The Quran and The Hebrew Bible
Pr. Conell Monette
May, 10th, Spring 2010
Since centuries until today, religions have been at the center of heated debates that often led people to engage into greatwars. History is the major witness that saw men shedding tremendous volumes of blood for the sake of the three Abrahamic monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Although the tree religions have the same roots and were created to serve the same god, their respective followers have always paid more attention to what differentiates them rather than to what relates them. In Surat theTable (al Maida), God, speaking to all those who worship him, promises they will get the same treatment when he says: “Believers, Jews, Sabaeans, or Christians _ whoever believes in God and the last day and does what is right _ shall have nothing to fear or to regret” (P-1437).
Nevertheless, since the crusades until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, violence seems to be the lot of those whowere described as the “people of the book” in several verses from the Quran. If we think about how our current time is described in the media, we may think that both Jews and Muslims carry huge hatred towards one another. Surprisingly, the followers of those two religions happen to belong to the same ethnicity, and their respective languages and traditions appear to be highly correlated. As far asthe books are concerned, we find in the bible numerous themes that were reintroduced in the Quran, sometimes with no or slight differences and some other times, they are entirely changed.
Since it is said that “Literature is power”, the aim of this paper is to bring together two groups of people who always disagree in the negotiations’ tables and to make them agree, at least for tenpages about what initially brings them closer and what makes them apart. Therefore, the themes that will be analyzed in the coming paragraphs are extracted from the Quran and the bible. First of all, we will be discussing the idea of the creation in the two sacred books by analyzing how the universe has been conceived as well as mankind without forgetting to give a little view about the description ofparadise. Then, we will move to the study of women perception in the holy texts and to confront it with the current view. Third, we will debate the story of the prophet Joseph in a view to get the different meanings of the story from each book. And finally, we will take a quick look on how Judaism is reflected in the Quran and correct the common misleading conclusions.
By reading theGenesis and the Quran, we notice that in both documents, there is reference to one unique creator which is responsible for the creation of heaven and of everything on earth. This creator is God. While in the Genesis, it is mentioned that God took six days in order to create the universe and rested on the seventh one, the Quran does not give clear insight about the time course followed during theprocess of the creation. In Surat Al A’araf, there is an allusion to the idea of six days: “Your Lord is God who created the heavens and the earth in six days.” However, Dr Maurice Bucaille, who contributed heavily in the analysis of the relationship between science and Islam states in his booklet called “Quran and the modern science” that the concept of the day in the Quran is different from thecommonly known one and may be referring to “‘long periods’ or ‘ages’ rather than periods of twenty-four hours” (Bucaille, 1976, P-8).
The second difference between the two books seems to take place when it comes to state what was created before, is it the earth or heaven? According to the genesis, “in the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was formless void and...