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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bible Stories in the Qu'ran

      As many of you know, I'm writing a book about world religions, No Fear: My Tale of Hijabs, Witchcraft Circles, & the Cross. Since I'm a research nut, I'm doing way more research than will ever appear in the book. This is my pile of JUST Islam books.

        So I'm going to be sharing some of my extra research with you in a series of blog posts.
        Did you know that multiple Scripture stories, both from the Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament) and Christian Scriptures (New Testament), appear in the Quran?
         The Imam at the mosque I visited told me that Muslims believe the Old Testament and the Gospels are the word of Allah. But the Bible has been corrupted over the years, he said, so that accounts for the discrepancies between who the Bible says Jesus is and who the Qu'ran says Jesus is.
          Here's an example of one discrepancy between the Biblical and Qu'ranic accounts: Hamaan
         Ever encountered the story of Esther and the beauty contest, the Persian king and the villain Haman? Maybe read a children's picture book with the story many, many years ago?
          According to the Bible, in the 5th century B.C. King Xerxes of Persia got mad at his wife for being too independent-minded. So Xerxes divorced his wife and put out the world's strongest protective order against her. Then King Xerxes held a one-night-stand beauty pageant.
         All the beautiful virgins in the land were gathered up and put through mandatory beauty treatments for a year. (Don't want your legs waxed? Tough, you don't get a choice in whether you want to compete to be Miss Persia or not.)
         Then, after a series of one-night-stands with the contestants, King Xerxes chose Esther, a Jewish girl. Everything was going swimmingly, (well, except for the fact that the poor girl was married to a chauvinistic womanizer), until King Xerxes' second-in-command Hamaan was insulted by a Jewish man.
          Being a power-hungry narcissist, Hamaan couldn't content himself with merely throwing that man in the dungeon. Instead, he decided to have a genocide party and wipe out all the Jews in the entire empire.
            Esther famously risked her life by entering the throne room without permission and telling her husband about her people's fate. And the Jewish people were saved. (Word to the wise: If your husband has a rule that you can't enter the same room as him without his permission, it's probably not a healthy relationship.)
         Anyway, this same Hamaan also appears in the Koran. But he's 1000 years older. And instead of being King Xerxes right-hand man, he's hanging out with the Egyptian Pharaoh during the time of Moses (Sura 28:6-8, 38).
           There are also some other differences between the Jewish and Islamic accounts of Moses' life. For example, in the Qu'ran, the Pharoah's wife (instead of daughter) adopted Moses.
            The largest difference between the two accounts though is in tone. Rather than a chronological and minutely detailed account like the Jewish version of the Exodus, the Qu'ran tells about Moses' life in a literary and disjointed fashion.

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  1. Yes, it is true but Ishâ (Jesus) is the prophet and Mohamed is bigger than Ishâ, because he is the last one.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting! And according to the Qu'ran Jesus (Isha) never died on the cross right?