Qaf, and it girds it all" (the whole earth),
"and it is that by which God swears, for He said,
‘Qaf . By
the Glorious Qur'an.’" In the Qisasu'l Anbiya
it is narrated that one day 'Abdu'llah ibn Salam inquired
of Muhammad which was the highest mountain-peak on the
earth. Muhammad said, "Mount Qaf." In answer
to the further inquiry of what this mountain is composed,
Muhammad replied, "Of green emerald, and the greenness
of the sky is on account of that." The inquirer,
having expressed his belief that the "Prophet of
God" in this matter spoke truly, then said, "What
is the height of Mount Qaf?" Muhammad replied,
"It is 500 years' journey in height." 'Abdu'llah
asked, "How far is it around it?" "It
is 2,000 years' journey." We need not enter into
all the other circumstances told us in connexion with
this wonderful range of mountains of which Muslim legends
are so full.
If we inquire as to the origin of the myth of the
existence of such a range of mountains, the answer is
supplied by a reference to Hagigah xi. § 1.
There, in explanation of the somewhat rare Hebrew word
"Tohu" in Gen. i. 2, it is thus written: "Tohu
is the green line which surrounds the whole, entire
world, and from which darkness proceeds." The Hebrew
word which we here render line is Qav.
Muhammad and his disciples, hearing this Hebrew word
Qav and not knowing that it meant
"line," thought that without doubt that
which was thus said to surround the whole world, and
from which darkness came forth, must be a great chain
of mountains named Qav or Qaf It is
hardly necessary to say that geographers have explored
the whole world without — as yet — discovering the range
described in Muhammadan tradition!
We must indicate a few of the many other ideas which
are also clearly of Jewish origin that have found an
entrance into the Qur'an and the Traditions.
In Surah XVII., Al Asra', 46 ,
mention is made of seven heavens, and in Surah XV.,
Al Hajr, 44, the seven doors of hell are spoken of.
Both these statements are derived from Jewish tradition.
The former is found in the Hagigah, cap. ix.
§ 2, the latter in Zohar, cap. ii. p. 150.
It is remarkable that the Hindus hold that beneath the
surface of the earth there are seven lower stages, so
to speak, and above it seven higher storys, all of which
rest upon one of the heads of an enormous serpent named
Sesha, who possesses a thousand heads. The seven heavens
doubtless are, or at least were, identical with the
orbits of the sun, moon, and the planets Mercury, Venus,
Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, which in Muhammad's time were