are concerned partly with ideas common both to Judaism and Christianity, as, for example, Fatherhood of God, Universalism, Personal Responsibility, Retribution, Belief in Resurrection and a Hereafter. But agreement on this point does not carry us very far, for as soon as we turn to particular institutions, the scholars who have carried out research on them differ widely as to their Jewish or Christian source.
A few general observations may, therefore, not be out of place. In dealing with religious conceptions, allowance must be made for a psychological factor common to all mankind. Not only is belief in a divinity naturally innate in the human mind, but the human mind exhibits an almost uniform reaction to certain impressions, whether to natural phenomena, the fear of the unknown or of death, or to moral, ethical and religious concepts, under the influence of prayer and by the practice of ritual. If this be true for mankind in general, it must especially be taken into account with regard to the Semites, whose specific contribution to the spiritual growth of a large part of the civilized world has ever consisted, and still consists, in their religious genius.
An unbiased historical investigation cannot deny that the first momentous influence in this direction was exercised by the Jews and that Christianity originated from Judaism and developed in close contact with and, later, in conscious opposition to Judaism. When Islam, i.e. the absolute and unquestioned submission to the Supreme Will of Allah, was first preached and propagated by Muhammad, he was confronted by Judaism and Christianity, which were then fully developed. He naturally was attracted by them. It is generally agreed that there is nothing original in Muhammad's teaching, at any rate nothing of substance which cannot be traced to one or other of the two religions or, perhaps, to Zoroastrianism. This is, to a large extent, true of the realms of doctrine, ritual and certain branches of Law. From a theological point of view it would, therefore, be extremely difficult to understand how this mixture, void, as it seems, of originality, could attract such a large following. The answer is that quite apart from the favourable opportunity brought about by the particular economic and social situation of Arabia at that time, Islam is not merely the sum total of all these foreign elements. Muhammad and his religion provide a classical example of the truism that it is not so much the material transferred as the method of transfer which is of importance. In the same way, what is here noteworthy is the manner in which Muhammad adapted his material to basic Arab conceptions and how he made it effective to achieve his purpose, viz. the system of Islam, which had its origin in Arabia. Another point must also be taken into account, namely, the simple fact that influence can be exercised effectively only where the ground is prepared and where there is a mental predisposition to welcome the influence. If it is, therefore, in general, always very difficult to isolate and identify a definite influence, the matter is even more complicated in our case, in which two religions of a common origin, closely resembling each other in many respects, can put forward legitimate claims to have served as a model for Muhammad and for subsequent Islam. A further difficulty arises from the fact that Aramaic was a language in which both Judaism and Christianity expressed their thoughts and named their institutions. However, the attempt made in the following exposition to assign influence or to show contact is the result of a careful perusal of the relevant sources and the vast literature on the subject. Valuable research has been done on the problem under discussion, especially by Geiger, Goitein, Goldziher, Griinbaum, Heller, Horovitz, Hirschfeld, Mittwoch, Speyer and Becker, Bergstrasser, Juynboll, Sachau, Schacht, Wensinck: the present writer follows these scholars in the main, while maintaining his independence of them in certain parts.
We can speak of direct influence only where literary and archaeological records give proof of it, but it is certainly not always sufficient to consult the records alone, and the results of research are not always final. Caution is therefore imperative.
Political and social contact existed for centuries between Jews and Arabs,* and one of the most creative periods of Jewish history arose and passed with the Islamic civilization. All branches of Jewish life were affected, and the Muslims acted as the teachers of the Jews in the fields of philosophy, poetry, grammar, lexicography, medicine and science. Of these nothing need be said here because they did not affect Judaism in its fundamental concepts. It is true that new branches grew on the tree and results, remarkable within Judaism and without, were achieved, e.g. by Yehudah Hallevi and Moses Maimonides, to mention only two outstanding characters. But the stem of Halakhah was
* On this see Prof. Margoliouth's Schweich Lectures for 1921 (Oxford 1924). This valuable book deals with the relations of Arabs and Israelites prior to the rise of Islam and it does not, therefore, directly concern us now.
so deeply rooted and so predominant that the secular manifestations of the Jewish genius (if one can at all use the term "secular" here) actually bore fruit rather outside than inside Judaism. For the Jewish doctors and philosophers acted as intermediaries for Greek philosophy and science as taught by the Muslims. Although philosophy was seen from the outset in its relation to religion, it cannot enter our purview, which must be confined exclusively to purely religious ideas and forms.
Jewish influence on Islam is to be detected both positively and negatively, i.e. both in acceptance and in rejection of material. Muhammad took over biblical stories and legends, putting in an Islamic touch here and there. Some of them go back to a Christian source (e.g. to Ephraem Syrus), but Christian influences must remain outside our discussion. In ritual and prayer a considerable influence can be traced, but, at the same time, Muhammad and Muhammadan tradition often draw a clear distinction between a particular practice in Islam and in Judaism. Many an Islamic saying and custom is dictated by strong opposition to its Jewish antecedents, as we shall see later.
I propose to consider briefly such borrowings and rejections, first, as regards the biblical element in the Kufan; here the object is—with the important exception of passages referring to Abraham—chiefly illustration and edification. Secondly, in prayer there is undoubtedly and unmistakably considerable borrowing from Judaism. Thirdly and lastly, in the conception of an all-embracing religious Law, we find not only striking parallelism with Judaism but also actual Jewish in fluence, both in general principles and in concrete examples.
Let us, first, consider briefly what Muhammad and his commentators borrowed from the Aggadah. Though Muhammad had, in all probability, no direct knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, he knew, by conversations with Jews and Christians, that Taurat (Torah) was revealed to Moses, £abur* (the Psalter) to David and Injil (the Gospel) to Jesus. He, therefore, acknowledged both communities as yahl al-kitab,t those who possess a "Book", i.e. a Divine revelation sent down from Heaven out of the original Book of God. At first, Muhammad taught that he had received the same revelation, only in Arabic. He may have been convinced that his Kufan did not differ from revealed Scriptures, since of these Scriptures he had no direct knowledge. At the same time, we may assume that political considerations also played their part. For he hoped to attract many Jews to his teaching. He, as the " Seal of the Prophets ", naturally stood on the shoulders of the earlier prophets. A decisive change appears to have taken place in Medina, where Muhammad encountered considerable opposition on the part of the Jews, who not only refused to accept the new faith, but, by their questions, caused Muhammad much dismay and great difficulties, pointing out many contradictions between their tradition, as it in fact was, and what Muhammad alleged it to be. They could not easily be silenced by his statement that Gabriel brought this Kur'an from Heaven. Undoubtedly, he also met with opposition on the part
t It is unfortunately necessary to point out that this oft-misused term is not limited to Jews, who are sometimes wrongly called " The people of the Book".
of his own Arabs, who did not pay heed to Muhammad's version of biblical stories, which they had already heard from the Jews. The Arabs also disagreed with other, more vital, parts of his teaching. The Prophet's friendly attitude towards the Jews changed into hostility, as soon as he discovered their determination to hold their own, and the only way open to him to explain the discrepancy which existed between the Jewish and his own version, was to charge the Jews with the falsification of their Scriptures.* His successors, who, for polemic or apologetic reasons, were more familiar than he was with the actual Old Testament, as the result of careful study, repeated his denunciations, because it had become apparent that the differences could not be explained away by any other means. They repeated this argument again and again in their polemics against the Jews, and among those who collected and interpreted Muslim tradition we find a growing tendency against the Israiliyat, i.e. stories about the Banu Israil. That these stories found their way into Islam is due, first to Muhammad himself, and secondly to his commentators, who naturally
* The same charge was brought by the Christians, see above, p. 123.
[In later times, the tables were turned. It was alleged that so far from the Prophet having been perplexed by awkward biblical questions from Jews and Christians, he answered them, confuted and converted his questioners. For the Rabbi of Khaibar, Abdallah ibn Salam, see G. F. Pijper, Het Boek der Duizend Vragen, Leiden, 1924. Pijper identifies Abdallah with Nicodemus (John m, 2, 10; vn, 50-2). The popularity of these stories about Jews and Christians, converted as a result of their questionnaires being answered, was very great. Thus, Ph. S. van Ronkel gives an account of such tales preserved in West-Surnatran Malay manuscripts; the literature in Malay is extensive. (Acta Orientalia, x, i> pp. 56 sqq. (Leiden, 1931).)]
looked to Jewish sources for an explanation of what was obscure and abrupt in the Kufanic version of biblical stories. Jewish converts undoubtedly supplied the material to some extent.*
Before we discuss briefly Muhammad's dependence on the Old Testament in his Kufan, we must touch upon some of the leading religious ideas which he accepted from Judaism and Christianity. Allah is Creator of Heaven and Earth, All-powerful, Omniscient and Merciful; these are familiar words to every Jew and Christian. The idea with which the Prophet stirred Arabia, however, was that of the Imminent Judgement followed by the reward of the pious in Paradise and the punishment of the wicked in Hell. Whether this idea came to him direct from Judaism or Christianity cannot be ascertained. Terror and trembling seize upon mankind when the Day of Judgement is believed to be drawing near, all are awaiting " the hour5', " the day of decision55, "the resurrection55. As can be seen by these few examples, Muslim eschatology owes indeed very much to Judaism and Christianity: in the latter faith, the idea was more stressed than in the former (see
* On this point S. D. Goitein adduces new material of considerable importance, in his contributions to Tarbis (see bibliography at the end of this chapter). Goitein's source is mainly information current in the circles of Malik ibn Dinar, as contained in the third part of the Hilyat al-awliya of Abu Nu'aim. Since, in the Kurgan and earlier Muslim writers, the later prophets, with the exception of Jonah, are not mentioned by name, it is noteworthy that Goitein has found passages taken from Isaiah i, Jeremiah and Psalms. The Muslims were acquainted with the Decalogue also. Goitein cites a saying of Muhammad: "God, the Exalted, made the Sabbath for them [sc. the Jews] as a holiday, but He chose for us the sixth [day: loc. cit. p. 518]." I regret that I have been unable to utilize his first article, on the 5Israiliyydt, in an earlier issue of Tarbis.
above, p. 31). There are striking parallels with apocryphal and especially apocalyptic literature. Thus verse 17 in Sura lxxiii, '' How, therefore, will ye escape, if ye believe not, the day which shall make children grey-headed," reminds us of verse 25 of chapter xxni in the Book of Jubilees, "And the heads of the children will be white with grey hair." The idea that there is no human intercession, expressed in Sura lxxiv, 48: " So the intercession of intercessors shall not avail them" (cp. Ps. xlix, 8), and the description in Sura lxxx, 33 sqq., "On that day shall a man fly from his brother, and his mother and his father and his wife and his children,"1 are both to be found in the Ezra Apocalypse, vn, 102-15. The corresponding verses may be quoted here:
And I answered and said: If I have found favour in thy sight, shew further unto me, thy servant, this also: whether in the Day of Judgment the just will be able to intercede for the ungodly or to intreat the Most High for them, whether fathers for children, or children for parents, or brethren for brethren, kinsfolk for their next of kin or friends for them that are most dear. And he answered me and said: Since thou hast found favour in my sight, I will shew thee this also. The Day of Judgment is a day of decision and displayeth unto all the seal of truth. Even as now a father sendeth not his son or a son his father, or a master his slave or a friend him that is most dear, that in his stead he may be sick, or sleep or eat, or be healed; so never shall any one then pray for another in that Day, neither shall one lay a burden on another; for then shall all bear every one his own righteousness or unrighteousness ... .2
The knowledge of such passages is due rather to Christian than to Jewish transmission. But Rabbinic parallels are also to be found, so e.g. T.B. Hag. 16 a
(Germ. trs. G. in, 841) that man's own limbs testify against him. A clear Jewish element is the familiar idea that man's deeds are entered in a book which will be read to him when he is tried by the Heavenly Court. Only a wall separates Paradise from Hell (Sura vii, 44). Paradise is called Garden of Eden.3 The pleasures of Paradise are depicted as a banquet, as in Judaism and Christianity. Examples could be multiplied.4 "There is no God but God"; this has been identified as coinciding with the Targum to II Sam. xxn, 32. "Sovereign of the Worlds",*5 as an appellation of God, probably goes back to Jewish influence. Muslim tradition quotes Kur'anic passages with the introductory formula, "The Exalted One speaks", exactly as we have in the Talmud the formula "The Merciful (Rahmana) speaks", meaning "the Scripture says". Not only the idea of the great Day of Reckoning but also the prophetic task of warning the people lest they might not stand the dreaded test, weighed, both of them, so heavily on Muhammad that he characteristically turned to those
* [It is suggested by L. Goldschmidt, in his German trs. of the Kur'an, that this phrase originally meant "Sovereign of the inhabitants of the World". The plural of the Hebrew cOlam is 'Olamothy therefore, he holds, 'Olamim must be a plural of the gentilic adjective 4Olamiy contracted for 'Olamiyyim, cf. Misrim, for Misriyyim. Against Goldschmidt it may be argued, (1) that there are certain passages in the Bible where "inhabitants" would make no sense, e.g. Ps. lxxvii, 6; Isa. xxvi, 4; li, 9, etc. In fact in no biblical passage would such a meaning be suitable; (2) the biblical plural is always masculine: the feminine does not occur.
On the other hand, it may well be held that the Arabic phrase, being theological, would be taken not from biblical Hebrew but either from Aramaic or from Rabbinic Hebrew. In Rabbinic Hebrew £Olamoth is more common than e Olamim.]
biblical personalities whom he could treat as forerunners. Thus, we meet Noah, Moses, Aaron and Jonah.* Other characters, like David and Solomon, serve as models of piety and wisdom. The story of Cain and Abel is told to teach a lesson. In fact, all these stories are recounted to support Muhammad's appeal to his hearers to embrace the true religion, to follow him, the last in this long line of prophets, along the path to Allah, whose will must be obeyed. They serve as illustrations, but they are very often more than a merely edifying element and their purpose is not only to satisfy the Oriental's eagerness for beautiful tales and legends. This can be seen in the case of Solomon, who is given more prominence than David, because of his relations with the Arabian Queen of Sheba, whom the Muslim Solomon converted to Islam, after having addressed to her a letter to this end, exactly modelled
* [It is noteworthy that while Muhammad frequently claims to be a "plain warner" (Nadirun mublnun or Bashirun), he does not take Ezekiel as his prototype and yet this prophet, one would have imagined, would be the obvious example, since he was divinely appointed to be a " Watchman" (So/eh, see Ezek. m, 17; xxxm, 2, 6, 7). Muhammad, however, does not seem to have known of Ezekiel, unless the reference in Surah 11, 244 is to the vision of the valley of dry bones (Ezek. xxxvn, 1-1 o). Muhammad would have had deliberately to borrow the term So/eh from the Hebrew Bible. Or else he would have had to use a synonym, since the Arabic Safa does not have the sense of "watching", as in Hebrewr Safah, and where it does occur, it signifies the idea of purity or of selection.
Possibly Ezekiel was omitted because he does not furnish an example of a signal retributive action on the part of Providence, e.g. the flood, Red Sea, etc., that could catch the imagination. As an ethical teacher, he might not be so well-known. Even to-day, the Noah's Ark is to be found in the nursery, but the child has to pass many years before hearing the name of Ezekiel.]
upon Muhammad's letters to the princes.* Of still greater significance is Abraham. Here we can clearly trace the change which has taken place in Muhammad's attitude towards Judaism. At first, Abraham was, as Isaiah styles him, the "Friend of God"; but later he is called a hanif i.e. neither Jew nor Christian, f The Jews, moreover, are stated to have falsified the pure Abrahamitic religion. It was therefore Muhammad's task to restore the pure faith of Abraham, the first Muslim. Abraham, as the father of Ishmael, and the founder of the Kef bah was also the father of Islam It is only natural that, for Islam, Ishmael should be of greater importance than Isaac. Some commentators go even so far as to substitute the sacrifice of Ishmael
* The easiest Jewish source for those who desire to compare the Jewish and Muslim accounts of the Queen of Sheba will be found in the Tar gum Sherd to Esther in Appendix to Cassel's Commentary on Esther, trs. Bernstein, vol. xxxrv, N.S. of T. and T. Clark's Foreign Theological Library, 1888.
f This Arabic term means one who has the real and true, original, innate religion. See further, Encyclopaedia of Islam, 11, s.v. "HanifJ\ [The Hebrew Hanef means profane or godless, the opposite of the Arabic. The root in both languages came from an original vox media and possessed a neutral conception, to incline, either to or from the right direction.]
% James Montgomery in a very stimulating and original study entitled "Arabia and the Bible", lays stress on the influence of Arabia and Arab customs, etc., on the Bible, thus crossing swords with the Pan-Babylonians and Pan-Egyptians. But he certainly goes too far when he states: "The picture of Abraham's manners and dignity is exemplary for the courtesy and self-possession of the Arab sheikh " (p. 24). The striking semblance seems to me hardly to justify Arab influence on the biblical story but rather to point to the common Nomadic origin and Nomadic standard of life which the early Hebrew nomads share with the Arab Badawin. That David should be a poet according to an Arab model, the poet-king Imrulqais, is difficult to accept. Otherwise, this interesting study is full of fine observations.
for that of Isaac, especially since no name is given in the Kur'anic passage on which they comment. It would lead too far to give examples of the way in which Muhammad and especially his commentators, Zamah-shari, Baidawi, Tabari and Ibn al-Athir, have told the tale of Adam, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Joseph, David, Solomon, Jonah, etc. Suffice it to say that there is hardly any exact correspondence with the biblical narrative in the Kur'an.* But apart from distortions and mistakes, most of the elements can be traced to Midrashic sources. The route taken by these stories is: Aggadah, Kur'an, Hadith (Muslim legend after Muhammad) and later (Jewish) Aggadah. It is, however, not relevant to our purpose to follow out this course in detail, as these tales never exercised a strong influence—if any at all—on the real structure of Islam or Judaism, eagerly as they may have been read and heard by the people. Among those writings which have adopted Islamic versions are the Midrask hag-gadhol, Sefer hay-yashar, Pirke dyR. Eliezer, Shebhet Musar, etc. These later Aggadic writings aim at clearing out Islamic tendencies, e.g. the third visit of Abraham to Ishmael with the founding of the Kabbah is not mentioned, whereas many miraculous manifestations of Solomon's wisdom found their way from Islamic into these later Jewish legends.6 Such an influence of a purely formal literary character is actually very insignificant compared with the mass of Aggadic material, both of Talmud and Midrashic collections, which formed and embellished the legends told in the Kur'an and subsequent Muslim tradition. Many a feature was
* See Goitein's 'Israiliyyat (loc. cit. p. 518), also p. 178 below. The whole article merits careful study.
taken over not directly from Jewish sources but from the legends of the Syrian Christians, who, in their turn, borrowed them from the Jewish Aggadah.
Much more significant is the fact that Islam took over religious institutions from Judaism and to these we shall turn now. Though it is impossible to include in our survey Islamic and Jewish heterodoxies, there can be no doubt that many institutions and customs on either side can be traced to those movements, e.g. the Islamic prohibition of marriage between uncle anjd niece, which was a point of dispute between Rabbinic and Sectarian Judaism; the same may be said of theological speculation. Especially, the Karaites influenced Islamic heterodox theologians and were in turn influenced by Muslim criticism of the Kufan which the Karaites applied to the Bible.*
Muhammad himself had adopted the Fast oVAshura,7 but there is a tradition that, when it was pointed out to him that the Jews fasted on the tenth, he intended to antedate it to the ninth day. Others wanted to fast on the eleventh as well, and the final decision was that a whole month, the Ramadhan, should be instituted for fasting. Already at this early stage, then, we observe how an institution, which was originally Jewish, was altered in order to draw a line of unmistakable distinction between Muslims and Jews. It is often expressly
* The Karaites are a Jewish sect which originated in the eighth century, flourished in the ninth and subsequent centuries, surviving to the present day. They opposed Rabbinic-Talmudic Judaism and acknowledged only the Scripture, Mikra, as final authority (see Enc. Jud. ix, j-.y. "Karaeer35). [As to the opinion of Islam about Karaites and their differences from Rabbanites, see the Fatwas of the representatives of the four schools, in A Karaite Conversion Story, published by Hirschfeld in Jews' Coll. Jub. Vol. London, 1906, pp. 81 sqq.]
stated that such a rite is meant to be in contrast and opposition to the Jewish rite. We need think only of the changing of the Kiblah (the direction in prayer), from Jerusalem to Mecca. Minor details like the limitation of the original'Ashura fast to the time between sunrise and sunset (the rule in Islam for fasting) as opposed to the Jewish practice of fasting from sunset until sunset on the following day, illustrate clearly this tendency. There is, however, another striking parallel between the Islamic cAshura fast and the Jewish Day of Atonement, for Muslim tradition connects the fast with the "sending-down" of the Kur'an, whereas Judaism connects it with the second giving of the Ten Commandments by God to Moses on Sinai.8 The Day of Atonement is the only fast day which can fall on a Sabbath, therefore it is clearly in opposition to this custom not to permit any fast in connexion with 'Ashura on Friday. Muhammad is credited with a tradition that Friday should be observed as a day of Public Worship and Prayer, for on this day the Jews prepared for their Sabbath, and it is further stated that, apart from the service, Friday was to be an ordinary working day, as opposed to Sabbath and Sunday.* Another minor detail is the Islamic imitation of the Jewish custom of the slaughter of animals as a ritual which had to be accompanied by benedictions. Here, however, another tendency of Islam can be observed, namely, to lighten "the burden of the Law", a tendency already expressed in the Kur'an. Thus a gradual lightening can be seen, until, finally, it was stated that a Muslim need not even mention the name of Allah, as he was always conscious of the presence of Allah in whose name everything was
lp ii ii done.9 (That Judaism also knows of this lightening of the "burden" can be seen from Pes.K., f. 158^ (Germ. trs. W. p. 226) with regard to prayer, quoted in S. Schechter's article on the Law in J.QjR. viii, 375: "God says to Israel, I bade thee read the prayers unto me in the Synagogues; but if thou canst not, pray in thy house; and if thou art unable to do this, pray when thou art in thy field; and if this be inconvenient to thee, pray on thy bed; and if thou canst not even do this, think of me in thy heart.") Such and similar cases would be negligible if they did not form part of a whole chain of accepted or changed Jewish customs and institutions. But here there is still a wide field of research.
One particular sphere, however, has been investigated, and Professor Mittwoch has published the important results of his searching comparative study in his well-documented monograph, %ur Entstehungs-geschichte des islamischen Gebets und Kultus, Berlin, 1913. This study is the answer to C. H. Becker's attempt to prove Christian influence on the Islamic cult throughout.10 Although Mittwoch's arguments are very sound and convincing, not every detail can be established with absolute certainty. Some of the striking similarities to the Jewish prayer may be mentioned here. I cannot share the view advanced by I. Friedlander, in his review of Mittwoch's monograph,11 that it would seem unlikely that Islam should have deliberately modelled its order of service on the Jewish rival. Why should it not have done so ? Why should it have modelled itself rather on Christianity, as Becker wishes to prove? Such an imitation surely is not surprising, since we know how, in the political sphere, Byzantine and
Persian methods of political and financial administration were adopted and how Jews and Christians, though not without protest, had to be employed in the public service. In view of what has been said above about the tendency to alter Jewish practices after they had been taken over, and, further, taking literary evidence into account, there can be no doubt of a most active Jewish influence on Islam. But, however many Jewish elements we find, the Islamic service, as such, fine though it be in many respects, is anything but Jewish!
To begin with a disputed detail, the frequency of kneeling and prostration during the Salat al-Jumu'a, the Friday public prayer. Is this a Christian or a Jewish inheritance? So long as we do not know more about the religious practice of the Jews of Medina and of Arabia generally, we cannot give a definite answer, but Mittwoch has put forward some passages—though not many—and has pointed to corresponding expressions which make the assumption of Jewish influence not impossible.12 Whether the minbar is to be traced to the Jewish bema or the Christian pulpit cannot be easily decided. To answer this question would involve a thorough knowledge of the architecture of synagogues and Oriental churches.* But it is certainly not impossible that, just as the Jewish liturgy influenced the Christian, so may the architectural design of synagogues have influenced that of churches to some extent. But the decision must be left to the expert. However, the parallel cannot be overlooked that the minbar is used
* [It is interesting to recall that Ashkenazic—but not Sefardic or Oriental Judaism—has preserved the word in the term Almemar, reading-desk.]
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