The writer whom we are quoting goes on to relate how Abraham was cast into the fire but came forth safe and well. He concludes his narrative thus: "And it is recorded in Tradition that Abraham was preserved through saying, ‘God is sufficient for me 1,’ and ‘He is an excellent Guardian 2.’ God said, ‘O fire, become cool and safe unto Abraham 3.’"

We now proceed to compare with this narrative that which, is contained in the Midrash Rabba of the Jews There the tale runs thus 4:—

"Terah was a maker of idols. Once he went out somewhere, and seated Abraham as salesman in place of himself. A person would come, wishing to purchase, and Abraham would say to him, ‘How old art thou?’ and he (the other) would say to him, ‘Fifty’ or ‘Sixty years.’ And he (Abraham) would say unto him, ‘Woe to that man who is sixty years of age, and wisheth to worship a thing a few days old!’ And he (the other) would become ashamed and would go his way. Once a woman came, carrying in her hand a plate of wheaten flour. She said to him, ‘Here! set this before them.’ He arose, took a staff in his hand, and broke them all in pieces; then he gave the staff into the hand of the one that was biggest among them. When his father came, he said to him, ‘Who has done this unto them?’ He (Abraham) said to him, ‘What is

1 Surah XXXIX., 39.
2 Surah III., 167.
3 Surah XXI., 69.
4 Midrash Rabba, Chapter xvii, in explanation of Gen. xv. 7.

hidden from thee? A woman came, bringing with her a plate of wheaten flour, and said to me, "Here! set this before them." I set it before them. This one said, "I shall eat first," and that one said, "I shall eat first." This one, which is the biggest among them, arose, took a staff, and broke them.’ He (the father) said to him, ‘Why dost thou tell me a fable? Do these understand?’ He (Abraham) said to him, ‘And do not thine ears hear what thy lip speaketh?’ He (Terah) seized him and delivered him over to Nimrod. He (Nimrod) said to him, ‘Let us worship the fire.’ Abraham said unto him, ‘And let us worship the waters which extinguish the fire.’ Nimrod said to him, ‘Let us worship the waters.’ He (Abraham) said to him, ‘If so, let us worship the cloud which brings the waters.’ He (Nimrod) said to him, ‘Let us worship the cloud.’ He (Abraham) said to him, ‘If so, let us worship the wind that drives away the cloud.’ He (Nimrod) said unto him, ‘Let us worship the wind.’ He (Abraham) said to him, ‘And let us worship man who resisteth the wind.’ ‘If thou bandiest words with me, lo! I worship naught but the fire; lo! I cast thee into the midst of it, and let the God whom thou worshippest come and deliver thee from it!’ Abraham went down into the furnace of fire and was delivered."

It is perfectly clear that the Muhammadan fable is directly borrowed from the Jewish though expanded by the addition of particulars due to Muham-