The story of the she-camel which leapt out of a rock and became a prophet was known in Arabia long before Muhammad (Suwar 7:73-77; 54:27-29; 91:13-14).- The story of an entire village of people who were turned into apes because they broke the sabbath by fishing was a popular legend in Muhammad’s day (Suwar 2:65; 7:163-166).- The story of Moses and the gushing twelve springs is found in Surah 2:6 0ff and comes from pre-Islamic Arabian legends.- In what is called the “Rip Van Winkle” story, seven men and their animals slept in a cave for 309 years and then woke up perfectly fine (Surah 18:9-26)! This was also a popular story in Arabia at and before Mohammed’s time. This legend was also found in Greek and Christian folks fables from that time and before.- The fable of the pieces of four dead, cut-up birds getting up and flying was well known in Muhammad’s time (Surah 2:260).- The story about the birth of Mary in Surah 3:35-37 appears to be loosely based off of an apocryphal 2nd century work, The Protevangelion of James the Lesser.
- The Second Targum of the Book of Esther supplied the non-biblical details of the Queen of Sheba‘s visit to King Solomon(Surah 27:17-44).- The Testament of Abrahamprovided the teachings of the Qur’an found in Surah 42:17 and Surah 101:6-9, which relate that on the judgment day, a scale of balance will be used to weigh good and bad deeds, and to make the determination of whether people will be sent to heaven or hell. This Jewish work is also apparently quoted in Surah 87:19.- The story of murderous Cain and the raven (Surah 5:30-31) is found in several Jewish writings, such as the Pirqe of Rabbi Eleazer and the Targum of Jerusalem, both of which pre-date the Qur’an.- The tale of Abraham being delivered from Nimrod’s fire (Suwar 21:51-71; 37:97-98) originated in the Midrash Rabbah on Genesis.
- The Talmud provided the Qur’an with the story of Moses’ resurrection (Surah 2:55-57)
- The story of the golden calf which was made by Israel in the wilderness, in which the image actually leaps out of the fire and moos (Surah 20:80-98), comes from the Pirqe of Rabbi Eleazer.
- Lastly, the seven heavens and hells described at various points in the Qur’an can also be found in the Zohar and the Hagigah, and the hells are further described in the Midrash on the Psalms.
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