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STUDIES ABOUT COMPARATIVE DIVINITY (1)


STUDIES ABOUT COMPARATIVE DIVINITY (1)
THE ISLAMIC INTELLECTUAL MEETING (20)


THE ISLAMIC-CHRISTIAN-JEWISH STUDIES
TRENDS, GOALS, AND COURSES

By:
SAMI AL-BADRI

THE ISLAMIC CENTER IN ENGLAND/ DEPARTMENT OF COMPARATIVE DIVINITY


Table of Contents

Definition of Some Concepts 3

The General Trends in the Islamic-Christian-Jewish studies 3

The Islamic Aims at Studying the Christian and Jewish References and Writings 3

Courses of the Islamic Studies about the Christian-Jewish writings and References 4

The Islamic Holy Texts and Religious Writings 4

A Reality Mentioned about the Islamic Reference Books 6

The Christian and Jewish Holy Texts and Religious Writings 6

Jewish Writings in Arabic. 7

A Reality about the Christian and Jewish Reference Books 8

Course of the Old and New Testament texts regarding the Prophethood of Muhammad and Imamate of the Ahl al-Bayt 9

The Holy Quran; the Founder of the Course. 9

The Prophet Confirms this Course. 10

The Ahl al-Bayt Confirm this Course. 10

Shiite Scholars Imitate the Holy Prophet and Imams 13

Ali ibn Ibrahim. 13

Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Nu’mani 13

Shaykh al-Mufid. 13

Al-Tabersi 13

Muslim Scholars Followed the Same Course. 14

Converts to Islam Followed the Same Course. 14

Ali ibn Rubban. 14

Al-Samaw’al al-Maghribi 15

Saeed ibn Abi’l-Khayr 16

Abd al-Salaam. 16

Muhammad Ridha Yazdi 16

Muhammad Sadiq Fakhr al-Islam. 16

Abd al-Ahad Dawud. 16

Ibrahim Khalil Ahmad. 16

Modern Authors Have Followed this Course. 17

Have These Writings Contained All the Purposes?. 17

INDEXES. 19

The Hebrew Alphabet 19

The Samaritan Alphabet 20

The Arabic Version of the Bible translated by Sa’adia ben Joseph with the Hebrew Alphabet and Origin  21

The Book of the Laws of Inheritance Translated by Sa’adia ben Joseph into Arabic but in Hebrew Alphabet 22

The Book of the Laws of Inheritance Translated by Sa’adia ben Joseph into Arabic but in Hebrew Alphabet 22

Jami’ al-Alfaazh, By Dawud ben Ibrahim al-Fasi 22

Jami’ al-Alfaazh, By Dawud ben Ibrahim al-Fasi 22

Bustan al-Ukul, By Nathail ben al-Fayyumi  (Alive until 1069 AD) 22

Bustan al-Ukul, By Nathail ben al-Fayyumi  (Alive until 1069 AD) 22


Definition of Some Concepts

The Islamic-Christian-Jewish studies stand for three kinds of studies:

1)    Studies of Muslim scholars that are based upon Christian, Jewish, or both references without comparison to the Islamic references or with comparison in much or few amount aimed at achieving Islamic goals.

2)    Studies of Christians or Jews that are based upon Islamic references only, or by comparison with the Christian, Jewish, or both references in different amounts aimed at achieving Christian goals.

3)    Secularistic comparative Islamic-Christian-Jewish studies aimed at achieving secular goals.

Trends, here, stand for the advanced viewpoints that are included and, in most cases, observed by the forthcoming studies.

Goals stand for the points intended through the forthcoming studies.

Courses stand for the approaches of study.

The General Trends in the Islamic-Christian-Jewish studies

The Islamic-Christian-Jewish studies hold three trends that can be easily assorted:

First: The Christian-Jewish trend of studying the Islamic references: This trend relies upon a theory stating that Prophet Muhammad (s) was influenced by the Bible from which he drew most of his information, stories, and legislations.

Second: The Islamic trend of studying the Christian and Jewish references: This trend relies upon the belief in Muhammad as God’s Prophet and Messenger as well as the seal and chief of all Prophets and Apostles, and in the Holy Quran as a Divine Book confirming the Scriptures that came before it and guarding it in safety.

Third: The Secular trend of studying the religious references comparatively: This trend is usually based upon the theory of separating the Islamic-Christian-Jewish heritage from the divine revelation and holding it as a human heritage influencing each other in different amounts.

Most of the so-called Orientalists fall under the first and third trends as they have their own students following their courses in both the Arabic and Islamic worlds.

The Islamic Aims at Studying the Christian and Jewish References and Writings

A Muslim researcher of the Christian and Jewish references has generally three aims to achieve,

1)  Proving the Prophethood of Muhammad. For a Shiite Muslim researcher, this aim expands to include proving the Imamate of the Twelve Imams, too. On more than one occasion, the Holy Quran attracts attentions to this aim, such as the following text, “Those who follow the Messenger-Prophet; the Ummi[1] whom they find written down with them in the Torah and the Gospel enjoining them good and forbids them evil and makes lawful to them the good things and makes unlawful to them the impure things and removes from them their burden and the shackles which were upon them.”[2] In forthcoming chapters, this point will be discussed in details,

2)  Presenting the features of the genuineness of the Islamic holy texts, being not derived from the references of the Scriptures at all and, following, being characterized by their representation of the divine religion and the Prophetic movement in all the aspects and theoretical and practical treatments with which they have concerned. The Holy Quran has also referred to this point, saying, “And you did not recite before it any book, nor did you transcribe one with your right hand, for then could those who say untrue things have doubted,”[3] and

3)  Identifying the elaborate arguments aroused against the Holy Quran, the Holy Prophet, the Shariah, and the History of Islam, such as the spurious argument that the Holy Prophet was frequently marrying, or that Islam was extended by sword, (i.e. power), or that the Shariah is no more than a modified face of the Roman law of the Oriental empire, or that the letters ‘Alif Lam Mim’, which are the openings of many Surahs are in origin the prefatory utterance that frequently occurred at the beginning of the Prophets’ predictions meaning ‘The Lord said to Me’ (Amr Li Mirio), and that ‘Kaf Ha Ya Ain Sad’ that is the opening of Surah of Mariam (Virgin Mary) was used as the secret word of acquaintance among the Christians during the age of ordeal because it is numerically equal to ‘Christ is my Lord’ since both have the same value: 195, and many other spurious arguments that should be discussed calmly, whatever the style and level are.

Courses of the Islamic Studies about the Christian-Jewish writings and References

Each of the aforementioned Islamic goals has its own course and experiences suiting its nature. The course of proving Muhammad’s prophethood from the Scripture is obviously based upon the reference to the Holy Book by reviewing at and interpreting its texts. It is worth mentioning that the interpretation of these texts is a branch of knowledge having its own principles and prerequisites.

Apart from the question of proving Muhammad’s prophethood and the inimitability of the Holy Quran, the course of presenting the features of the genuineness of the Islamic holy texts as being not derived from the references of the Scriptures at all is based upon two things: 1) Proving the absence of any scholastic or theoretical relationship between the Holy Prophet and his companions from one side and the Scriptualists from the other in a form supporting the Islamic references and culture’s being developed aspects of the Scriptures’ references, and 2) making studies about the Quranic texts and the juristic writings of the Muslims as compared to the texts of the Old and New testaments as well as the content of the Scriptural culture aimed at demonstrating the priority of the Holy Quran, the Sunnah, and the Islamic juristic writings in a way confirming the fact that such texts and writings cannot be superior to the Scriptural writings unless they are divine revelations.

The course of identifying the elaborate arguments that Christians, Missionary Jews, or Secularists arouse against the ideology and history of Islam cannot be restricted to a definite course because of the variety of the natures of such arguments some of which is related to the Holy Quran, some to the Islamic doctrines, some to the Islamic history along with its references, and others to the Islamic jurisprudence and its references. Each of these sciences has its own course, and a Muslim researcher must take this fact into consideration during confuting a certain spurious argument by being well-versed in that field. He also may seek the advice of the well-versed scholars.

During this study, we will try to touch, yet briefly, on the basic references of both the Islamic School and the Scriptural School with a concise thesis on the earlier and the writings involved.

The Islamic Holy Texts and Religious Writings

The Islamic holy texts indicate the Holy Quran, the Sunnah,[4] and the verbal heritage of the Ahl al-Bayt.[5] Holiness of the Quran stands for its freedom from any error in addition to its being highly above any text that comes after. On this account, it is obligatory to believe in and submit to it. Holiness of the Sunnah—the true Sunnah that is actually originated from the Holy Prophet— stands for its freedom from any error and its being highly above any text that comes after. Holiness of the Ahl al-Bayt’s verbal heritage—the narrations and instructions that are actually said, done, or confirmed by the Ahl al-Bayt— stands for its freedom from any error and its being highly above any text that comes after. For all Muslims, the holy texts are the Quran and the Sunnah, while the Shiite Muslims add the heritage of the Ahl al-Bayt.

The Quran is the same for all Muslims and is represented by the copy that all Muslims hold and agree upon unanimously and it is impossible to find any other copy at any sect belonging to Islam. The literal translations of the Holy Quran are not regarded as Quran; rather interpretations of its meaning. This point is also an object of consensus for all Muslims.

The books of the Sunnah are classified into two major schools:

School of the Four Books: These four books are the main comprehensive books of hadith for the Shiite Muslims. They are:

1)    Al-Kafi, by Shaykh al-Kulayni (died in AH 329),

2)    Men La Yahdhuruhu al-Faqih, by Shaykh al-Saduq (died in AH. 381),

3)    Al-Tahdheeb and 4) al-Istibssar by Shaykh al-Tusi (died in AH 460).

These books were compiled on the light of the famous ‘Four-Hundred Principles’ and the alike records of the disciples of the Immaculate Imams who are the actual inheritors of the Sunnah written by the hand of Imam Ali and at the dictation of the Holy Prophet (s).[6]

School of the Six Books, which are the most reliable reference books of hadith for the Sunnis, and they are:

1) al-Sahih, by al-Bukhari (died in AH 256),

2) al-Sahih, by Muslim (died in AH 261),

3) al-Sunan, by Ibn Madjah (died in AH 275),

4) al-Sunan, by Abu Dawoud (died in AH 275),

5) al-Sunan, by al-Tirmidhi (died in AH 279), and

6) al-Sunan, by al-Nassa’y (died in AH 303).[7]

The compilers of these books depended on some recordings that had been derived directly from the words of the earlier narrators who quoted them on the authority of the Prophet’s companions.

It is worth mentioning that these most reliable reference books of hadith are sub-classified into a number of books and each of these books into sections.

The Islamic Religious Works are the writings of the Muslim scholars on the light of the Holy Quran and Sunnah in the fields of exegesis of the Holy Quran, Islamic doctrines, Islamic jurisprudence, ethics, and history. These works are not regarded as sacred since they might be exposed to erring and falsity for their authors’ having been ordinary people. These works are also not the most exalted in the sense that others can write a new work or adopt a new idea opposing or even canceling these found in such books regarding the insight of a definite Ayah or hadith after presenting sufficient proofs on the light of the fundamentals of this knowledge.

A Reality Mentioned about the Islamic Reference Books

All Muslims agree unanimously upon the words and utterances of the Holy Quran but they have different views about exegesis. Also, they all agree about the protestation[8] of the Sunnah regarding it as evidential as the Holy Quran that ‘No falsehood can approach it from before or behind it,’ but one, unified, and consensual form of the Sunnah is unfortunately not available, though Islamic reference books of hadith may contain some common narrations. Each of the Islamic sects has its own books of hadith and its own evaluation of the narrations therein. A researcher, however, has to pay attention to this point in study and discussion.

The Christian and Jewish Holy Texts and Religious Writings

The holy reference books of the Christians and Jews are the Holy Scripture and the Mishna (Hebrew: Repeated Study, the oldest authoritative postbiblical collection and codification of Jewish oral laws, systematically compiled by numerous scholars.) To the Hebrew Jews, the Holy Scripture is the Tanak (***): Hebrew Scriptures comprising the three canonical divisions of the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa or Writings. The letter ‘t’ stands for the Torah (***)—the will of God as revealed to Moses, comprising five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The letter ‘n’ stands for the Prophets (nabi’im ***) that comprises the Books of Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the twelve minor prophets; Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. The letter ‘k’ stands for the Books (the Ketuvim***) comprising the Psalms and Lamentations of Jeremiah, Song of Solomon, Proverbs, Book of Job, and Ecclesiastes, I and II Chronicles, Book of Ezra, and Book of Nehemiah, Book of Daniel, Book of Ruth, and Book of Esther. The arrangement of these books in the Hebrew version produced after the Islamic era is different from the Greek version known as Septuagint (from the Latin septuaginta, "Seventy"). To the Samaritan Jews[9], the Holy Scripture is the five-book Torah, according to their own narration, in addition to the Book of Joshua only.

It is worth mentioning in this regard that the Tanak has had many important historical translations called the Targum ‘translation’. The most famous Aramaic translations of the Old Testament are the Targum of Onkelos, the Targum of Pseudo-Jonathan, and the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel. The most famous Greek translations are the Targum of the Septuagint, derived from the legend that there were seventy-two translators who translated the work into Greek in the third century B.C, and the Arabic Targum of Sa’adia ben Joseph. The Samaritan Jews have only one Targum in Aramaic and another in Arabic.

The Holy Book of the Christians is a collection of the Hebrew Tanak called ‘the Old Testament’ in addition to the ‘New Testament’ comprising the Four Gospels, the (Twenty-one) Epistles of St. Paul, and the Telling of Jonah. Christians have added to the Old Testament other Books called ‘Apocrypha’, esoteric writings excluded by the Jews from the Old Testament and not regarded as sacred canons, such as the Book of Ezra II in the Septuagint and Ezra III in St. Jerome’s’ famous Latin translation called the Vulgate, the First and Second Books of Maccabees, the Additions of Daniel, the Extensive Portions of the Book of Esther, Book of Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, Tobit, Judith, the Wisdom of Solomon, and Ecclesiastics (Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach).

For Christians, the most important versions of the Bible are the ancient Syriac Peshitta, (Syriac: simple) in addition to the Ethiopic, Coptic, Armenian, and Arabic versions.

Mishna is terminologically the same as the Muslims’ Sunnah, and the Jew scholars (called amoraim) of the Mishna are the same as the Muslim narrators of hadith. Jews believe that the Mishna, like the Torah, had been revealed to Moses who, later on, conveyed it to the scholars (the judges or the chieftains according to the Quranic expression) who, in turn, conveyed it to the prophets who also conveyed it to the men of Grand Knesset (assembly) of the Jew scholars, which was founded after the Babylonian Exile at the end of the fifth century B.C. The last three members of the Knesset were Gamaliel, Shimon, and Johanan ben Zakkai each of whom was called Rabbi.

The following is quoted from the Book of Avot (Fathers), the Mishna, 1:1:

(***)

The previous text implies that Moses delivered the Torah in Sinai, and it was then delivered to Joshua and then to the Patriarch Fathers and then to the Prophets and then to the clerks (Sefarim—the rabbis of the Grand Knesset).

As a footnote, scholars of Talmud have commented, “Torah, in the previous text, refers to the Holy Scripture and its oral explanations. Patriarch Fathers include the judges who came after Joshua who succeeded Moses.”

They have also said, “The Grand Knesset, founded by Ezra, is a body containing one hundred twenty scholars.

The Jews call the scholars of the Mishna in the period from 200-10 BC as Tanaim whose age began, after the death of the last member of the Grand Knesset, with the school of House of Hillel[10] and House of Shammai and ended at Judah ha-Nasi (220-135 BC).

The Mishna, which later on became the center of the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmud, is the compilations of Judah ha-Nasi who divided it into six sections, or orders, that the Jews called shishah sedarim (***) and contain sixty-three tractates (messekhtaot) in all, each of which further divided into five hundred twenty four chapters (perakim).

The six orders of the Mishna are:

1)    Seder Zaraim (***) Order of Agriculture,

2)    Seder Mu’id (***) Order of Festivals

3)    Seder Nashim (***) Order of Women

4)    Seder Nazqin (***) Order of Damages

5)    Seder Kaddashim (***) Order of Sacredness

6)    Seder Tahurat (***) Order of Purity

It is worth mentioning that the Hebrew is the language of the Mishna, while the Gemara was written in Aramaic.

Jewish Writings in Arabic

The Arabic version of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew alphabet in the third century of Hegira by Sa’adia ben Joseph who attained scholarly prominence and headed the Jewish scholars of his age. This version, being unknown to the Arabic speakers, was first published in Arabic with a group of historical versions in a multi-language copy in 1648 AD and then published in Hebrew alphabet in 1872 in Leiden with a collection of Sa’adia’s jurisdictional theses also written in Arabic but Hebrew alphabet. In Egypt, Yemen, and Iraq, many Jewish scholars imitated Sa’adia’s method, such as Musa ben Maymoun, Ibn al-Fasi, and many others most of whose books were published in Leiden in the Netherlands as well as other countries.

In addition to the Tanak and the Mishna, the Gemara comprises the scholars’ explanations of the Mishna and comments of each others in many fields, especially laws and ordinances (Halakhah) or doctrines, stories, and history (ha-Agadah).

In early manuscripts and printings, the commentary on the Mishna and the Gemara was called Talmud. However, scholars in Babylonia and in Palestine independently produced a Talmud and, hence, there are two Talmuds: (1) The Babylonian Talmud, which is the fruit of the academies of Babylonia at Sura, Nehardea, and Pumbedita, in the period between the second and the fifth centuries AD, and (2) The Palestinian Talmud, which is the fruit of the academies of Palestine in the period between the second and the fourth centuries AD. Jewish scholars have agreed that the Babylonian Talmud is more extensive than the Palestinian and, thus, it is more famous and more circulating.

Besides the Talmud, there are the books of the Midrash, a composite of commentaries on the Pentateuch. Twenty-four Midrashic collections were divided into three groups according to their historic stage: (1) the Early Midrashic Books that were collected in the period between 400-600 BC, (2) the Middle Midrashic Books that were collected in the period between 640-1000 BC, and (3) the Late Midrashic Books that were collected in the period between 100-1200 BC.

A Reality about the Christian and Jewish Reference Books

Christians and Jews agree unanimously on the first five Books of the Old Testament but differ as to the contents. The Samaritan Jews have their own narrations and version and the Hebrew Jews have two versions, one before the Divine Mission of Prophet Muhammad and the other, which is currently depended, after that. A researcher, however, has to pay attention to this point in study and discussion.

In the future, more details will be presented for sake of comparison and manifesting the peculiarities and genuineness of the Islamic school.


Course of the Old and New Testament texts regarding the Prophethood of Muhammad and Imamate of the Ahl al-Bayt

The Holy Quran; the Founder of the Course

The following Quranic texts (Ayahs) prove undoubtedly the Holy Quran being the founder of this course:

“Those who follow the Messenger-Prophet; the Ummi whom they find written down with them in the Torah and the Gospel enjoining them good and forbids them evil and makes lawful to them the good things and makes unlawful to them the impure things and removes from them their burden and the shackles which were upon them.”[11]

“And most surely this is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds. The Faithful Spirit has descended with it, upon your heart that you may be of the warners in plain Arabic language. And most surely the same is in the scriptures of the ancients.  Is it not a sign to them that the learned men of the Children of Israel know it?”[12]

“Those whom We have given the Book recognize him as they recognize their sons, and a party of them most surely conceal the truth while they know (it).”[13]

 And they say: Our hearts are covered. Nay, Allah has cursed them on account of their unbelief; so little it is that they believe. And when there came to them a Book from Allah verifying that which they have, and aforetime they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieve, but when there came to them (Prophet) that which they did not recognize, they disbelieved in him; so Allah's curse is on the unbelievers.[14]

To sum it up, the previous Quranic texts confirms that the Torah and the Gospel comprise predictions about the advent of the Ummi Prophet and that the Israelite scholars realize this fact as same as they realize their own sons and that they used to intercede the name of Muhammad when they prayed for victory during their battles against people of Yathrib (lately, Medina) before Prophet Muhammad’s Mission. It seems that the Jews propagated the predictions of the advent of the Holy Prophet when he was in Mecca, in the first stages of his promulgation for Islam, and when his followers and he used to direct towards Jerusalem in prayers. But, their attitude changed reversely when the Holy Prophet immigrated to Medina and God instructed him to turn his face to the Kaaba, instead of Jerusalem, in prayers.

The Prophet Confirms this Course

Books of Sirah (the Life of Prophet Muhammad), have recorded numerous reports bearing out that the Holy Prophet used to remind the Jews of the gospels (good news) preached by their Holy Books about him. Let us now refer to some of these reports:

Ibn Ishaq narrated the following:

Mahmud ben Sayhan, Nu’man ben Adhaa, Bahri ben Amr, Uzayr ben Abu-Uzayr, and Salaam ben Mushkim (among the Jewish scholars) came to the Holy Prophet and asked, “Muhammad! Is it true that you are conveying the truth from God, because we do not see it as consistent as the Torah?” Answering them, the Holy Prophet said, “I swear by God that you know it is indeed from God because you can certainly find it in the Torah.”

The following report is narrated by Eban ibn Uthman al-Ahmar[15] on the authority of Eban ibn Taghlib, Ikrimah, and (Abdullah) ibn Abbas respectively:

During his campaign against the Banu-Qurayzhah, the Holy Prophet summoned Ka’b ben Asad[16] to execute him. When Ka’b was brought before him, the Holy Prophet said, “You, Ka’b, should have listened to the advice of Ben Hawwash, the Rabbi, who came from Syria and declared that he had left the pleasures of Syria and came to this poor land for nothing other than expecting the advent of the new Prophet who, very soon, would come from Mecca and reside in this land. He would be smiling and killing (rightfully). A few pieces of bread and a few dates would satisfy him. He would ride on a saddleless donkey. Between his two eyes there would be redness and between his shoulders there would be the brand of prophethood. He would carry his sword on his shoulder and challenge anyone to oppose him. His dominance would be as extensive as one can reach.”

Ka’b commented, “This is true, but if I believe in you, the Jews will dishonor me thinking that I did so because I was afraid of killing. Therefore, I have lived as Jew and will die as Jew.”[17]

The Ahl al-Bayt Confirm this Course

Let us refer to some of the Ahl al-Bayt’s numerous narrations in this regard:

Shaykh al-Mufid reported that the Holy Prophet, just before the campaign against people of Khyber, said to Imam Ali, “Be it known to you, Ali, that their Books have preached that the one who will destroy them carries the name ‘Eli’; therefore, as soon as you meet them, declare that you are ‘Ali’ so that they will be defeated, God willing.”

Shaykh al-Mufid also reported that when Imam Ali, in the same incident, declared his personality, one of the Rabbis shouted, “You shall be defeated! I swear it by that which was revealed to Moses.”[18]

Nasr ibn Muzahim, in his famous book entitled waq’at Siffin, and Ibn Dizil, in his book carrying the same title, have recorded the following:

Habbah reported that when Imam Ali resided in an area called al-Bulaykh on the bank of the River Euphrates, a monk there left his hermitage, directed towards the Imam, and said, “may I show you a book preached by the disciples of Jesus (son of Virgin Mary) and we have inherited from our fathers and forefathers?”

“Yes, you may,” the Imam answered.

The monk, reciting the book, stated, “In the Name of God, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful: the One Who has ordained what He wishes to ordain and command has decided to raise among the inhabitants of Mecca a Messenger from among themselves to teach them the Book and the Wisdom and lead them to the path of God—a Messenger who shall be neither rough, nor hard-hearted, nor roaring in marts, nor recompensing evil for evil; rather he shall forgive and pardon. His nation shall be filled with gratitude as they shall thank God for every situation and in all conditions. They shall exhaust their tongues with statements of exaltation, praise, and glorification of the Lord. God shall give him –the predicted Prophet- victory over all his foes. When God grasps his soul, his people will be engaged in discrepancies, then consolidate for a considerable period, and then engaged in discrepancies again. A man from his nation, who will enjoin good, forbid evil, judge with justice, and will not respond to any influencing factor with respect to issuing verdicts; the world, in his view, will be as worthless as ash on a stormy day, and death, in his view, will be as easy as a drink of water for the thirsty; he will fear God in secret, offer good advice for His sake in public, and will not fear the blame of any blamer—this man will pass by the bank of the River Euphrates.”

The Imam commented, “All praise be to God Who has not ignored me. All praise be to God Who has referred to me in the Books of the pious ones.”

The monk then did not leave the Imam for even a single moment until he was martyred in the Battle of Siffin. After the battle was over, Imam Ali ordered his soldiers who wanted to bury the martyrs to find the dead body of the monk. When they did, the Imam offered the Prayer of the Deceased to the body and buried it saying, “This is one of us—the Ahl al-Bayt.” The Imam also prayed frequently to God to forgive him.[19]

Al-Kulayni has related on the authority of Abu-Ubaydah al-Haddhaa that Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, interpreting God’s saying, ‘…whom they find written down with them in the Torah and the Gospel,’ had said, “This is an indication to the Holy Prophet, his Successor (i.e. Imam Ali), and al-Mahdi (the Twelfth Imam concealed from view by God).[20]

Shaykh al-Saduq has reported the following on the authority of al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Nawfali:

By the arrival of (Imam) Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha, al-Ma’mun (the Abbasid caliph) ordered al-Fadhl ibn Sahl to summon the heads of the different religions and sects, such as the Catholicos –Patriarch of the Nestorian Church-, head of the Rabbis, head of Sabianism, Roman translator of the Scripture, and other scholars so as to listen to their discussions… Al-Ma’mun, referring to Imam al-Ridha, said to the Catholicos, ‘This is my cousin; Ali ibn Musa ibn Ja’far, one of the descendants of Fatima, daughter of our Prophet, and Ali ibn Abi-Talib. I want you to commune with him (upon your and his religion) fairly.’ ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin,’ said the Catholicos, ‘How can I commune with a person whose evidence are a book in which I do not have faith and a Prophet in whom I do not believe?’ ‘O Christian,’ intruded the Imam, ‘What if I present the Gospel in which you believe as my evidence? Will you accept?’ ‘Of course I will,’ replied the Catholicos, ‘How can I reject something mentioned in the Gospel? If you do, I will have to accept it. I swear this by God.’ ‘Ask anything you want and you will listen to its reply,’ suggested the Imam. ‘What is your attitude about Jesus' prophethood and Book? Do you reject even a part of them?’ asked the Catholicos. ‘I do believe in Jesus' prophethood, Book, and gospels he preached to his nations and the Disciples accepted, but I completely reject the claims that Jesus had not believed in the prophethood of Muhammad, nor his Book, nor had preached gospels about Muhammad's advent.’ ‘Well,’ said the Catholicos, ‘Judgments are usually issued due to the testimony of two decent witnesses, are they not?’ ‘Yes, they are,’ said the Imam. ‘You should then submit two decent witnesses, not embracing your religion, testifying the prophethood of Muhammad, and we should do the same thing,’ suggested the Catholicos. The Imam answered, ‘What if I submit a person who will recite statements from the Gospel referring to Muhammad and his (Immaculate) Household? Will you believe him?’…

‘O Christian,’ said the Imam, ‘Do you confess that the following has been mentioned in the Gospel: Jesus said: I am going to your and my Lord, and the Paraclete came; he will advocate my truth… he will explain to you everything… he will smash the pillar of atheism.’ ‘We believe in every single statement you have mentioned as being from the Gospel,’ said the Catholicos.

The Imam said, ‘O Catholicos, discrepancy is found only in the version of the Gospel currently in use. Had you all depended upon the original version, you would not have been engaged in such many a discrepancy. For your information, when the original Gospel was lost, Christians gathered around their scholars asking for a copy of the Book they had lost after the so-called killing of Jesus. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John answered that they had the Book by heart and they would reveal commonly one by one each Sunday… Those four (Evangelists) were only disciples of earlier disciples of the Disciples.’

The Imam then turned his face towards the head of the Rabbis, opening a discussion. ‘I will ask you but accept evidences quoted from the Torah or the Psalms of David only,’ said the Rabbi, ‘How can you prove the prophethood of Muhammad?’ ‘I can prove it through the declarations of Moses (son of Imran), Jesus (son of Virgin Mary), and David,’ asked the Imam. ‘How can you prove the declaration of Moses?’ asked the Rabbi. ‘Moses addressed to the children of Israel saying: A prophet belonging to your brethren shall come to you, and you should believe in and listen to him,’ said the Imam, ‘As you have knowledge in the relationship between Israel (Prophet Jacob) and Ishmael (son of Prophet Abraham), can you name any brothers of the children of Israel other than sons (and descendants) of Ishmael (the ancestor of Prophet Muhammad and the Arab peoples)?’ ‘We do not reject the previous statement of Moses,’ submitted the Rabbi. ‘Has any prophet belonging to the brethren of the children of Israel come to you except Muhammad?’ asked the Imam. ‘No,’ answered the Rabbi. ‘Do you not authenticate the previous reference to Moses’ words?’ asked the Imam. ‘We do authenticate,’ said the Rabbi, ‘but we want you to refer to it as it is mentioned in the Torah.’ ‘Do you deny the following words as being mentioned in the Torah: The Light has come from Mt. Sinai and we have seen its light from Mount Seir and it has appeared to us from Mount Paran?’[21] ‘No,’ answered the Rabbi, ‘I know these words, but I do not know what they mean.’ ‘I will explain to you,’ said the Imam, ‘the Light that comes from Mount Sinai stands for the Lord’s revelation to Prophet Moses, Mount Seir is the place where Almighty God revealed (His Mission) to Jesus, and Mount Paran is one of the mountains of Mecca that lies at a distance of one day walking away from Mecca.’

‘You, as well as your followers, claim that Prophet Isaiah has said: I see (coming) two riders; one on a donkey and the other on a camel,’ said the Imam, ‘Do you know who the rider of the donkey and the rider of the camel are?’ ‘No, I do not,’ replied the Rabbi, ‘Can you say who they are?’ ‘Yes, I can,’ answered the Imam, ‘the rider of the donkey is Jesus and the rider of the camel is Muhammad. Will you deny the previous statement of the Torah?’ ‘No, I cannot,’ answered the Rabbi.

The Imam then asked, ‘Do you know Prophet Habakkuk?’ ‘Yes, I do,’ replied the Rabbi. ‘Your Book has confirmed that Prophet Habakkuk said: Almighty God has brought the elucidation from Mount Paran, and the heavens have been filled up with the Praise of Ahmad and his nation—he will lead his horses in the sea in the same way as he leads them on land. He will come with a new book after the demolition of Jerusalem,’ said the Imam, ‘this new book is the Holy Quran. Do you know the previous statement and believe in it?’ ‘I know Prophet Habakkuk and I do not deny his statement,’ replied the Rabbi.

‘In the Psalms,’ Imam al-Ridha said, ‘(Prophet) David prays saying: O God, (I implore to You to) send the maintainer of the divine customs and traditions after (a period of) languor. Can you, Rabbi, name a prophet who maintained the divine customs after a period of languor other than Muhammad?’[22]

Shiite Scholars Imitate the Holy Prophet and Imams

Scholars of the Ahl al-Bayt’s School have imitated the Holy Prophet and Imams through their books on theology. Let us refer to four of those scholars:

Ali ibn Ibrahim

Ali ibn Ibrahim (died in the beginning of the fourth century of Hegira[23]) has mentioned the following in his famous book of Tafsir:

The (Book of) Psalms comprises statements about God’s unity, glorification, prayers, and predictions about the Holy Messenger of God, Amir al-Mu’minin (i.e. Imam Ali), and the Imams. It also includes predictions about the Doctrine of Rajah –restoration to life- and references to Imam al-Mahdi.[24]

Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Nu’mani

Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Nu’mani (died in the middle of the fourth century of Hegira) records the following in his famous book entitled al-Ghaybah:

After presenting the declarations of the Holy Book of God, the Shiite Muslims’ narrations of the Holy Prophet and Imams, the Sunni Muslims’ narrations on the authority of their own trustworthy narrators, and the statements of the aforetime revealed Holy Books about the confirmations of the advent of the Twelve Imams—after all these, no more arguments or evidences should be presented to the deniers…[25]

Shaykh al-Mufid

The following is quoted from al-Masa’il al- Sarouriyah of Sheikh al-Mufid (died in 413 AH):

 Almighty God preached the advent of the Holy Prophet and Imams in the ancient Holy Books that He revealed to His Prophets and are currently found in the Books with the Christians and Jews. One of these gospels is Almighty God’s following statement addressed to Prophet Abraham (the Intimate Friend of God): “And for Ishmael I have heard thee: behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful, and will very greatly multiply him; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”[26] In addition, many similar texts are found in the ancient Holy Books.[27]

Al-Tabersi

In his book entitled I’lam al-Wara bi-A’lam al-Wara, al-Tabersi (died in 542 AH) records the following:

About the Holy Prophet’s being from the descendants of (Prophet) Ishmael and about his characteristics, the following is quoted from the Torah:

(***)[28]

Its meaning is: About Ishmael, I have accepted your prayers about him and blessed him and grown him and enlarged his number through one of his descendants named Muhammad, numerically equal to ninety-two, from whose lineage I will raise twelve kings (Imams) and give a people of great number.

Muslim Scholars Followed the Same Course

The following is quoted from Ibn Ishaq (died in 158 AH); the earliest biographer of the Holy Prophet:

“Regarding the prophetic features of the Holy Prophet preached by Jesus (son of Virgin Mary), as he received from the Lord, in the Gospel and, lately, confirmed by John –the Disciple (the Evangelist) - who presented a copy of the Gospel after Prophet Jesus, the following is narrated to have been a part of the Gospel: “He who hates me has hated the Lord. Had I not made before them some actions that none before me had done, they would not have had any sin. But, from now on, they have become reckless thinking that they are comforting me and the Lord. However, the Word that is in the Code shall inevitably be perfected. They have hated me for nothing. Our Menahem[29] will have come—the one whom God shall send to you from the Lord and the Holy Spirit, the one who shall come out from the Lord being the witness on me and you and the Holy Spirit as well, because in the past you were with me. I have said so in order that you will not suspect.”[30]

Commenting on the previous statement, Ibn Ishaq[31] adds, “Menahem, meaning in Syriac ‘Muhammad’, is the same as the Roman ‘Paraclete’ that is the name of the Holy Prophet.”[32]

Like Ibn Ishaq, many Muslim scholars, such as Ibn Kuthayr in al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah, al-Qurtubi, Ibn Hazm, Ibn Taymiyah and many others have referred to many gospels from the ancient holy books regarding the advent of the Holy Prophet—Muhammad.

Converts to Islam Followed the Same Course

Ali ibn Rubban

Ali ibn Rubban al-Tabari is regarded as the earliest scholar who converted to Islam, from Christianity. He worked as physician for the Abbasid caliph, al-Mutawakkil (died in 861 AD). In the middle of the third century of Hegira, he wrote his book, al-Din wa’l-Dawlah (Religion and the State), in which he cited texts from twelve Books of the Bible—all concerning the advent of the Holy Prophet:[33]

The first is quoted from Genesis, 17:20 -the author, however, has skillfully proved the evidence included by the text-, the second from Deuteronomy, 18:15-22 and 33:2, the third from Book of Psalms, 45:3-6, 48:2, 50:2, 72:10-7, 110:1-7, and 152:?, the fourth from Book of Isaiah, 2:11-9, 3 (5):26-30, 5 (9):1-6, 10 (21):1-16,11:…, 16:…, 19:…, 20:…, 22 (46):…, 23 (49):…, 26 (54):…, 28 (60):…, and 24 (63):…, the fifth from Book of Micah, Ch. 4, the sixth from Book of Zephaniah, Ch. 3, the seventh from Book of Habakkuk, Ch. 3, the eighth from Book of Zechariah, the ninth from Book of Nehemiah, in miscellaneous chapters, the tenth from Book of Ezekiel, in miscellaneous chapters, the eleventh from Book of Daniel, in miscellaneous chapters, and the twelfth from Book of John, chapters 15-6.

In spite of his comprehensive discussions in these chapters, the author has neglected important chapters from Book of Isaiah related to the Holy Prophet, Imam al-Husayn, and Imam al-Mahdi. In my conception, this negligence has not been unintentional; because the book was under the supervision of al-Mutawakkil[34] who would certainly prevent the author from making any reference to any of the Imams in general and Imam al-Husayn in particular. It was al-Mutawakkil who demolished the tomb of Imam al-Husayn[35] and massacred his descendants and adherents. If the author is excused in this regard, it seems he is not in many other texts of the Holy Scripture preaching the advent of the Holy Prophet except that he might have depended upon a brief copy of the Book of Isaiah or that the discrepancy in the words and the forms of summation might be justifiable reasons.

Al-Samaw’al al-Maghribi

Having converted from Judaism, al-Samaw’al Abu-Nasr ibn Abi’l-Baqaa Yahya Abbas al-Maghribi -the Moroccan- (died in 570 AH) authored a book entitled ‘Ifham al-Yahud, (Confuting the Jews). His book is characterized by brevity and quotations of the texts in their original, Hebrew or Aramaic, languages before explaining in Arabic. Let us quote a model of his study entitled ‘Paragraphs and Signs in the Torah Denoting Muhammad al-Mustafa’s Prophethood:’

[Jews cannot deny the paragraph of the Torah meaning that I, the Lord, shall raise up a prophet like you from the midst of your brethren, and in whom you should believe.[36] It carries a clear-cut indication to Prophet Muhammad and their binding belief in him.

Jews, however, may claim that the statement, ‘from the midst of your brethren,’ usually indicates the Israelites. To refute this claim, we say that the Holy Scripture has comprised an indication to ‘your brethren children of Esau,’[37] In the same way as ‘children of Esau’ are the brethren of the Israelites, because Esau and Israel are sons of Isaac, the children of Ishmael are their brethren since all of them are sons of Abraham.

Also, they may claim that the text is a reference to Prophet Samuel who was like Moses –and the gospel has referred to the statement, ‘like you’- both of whom were the descendants of Levi, son of Jacob and father of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. To refute this claim, we put the following question: What for does your Prophet command you to believe in Prophet Samuel while you are claiming that he did not make any change or abrogation? Did Moses fear that you would not believe in Samuel? The main mission of Prophet Samuel was to support you against the Philistines and to take you back to the law of the Torah. A Prophet with such a mission does not need to be preached because you would naturally hurry to believe in him. A Prophet whom is expected not to be believed by you is one who would abrogate your religion and change comprehensively your traditions and laws. To preach the advent of such a prophet is naturally acceptable and inevitable. On this account, Prophet Moses did not predict the coming of Jeremiah, Isaiah, and the other Prophets. This fact proves that the Torah, in this very section, has ordered you to believe in and comply with the Holy Prophet, Muhammad.

About the reference to Prophethood of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, the Torah says that the Light has come from Mt. Sinai and we have seen its light from Mount Seir and it has appeared to us from Mount Paran.[38]

Jews have realized that Mount Seir is the same as Mount Sherat on which the children of Esau, who believed in Jesus, lived. Furthermore, it is the dwelling of Jesus. They have also realized that Mount Sinai is the same as Mount Tabor (Hebrew: Har Tavor). They, however, have not realized that Mount Paran is the same as a mount in Mecca. It is now very clear that the reasonable should investigate why these three places, which have been the centers of the prophethood of those three Prophets, have been mentioned therein.

The obvious proof, inferred from the Torah, on Mount Paran’s being the mountain of Mecca is that the Holy Book itself has mentioned that Prophet Ishmael, having left his father (Prophet Abraham), resided in the wilderness of Paran.[39] Because the center of the third prophethood, according to the gospel of the Holy Book, would be Mount Paran, which is the dwelling of Prophet Ishmael, according to the Holy Book too, then the expected Prophet should belong to the descendants of Ishmael. Furthermore, everyone has understood that the one preached to be the Prophet belonging to the descendants of Ishmael is Muhammad who, according to gospels, would grow up in Mecca, which is the dwelling of Prophet Ishmael. Hence, Mount Paran should, consequently, be the mountain of Mecca—the place preached by the Holy Book to be the center of the third prophesy; prophesy of Muhammad.][40]

Saeed ibn Abi’l-Khayr

Converting from Christianity, Saeed ibn Abi’l-Khayr –or Yahya ibn Saeed- (died in 589 AH) was from Basra. He worked as physician and lived in the same period of al-Samaw’al. He compiled his famous work entitled ‘al-Naseehah al-Eamaniyyah fi Fadh al-Millah al-Nasraniyah.’[41]

Abd al-Salaam

Converting from Judaism in the tenth century of Hegira during the reign of Sultan Ba-Yazid II, Abd al-Salaam compiled his famous book entitled ‘al-Risalah al-Hadiyah.’

Muhammad Ridha Yazdi

The Iranian scholar, Muhammad Ridha Yazdi who converted from Judaism in the beginnings of the thirteenth century of Hegira during the reign of Fat’h Ali Shah, the Qajar king, wrote a book entitled ‘Manqul al-Ridhaee,’ which is regarded as the most comprehensive and considerable in the field of discussing the Jews and proving Muhammad and the Ahl al-Bayt as the Prophet and the Imams. During the reign of Nasiruddin Shah, Sayyid Ali ibn al-Husayn al-Husayni al-Tehrani translated the book into Persian giving it the title ‘Iqamat al-Shuhoud fi Radd al-Yahud,’ and keeping the Hebrew texts in their original language and script.

Muhammad Sadiq Fakhr al-Islam

The Iranian scholar Muhammad Sadiq Fakhr al-Islam who converted from Christianity in the fourteenth century of Hegira wrote a book titled ‘Anees al-A’lam fi Nusrat al-Islam,’ in five volumes the last of has been devoted to the gospels of the Holy Scripture about Prophet Muhammad and the confutation of all spurious arguments in this regard. Though the book was written in Persian, the texts of the gospels were written in their Syriac origin but in Arabic alphabet. Like the previous, the scholar has referred to some texts about the Imamate of the Ahl al-Bayt.

Abd al-Ahad Dawud

The Iranian scholar Abd Al-Ahad Dawud converted form Christianity in earlier the twentieth century and wrote his famous book, Nubuwwat(u) Muhammad fi al-Kitab al-Muqaddas’ (Muhammad’s Prophethood in the Holy Scripture) in English. Later on, the book was translated into Arabic.

Ibrahim Khalil Ahmad

The Coptic, Egyptian priest Khalil Philips, having converted to Islam, changed his name into Ibrahim Khalil Ahmad and wrote his book ‘Muhammad fi al-Taurat wa’l-Injeel’ (Muhammad in the Torah and the Gospel). This book has been reprinted five times so far.[42]

In addition, many ancient and modern scholars have followed this course.

Modern Authors Have Followed this Course

Many modern authors have compiled independent books in this regard, such as Dr. Hijazi al-Saqqa in his thesis for Doctorate entitled ‘The Expected Messiah,’ Shaykh Qays al-Kalbi in his book entitled ‘Al-Nabi Muhammad, Khatam al-Rusul, fi al-Taurat wa’l-Injeel’ (Prophet Muhammad, Seal of the Apostles, in the Torah and the Gospel, Dr. al-Sadiqi in his book entitled ‘Nabiy al-Islam’ (Prophet of Islam), and Thamir Mustafa in his ‘Basha’ir al-Asfar bi Muhammad wa Aalih (i) al-At’har’ (Gospels of the Books about Muhammad and his Immaculate Household).

The last two authors are Shiites and, thus, they have referred to some texts regarding the Twelve Holy Imams. The last one, however, is characterized by developing the study of the Book of John and referring to gospels about Fatima al-Zahra, the Twelve Holy Imams in general, and Imam al-Husayn and Imam al-Mahdi in particular.

Have These Writings Contained All the Purposes?

The answer of this question is definitely no, for many reasons some of which to be mentioned hereinafter:

First, the cultural reactions to these writings are continuous and, as a result, such writings should be repeatedly renewed so as to stand against all arguments.

Second, such studies are generally lacking the characteristic of comparativeness and comprehensive observation to the texts in their original languages as well as the historic languages into which such texts have been translated. For the Old Testament, these languages are the Hebrew, the Aramaic, the Greek, the Syriac, the Ethiopic, the Latin, and the Arabic respectively. The Arabic is the last language into which the Old Testament was translated, and the translation of Sa’adia ben Joseph, in the third century of Hegira, was the first in this regard. Nowadays, these historical translations, along with the English versions, have been easily available. The reason beyond the necessity of such comprehensive observation and not being satisfied with the currently available version of the Old Testament is that this version has depended upon the narration of the Jews of the Islamic reign about whom the Holy Quran says, ‘Some of those who are Jews change words from their context,’[43] and this version is different from the Hebrew version that was available before Islam and was translated into the aforementioned historical languages. On this account, it has been necessary to refer to these historical versions of the Old Testament so as to compare, at least, between the two Hebrew versions. This is not a mere presumable claim; rather it is the result of comparative studies of all the versions concluding the same result confirmed by the Holy Quran regarding the Jews of the Islamic era on bases of numbers, not mere belief. These studies have been discussed in details in The Gospels.

As an example, let us study carefully Genesis, 49:10:[44]

In the Masoretic version of the Old Testament –the narration of the Jews of the Islamic era-, the paragraph takes a form different from that mentioned in the Hebrew version before Islam—the version translated by the Jews into Greek in the third century B.C and translated into Latin by Jerome, a Christian Scholar, in the fourth century B.C.

According to the Masoretic version of the Old Testament, the paragraph is as follows:

The scepter will not depart… until Shiloh come, and to him will be the obedience of peoples.

(***)

 According to the Hebrew version before Islam, the paragraph is as follows:

The scepter will not depart… until Shiloh (the Apostle) come, and him will be the expectation of the peoples.

(***)

In the previous texts, the change of word from their context, referred to by the Holy Quran, is obviously noticeable.

At any rate, not claiming that we will find such things in every text exposed to our study, we only intend to confirm the fact that many, yet various, additional information about a text will be discovered if we only adopt the course of investigating such texts in the historical versions of the Bible.

Third, there is an urgent need for an Islamic translation of the Hebrew texts after being reformed. A Muslim researcher is more competent, than anyone else, to choose the most appropriate synonym of a word that complies with the Quranic reference of an item of information concluded by a comparative investigation. Thus, the unity of the Divine Books and Revelations and the unity of the Prophets’ movements will be proved more evidently.

Fourth, there is an urgent need, too, for studying the texts of the Gospels in such a comprehensive, interrelated way producing compound evidences that are saved from the arguments arisen against some of the incompletely studied texts.

Fifth, many texts of the Gospels regarding the Holy Prophet and his Household in general and Imam al-Husayn and Imam al-Mahdi in particular have not yet been discussed thoroughly even by Shiite scholars. The Holy Imams have, on many occasions, called the attentions to such too many texts. Furthermore, the earlier disciples of the Imams and many converts who, accordingly, embraced Shiism have paid much attention to such texts. Even the Sunni scholars could not keep silent against so. Listen to the following paragraph quoted from Ibn Kuthayr, in al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah in this regard:

“In the Bible of the Christians and Jews, it is recorded that Almighty God had foretold Prophet Abraham of the birth of Prophet Ishmael that He would bless, make fruitful, and very greatly multiply him that he would produce twelve great persons… etc. In this regard, our master Abu’l-Abbas ibn Taymiyah says: Those twelve persons preached in the Bible are the same as those about whom the Holy Prophet foretold in the narration of Jabir ibn Samarah.[45] The Holy Prophet said that those persons would come in various times in this nation before the Day of Resurrection. Nevertheless, many of those who converted to Islam have fallen in the falsity that those preached persons are the same as those twelve Imams followed by the Rafidites[46] (i.e. Shia)!”[47]

Finally, the picture of the gospels about the Holy Prophet will undoubtedly be brighter if the gospels about the Ahl al-Bayt are added.


INDEXES

The Hebrew Alphabet


The Samaritan Alphabet

 


The Arabic Version of the Bible translated by Sa’adia ben Joseph with the Hebrew Alphabet and Origin

 

(***)

“(17:20) And for Ishmael I have heard thee: behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful, and will very greatly multiply him; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.

Genesis, 17:20

 

(***)

“(33:2) And he said, Jehovah came from Sinai, And rose up from Seir unto them; He shone forth from mount Paran, And he came from the myriads of the sanctuary; From his right hand [went forth] a law of fire for them.”

Deuteronomy, 33:2


The Book of the Laws of Inheritance Translated by Sa’adia ben Joseph into Arabic but in Hebrew Alphabet

Pp 25

The Book of the Laws of Inheritance Translated by Sa’adia ben Joseph into Arabic but in Hebrew Alphabet

Pp 26

Jami’ al-Alfaazh, By Dawud ben Ibrahim al-Fasi

Pp 27

Jami’ al-Alfaazh, By Dawud ben Ibrahim al-Fasi

Pp 28

Bustan al-Ukul, By Nathail ben al-Fayyumi
(Alive until 1069 AD)

(***)

Chapter VI

(***)

References to the Virtues of the Messiah (…) May God, out of His mercy, expedite so

(***)

Be it known to you, brother, may God lead you and us to gaining His contentment, that this chapter is of high quality, and its knowledge is one of the most excellent

(***)

Hence, we intend to refer to a part of the virtues of the Messiah as well as some of the characteristics given exclusively to him by God as signs of his preference to the earlier Prophets

(***)

Be it known to you that, in the beginning of the book, we have referred to the munificence of God, the Praised, and His favors to the First Intellect

(***)

By creating it so perfectly and soundly making it the best of species and elements. Thus, it has become intellect, rational, and reasonable.

(***)

Being intellect means that it has contained all the things that the Creator, Exalted is He, has given to him

(***)

Being rational means that he has understood his essence and considered his Maker high above the features that he has seen in his essence

(***)

Being reasonable means that he is understood by everything that is lower than him. It is the total soul that has come out and been originated from him.

Bustan al-Ukul, By Nathail ben al-Fayyumi
(Alive until 1069 AD)



[1] Ummi has two meanings; either a resident of Mecca (Umm al-Quran) or an illiterate person.

[2] The Holy Quran, Surah of al-A’raf 7:157,

[3] The Holy Quran, Surah of al-’Ankabut 29:48,

[4] Sunnah is the Holy Prophet’s words, deeds, and confirmations.

[5] The Ahl al-Bayt (People of the House), is a term dedicated to the family of the Holy Prophet (s). Moreover, it is dedicated to definite individuals; namely, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Fatima al-Zahra (Prophet Mohammed’s daughter and Ali ibn Abi Talib’s wife), al-Hasan ibn Ali, and al-Husayn ibn Ali. The nine Immaculate Imams (namely, Ali ibn al-Husayn al-Sajjad, Mohammed ibn Ali al-Baqir, Ja’far ibn Mohammed al-Sadiq, Musa ibn Ja’far al-Kadhim, Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha, Mohammed ibn Ali al-Jawad, Ali ibn Mohammed al-Hadi, al-Hasan ibn Ali al-Askari, and Al-Mahdi the Awaited) are also within the Ahl al-Bayt.

[6] The Shiite Muslims believe that the Holy Prophet dictated to Imam Ali the whole Sunnah and, thus, the Imam recorded it in a number of papers to become a divine heritage for the Twelve Imams whom were nominated by the Holy Prophet, according to a divine ordain. This is the meaning of God’s saying, –in the Holy Quran, Surah of Fatir 35:32- “Then We gave the Book for an inheritance to those whom We chose from among Our servants; but of them is he who makes his soul to suffer a loss, and of them is he who takes a middle course, and of them is he who is foremost in deeds of goodness by Allah's permission; this is the great excellence.” This heritage, furthermore, is the like of the divine heritage given to the family of Prophet Aaron and mentioned in God’s saying, –in the Holy Quran, Surah of al-Baqarah (The Cow) 2:248- “And the prophet said to them: Surely the sign of His kingdom is, that there shall come to you the chest in which there is tranquility from your Lord and residue of the relics of what the children of Moses and the children of Aaron have left, the angels bearing it; most surely there is a sign in this for those who believe.” The Holy Imams have referred to these books. In the time of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, four hundred individuals among the Imam’s companions, such as Muhammad ibn Muslim (died in AH 150), Eban ibn Taghlib (died in AH 148), Zurarah ibn A’yun (died in AH 150), and their likes authored four hundred books in Islamic jurisprudence. Later on, these books have been called ‘The Four Hundred Principles.’ In the third, fourth, and fifth centuries –of Hegira-, Shiite scholars compiled their own encyclopedias in hadith and Islamic law on the light of these four hundred principles. Among these writings, the encyclopedias of al-Kulayni, al-Saduq, and al-Tusi have been commonly accepted and devoted attention by Shiite Muslims and, as a result, they have been preserved throughout history. Anyhow, other scholars that came later also recorded similar encyclopedias, such as al-Faydh al-Kashani (died in AH 1090) who gathered the major four books in one book entitled ‘al-Wafi’, and al-Hurr al-Aamili (died in AH 1104) who recorded a book he entitled ‘Wasa’il al-Shia’ in which he compiled the narratives concerning Islamic law depending upon the four major books in addition to other references, Allama al-Majlisi (died in AH 1111) who compiled the narratives other than those of the Islamic laws in addition to selective narrations of the Islamic law in a book he entitled ‘Bihar al-Anwar’, and Sayyid al-Baroujerdi (died in AH 1380) who compiled a book he entitled ‘Jami’ Ahadeeth al-Shiah’ and devoted to the narrations of the Islamic law.

[7] Sunnis generally believe that the Prophet’s words, i.e. hadith, were not recorded during his lifetime because he himself prohibited so in order that they would not be confused with the Quranic texts. Thus, the recording of hadith had been officially prohibited until the reign of ‘Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, the Umayyad caliph, who raised the prohibition and ordered the governor of Medina to compile the hadith in records. Before he could accomplish this mission, ‘Umar was dead. The Abbasid caliphs had the honor to do this mission; therefore, al-Mansour ordered Malik ibn Anas (died in AH 180) to compile a book about Islamic law so that all people would refer to. Hence, Malik authored his famous book entitled al-Muwatta’ that became widely known in all of the Islamic provinces. Later on, other similar books that got people’s admiration, such as Ibn Abi Shaybah’s, Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s al-Musnad, were recorded. Following these, other books were written about hadith, such as al-Hakim’s al-Mustadrak, which was a commentary on al-Bukhari’s al-Sahih, al-Tabarani’s, al-Bayhaqi’s and the like.

[8] Yet, Sunnis and Shiites each have their own opinion in this regard.

[9] A minor, yet still existent, Jewish sect appeared due to the political and doctrinal division that occurred after the death of Prophet Solomon.

[10] Hillel held the position of Nasi (prince) in the period from 30 BC-10 AC.

[11] The Holy Quran, Surah of al-A’raf 7:157,

[12] The Holy Quran, Surah of al-Shu’araa (The Poets) 26:192-7

Commenting on this Ayah, al-Tabersi, in his famous book of Tafsir (Exegesis of the Holy Quran) entitled Majma’ al-Bayan Part 7 Page 353, records the following: “The Israelite scholars had already known about the advent of the Holy Prophet. The Israelite scholars who believed in him used to declare his having been preached by their Holy Scriptures. Moreover, the Jews were carrying the good tidings of the near advent of the Holy Prophet and were praying to God by interceding the Holy Prophet’s name during their battles against the Arabs. Because of such good news, the tribes of Aws and Khazraj converted to Islam as soon as they were invited to.”

(The Author) Mukhayreeq was one of the most virtuous Israelite scholars who believed in the Holy Prophet. During the Battle of Uhud, Mukhayreeq, referring to God’s saying, ‘And when Allah made a covenant through the prophets: Certainly what I have given you of Book and wisdom—then a messenger comes to you verifying that which is with you, you must believe in him, and you must aid him. He said: Do you affirm and accept My compact in this matter? They said: We do affirm. He said: Then bear witness, and I too am of the bearers of witness with you. (The Holy Quran, Surah of Aal-Imran 3:81)’ addressed to the Jews, “I swear by God that you do realize Muhammad as prophet and you do know that it is incumbent upon you to support him.” He then fought courageously until he was martyred. Before that, he had bequeathed his estate to the Holy Prophet. (See Ibn Husham, al-Sirah, 2:362).

[13] The Holy Quran, Surah of al-Baqarah 2:146

[14] The Holy Quran, Surah of al-Baqarah 2:88-9

Commenting on this Ayah, al-Tabersi, in Majma’ al-Bayan 1/299, narrates the following: Ibn Abbas is related to have said that the Jews, before the advent of the Holy Prophet, used to pray for victory through mentioning his name during their battles against the Arab tribes of Aws and Khazraj, but when God ordered him to declare his mission, they disbelieved and denied their previous sayings. Consequently, Me’aath ibn Jabal and Bishr ibn al-Barraa ibn Ma’rur said to them, “O Jews! Fear God and embrace Islam. Up to this time, you used to pray against us, the polytheists, by the name of the Holy Prophet. You also used to refer to him by characteristics foretelling about his close advent.” Replying them, Salaam ibn Mushkim said, “Yes, but he has not presented anything that we should know as a sign!”

Al-Ayyashi narrated on the authority of Abu-Bassir that Imam al-Sadiq said, “The Jews, having read in their books that Muhammad would migrate to a place between Eer and Uhud, used to threaten the Arab tribes of Aws and Khazraj that they would exile them from that place when Muhammad would be sent on the Mission of God. On the contrary, when the Holy Prophet was sent with the Divine Mission, the tribes of Aws and Khazraj, later on the Ansar, believed in him and the Jews denied. the Holy Quran has referred to this fact by saying, “And when there came to them a Book from Allah verifying that which they have, and aforetime they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieve…”

Commenting on this Ayah, al-Tabersi says: The meaning of ‘pray for victory’ is that they used to intercede by the name of the Holy Prophet in their prayers for victory against the Arab tribes. They sued to say in their prayers, “O Allah! (We pray to You to) give us victory and support us (pleading to you) by the Ummi Prophet. O Allah! Give us victory by the Prophet who will be sent to us.”

Ibn Ishaq, in al-Sirah 3/717, records the following: … Ka’b ibn Asad said to the Jews, “You should choose one of the following three options: either following and believing in this man (i.e. the Holy Prophet) for he is really the Prophet sent by God with the Divine Mission, and he is the very one about whom our Books foretold and predicted.”

[15] Eban ibn Uthman al-Ahmar was from Kufa, though he lived in Basra for considerable times. People of Basra, especially Abu Ubaydah Mu’ammir ibn al-Muthanna and Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Salaam (139-231 AH) depended upon him knowledge and referred most of their reports about poets, lineages, and history to him. He reported many narrations of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (died in 148 AH) and Imam Musa al-Kadhim (died in 183 AH). Although he wrote many books, the only famous one is that in which he compiled reports about the Holy Prophet’s life account… (See Sheikh al-Tusi, al-Fihrest 59.)

[16] Ka’b ben Asad was one of the heads of the Rabbis and the chief of Banu-Qurayzhah. (See Ibn Husham, al-Sirah 2/407).

[17] This narration is also recorded by Sheikh al-Mufid in Kamaal al-Din wa Tamaam al-Ni’mah p.198 as quoted from the following series of narrators respectively: Sheikh al-Saduq’s father, Ali ibn Ibrahim, Ibrahim ibn Hashim, Muhammad ibn Abu-Umayr and Muhammad ibn Abu-Nasr al-Byzanti, Eban… etc.

[18] See Sheikh al-Mufid, al-Irshad 1/126

[19] See Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah 3/206-8.

[20] See Sheikh al-Huwayzawi, Tafsir Nur al-Thaqalayn, 2/83.

[21] This is an indication to Deuteronomy, 33:2: “ (33:2) And he said, Jehovah came from Sinai, And rose up from Seir unto them; He shone forth from mount Paran, And he came from the myriads of the sanctuary; From his right hand [went forth] a law of fire for them.

[22] See Sheikh al-Saduq, ‘Uyoun(u) Akhbar al-Ridha, 2/139

[23] Until 307 AH, Ali ibn Ibrahim was alive. He is one of the most eminent teachers of Sheikh al-Kulayni who depended upon him mainly in most of the narrations of his book al-Kafi—the most reliable reference book of hadith for the Shia.

[24] See Ali ibn Ibrahim, Tafsir, 2/126.

[25] See al-Nu’mani, al-Ghaybah, 109.

[26] See Genesis, 17:20, Derby’s translation.

[27] See Sheikh al-Mufid, al-Masa’il al-Sarouriyah, 42

[28]  This form has been corrected according to the Hebrew origin, which is as follows: (***). (Genesis, 17:20)

[29] Menahem, meaning the comforter, is derived from the Hebrew verb (***). This name has been mentioned in Talmud as an indication to the Awaited Messiah.

[30] This quotation of Ibn Ishaq is an oral, not literal, narration of The Bible, Book of John, 14:15-21, 15:26-7, and 16:13. Let us refer to the literal forms of these texts as quoted from Derby’s Translation:

“(14:15) If ye love me, keep my commandments. (14:16) And I will beg the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever, (14:17) the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see him nor know him; but ye know him, for he abides with you, and shall be in you. (14:18) I will not leave you orphans, I am coming to you. (14:19) Yet a little and the world sees me no longer; but ye see me; because I live ye also shall live. (14:20) In that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (14:21) He that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me; but he that loves me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him.”

“(15:26) But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes forth from with the Father, *he* shall bear witness concerning me; (15:27) and ye too bear witness, because ye are with me from [the] beginning.”

“(16:13) But when *he* is come, the Spirit of truth, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but whatsoever he shall hear he shall speak; and he will announce to you what is coming.”

[31] As mentioned in Ibn Husham, al-Sirah al-Nubawiyah 1/152

[32] In the Latin version of the Holy Book, the word ‘paracletum’ stands for ‘Menahem’, which is ‘paracletos’ in the Greek version. Specialists have stated that the Greek word is identical to the word ‘Ahmad’ mentioned in the Holy Quran as Jesus’ preaching the advent of a Messenger.

[33] The first one to print this book on the manuscript of Manchester Library was Mangana, the Orientalist, who also translated it into English in 1922 and then printed it in al-Muqtataf press – Egypt in a volume containing 142 pages. Before it was revised by Adil Nuwayhidh, the book had been reprinted twice. Its fourth reprint was in 1402 AH.

[34] In the introduction of the book, the author refers to the supervision of al-Mutawakkil on his work.

[35] See al-Mas’udi, Murouj al-Dhahab 4/51-2

[36] This is an indication to Deuteronomy, 18:15: “(18:15) Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him shall ye hearken.”

Its Hebrew origin is as follows:

(***)

[37] This is an indication to Deuteronomy, 2:4: “(2:4) And command the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the border of your brethren the children of Esau, who dwell in Seir; and they will be afraid of you; and ye shall be very guarded.”

[38] This is an indication to Deuteronomy, 33:2: “ (33:2) And he said, Jehovah came from Sinai, And rose up from Seir unto them; He shone forth from mount Paran, And he came from the myriads of the sanctuary; From his right hand [went forth] a law of fire for them.

[39] This is an indication to Genesis, 21:21: “(21:21) And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran. And his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.”

[40] See al-Samaw’al al-Maghribi, Ifham al-Yahud, 111-20

[41] This book was first published in Egypt in 1312 AH and then reprinted and revised by Mahmud al-Sharqawi in 1406 AH.

[42] Khalil was born in Alexandria in January, 1, 1919. He joined the Theologian College in Egypt, a branch of a U.S university, and was graduated in 1948. Besides his custody of the Angelic Church in Asyut, Upper Egypt, he was instructor of theology there. As he was preparing for the PhD degree he had to look in many Islamic reference books since his thesis involved attacks against Islam and the Holy Quran. Because of the exceptional attraction of the Holy Quran, he converted to Islam and had to suffer many ordeals.

[43] The Holy Quran, Surah of al-Nisaa 4:46

[44] “(49:10) The scepter will not depart from Judah, Nor the lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh come, And to him will be the obedience of peoples.”

[45] Jabir ibn Samarah is the main narrator of the Prophet’s prediction about Twelve Leaders (Imams) to come after him. Yet, the same prediction has been reported in many forms all of which, nearly, define the Twelve Holy Imams as being the persons predicted by the Holy Prophet.

[46] Rafidites –rejecters- is a title said to Shiite Muslims who rejected the (illegal) leadership of Abu-Bakr and Umar… etc.

[47] See Ibn Kuthayr, al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah,6/280

 

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