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MAHOMEDANISM IS MAINLY BASED UPON JUDAISM: Ganga Prasad

THE religion of Mahomed is based chiefly on Judaism,

and partly on Zoroastrianism on which Judaism

itself is based. The first proposition is not denied

by the Mahomedans themselves, who only claim that their

Prophet has improved upon the Jewish religion in certain

respects. A detailed comparison of the two religions would,

however, show how closely Mahomed has followed the

Jewish religion even on points of detail, and would lead to

the conclusion that there is little or .nothing important in

Mahomedanism for which the Prophet could lay claim to

originality.

We shall in this branch of our enquiry follow Dr. Sale,

whose preliminary discourse, appended to his celebrated

translation of the Koran, contains a wealth of information

on this subject.

 

SECTION 1

 

THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE OR COSMOGONY

 

The idea that this universe is the first and the last of

its kind is purely a Jewish idea, and forms a distinctive feature

of Judaism, and the two great religions founded

upon it, Viz., Christianity and Mahomedanism. Again,

the belief that this world was created out of nothing by

a fiat of the Almighty is also borrowed from Judaism. The

story of Adam and Eve being created and placed in the

garden of Eden, where they were allowed to partake of

all things except the fruit of a particular tree; of their being

I tempted by Satan in the form of a serpent to eat of that very

fruit; and of their subsequent fall from paradise is borrowed

almost literally from the Jewish scriptures.

The same may be said of the existence of a higher order

of beings than man, Viz., the angels who have pure and

subtle bodies, created of fire, and who neither eat nor drink,

nor propagate species. These angels are supposed to have

various forms and offices, and the most eminent among them

are Gabriel, Michael, Azracl and Israfil. “This whole

doctrine concerning angels,” says Dr. Sale, “Mahomed

borrowed from the Jews, Who learned the names and offices

of those beings from the Persians, as they themselves confess.

-( Talmud Hieros and Roshbhashan). “:j:

The Koran teaches the existence of also an inferior class

of beings called jin or genii’ created also of fire, but of a

grosser fabric than angels, since they eat, drink and propagate

their species and are subject to death.’ “These notions,”

says Dr. Sale, “agree almost exactly with what the Jews

write of a sort of demons called Shedim. It

SECTION 2

THE DESTRUCTION OF THE UNIVERSe AND’

THE RESURRECTION

– The Mahomedans believe in the immortality of the

soul and think that there will be a day of resurrection

when the dead will rise to receive the rewards and punishment

of their actions in life according to their merits and

demerits. The whole of this doctrine has been taken from

Judaism.

The ,Resurreclion.-According to some writers the

resurrection will be merely spiritual. The generally received

opinion, however, is that both the body and the soul will

be raised.::: It might be asked: how will the body, which

has been decomposed rise again ~ “But Mahomed has

taken care to preserve one part of the body, whatever

becomes of the rest, to serve for a basis of future edifice, or

rather a leaven for the mass which is to be joined to it.

For he taught that a man t s body was entirely consumed by

the earth, except only the bone called AI Ajb which we

name the os coceygis or rumpbone; and that as it was the

first formed in the human body, it will also remain uncorrupted

till the last day, as a seed from whence the whole

is to be renewed; and this, he said, would be effected by

a forty days’ rain which Cod would. send, and which w~uld

cover the earth 10 the height of twelve cubits, and cause the

bodies to sprout forth like plants. Herein also is Mahomed

beholden to the Jews who say the same things of the bone,

Luz excepting that what Mahomed attributes to a great rain

would be effected according to them by a dew impregnating

the dust of the earth.

Signs of the Resurrection.-The approach of the day of

resurrection will be known from certain signs which are to

precede it; for example:-

  1. The rising of the sun’in the west.

(b) The appearance of the beast Dajjal, a monster of

the most curious appearance, who would preach

the truth of Islam in Arabic language. The

beast in the Revelation (Luke, xxiii: 8) seems,

according to Dr. Sale, to be responsible for this

idea.

( c) The coming of the Mehdi.

(d). The blast of the trumpet called Sur, which will be sounded three times.

All these are more or less Jewish ideas, So is the teaching that after the Resurrection, but before Judgment the resuscitated souls will have to wait for a long time

under the burning heat of the sun which would descend to

within a few yards of their heads

The Day of Judgment .-After mankind have waited

for fixed time God will, at length, appear to judge them,

Mahomed taking the office of intercessor. Then everyone

will be examined concerning all his actions in this life.

Some say that all the limbs and parts of the body ,will be

made to confess the sins committed by each. Each person

will be given a book in which all his actions arc recorded.

These books will-be weighed in a balance to be held by

Gabriel. Those whose good actions are heavier than the

bad ones, will be sent to Heaven; and those whose evil

actions preponderate, to the Hell. This belief has been taken

in its entirety from the Jews, “The old Jewish writers,”

says Dr, Sale, “make mention as well of the books to be

produced at the last day wherein men’s actions are registered,

as of the balance wherein they shall be weighed.

 

The Jews in their turn borrowed this idea from the

Zoroastrians. Dr. Sale hints that the Old Testament seems

to have given the first notion of both (Exod., xxxii, 32-33 ;

Dan., vii, 10; Revel., xx, 12; Dan., v, 27.) but, he

admits, “what the Persian Magi believe of the’ balance’

comes nearest to the Mahomedan opinion. They hold that

on the day of Judgment two angels named Mehr and Sarush

will stand on the bridge we shall describe by and by, to

examine every person as he passes; that the former ,,,ho

represents divine mercy will hold a balance in his hand to

weigh the actions of men; that according to the report he

shall make thereof to God sentence will be pronounced, and

those ‘whose good works are found more ponderous, if they

turn the scale but by the weight of a hair, will be permitted

to pass forward to paradise; but those whose good works

shall be found light will be, by the other angel who represents

God’s justice, precipitated from the bridge into hell.”*

On the road to heaven is the bridge called by

Mahomed Al Sirai. This bridge is thrown over the abyss

of hell, and is said to be finer than a hair, and sharper than

the edge of a sword. Over this bridge the Muslims will

easily pass led by Mahomed; whereas the wicked will

soon miss their footing and fall down headlong into hell

which is gaping beneath them. The Jews likewise speak

of the bridge of hell which, according to them, is no

broader than a thread. For this idea the Jews and

the Mahomedans seem to be equally indebted to the

Zoroastrians who teach that on the last day all men will be

obliged to pass over a bridge called Pul Chinavad.

 

Paradise.-After passing the Al Sirai, the faithful will

reach paradise ‘which is situated in the seventh heaven.

The Mahomedan conception of paradise is that of a

beautiful garden, furnished with springs, fountains, and

rivers flowing with water, milk, honey and balsam, and

trees having their trunks of gold, and producing the most

delicious fruits. Above all, there will be seventy resplendent

ravishing girls called hur-ul-ayun on account of their big

black eyes. For almost. the whole of this description

Mahomed is indebted to the Jews. “The Jews constantly

describe the future mansion of the just as a delicious garden,

and make it also reach the seventh heaven ( vide Gemar

Tanith, f. 25; Biracoth, f. 34; Midrash Sabboth, f. 37).

They also say it has three gates ……… and four rivers

Flowing with milk, wine, balsam and honey.-( MiJrash,

Yalkul Shcwini).”:::

It is more than probable that the Jews themselves

borrowed this idea from the Zoroastrians, who described

the felicities of paradise in similar language. Dr. Sale

observes: “The Persian Magi had also an idea of the

future happy state of the good, very little different from

that of Mahomed. Paradise they call Bihishl, and Minu,

which signifies crystal, where they believe the righteous’

shall enjoy all manner of delights and particularly, the

company of huran-i-Bihisht or black-eyed nymphs of

paradise, the care of whom, they say, is committed to the

angel Zamiyad and hence Mahomed seems to have taken the

first hint of his paradisiacal ladies. “t

We may also quote from Nama Mihabad, one of the

later writings of the Parsis: “The lowest order of heaven

is this that its inmates will enjoy all the delights of this

world: nymphs, male and female slaves, meat and drink,

clothing and bedding, articles of furniture, and other things

which ca~not be enumerated here.”-Mihabad, 40 & 41. :::

 

Hell.-Similarly the different torments of hell, the

seY~n compartments into ,,,·hich it is said to be divided,

and the partition called Al Aira/, separating heaven from

hell, all seem to be copied from the Jews.

 

SECTION 3

GOD AND THE DEVIL

 

The Mahomedan conception of God agrees almost

exactly with the Jewish notion. And the doctrine that there

arc two powers in the world, a good and benevolent

power, viz., God, and an evil’ and malevolent power, Viz.,

Satan, is also taken from the Jews. This notion, which

seriously mars the Monotheism of the Bible and the

Koran, was certainly borrowed by the Jews from the

Zoroastrians, vrho call these (wo principles Spenla Mainyu

and A ngira M ainyu. In a later chapter we shall discuss

this question more fully, and show how this Zoroastrian

idea can be traced to a beautiful allegory in the Veda,

describing the struggle of good and evil in this world; and

how this allegory was misunderstood till in the hands of the

Jews, Christians, and Mahomedans, it degenerated into a

belief in two powers, Satan having been elevated to a

position a little below that of the Deily. This is a very

important point, and will show, in a remarkable manner,

how the stream of religious thought has flowed from the

Vedas to the Zend Avesta, and thence to the Bible and

the Koran.

 

SECTION 4

RELIGIOUS PRACTICES

We have show’n so far that the principal dogmas of the

Mahomedan religion have a Judaic origin. We shall next

show that their religious practices can’be traced to the same

source.

There are four duties incumbent upon every

Mahomedan: viz., (i) Prayer; (ii) Fasting; (iii) Zakat

or charity; and ( iv) Pilgrimage to Mecca.

(i) Prayer.-The following extract from. the Dasalir

would show to the reader that the several postures of the

followers of the Prophet at prayers have been probably’

copied from the Zoroastrians:-

II During prayer a pious and wise man should stand

ahead, and the rest should stand behind him. A man

(during prayer) should stand erect and join his hands

together; then bow down, then prostrate himself on the

ground; then again stand erect, place one of his hands on

the head, and removing it place the other hand on the

head; then raise his head and clasp his hands without

joining the thumbs, place his thumbs on his eyes, making

the fingers reach the head, then bend his head down to his

breast; then raise it; then sit on the ground; then putting

his hand on the ground and kneeling down touch the

ground with his forehead, and then with each side of the

face; then prostrate himself on the ground like a staff;

then stretch his hand till the breast touches the ,ground,

then do the same with, the thighs; then kneel down;

then squat, and place his head on his folded hands.

Such prayer is to be addressed to none but God.”:::

 

The practice among Mahomedans of saying their

prayer with their faces towards the Kabah is likewise

borrowed from the Jews who constantly pray with their

faces turned towards the temple of Jerusale~. ” The

same,” observes Dr. Sale, ” was the Kibla of Mahomed

and his followers for six or seven months (some say eighteen

months, vide Abulfed, Nit. Moh., p. 54), till he found

himself obliged to change it for the. Kabah. tt;:;

The practice of performing before prayers ablutions

with water or sand is also borrowed from the Jews and

the Persians. The. circumcision is well-known to be a

Jewish custom.

 

(ii) Fasling.-Speaking of Mahomed’s ordinances

concerning fasting, Dr. Sale traces them to those of the Jews,

and observes: “That nation, when they fast abstain not

only from eating and drinking but from women and from

anointing themselves, from daybreak until sunset ……….. :

spending the night in taking what refreshments they please,

(Gemar Yama, f. 40, etc. )”

 

(iii) Charily.-This is of two kinds, viz., ( 1 ) Zakat,

and ( 2) Sadka; and specific rules are laid down for the

giving of these alms. In these rules also Dr. Sale observes the

footsteps of the Jews, ( Vide. Prel. Dis., p. 87).

 

(iv) The Haj or Pilgrimage to Mecca . …;;.. The pilgrimage

to Mecca was not borrowed from the Jews, but was a

relic of the pagan Arabs. The temple of Mecca had long

been held in singular veneration by the Arabs, and the

Prophet considered it inexpedient to disturb the belief.

 

SECTION 5

NEGATIVE PRECEPTS

 

Among the negative precepts common to the Jews and

the Mahomedans may be mentioned abstaining from gaming ;:::

wine ; usuryt and certain kinds of prohibited meats.

Regarding prohibited meats we read in the Koran as

follows :-” Ye are forbidden to eat that which diet of

itself, and blood, and swine’ s flesh, and that on which the

name of any besides God has been invocated, and that

which hath been strangled or killed by a blow, or by a

fall, or by the horns of another beast, and that which has

been eaten by a wild beast, except what ye shall kill yourselves,

and that which, had been sacrificed to idols.”

 

In these particulars,” says Dr. Sale, ” Mahomed seems chiefly

to have imitated the Jews, by whose law, as is well-known,

all those things are for bidden, but he allowed some things

to be eaten which Moses did not. ”

 

SECTION 6

CIVIL INSTITUTIONS

 

The civil institution of the Mahomedans are founded

upon the Koran, as those of the Jews are founded on the

Pentateuch. That the former were copied from the latter

would be evident from the following!-

 

( i) Polygamy is allowed by both, but no Mussalman

may marry more than four wives at a time. U In

making the above mentioned limitation,” observes Dr. Sale

 

Mahomed was directed by the decision of the Jewish

doctors who, by way of counsel, limit the number of wives

to four ( rJide Maimon in Halachoth Ishath, c. 14), though

their law confines them not to any certain number. “:::

 

( ii) Dirvorce is an institution common to both religions.

In allowing divorce Mahomed has followed Jews. When

a woman is divorced, she must wait for three months before

she can re-marry. This period, is called iddal. At the end

of this period, if she is found with child, she must be

delivered of it before she can marry again. These rules”

says Dr. Sale, are also copied from the Jews, according to

whom a divorced woman or widow cannot marry another

man till ninety days be passed after the divorce or death

of the husband.” Dr. Sale adds: “The institutions of

Mahomed relating to the pollution of women during their

courses, the taking of slaves to wife, and the prohibiting of

marriage within certain degrees, have likewise no small

affinity with the institution of Moses.

 

SECTION 7

SOME MINOR SIMILARITIES

( 😉 The setting apart of one day in the week for

the special service of God is also an institution of the Jews

who keep Saturday sacred. THe Christians have Sunday for

their Sabbath day. Mahomed has imitated these religions

in this respect; but for the sake of distinction he has ordered

his followers to observe Friday, instead of Saturday or

Sunday. ,

 

(if) The celebrated formula of the Koran “La-Elah-illillah” (there is no God but God) is a mere paraphrase of the Zoroastrian formula, “Nest ezad magar

Yazdan.”

( iii ) It should be further noted that every chapter of the Koran (excepting only the ninth) opens with the words “Bismillah uar Rahman er Rahim,” which. exactly

correspond to the formula with which the Zoroastrians begin

their books, Viz., fI Banam Yazdan bakhshish gar dadar (in the name of the most merciful God ).

 

SECTION 8

SUMMARY

The above is sufficient to show that Mahomedanism

has borrowed almost all its doctrines and precepts mainly

from Judaism and partly from Zoroastrianism. The religion

of the Koran cannot, therefore, claim to be a new revelation,

or a special dispensation of the Will of God. Our

Mahomedan brethren will perhaps urge; “the monotheism

of the Koran is purer and better than that of Judaism and

Christianity, to speak nothing of Zoroastrianism which is not

monotheism at all, being a belief in two gods.”· Now there

can be no doubt that the Christian conception of God is’, in

several ways, superior to the Mahomedan conception. God

is represented by the Christians as a more righteous, more

merciful, more holy and more loving being than the God of

the Koran. In another way, the theism of Christianity is

certainly inferior to that of the Koran. Christianity teaches

the doctrine of Trinity which is virtually a belief in three

gods. and in this respect the Koran teaches a stricter monotheism

than Christianity. But it is difficult to understand how

Mahomedanism can claim to teach a better theism than

Judaism; because both are equally monotheistic or equally

dualistic. Both raise Satan to a position all but equal to

that of God, and thus equally mar the purity of their

monotheism. Both have the same conception of the Divine

character; and the anthropomorphic, vacillating, and

revengeful Jehovah of the Jews finds an exact counterpart

in the Allah of the Koran, who is described as an intolerant

and despotic potentate, urging his worshippers to make war

upon, and slay, the infidels.

As for Zoroastrianism, its theism is in no way inferior ,

to that of either Judaism or Mahomedanism. ” Ahurmazda ”

says the Rev. L. H. Mills, “is one of the purest conceptions

which had yet been produced,”::: and-we may add,-is

undoubtedly the prototype ~ of the God of the Koran as

well as the God of the Bible. We shall revert to this

subject in detail later on it The great value of Mahomed’s

doctrine of the unity of God lies in its being a protest against

the degenerate Christianity of his time and the polytheism

of the Arabs among whom he lived. But however superior

to the belief of his contemporaries, the theism of the Koran

can hardly be said to be superior to that of Judaism. The

claim of the Koran, therefore, to be an independent

revelation of God, on the plea of teaching a better theism

than Judaism and Zoroastrianism, to which it can be

traced, is untenable.

HADEES : FLOGGING COULD BE POSTPONED

FLOGGING COULD BE POSTPONED

If a woman has just delivered and there is an apprehension that flogging might kill her, she may be spared �until she is alright� (4225).

�AlI says: �O people, impose the prescribed punishment upon your slaves, those who are married and those not married, for a slave-woman belonging to Allah�s Messenger had committed adultery, and he committed me to flog her.  But she had recently given birth to a child and I was afraid that if I flogged her I might kill her.  So I mentioned that to Allah�s Messenger and he said �You have done well� � (4224).  The Prophet was a merciful man.

On the basis of this hadIs, Muslim jurists conclude that flogging can be spread over several days, depending on the physical condition of the offender; and if he is sick, the flogging can be postponed until he recovers.

author : ram swarup

HADEES : A SLAVE ADULTERESS

A SLAVE ADULTERESS

A more lenient view was taken in cases of adultery involving slave-women.  A slave-woman, even if she was married, was not to be stoned to death, and if she was unmarried, she was liable to half the penalty (fifty strokes).  If a slave-girl is unprotected (unmarried) and �commits adultery, then flog her and if she commits adultery again, then flog her and then sell her even for a rope of hair� (4221).

author : ram swarup

HADEES : A MOSAIC PRACTICE REVIVED

A MOSAIC PRACTICE REVIVED

The punishment of stoning to death (rajm) is Mosaic.  The Old Testament prescribes it for adultery and fornication (Deuteronomy 22:19-23), and also for those who �serve other gods� (Deuteronomy 13:10).  Muhammad retained it for adultery but prescribed death by other means for crimes like apostasy.

Among the Jews themselves, by the time of Muhammad, stoning had fallen into disuse.  According to one tradition, a Jew and a Jewess who had committed adultery were brought to Muhammad.  He asked the Jews what their Torah prescribed for such offenses.  The Jews replied: �We darken their [the culprits�] faces and make them ride on a donkey with their faces turned to the opposite direction.� Muhammad said: �Bring the Torah.� The prescribed punishment was found to be stoning to death.  So �Allah�s Messenger pronounced judgment about both of them and they were stoned,� says �Abdullah, the son of �Umar.  �I was one of those who stoned them, and I saw him [the Jew] protecting her [the Jewess] with his body,� he adds (4211).

Another hadIs gives more details about the same incident.  The Jews sent the two accused to Muhammad, telling their chiefs: �Go to Muhammad; if he commands you to blacken the face and award flogging as punishment, then accept it; but if he gives verdict for stoning, then avoid it.� Muhammad was grieved at this softening of the Scriptures.  But Allah comforted him: �O Messenger, the behaviour of those who vie with one another in denying the truth should not grieve you� (QurAn 5:41).  Allah also told him that �they who do not judge in accordance with what Allah has revealed-they are indeed wrongdoers, they are the iniquitous� (5:45, 47).  The man and woman were stoned to death at Muhammad�s order, and he was happy and thanked Allah: �O Allah, I am the first to revive thy command when they had made it dead� (4214).

author : ram swarup

HADEES : MODEL PERSECUTION

MODEL PERSECUTION

These cases provide a model for all future persecutions.  When a woman is to be stoned, a chest-deep hole is dug for her, just as was done in the case of GhamdIya (the woman of GhAmid), so that her nakedness is not exposed and the modesty of the watching multitude is not offended.  No such hole need be dug for a man, as no such hole was dug for MA�iz, the self-confessed adulterer whose case we have just narrated.

The stoning is begun by the witnesses, followed by the imAm or qAzI, and then by the participating believers.  But in the case of a self-confessed criminal, the first stone is cast by the imAm or qAzI, following the example of the Prophet in the case of GhamdIya.  And then the multitudes follow.  The QurAn and the Sunnah, in fact, enjoin the believers to both watch and actively participate in the execution.  �Do not let pity for them take hold of you in Allah�s religion. . . . and let a party of the believers witness their torment,� the QurAn urges while prescribing punishment for the fornicators.

HADEES: FORNICATION AND ADULTERY JOINED

FORNICATION AND ADULTERY JOINED

In a case of zinA in which one party is married and the other party unmarried, the former is punished for adultery and the latter for fornication.  AbU Huraira narrates one such case involving a man and woman belonging to desert tribes.  A young bachelor found employment as a servant in a certain household and committed zinA with the master�s wife.  His father gave one hundred goats and a slave-girl in ransom, but when the case was brought before Muhammad, he judged it �according to the Book of Allah.� He ordered the slave-girl and the goats to be returned and punished the young man for fornication �with one hundred lashes and exile for one year.� The woman was punished for adultery.  �Allah�s Messenger made pronouncement about her and she was stoned to death� (4029).

author : ram swarup

HADEES : SELF-CONFESSED ADULTERY

SELF-CONFESSED ADULTERY

There are some gruesome cases.  A fellow named MA�iz came to Muhammad and told him that he had committed adultery.  He repeated his confession four times.  Confessing four times stands for the four witnesses who are required to testify in case of adultery.  Upon finding that the man was married and also not mad, Muhammad ordered him to be stoned to death.  �I was one of those who stoned him,� says JAbir b. �Abdullah, the narrator of this hadIs (4196).

After this incident Muhammad harangued his followers: �Behold, as we set out for JihAd in the cause of Allah, one of you lagged behind and shrieked like the bleating of a male goat, and gave a small quantity of milk.  By Allah, in case I get hold of him, I shall certainly punish him� (4198).  The translator explains that by the metaphor of goat and milk, the Prophet means sexual lust and semen.

Similarly, a woman of GhAmid, a branch of Azd, came to Muhammad and told him that she had become pregnant as a result of fornication.  She was spared till she had given birth to her child.  An ansAr took the responsibility of suckling the infant and �she was then stoned to death� (4025).  Another hadIs tells us how it was done.  �She was put in a ditch up to her chest and he [Muhammad] commanded people and they stoned her� (4206).  Other traditions tell us that the Prophet himself cast the first stone.

author : ram swarup