upon Al A'raf there are men." This idea is derived
from the Midrash on Eccles. vii. 14, where we are informed
that, when asked "What space is there between them?"
(heaven and hell), Rabbi Yohanan said, "A wall":
Rabbi Akhah said, "A span." "And the
Rabbans say that they are both near one another, so
that rays of light pass from this to that." The
idea is probably taken from the Avesta, where this division
between heaven and hell is mentioned under the name
Miswanogatus (Fargand XIX). It was the place
"assigned to the souls of those whose deeds of
virtue and vice balance each
other." In Pahlavi it was called Miswat-gas.
The Zoroastrians held that the space between heaven
and hell is the same as between light and darkness.
The idea of a special place reserved for those whose
good deeds equal their evil ones has passed into other
In Surah XV., Al Hajr, 18, it is said concerning Satan
that he and the other fallen angels endeavour to "steal
a hearing" by listening to God's commands given
to the angels in heaven. The same idea is again repeated
in Surah XXXVII., As Saffat, 8, and in Surah LXVII.,
Al Mulk, 5. This belief comes from the Jews, for in
Hagigah, cap. vi. § 1, it is said that the
demons "listen from behind a curtain," in
order to obtain a knowledge of future events. The Qur'an
represents the shooting
stars as hurled at them by the angels, in order to
drive them away.
In Surah L., Qaf, 29, in speaking of the Day of Judgment,
God is represented as saying: "A day when we shall
say to Hell, ‘Art thou filled?’ and it shall say, ‘Is
there more?’" This is the echo of what we read
in the Othioth of Rabbi 'Aqiba' viii, § 1,
"The Prince of Hell saith on a day and a day (i.
e. day by day), ‘Give me food unto repletion.’"
This Jewish work refers to Isa. v. 14 in proof of the
truth of the assertion.
In Surah XI., Hud, 42, and again in Surah XXIII, Al
Mu'minun, 27, we are told that in the time of Noah "the
furnace boiled over." This doubtless refers to
the Jewish opinion (Rosh Hashshanah xvi., §
2, and Sanhedrin cviii.) that "The generation
of the Flood was punished with boiling water."
The whole of the statement in the Qur'an as to the way
in which the unbelievers mocked Noah is taken from this
chapter of Tract Sanhedrin and from other Jewish
commentators. Probably in ignorance of this the commentary
of Jalalain on Surah XI., 42, says that it was "a
baker's oven" that "boiled over," and
that this was a sign to Noah that the Flood was at hand.
If any further proof were needed of the great extent
of the influence which Jewish tradition has exerted
upon Islam it would be supplied by the