them to Yemen. They instructed Tubb'a with many Judaic myths, which he then incorporated into his poems.[22][22]  Among such myths was the myth of the hoopoe which discovered the kingdom of Saba and announced such discovery to Solomon. This proves that the book of II Targum of Esther at the time of Tubb'a (in the first part of the 5th century A.D.) was spread among the Jewish communities of Arabia.

  This Quranic myth is copied from   the II Targum of Esther, with little variation. As I mentioned above, most of the details are identical, as example, the Targum mentioned that the Queen when arriving at Solomons palace, thought the King was sitting in water and she raised her dress. The  Quran copied this particular incident from the narration of the Targum. I quote first the words of the Targum:

 

Now when King Solomon heard that she was coming to him, King Solomon arose and went to sit down in a bathhouse. When the Queen saw that the King was sitting in a bathhouse, she thought to herself, the king must be sitting in water. So she raised her dress to wade across. Whereupon he noticed the hair on her legs, to which King Solomon responded by saying: Your beauty is the beauty of women, but your hair is the hair of men. Now hair is beautiful for a man but shameful for a woman.

 

Mohammed copied the same idea from the Targum. We read in Surah 27, called al-Naml, verse 44:

she was asked to enter the palace, but when she saw plenty of water she raised her dress uncovering her legs.

 

NIMROD IN THE  QURAN

 

According to Genesis 10:8-11, Nimrod was the first builder of the old cities of Mesopotamia.  He was the son of Cush, the son of Ham, the son of Noah. We can date him to between 5000 and 4500 B.C. Islamic genealogies correctly state that Nimrod was the son of Cush but incorrectly state that he lived around the time of Abraham.[23]

 This false claim about Nimrod was made to conform to a mistake in the Quran, which made Nimrod reign at the time of Abraham. The Quran says Nimrod persecuted Abraham and cast him into a fire that did not harm him. We read this in Surah al-Anbiya' 21:51-70 and Surah al-Safat 37:95.

 

Midrash Rabbah, a mythological Jewish book, is the source of the Qur'anic narration about Nimrod and Abraham

Many Jewish books were widely spread among Arabian tribes who embraced Judaism.  At the time of Mohammed, the myth of the Quran regarding Abraham and Nimrod was taken from a Jewish book called Midrash Rabbah. The narration of the Quran corresponds perfectly to chapter 17 of this Jewish book. A Jewish writer found in the Bible that Nimrod built the oldest Mesopotamian cities, but the writer incorrectly applied a story from the book of Daniel to Abraham. The book of Daniel told of the three Jewish young men who refused to worship a statue of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, and were cast into a fire that didnt harm them.  However, the writer of Midrash Rabbah ignored the fact that 3000 years separated Abraham from Nimrod.

 

The Confusion of Mohammed Regarding the History of Alexander , Nimrod and Solomon

 

In his Hadith, Mohammed claims that Nimrod reigned over the entire earth and that Solomon, Nebuchadnezzar and Dhu al-Qarnayn ruled over the entire earth, as well. Dhu al-Qarnayn means the one with two horns,a title for Alexander the Great, as shown by Aramaic literature. Mohammed stated that two were believers: Solomon and Alexander the Great, and that two were infidels: Nimrod and Nebuchadnezzar.[24]

 This assertion is clearly incorrect because not one of these men ruled the whole earth. Alexander the Great did occupy a small part of Europe, in addition to his conquests in the Middle East and parts of Asia. Solomon extended his domain from Israel into parts of Syria and Trans Jordan. Nebuchadnezzar occupied the Fertile Crescent and Egypt.  Nimrods reign was limited to Mesopotamia.  So none of them ruled the entire earth.

Mohammeds Hadith is also clearly incorrect in its claims about who were believers and who were infidels.  Alexander the Great was known to be a pagan king with a passion for the idols of his conquered cities. In spite of this, Mohammed claimed Alexandar was a Muslim leader who made a holy war, or Jihad, to spread Islam throughout the world. (I will refute in detail this claim of the Qur'an in the next section.) Such myths of the Quran about Alexander the Great and Solomon are derived from many Arabian resources, especially from poems recited by men of the time, many of whom claimed to be prophets.

 

ALEXANDER THE GREAT IN THE QURAN


Alexander the Great was known to be a zealot pagan and polytheistic worshipper of idols. But Mohammed claimed Alexander was a servant of Allah who made Jihads, or holy wars, to spread Islam in the ancient world.

In Addition to Mohammeds confusion with historical chronology, he attributed magical judgments to nations and removed them from history, even though these nations continued to exist throughout history until close to his own time. Like the prophets of the Arabian Jinn religion, Mohammed wrote important historical figures into the religion of Islam.

For example, Mohammed claimed Alexander the Great was a Muslim leader who made Jihads to spread the religion of Allah throughout the world. At the time of Mohammed the Quran called him Dhu al- Qarnayn, which means the one with two horns. This term is used in The Romance of Alexander, an Aramaic book which spread among Nastoric Christians before Islam.  Old versions of The Romance of Alexander  were found which carry the title of Dhu al-Qarnayn.

 

Alexander the Great was portrayed on the coins of the kingdom with two horns to symbolize the conquests of the West and the East. Alexander was known to be the most polytheistic pagan worshipper in history. He consulted the priests of the Greek gods before any military campaign, and worshipped the idols of each city he conquered. He claimed that he was a god, the son of the Greek god, Zeus. When Alexander heard that Philotas, the commander of the Companion Cavalry, had mocked his claim to be son of Zeus Ammon, Alexander was so angry that he arrested Philotas, put him on trial and condemned him to death. Alexander's claim to be deity was something mentioned by all the classical writers. The historian Agatharchides said:

 

Alexander, who was invincible on the battlefield, was completely helpless in his personal relationships. For he was ensnared by praise, and when he called himself the son of Zeus he didnt think he was being mocked, but thought he was being honored for his passion for the impossible and his forgetfulness of nature.[25]

 

Aristobulus, an eyewitness working as an engineer for Alexander, gives us the reason why Alexander was planning to conquer Arabia. Aristobulus says:

 

 when Alexander knew the Arabians worshipped two main deities, he took it for granted that they would worship him as a third deity if he conquered them and allowed them to keep their ancestral independence.[26]

 

Yet, Mohammed still claimed that Alexander was a Muslim devoted to Allah. Mohammed said Alexanders campaigns were Jihads for Allah in order to justify Mohammeds own campaigns against innocent Arabian and Jewish tribes.

 

What the Qur’an says regarding Dhu al Qarnayn.

The Qur’an tells about Dhu al Qarnayn’s trip to the extremities of the earth, the places where the sun sets and rises from spots on the earth and the place where Gog and Magog live.  According the Qur’an, Dhu al Qarnayn built a dam of iron and brass, in which he imprisoned them until human history concludes.

In the Qur’an, Surah 18: 83-98, we read, “They ask you concerning Dhu al Qarnayn. Tell them I will recite some of his story. We established his power on earth, and we gave him from every thing the means to accomplish. He followed the path until he reached the place where the sun sets. There he found the sun setting in a spring of fetid muddy water. Near it he found a people. We said. ‘Oh, Dhu al Qarnayn, either you torment them or you deal with them kindly.’ To which he said, ‘whoever did injustice, we’ll torment, then we’ll send him back to his lord who will torment him more with an anguish unheard of before.  But, whoever believed and was righteous shall have a good reward and easy tasks.’

Then Dhu al Qarnayn followed another path until he reached the place where the sun rises.   He found it ( the sun) rising over a people to whom, because of the sun,  we did not provide with covering protection.

We completely understood what was before him

Then he followed another path which took him to the two barriers ( two mountains). There he found beneath them a  people who barely understood a sentence. They said, ‘O, Dhu al Qarnayn, the Gog and Magog are corrupting the earth. Shall we give you tribute money so you can erect a dam between us and them?’

“He said, ‘that which my lord has provided is better than the tribute. Therefore, give me your strength, and I will erect a dam between you and them. Bring me iron blocks.’ When he had filled up the space between the edges of the two mountains, he said ‘Blow on it.’ It became fire, then he said ‘bring me Qiter (molten brass,) that I may pour over it .’ Gog and Magog could not scale it nor dig through it. He said ‘This is a mercy from my lord. But, when the promise of my lord ( the last day) will come to pass, he will make the dam into dust.’” The promise of my lord is true.

The word which the Qur’an used for the metal Alexander poured on the iron is “Qiter قِطر,” which means “molten brass.”  Early expositors of the Qur’an such as Ibn al Juzi ابن الجوزي,  who quoted Muqatil مقاتل, confirmed this meaning. They said that Qiter is a molten yellow brass[27].
Yachut al Hamayi, in his famous work called Maajam al Buldan, speaks also of molten yellow brass as the element in which Dhu al Qarnayn varnished the dam[28].  The same meaning is given by all the important Arabic dictionaries, such as al-Munjid[29] . Some translators of the Qur’an try to avoid molten brass as the meaning of Qiter, and render it as “lead.” The reason for this deception is that they were well aware that molten brass was not available to people outside the Roman Empire.

Sources of the Qur'an narration credited to Dhu al Qarnayn

Those words which I translated directly from the Arabic in the Qur’an, were copied directly from a book which dates back many centuries before the Qur’an was written. The Greek text of this book was written in the third century A.D. by a person who claimed to be Callisthenes, the companion and historian of Alexander the Great. Callisthenes accompanied Alexander in his campaigns.  Because it became known that Callisthenes was not the author of the book, it became known as written by Pseudo-Callisthenes.

In later times many writings appeared which relied on the myths of this book. They spread to many countries before the rise of Islam. All these writings , including the book of pseudo-Callisthenes, became sources for the Qur’an’s myth about the voyage of Dhu al Qarnayn. Among these writings was a Syriac letter which became known as “A Christian Legend Concerning Alexander.” Another Syrian writing is  “The Metrical Homily on Alexander,” translated in the fifth century by Jacob Serugh, who was known by Arabs as “Yacob al Saruji.”

Let’s look at the roots of the myths which influenced the author of the book of Pseudo-Callisthenes, and the Syriac authors who wrote the myths of Alexander. The most important sources these authors had were the “Epic of Gilgamesh” and Persian Zoroastrian mythology.

 
The book of Pseudo-Callisthenes

An unknown Egyptian wrote a book and attributed it to Callisthenes, the companion of Alexander the Great. The writer claimed Alexander the Great was born as a result of a relationship between Nectanebus, an Egyptian King and Olympias, the wife of Philip, the King of Macedonia.  According to the story narrated by this Egyptian writer,  Nectanebus fled from Egypt because of his enemies,  and disguised himself as an Egyptian prophet, astrologer and sorcerer. Upon arriving in Macedonia, he was soon known as a famous prophet and sorcerer.  This led Olympias to call for Nectanebus to consult him regarding her fear that Philip would divorce her when he returned from his current military campaign. But Nectanebus found her beautiful and prophesied that she was going to be sleeping with Amon, the god of Libya, who had two horns on his head. As a result, a child would be born to her who would be  a great king and would dominate the whole world. The child would vindicate her in her relationship to Philip.

Nectanebus also told her that the god Amon might appear to her in different forms, one of which was a large serpent with two horns. Another was the form of Nectanebus himself. Through sorcery, Nectanebus changed his appearance into the one of a serpent, and came to Olympias and slept with her.  As a result she became  pregnant.

Originally the author of the book painted  Alexander as an Egyptian. So he said Alexander, after becoming a king of Macedonia, came to Egypt declaring he was the son of an Egyptian king. Alexander promised the Egyptians that he would carry their burdens, bringing back their kingdom and rescue them from the Persians who were their enemies. Because of this, the Egyptians welcomed Alexander as a great rescuer.

Although the writer claimed Alexander was the son of an Egyptian king, he also said he was the son of Amon, the god of Libya. Since Amon had two horns, the writer called Alexander “the one with two horns.”

What concerns us most in this mythological book is how Alexander traveled to the extremities of the earth, including the location where the sun rises and sets and where he searches for the spring of life which guarantees immortality. This mythological journey is the foundation and the source of Dhu al Qarnayn’s ( the one of two horns) journey described in the Qur’an, Surah 18, called al Kahf.

The Epic of Gilgamesh as a source for the Pseudo-Callisthenes

The Egyptian author was influenced by Zoroastrian sources. We also find striking similarities between his narration in Mesopotamian mythology  and Pseudo-Callisthenes. The Egyptian author recalls Gilgamesh visiting the location where the sun rises, in order to consult the sun regarding his search for immortality.

Gilgamesh was the king of the Sumerian city of Uruk. The Epic of Gilgamesh and his search for immortality is found written on 12 tablets, which became known as “Sha Najbo Amuru,” which means “the one who saw every thing.” Those were the first words of the first tablet of this series. These tablets were discovered among the ruins of Nineveh, and contain 3,000 lines of text.

Similarities between both narrations are too numerous to be accidental.

We can easily see many similarities between the Mesopotamian journey about Gilgamesh, and the journey of Alexander, or Dhu al Qarnayn. In the first tablet, Gilgamesh possesses great knowledge
in every thing, and he travels across land and sea. Likewise, Alexander is given wisdom as he travelers to the extremities of the earth. This is clear in the Pseudo-Callisthenes account as well as in the Qur’an which says in verse 84 of Surah 18 “We established his power on earth, and we gave him every means to accomplish it.”

In the first tablet, we see Gilgamesh formed from the meat of the gods. Alexander is portrayed by Pseudo-Callisthenes as the son of the Amon, god of Libya, intimating he also was a god.

In the third tablet, we find that Gilgamesh revealing the plans for his journey to the elders of the city, who in return, try to discourage him from making this journey. However he insisted. Similarity in the journey of Alexander, he declares his plans to the nobles of the city of Alexandria. He plans to travel to the fetid sea in the extremity of the earth where the sun sets, but the nobles try to convince him to not go, yet he insists.

In the fifth tablet, Gilgamesh comes with his friend to the Cedar Mountain, the land of the gods. Likewise, Alexander comes to the land of the gods, situated in one of the extremities of the earth
[30]. 

Striking similarities of the hero’s visit to where the sun rises in both Epic of Gilgamesh and and in the Pseudo-Callisthenes account

In the ninth tablet, Gilgamesh decides to visit Uta-Napishtim, the one who obtained immortality and was deified. Gilgamesh wanted to consult Uta-Napishtim on how to obtain immortality for himself. Gilgamesh goes to the East where he is attacked by animals and humans with strange, anomalous or abnormal shapes, but he overcomes them. Then he reaches Mount Mashu, where it was believed the sun rose and rested. The same thing happened to Alexander. He encountered humans with anomalous forms and mythological animals on his journey. Alexander also reached the Mount Mashu, called Mount Maashi
[31]   . Gilgamesh encountered the Scorpion-man, who warns him not to continue his travels because no one before him successfully crossed the land of darkness. Gilgamesh succeeds in crossing it . Similarly, Alexander is advised not to attempt to cross the land of darkness, since all who tried to traverse it perished, and no one ever crossed it[32]. 
In the Gilgamesh epic, we also notice that Mount Mashu is guarded by Scorpion men  which are similar to the creatures and animals that Alexander encountered–half humans and half animals. Yet, there are still more striking similarities. Gilgamesh enters a garden full of fruitful trees, where he sees the “the tree of the gods.” The sun speaks directly to him, telling him his request is useless. In like manner, Alexander goes to a garden in the extremity of the earth where he enters the temple of the sun, and sees that the garden is full of fruitful trees. There he sees two giant trees whose tops reach heaven–one is male and the other is female.  The male is the sun, the female is the moon. The name of the tree-sun is Mitora, the tree-moon is Mayosa. These were Persian names: Mitora is derived from Mitra, which the Persian mythology symbolizes as the sun or the rays of the sun. Mayosa, on the other hand, is derived from the first man and woman in Persian mythology who grew like two plants from the seed of the primordial man called Gayomard. In Dinkard, book VIII, these two plants are called Masya and Mashyoi
[33].  The presence of such Zoroastrian names in the Syriac version of Pseudo-Callisthenes confirms that it was built on the Pahlavi version of Pseudo-Callisthenes, which scholars think was lost. It returns to the fourth or fifth century A.D. In the garden, the sun speaks to Alexander telling him he will die in Babel, and discouraging him in his search for immortality[34].

The Fetid Sea

In the tenth tablet, Gilgamesh reaches to the fortress of goddess Siduri, who warns him of a devastating and troublesome sea before him. She tells him, “Of the ones who reached here since ancient times tried to cross this sea. Only the hero Shamsh( the sun) actually did cross this sea. Who else succeeded?” We then conclude, that the Sumerian idea included a troublesome sea situated in the extremity of the earth, and only the sun when it was setting crossed this sea.

Then goddess Siduri said to Gilgamesh, “The passage is hard, and the way is difficult,
and the waters of death
which bar its front are deep.  If, then, Gilgamish, thou art able to cross the sea, when you arrive at the waters of death, what will you do?”

This difficult sea and the waters of death described in the Epic of Gilgamesh, has its counterpart in Pseudo-Callisthenes. Here it’s a sea or ocean which surrounds the earth which no one can cross. The story goes that some of Alexander’s soldiers attempted to swim in the sea, but beast-like humans came out of the water and devoured them
[35]. This sea is described in many versions of  Pseudo-Callisthenes’ book as a fetid sea full of pus  making its crossing impossible[36] . It is near this fetid sea that the sun sets and enters into heaven through a gate placed there[37].  

 It is clear that those ideas about the troublesome sea which the sun crosses in the Sumerian mythology is the root or foundation for the foetid sea in the pseudo-Callisthenes’ book, where the sun passes over in order to sets in a gate through which it enters heaven.)

The  fetid sea idea is used in the Qur’an where it’s called “the Spring of Hammaah.” In the Qur’an, Dhu al Qarnayn finds the   sun setting in this Spring of Hammaah . Hammaah is an Arabic word which means  fetid or  fetid mud. We’ll see later, how Mohammed used Tubbaa’s idea regarding the sunset.Tubb’a was a Yemeni military leader who occupied Mecca in the beginning of the 5th century A.D . Tubbaa, influenced by a version of Pseudo-Callisthenes’ book, described in a poem how Dhu al Qarnayn found the sun setting in a spring of  fetid muddy water.

Mohammed knew the myths of Pseudo-Callisthenes’ book and the Syriac writings which were based on it.

 
About the men with humans with anomalous forms whom, according to both Epic of Gilgamesh and pseudo-Callisthenes, Gilgamesh and Alexander met in the extremities of the earth.  We find Pseudo-Callisthenes mentioning that Alexander  was told about people, called Nagashawiyans, who have faces like dogs. They live beyond the great mountain where Alexander erected the dam to imprison Gog and Magog[38].

The Armenian of Pseudo-Callisthenes version speaks of dog-men who bark like dogs[39].

The Syriac writing “A  Christian Legend Concerning Alexander,” which is based on Pseudo-Callisthenes  book, dates to the 4th or 5th century A.D. It gives some details about the dog-men. Alexander asked the local people to described the atrocities and dangers concerning Gog and Magog. Then Alexander said to them, “Who are the nations  that live beyond these?”  Those of Beth-Amardath and the Dog-men; and beyond the Dog-men is the nation of the Menine; and beyond the nation of the Menine there are no human beings,  but only terrible mountains and hills and valleys and plains and horrible caves, in which are serpents and adders and vipers, so that men cannot go thither without being immediately devoured by the serpents, for the lands are waste, and there is nothing there save desolation. Within all these mountains the Paradise of God appears afar off.’”[40]

 
This quotation from the Syriac legend shows the belief of the Syriac author that  beyond the people of Gog and Magog are dog-men, men with dog’s heads. In additional to the people called Menine, dog-men are the last human creatures we see before seeing the paradise of God.

Mohammed in his Hadith, which was reported by al Taberi, mentions the dog- men. He places them where the Pseudo-Callisthenes book and the Syriac writings, such as “A  Christian Legend concerning Alexander” place them. All these sources locate them in one of the extremities of the earth beyond Gog and Magog. 

Mohammed said to some “people of the book”–a term in which Christians and Jews were called -,“You came to ask me about Dhu al Qarnayn. He was a young man from the Roman empire who built the city of Alexandria, Egypt. When he finished building the city, an angel came and carried him up into heaven. The angel asked him ‘What do you see?’ To which Dhu al Qarnayn answered, ‘I see my city and other cities.’ Then the angel carried him higher and asked him ‘What do you see?’ To which he answered, ‘I see the earth.’ The angel said, ‘this the sea surrounding the whole earth. Allah sent me so that you may discover the unknown and confirm the known.’ Then he brought him to the barrier, two mountains which are very smooth. Every thing slips down from them. Then the angel took him past the nations of Gog and Magog. After this, he accompanied him to a nation whose people have the faces of dogs. They fight Gog and Magog. Then he took him further until he reached another nation which fights against those with the dog-men.”[41]

Ibn Kathir reports a Hadith of Mohammed in which he agrees that an angel carried Alexander to the barrier of the two mountains. Beyond that he saw men with faces of dogs[42].

The Hadiths of Mohammed show that he had a good knowledge about the myths of Pseudo-Callisthenes’  book and the Syriac writings which depended on it. This book was, second only to the Bible,  as the most read literature in the first centuries after Christ. Many people of that time, believed that world geography should be in accordance with the geography presented by this book.

Analyzing Mohammed’s Hadith, we notice that he described a sea surrounding the whole world. This sea is the one mentioned in the book of Pseudo-Callisthenes as a fetid sea which no one could cross.

Mohammed also mentioned “al sed,” which means “the barrier.” He explained it as two mountains so smooth that no one could climb them.
He mentioned in the Qur’an about this barrier or two mountains that it have a breach in between, which Dhu al Qarnayn filled with iron and brass, and imprisoned Gog and Magog.  ) This same mountain surrounding the world, is mentioned also in Pseudo-Callisthenes and the Syriac writings which were based on it.  The savage people, whether were the Huns or Gog Magog, were imprisoned by Alexander when he erected gates that close the breach.
Other important element in the Hadith of Mohammed is that beyond the Gog and Magog there is this nation of men –dogs , whom Mohammed placed in the same location where Pseudo Callisthenes placed them.

What we have been discussing can’t help but reveal Mohammed’s true acquaintance with the myths of Pseudo-Callisthenes. It reveals his belief, like many people of his generation, that the book of Pseudo-Callisthenes described the extremities of the earth as the true geography which men would find if they could live so long and travel so far. Mohammed believed that if you could be carried by an angel or winged camel, to explore the extremities of the earth, you would find the truth of Pseudo-Callisthenes as Mohammed claimed to find when the angel Gabriel carried him on a winged camel to the temple of Jerusalem, then to the extremities of the earth, where he confirmed the discoveries of Dhu al Qarnayn as they were described in the Qur’an and Pseudo-Callisthenes.

Many things confirm the acquaintance Mohammed had with the myths of Pseudo-Callisthenes’ book, such as his description of the people of Gog and Magog.

Other point which reveals the aquintance of Mohammed with the myths of Pseudo Callisthenes book and the Syriac writings which later were based on this book, is the description which we find in both the Quran and the Pseudo Callisthenes and Syriac writings about the people living on the sunrise. That they are without protection from the rays fo the sun. Pseudo Callisthenes and Syriac writings as well Mohammed in his Hadith, said that people who live around where the sun rises flee to the water until the sun disappear. 

 

 About the narration of the Pseudo Callisthenes book that Alexander entered the land of darkness: We find  the thoughts of Arabic writers about the same subject such as al Qurtubi[43], Al-Alusi[44] and Wahab bin Munabah, the Yemenite[45]. All this indicates how much the Arabian were acquainted with the myths of Pseudo Callisthenes, therefore,  we should not be surprised when we see the same stories in the religious literature surrounding the Qur’an and the Qur'an itself.

 

THE LEGEND OF THE SEVEN SLEEPERS OF EPHESUS

 

Mohammed incorporated the Syriac legend of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus into the Quran. The legend is about seven Christians who slept in a cave for 150-200 years. This was in the year 250 A.D. at the time of Decius, the Roman emperor who persecuted Christians. Decius, according to the legend, came to Ephesus to persecute Christians. He met with seven young, noble Christians and tried them in court. He then gave them time to consider the gravity of the situation and renounce their faith, but they decided to give what they owned to the poor, except for a few coins which they took with them. They did not deny their faith. They went to a cave in Mount Anchilos to prepare themselves for death. When Decius returned to Ephesus he inquired about them, and his soldiers found them sleeping in the cave. Decius ordered his soldiers to seal the cave with big stones burying them alive.

At the time of the Christian emperor either Theodosius the Great who lived between 379 -395 A.D., or Theodosius the Younger, who lived between 408- 450 A.D. there was a controversy about the resurrection which many heretics denied. When a landowner opened the cave to use it as cattle stall, the sleepers awakened from their sleep and thought they had slept only one night. So the seven sent one of their number to buy food. The one sent by them went with the coins of Decius which they had kept when imprisoned in the cave. He was amazed to see the Cross over the churches and the name of Christ openly on the lips of everyone. The people were astonished to see the young man with the coins of Decius. They assumed he had found a treasure in the cave. The man then revealed the story of their sleep. Emperor Theodosius went to the cave to see the seven men, and used this miracle to confirm that bodies indeed can be resurrected. When the seven men eventually died, the king wanted to make tombs of gold for them, but the men appeared to the king in a dream asking him to bury them in a normal cave.

The story had pagan origins before the Christian era. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, tells a similar story about sleepers at the city of Sardis,[46] a city in the same region as Ephesus in Asia Minor, or what today is Turkey. Since Aristotle was born in 384 B.C. and died in 322 B.C., the Syriac version depended mainly on the old pagan version but replaced Ephesus with Sardis.  Koch, a scholar, demonstrated that there were other old pagan versions of the legend including Indian, Jewish and Chinese versions.[47]  Today the tale is considered a classical myth of wide-spread pagan origin, known in many parts of the world before Christianity.

The legend was Christianized by the Syriacs, probably translated by the Syriacs from the pagan Greeks because the Syriacs were known to have translated the works of Greek philosophers such as Aristotle. The tale was known among Syriac resources before it was translated into other languages, proving that they had translated it from pagan Greek resources. The tale also appeared in the Homily of Jacob of Saruq, or Sarugh.  He was a Monophysite priest, Syrian poet and writer who lived in the city of Edessa, a Syriac city in North Iraq. He studied in the Syriac school Raha. In the year 519 A.D., he became bishop of Batnan and died in 521 A.D. Known to the Arabs as Yakub al- Saruji, Jacob of Sarugh had connections with Najran, a city between Yemen and Mecca. From the 3rd century A.D. until the time of Mohammed, Najran was home to many Christians. At one point, Jacob of Sarugh wrote a letter to the Christians at Najran.[48]  We can only conclude that the spread of the legends to Najran, and then later to Mecca, was probably through Syriac sources connected to Jacob of Sarugh and his version of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus.

 

The Legend Grows

The story remained within a limited circle of oriental Syriacs until it was translated into Latin in the late 6th century by Gregory of Tours, and it gained legendary status. The legend is found in the 95th chapter of his book, De Gloria Martyrum, which means the Glory of the Martyrs. Gregory says that he heard the legend from a certain Syrian or Syriac. Gregory recorded the story as legend. The story is a legend because it was originated in pagan circles before the Christian era. It was translated from the Greek pagan literature into Syriac, and spread among limited number of Syriacs in north Iraq.

Before Gregory translated it into Latin and popularized it, the legend was never mentioned in Ephesian literature, even though Ephesus was the city where the Syriacs say the story happened. This is an important criteria in refuting its history. Only after the legend was popularized by Gregory,  a church was built over the tombs in the city of Ephesus, claiming they were the tombs of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus. There is not one historical account in all of Ephesian literature to substantiate this legend. On the other hand, if we had such scant evidence on the life of Christ from Palestine, the land where Jesus lived, then we would have reason to doubt the existence of Jesus. But most of the authors of the New Testament were disciples of Jesus, men who accompanied him and observed His works and teachings. Moreover, we have evidence of the miracles and the death of Jesus from Josephus Flavius, the Hebrew writer who lived in Jerusalem. We also get information from the Talmud. But when it comes to the legend of Ephesus, though the city was full of philosophers and historians during the 4th and the 5th centuries A.D., no one ever mentioned such an event. Neither the Roman records of Theodosius the Great nor of Theodosius the Younger, say any thing about the legend of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, which says that Theodosius met them personally and constructed a tomb for their burial.

 

 

Nather, a Relative of Mohammed, Tests Mohammed on Where he Got his Legends

 

Mohammed copied the legend of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, as though it were historical fact. Mohammed included the legend in Surah 18, called al-Kahf or the chapter of the cave.  Some leaders of Quraish, the tribe from which Mohammed came, got together.  Among them was Nather Bin al-Hareth. As a result of suggestions from some of the Jews, Nather Bin al-Hareth sought to expose the ignorance of Mohammed concerning history. They were concerned about his trend to incorporate all the myths he heard into Suras in his Quran. This incident was reported by Ibn Hisham.[49]

Nather Bin Hareth was known for exposing the origin of Mohammeds Persian myths. Every time Mohammed recited verses from the Quran which were of Persian origin, Nather would stand and recite the same Zoroastrian myths with more accuracy. We read about this in the book of Ibn Hisham. He writes:

 

When Mohammed used to sit and recite the Quran to the tribe of Quraish, Al-Nather would speak after him and narrate the stories and myths of Rustam, Isfendyar and the Persian kings. Then, al-Nather would say, Mohammed's narration is not better than mine. His narration is just ancient myths. He wrote it as I wrote it.[1]{50}

 

Nather was able to say this because he studied Persian history and mythology in Hira, a city governed by the Lakhmids, an Arabian tribe who were vassals to the Persians.[50]

Included in the questions Nather asked Mohammed was a question about the legend of Ephesus. The Jews and those who were well educated in Mecca knew the story was a myth popularized by Gregory. Thus, expecting that Mohammed would incorporate it as genuine history in the Qur'an, they would use this to prove to others the habit of Mohammed to include myths in the Qur'an and falsely claim them as historical fact. Nather and his companions also posed other questions of basic history to Mohammed. One of the questions concerned Alexander the Great, called Dhu al-Qarnayn, which means the one with two horns. It was a topic which the average person at the time of Mohammed knew well. Greek Byzantine education was prevalent in the Middle East, especially at Mecca, where the inhabitants were rich traders in continuous contact with the Byzantine Empire in Syria and Palestine. Selecting Alexander, the most known figure of their history, became a test to Mohammeds integrity. It was not a random choice. Nather wanted to challenge Mohammeds ignorance concerning basic elements of history. He wanted to confirm the way in which Mohammed dealt with elements of history. Either Mohammed condemned ancient historical figures through magical ways such as a cry, or he made them devoted Muslims who embraced his myths. He did so after he consulted the primitive resources which provided him with the mythological narrations. We have seen, in part, how Mohammed answered the question about Alexander the Great. It only confirmed the idea which the Jews and the educated citizens of Mecca had about him and his claims.

Our Muslim friends must learn to evaluate Mohammed, not on sentimental religious claims which imprison their minds and mislead their intellects, but on historical facts. The test put to him by Nather and his companions revealed Mohammed to be one who accumulated myths from primitive sources to appear as though he had all knowledge because, according to his claim, he was sent by Allah.

 

The Quran lacks spiritual understanding. When he failed the test, Mohammed proved that he was unable to respond to the simplest spiritual questions.

The third question posed to Mohammed was, What is the spirit?, a simple question every Jewish or Christian man should answer immediately by quoting the Bible. God created man with a body, soul and spirit. The spirit is the human entity which communicates with God and enables man to worship God.

The Jews composed the third question, when they noticed that the verses from the Quran quoted by Mohammed lacked spirituality, and focused on earthly things. For example, Mohammed claimed an unusual sexual relationship with all women, including the wives of his followers. The Quran claims he had the prerogative to marry anyone, and each muslem female was to offer herself to him. This is the 50th verse in Surah 33, called al-Ahzab. It reads:

 

Oh prophet, we made it lawful to you to take the wives for which you have paid their dowry. What your hand possesses from the prisoners of war that Allah gave you, and the daughters of your uncles and the daughters of your aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and aunts, those who migrated with you, and any believing woman that gives herself to the prophet, if he wants to wed her, are yours. These privileges are only for you and not for the believers at large, we know what we have appointed for them as to their wives and the females whom they captured in the wars. We established this so no embarrassment would come you.

 

The Arabic word used for wed in this verse is Nakaha, derived from Nikah. Aisheh, the youngest wife of Mohammed, explained that among the applications of Nikah was that a woman must offer herself for a limited period of time, perhaps several months, to a man for sexual enjoyment.[51] We can only assume from this verse that Mohammed had special sexual prerogatives. As a result, many women left their husbands to offer themselves to Mohammed.

 

A considerable part of the Quran revolves around Mohammeds campaigns and those of his followers who must respond to Mohammeds call for Jihad. The distribution of the spoils allowed for him to have a fifth of everything. The Jews, seeing the lack of spirituality in Mohammeds sayings, wanted to reveal his inability to answer when asked the simple question, What is the spirit? Mohammed did not answer questions about the spirit immediately, but he promised to answer them the following day. Mohammed did not show up for two weeks. Evidently he went to look for help. He returned, claiming Allah inspired him. Surah 17, called Isra', verse 85 says, When they ask you about the spirit, tell them, the spirit is the affair of Allah. Mohammed did not enter into discussion. He was completely ignorant about the argument, showing he lacked a spiritual education and was unable to express an opinion.

Concerning the question of Alexander the Great, Mohammed returned with mythological ideas expressing thoughts embraced by some superstitious Arabians of his time. Alexander became a legendary person, visiting the ends of the earth confirming Yemeni myths that the sun sets in a spring of mud. They expressed the idea espoused by some Persians who identified Alexander with their mythological hero, Fredun, who imprisoned Azi Dahak, another mythological character, and his diabolical followers until the last days. Azi Dahak, according to Zoroastrians, was descended from Ahriman, who was the devil in their sacred books.

 

Mohammed's Misinformed Understanding of the Legend of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus

When questioned concerning the seven young people who slept for centuries, Mohammed naturally turned to his Christian-Byzantine friends, among whom was Jaber. We read in Ibn Hisham, the book that contains the most significant narration on the life of Mohammed:

 

The prophet of Allah very often sat with a Christian named Jaber. Jaber was a slave to the children of al-Khathrami. The people of Mecca often said, Many things that Mohammed teaches, were taught to him by Jaber, the Christian slave to the children of al-Khathrami.[1]

 This accusation by the Meccians to Mohammed was not without foundation. Why would Mohammed sit with a poor slave almost every day?  Another thing to consider is that Mohammed despised slaves. He said that a slave can't testify in a court unless he is beaten.[52] If one of his followers wanted to free a slave, Mohammed objected, insisting that his follower sell the slave instead of freeing him.[53] But here is a Christian slave who never became Muslim, yet Mohammed took the time to go to him every day. Mohammed came to Jaber. It was not Jaber who came to Mohammed. This reveals Jabers importance as a source of information for Mohammed on the Bible, Christian doctrine, and the Christianized myths of the Byzantine period. Arabic sources speak of Jaber as a Roman. The term was used in Arabia for the citizen of the Byzantine Empire. They also say that Jaber gathered books. Old narrations mentioned the family of al-Khathrami had two slaves, Jaber and Yasar, and when they read the Bible, Mohammed would pass by them and listen to their readings.

 

 

Another contact for Mohammed was Balaam,also called Yaish, or Addass.[1]{56}  Balaam was a Byzantine Christian who was a slave to Huitab Bin Abed al-Uzei. The people of Mecca often saw Mohammed when he met with Balaam, and they said Balaam used to teach Mohammed.[54] But it seems Jaber and Balaam were superstitious men, not like the Christian-educated people in their time who distinguished between legends and historical facts.

 

The Qurans version of the Legend of the Seven Sleepers shows Mohammed  failed to understand the legend and its purpose.

In the Quran, Surah 18, al-Kahf or the Cave, we find Mohammeds answer about the sleepers. He presented the legend as historical fact, yet his variations reflected his lack of understanding and the unreliability of his legendry sources. In verse 17, Mohammed said:

 

You would have seen the sun when it rose to the right from the cave, but when it set, it turned away from them toward the left while they were in the open space of the cave.

 

This verse says the sun entered the cave, but avoided them. It may be a variation of the legend, indicating that no one could have seen the sleepers during the centuries they slept because the sun had avoided them. This contradicts the original legend which said that the cave was sealed with stones, in a way that neither the sun could penetrate the cave nor could any one see the sleepers.

In verse 18 we read another development in the legend which only a primitive environment like Arabia at the time of Mohammed could support:

 

Their dog stretched his two forelegs on the threshold of the cave. If you had visited them (The Sleepers) and looked, you would have fled from them, filled with terror.

 

The Quran protected the sleepers during those hundreds of years through the dog. According to Mohammeds account, anyone who came toward the cave was filled with terror and fled, because a fierce dog guarded the entrance.

Mohammed picked up on the original legend, which said that after these young people arose from their sleep, they sent one of them with money to buy food for them, thinking that they had slept only one day. The Quran tells us the people knew about the case of the seven sleepers, but they prevailed against them, and decided to construct a mosque over them to prevent them from coming out from the cave. According to the legend, Mohammed thought the sleepers arose when the inhabitants of the city and the authorities were angry at the sleepers, to the point they prevailed over them and constructed the place of worship over them to assure that they would be imprisoned in the cave. This shows us that Mohammed failed to understand the Christian purpose of the legend, which was to show how these seven sleepers were protected when the Roman Empire was persecuting Christians, and arose during a time when the empire espoused Christianity. According to the original legend, the seven were considered saints.

When the Byzantine Church found tombs in the city of Ephesus, they wanted to use the legend to convince atheists of the resurrection, and to profit by making it a popular sacred place. So, they built a church over the tombs. But Mohammed thought the church was built by people who wanted to prevent the legendary sleepers from coming out from the cave.

 

Mohammed knew his sources about the legend were inferior to the knowledge of those who presented the test to him, so he advanced the argument that Allah prohibited him from discussing the legend.

Mohammed could not come up with a definite number of sleepers in the Ephesian legend. There are two versions of the original legend. One presents seven sleepers and the other, eight. But, among Mohammeds various friends, it seems there were many thoughts about the number of sleepers, which discouraged Mohammed from presenting a specific number for the fear he would be ridiculed by those who tested him. In this case, Mohammed withdrew his claim to present information as coming from Allah, as he always did in the past. Instead, he said Allah ordered him not to discuss the number. In verse 22, he says:

 

They will say there were three sleepers, the dog being the fourth. They say there were five, the dog being the sixth. Guessing at the unknown, they say there were seven, and their dog is eight. You should say, My lord knows best their number. Those who know their number are few. Therefore, do not enter into controversies concerning them, except on a matter that is clear, nor consult any one regarding the sleepers.

 

We ask ourselves: if only a few people, according to the verse, knew the exact number, why was not Mohammed one of them? If he is in contact with God who knows everything, why was not Mohammed among those few who knew the number? We can only conclude that Mohammed was afraid to come with a definite number because he knew the ones who presented the test were more knowledgeable than he was about the legend, and he discovered his sources could not provide a definite number. Thus, he claimed Allah prohibited him from discussing the case.

 

Mohammed made the sleepers wake up more than 300 years after the authors who Christianized the myth and spread it had died.

Also in verse 25 of the same Surah (18) we read, They stayed in their cave 300 years. These years increased by nine. By this reasoning, the sleepers awoke around the year 559 A.D., when the earlier Syriac translators of the legend from the Greek language were all dead. Even Jacob of Sarugh, who included this legend in his writings, was dead. He died in the year 521 A.D.

Mohammed felt free to establish dates, thinking that no one had the right to refute him. He included myths and legends in the Quran which were spread in his generation, without considering the dates when they were actually spread. Then, he defended the years of sleep he established for them by saying in verse 26, Say, Allah knows best how long they stayed. Allah has the secrets of heavens and earth. By this he claimed 309 years as the period they slept as indisputable, because Allah had inspired it. But how did the claim of Mohammed fit into reality? First, the whole tale is well known as legend, or myth. Second, the Christianized legend was well known in Syriac literature for more than a century before the date established by Mohammed.

 

Mohammed with his enormous historical mistakes can't be a reliable source for ancient history. Neither can we trust the Islamic writers who came after Mohammed and invented stories without any support of written documentation.

 

The summary which I have presented concerning the historical mistakes of the Quran confirms Mohammeds lack of education regarding official history. Muslims can't depend on his assertions to establish truth. Since what Mohammed said about historical figures and nations is incorrect, it cannot be backed up by the official documented history. Because of its primitive mythological character, how can Mohammed expect us to believe that Mecca was an ancient city, and that its temple was built by Abraham and Ishmael?  How can we trust his claim that Abraham and Ishmael built its temple, and that Ishmael lived there with his progeny?

We know that no source in history confirms what Mohammed claimed about Mecca, Abraham and Ishmael. On the other hand, we also know that official documented history shows the contrary to Mohammeds claim. If we cant trust Mohammed to tell us the truth about the issues we have been discussing, how can we trust him to tell us the truth about anything?


 

     Religion Research Institute -Home


[55]  Ibn Hisham, I, page 282

 

[56] Tafsir al-Tabari, 18, page 137

 

 



[1][1] Haran Gawaita, Citta del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica, page 3

 

[2][2] Al-Bukhari, (Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyeh, Beirut-Libenon), 1:89

 

[3][3] Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamel Fi al-Tarikh, 2: page 86; Tarikh al-Tabari 1, page 126 ; Al-Asbahani, Al Aghani 17, pages 15-17

 

 

[4][4] Halabieh, (Dar al-Maarifah, Beirut-Lebanon), 1, page 456

 

[5][5] Halabieh 1, page 477

 

[6][6] Halabieh 1, page 508

 

[7][7] Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamel Fi al-Tarikh, 2, page 86

 

[8][8] 1 Enoch 7:2

 

[9][9] John Reeves, Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmogony, Hebrew Union College Press, Cincinnati, 1992, page 88

 

[10][10] al-Ya'akubi 1, page 226

 

[11][11] Ibn Hisham, I, page dal

 

[12][12] Ibn Hisham, I, page 8

 

[13][13] Ibn Khaldun, Kay's edition, quoted by Wilfred Schoff in his comments on The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Munshiram Manoharial Publishers Pvt Ltd, 1995, page   142

 

    [14][14] al-Feiruzabadi, Al-Khamus al-Muheet, (Cairo, year 1913 ), 3, page 129

 

[15][15] Inscriptions of Sargon, (Ta-mu-di,  Lie, The Inscriptions of Sargon II, King of Assyria, 20:120; Lyon 4:20; Iraq 16 { 1954 }, 199: 18); quoted by  The Ancient Arabs, I. Eph’al, E.J.Brill, Leiden, 1982, page 230

 

[16][16] F.V.Winnett and W.L.Reed, Ancient Records from North Arabia, University of Toronto Press, 1970, page 130

 

[17][17] F.V.Winnett and W.L.Reed, Ancient Records from North Arabia, University of Toronto Press, 1970, page 130

 

[18][18] Al-Khurtubi, Al Jama' al-Ahkam al-Quran, 15, page 14; Abu Hayyan Al-Andalusi,  Tafsir al-Baher al-Muhit, 7, page 327

 

[19][19] Tabari Abi Jaafar Bin Jarir, Tarikh al-Tabari,  Dar al-Kutub al- Ilmiyeh, ( Beirut-Lebanon, 1991), first Volume, pages 379 and 380

 

[20][20] Diwan Umayya Bin Abi al-Salet, page 26; quoted by Jawad Ali, al-Mufassel Fi Tarikh al-Arab Khabel al-Islam, Dar al-Ilem Lialmalain, (Beirut, 1978), Volume vi, page 490

 

[21][21] Tarikh al-Tabari, Abi Jaafar Bin Jarir al-Tabari, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyeh, (Beirut-Lebanon, 1991), I, pages 426- 429

 

[22][22] Tarikh al-Tabari, I, pages 426-428; al-Ya'akubi I, 226

 

[23][23]Tarikh al-Tabari, I, page 128

 

[24][24]Tarikh al-Tabari, I, 142 and 143

 

[25][25] Agatharchides of Cnidus, on the Erythraean Sea, book I, 17,  translated and edited by Stanley Burstein, The Hakluyt Society London, 1989, page  52

 

[26][26] The Geography of Strabo, Book XVI .I. 11

The Geography of Strabo, Volume VII, Harvard University Press, 1966, page 211

 

[27] ابن الجوزي ، زاد المسير في علم التفسير، في تفسير سورة الكهف ، صفحة 55 

 

[28] معجم البلدان، ياقوت الحموي ، الجزء الخامس ، صفحة  937 و 938 

[29] al-Munjid, page 638

[30] The Armenian version of Pseudo-Callisthenes , 247-249; Albert M. Wolohojian, The Romance of Alexander the Great by Pseudo-Callisthenes, Columbia University Press, New York and London 1969, page 140;Syriac version of the Pseudo Callisthenes, book III, VII; Ernest A. Wallis Budge, The history of Alexander the Great, being the Syriac version of the Pseudo Callisthenes, Gorgias Press-  2003, pages 102 and 103

 

[31] Ernest A. Wallis Budge, The Alexander Book in Ethiopia, Oxford University Press, London, 1933, page  xxviii

 

[32] A discourse composed by Jacob Sarugh, 130-160; Ernest A. Wallis Budge, The history of Alexander the Great, being the Syriac version of the Pseudo Callisthenes, Gorgias Press-  2003, page 170-172

[33] Dinkard-Book VIII, Chapter XXXI, 30, Pahlavi Texts, Part IV, Translated by E.W. West, The Sacred books of the East, Volume 37 ,Published by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1969, page 103

 

[34] Syriac version of the Pseudo Callisthenes, book III, VII; Ernest A. Wallis Budge, The history of Alexander the Great, being the Syriac version of the Pseudo Callisthenes, Gorgias Press-  2003, pages 104 and 105; The Armenian version of Pseudo-Callisthenes, 224; Albert M. Wolohojian, The Romance of Alexander the Great by Pseudo-Callisthenes, Columbia University Press, New York and London 1969, page 128-129

 

 

[35] Syriac version of the Pseudo Callisthenes, book III, VII; Ernest A. Wallis Budge, The history of Alexander the Great, being the Syriac version of the Pseudo Callisthenes, Gorgias Press-  2003, page 100

[36] Ernest A. Wallis Budge, The history of Alexander the Great, being the Syriac version of the Pseudo Callisthenes, Gorgias Press-  2003, page civ

[37] ِA Christian Legend concering Alexander, Ernest A. Wallis Budge, The history of Alexander the Great, being the Syriac version of the Pseudo Callisthenes, Gorgias Press-  2003, page 148

 

[38] Ernest A. Wallis Budge, The history of Alexander the Great, being the Syriac version of the Pseudo Callisthenes, Gorgias Press-  2003, page cv

 

[39] Albert M. Wolohojian, The Romance of Alexander the Great by Pseudo-Callisthenes, Columbia University Press, New York and London 1969, page 114

 

[40] A  Christian legend concerning Alexander , translated by Ernest A. Wallis Budge, The history of Alexander the Great, being the Syriac version of the Pseudo Callisthenes, Gorgias Press-  2003, page 152

 

[41] جامع البيان عن تأويل آي القرآن المعروف بتفسير الطبري ، تأليف أبي جعفر محمد بن جرير الطبري، 16 صفحة 10

[42] تفسير  ابن كثير ، للإمام الحافظ عماد الدين ، أبو الفداء اسماعيل بن كثير القرشى الدمشقي، الجزء الثالث ، صفحة 742

 

[43] الجامع لأحكام القرآن، المشهور بـ "تفسير القرطبي"، تأليف أبو عبدالله محمد بن أحمد الأنصاري القرطبي الجزء 11 صفحة 22

 

[44]  روح المعاني في تفسير القرآن العظيم والسبع المثاني ، المعروف بتفسير الألوسي ،

 الألوسي - شهاب الدين محمود البغدادي، الجزء السادس ، صفحة 15

 

[45]  الجامع لأحكام القرآن، المشهور بـ "تفسير القرطبي"، تأليف أبو عبدالله محمد بن أحمد الأنصاري القرطبي الجزء 11 صفحة 23 و 24

 

[46] Phys., IV, xi)); Quoted by the Adrian Fortescue, The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume V

 

 

[47] Koch, Die Siebenschlafereigende, ihr Ursprung u. ihre Verbreitung (Leipzig, 1883), pp. 24-40,  Quoted by the Adrian Fortescue, The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume V

 

[48] WRIGHT, A Short History of Syriac Literature (London, 1894); DUVAL, La litterature Syriaque, 3rd ed. (Paris, 1907), pp. 351-854; ASSEMANI, Bibliotheca Orieritalis, I, c. XXVII; H. HYVERNAT, Transcribed by Joseph P. Thomas, The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII

 

[49] Ibn Hisham, I, page 240

[50] Ibn Hisham, I, pages 239 and 282

 

[51] Sahih al-Bukhari, 6, page 132; Halabieh 1, page 69

 

[52][ Ibn Hisham 2, page 26

 

[52] Sahih al-Bukhari, 3, page 150

 

[53] Sahih al-Bukhari, 3, page 86; 3, page 135

 

[54] al-Allusi, Ruh' al-Maani, 14: 233; Tafsir al-Tabari 14:119

 

 

Copyright ã 2004 by Dr. Rafat Amari. All rights reserved.