This account of the origin of feminine ornaments
is the same that we have found in the Midrash (see above,
p. 98). It enables us to understand the meaning and
to recognize the source of the following passage from
the Qur'an, in which, speaking of Harut and Marut, Muhammad
says that men "learnt
from them that by which they separate a man from his
wife." He adds, "And they used not to injure
any one except by God's permission, and they teach what
injureth them and doth not profit them."
It is hardly necessary to produce any further proof
that the story of Harut and Marut is borrowed from a
Jewish source, at least in all essential particulars,
though in the names of these angels we perceive traces
of Armenian and perhaps Persian influence. We have also
seen that the Jews derived their form of the legend
from Babylonia, and that their acceptance of it was
in large measure due to a misunderstanding about the
meaning of a Hebrew word in Genesis.
It may he urged that some Christians understand Gen.
vi. 1-4, in much the same sense as the Jews did or still
do, and that possibly this view is correct. But even
granting all this, it is evident from what a corrupt
source Muhammad borrowed the narrative, which, in the
form in which the Qur'an and the Traditions relate it,
cannot possibly be correct.
5. Other Instances.
We cannot mention with the same fulness of detail
all the other points in which the Qur'an has borrowed
from Jewish legends. An examination of what is related
in the Qur'an in reference to Joseph, David, and Saul
(Talut), for example, will show how far these
accounts differ from what the Bible tells us about these
persons. In most, if not in every instance, the reason
of the divergence from the Biblical account is found
in the fact that Muhammad followed the Jewish legends
current in his time, instead of the true history of
these men as given in the sacred text. Occasionally
he has misunderstood the legends, or has amplified them
from imagination or from other sources. But the legends
already given at some length will serve as examples
of all other similar ones.
We now proceed to deal with other instances in which
the Qur'an's indebtedness to Jewish legends is obvious.
In Surah VII., Al A'raf, 170, we read, "And when
We raised up the mountain above them as if it were a
covering, and they fancied that it was falling upon
them, [We said], ‘Take ye with fortitude what We have
brought you, and remember ye what is in it; perchance
ye may be pious.’" Jalalain and other Muhammadan
commentators explain this verse by informing us that
God raised up the mountain (Sinai) from its foundation
and held it