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Koran Relationship with other literature

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This text is part of the Qur'an Article

Part of a series on the Qur'an Quran cover


Sura · Ayah

Qur'an reading

Tajwid · Hizb · Tarteel · Qur'anic guardian · Manzil · Qari' · Juz' · Rasm · Ruku' · Sujud ·



Origin and development

Meccan revelations · Medinan revelations


Persons related to verses · Justice · Asbab al-nuzul · Naskh · Biblical narratives · Tahrif · Bakkah · Muqatta'at · Esoteric interpretation

Qur'an and Sunnah

Literalism · Miracles · Science · Women

Views on the Qur'an

Shi'a · Criticism · Desecration · Surah of Wilaya and Nurayn · Tanazzulat · Qisas Al-Anbiya · Beit Al Qur'an

Relationship with other literature

The Torah and the Bible

It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong).[1]

Qur'an 3:3 (Yusuf Ali)

The Qur'an speaks well of the relationship it has with former books (the Torah and the Gospel) and attributes their similarities to their unique origin and saying all of them have been revealed by the one God.[2]

The Qur'an recounts stories of many of the people and events recounted in Jewish and Christian sacred books (Tanakh, Bible) and devotional literature (Apocrypha, Midrash), although it differs in many details. Adam, Enoch, Noah, Heber, Shelah, Abraham, Lot, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Jethro, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, Aaron, Moses, Zechariah, John the Baptist, and Jesus are mentioned in the Qur’an as prophets of God (see Prophets of Islam). Muslims believe the common elements or resemblances between the Bible and other Jewish and Christian writings and Islamic dispensations is due to their common divine source, and that the original Christian or Jewish texts were authentic divine revelations given to prophets.

Muslims believe that those texts were neglected, corrupted (tahrif) or altered in time by the Jews and Christians and have been replaced by God's final and perfect revelation, which is the Qur'an.[3]

Influence of Christian apocrypha‎

The Diatessaron, Protoevangelium of James, Infancy Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and the Arabic Infancy Gospel are all suggested to have been sources that the author/authors drew on when creating the Qur'an.[4] The Diatessaron, as a gospel harmony, especially may have led to the misconception in the Qur'an that the Christian Gospel is one text.[5] However this is not accepted by Muslim scholars, who maintain that the Qur’an is the divine word of God without any interpolation, and the similarities exist only due to the one source.

Arab writing

After the Qur’an, and the general rise of Islam, the Arabic alphabet developed rapidly into a beautiful and complex form of art.[6]

Muhaqqaq script

Wadad Kadi, Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at University of Chicago and Mustansir Mir, Professor of Islamic studies at Youngstown State University state that:[7]

Although Arabic, as a language and a literary tradition, was quite well developed by the time of Muhammad's prophetic activity, it was only after the emergence of Islam, with its founding scripture in Arabic, that the language reached its utmost capacity of expression, and the literature its highest point of complexity and sophistication. Indeed, it probably is no exaggeration to say that the Qur’an was one of the most conspicuous forces in the making of classical and post-classical Arabic literature.
The main areas in which the Qur’an exerted noticeable influence on Arabic literature are diction and themes; other areas are related to the literary aspects of the Qur’an particularly oaths (q.v.), metaphors, motifs, and symbols. As far as diction is concerned, one could say that Qur’anic words, idioms, and expressions, especially "loaded" and formulaic phrases, appear in practically all genres of literature and in such abundance that it is simply impossible to compile a full record of them. For not only did the Qur’an create an entirely new linguistic corpus to express its message, it also endowed old, pre-Islamic words with new meanings and it is these meanings that took root in the language and subsequently in the literature...

  1. ‏3:3 نزل عليك الكتاب بالحق مصدقا لما بين يديه وانزل التوراة والانجيل
  2. Qur'an 2:285
  3. Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam (1984). Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-00807-8. p.69
  4. New Catholic Encyclopaedia, 1967, The Catholic University of America, Washington D C, Vol. VII, p.677
  5. On pre-Islamic Christian strophic poetical texts in the Koran, Ibn Rawandi, ISBN 1-57392-945-X
  6. Leaman, Oliver (2006). "Cyberspace and the Qur’an". in Leaman, Oliver. The Qur’an: an encyclopedia. Great Britain: Routeledge. pp. 130–135. 
  7. Wadad Kadi and Mustansir Mir, Literature and the Qur’an, Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an, vol. 3, pp. 213, 216

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