Name of God the Merciful, the Gracious. I am God, there is no God but Me. Whoso hath submitted to My decree and is patient under the ill I assign him and is thankful for My favours, I have written him (i.e. his name) and raised him with the truthful ones; and whoso hath not been pleased with My decree and hath not been patient under the ill I assign him and hath not been thankful for My favours, then let him seek another Lord than Me, and let him go forth from beneath 1 My heavens.’ Accordingly the Pen wrote down God's knowledge in God Most High's creation of everything that He had wished unto the Resurrection Day, the extent that the leaf of a tree moveth or descendeth or ascendeth, and it wrote every such thing by the power of God Most High."

The idea of the Preserved Tablet is borrowed from the Jews. In the Book of Deuteronomy (x. 1-5) we are told that when Moses had, at God's command, hewn out two tablets of stone similar to the ones that he had broken, God wrote upon them the Ten Commandments, and commanded Moses to preserve them in an ark of shittim — or acacia — wood. The Hebrew word for tablet here used is identical with the Arabic. From 1 Kings viii. 9, and Heb. ix. 3, 4, we learn that these two tablets were preserved in the Ark of the Covenant which Moses had made in accordance with God's command. This is the account from which

1 Cf. Jer. x. 11.

the narrative of a Preserved Tablet inscribed with God's commandments and by His power gradually arose among the Jews and afterwards among the Muhammadans. From the language of Surah LXXXV., 21, 22, translated above, it is clear that in Muhammad's mind there existed not only one but at least two "Preserved Tablets," for the Arabic is "a Preserved Tablet," not "the Preserved Tablet," as Muhammadans at the present day seem to understand it. There must therefore be a reference to the two stone tablets which Moses prepared and preserved in the Ark of the Covenant. As these were kept in the Tabernacle which symbolized God's presence with His people, it was natural to speak of them as preserved in God's presence. Hence the origin of the fancy that the Preserved Tablets were kept in heaven, and it was not difficult to deduce their antiquity from that belief.

But why does Muhammad assert that the Qur'an was written "upon a Preserved Tablet"? To answer this question we must again consult the Jews and learn what they, in Muhammad's time and previously, thought to have been written upon the two Tablets, which were preserved in the Ark of the Covenant. In spite of the fact that Deuteronomy clearly states that only the Ten Commandments were written upon these Tablets, yet after a time the belief arose that all the books of the Old Testament and also the whole of the Talmud were either inscribed upon them or at least given