Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Unravelling a Knot of the Qur'an

De-confusing Surah 19:37

Masud Masihiyyen

As we have discussed and displayed in many articles so far,1 Muhammad was dependent on the non-canonical sources of Judaism and Christianity for the production of his scripture named the Qur’an. This is why his innovated and twisted versions of the stories from the Hebrew Bible include material from the Talmud while the accounts presented in his book as genuine revelation about Jesus and His mother are obviously taken from the non-canonical Gospels of Nativity and Infancy. It is by no means surprising that there are a number of undeniable discrepancies between these non-biblical Jewish and Christian sources and their new version in the Qur’an, for Muhammad’s plagiarism often necessitated the distortion of the original material for its adaptation to the major Islamic doctrines.

In some cases the perversion of the original sources of non-biblical Judaism gave birth to purely Islamic legends that had no affiliation with the Talmudic Judaism. The traditional Islamic commentaries of some authorized scholars, of course, contributed to the rise of such legends peculiar to the Qur’an. Thus, Muhammad’s unfaithfulness to an original source during the act of plagiarism was coupled with the commentaries of the scholars who were either unaware of the original version of a story or chose to ignore it. The Islamic stories recounting the fight between Cain and Abel and Adam’s reaction to the news of Abel’s murder can be presented as examples for the birth of Islamic legends from the perversion of the Talmudic accounts and the scholars’ fantasies.2

Similarly, Muhammad’s heavy plagiarism from the non-canonical writings of Christianity was not error-free, and some of these mistakes and misunderstandings fuelled the machine that produced weird and baffling Islamic legends, causing doubts upon Muhammad’s accurate knowledge of the genuine Christian tenets. In this paper we shall analyze Surah 19:37 along with the problems stemming from the traditional commentaries on that verse and display how Muhammad’s deviation from the original texts that he copied from led him into absurdity. With the help of our comparative analysis we shall find out the origin of the particular verse and thus unravel a knot of the Qur’an.3

Disagreement as a prominent theme and sign in the Qur'an

The Islamic scripture recurrently refers to the existence of dissenting religious groups and regards them as a sign of weakness and evidence for the lack of the truth. People falling into variance with regard to tenets and teachings are often rebuked, and their continuing arguments are predicted to finally end on the Day of Judgment, when all things will be made manifest:

Verily thy Lord will judge between them on the Day of Judgment, in the matters wherein they differ (among themselves) (Surah 32:25 Yusuf Ali)

Say: “O God! Creator of the heavens and the earth! Knower of all that is hidden and open! it is Thou that wilt judge between Thy Servants in those matters about which they have differed.” (Surah 39:46 Yusuf Ali)

The Sabbath was appointed only for those who differed concerning it, and lo! thy Lord will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they used to differ. (Surah 16:24 Pickthall)

“God will judge between you on the Day of Judgment concerning the matters in which ye differ.” (Surah 22:69 Yusuf Ali)

Mankind were but one community; then they differed; and had it not been for a word that had already gone forth from thy Lord it had been judged between them in respect of that wherein they differ. (Surah 10:19 Pickthall)

According to Muhammad and/or his mentor, a divine revelation is intended to stop religious fractions, but, as a matter of irony, it causes more dissent:

And they differed not until after the knowledge came unto them, through rivalry among themselves. Lo! thy Lord will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they used to differ. (Surah 45:17 Pickthall)

Those who (formerly) received the Scripture differed only after knowledge came unto them, through transgression among themselves. Whoso disbelieveth the revelations of Allah (will find that) lo! Allah is swift at reckoning. (Surah 3:19 Pickthall)

Strikingly, the Qur’an verses associate the notion of religious variance with Jesus more than with the other prophets and figures. In Surah 43 one of the main reasons underlying Jesus’ prophetic mission is asserted to be the theological disagreements among the Children of Israel. Jesus allegedly addresses the Israelites and gives them the good news that He has been sent to partly reveal the truth they have been arguing about:

When Jesus came with clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty), he said: I have come unto you with wisdom, and to make plain some of that concerning which ye differ. So keep your duty to Allah, and obey me. (Surah 43:63 Pickthall)

In Surah 3 and 4, where Jesus’ crucifixion is denied, His folk is even accused of falling into variance about His death, and this rebuke is again thematically linked to the revelation of the full truth by Allah on the Day of Judgment:

Remember when God said, “O Jesus! verily I will cause thee to die, and will take thee up to myself and deliver thee from those who believe not; and I will place those who follow thee above those who believe not, until the day of resurrection. Then, to me is your return, and wherein ye differ will I decide between you.” (Surah 3:55 Rodwell)

That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of God”; - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. (Surah 4:157 Yusuf Ali)

In the widely accepted and traditional chronological order of the Qur’an, Surah 19 appears as the first chapter in which Muhammad’s earliest reference to Jesus, Mary, and some other figures of the New Testament occurs along with the harsh critique of the Christian doctrines concerning Jesus’ identity. The narrative begins with the story of Zechariah and his son and then proceeds to the story of Mary and her son, following the outline used by Luke in his Gospel. The story about Mary’s son Jesus reaches its climax with His miraculous speech delivered to the Children of Israel from the cradle and abruptly ends in the following verse:

The sects among them differ: but woe unto the disbelievers from the meeting of an awful Day. (Surah 19:37 Pickthall)

Before analyzing this obscure verse to find out which sects differ about what and how this is related to infant Jesus’ miraculous speech, it is necessary to state that not every Qur’an translation has the first clause of the verse in present tense. Actually, most of the translators disagree with Pickthall and imply by putting the verb into past tense that the disagreement arose at the time of Jesus’ speech:

Then the sects differed [i.e. the Christians about 'Iesa (Jesus)], so woe unto the disbelievers [those who gave false witness by saying that 'Iesa (Jesus) is the son of Allah] from the meeting of a great Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection, when they will be thrown in the blazing Fire). (Hilali-Khan)

But parties from among them disagreed with each other, so woe to those who disbelieve, because of presence on a great day. (Shakir)

But the parties differed among themselves; so woe to those who disbelieve, because of the meeting of a grievous day. (Sher Ali)

The various parties disputed among themselves (regarding the identity of Jesus). Therefore, woe to those who disbelieve from the sight of a terrible day. (Khalifa)

Still, a few others agree with Pickthall’s translation when they suggest that the religious partition is relevant to the present:

But the sects differ among themselves: and woe to the unbelievers because of the (coming) Judgment of a Momentous Day! (Yusuf Ali)

Yet the sectaries differ among themselves [concerning Jesus]; but woe be unto those who are unbelievers, because of [their] appearance at the great day. (Sale)

The question that we should pose at this moment is why this difference in translation? Why do some translators suggest through the translation of the verb in present tense that the variance of the parties is in continuation? It is rather interesting to observe that the translators fall into variance among themselves about the translation of a Qur’an verse talking about variance. To further complicate the issue, we encounter a more serious case of inconsistency when we check Surah 43:65, which appears to be a duplicate of Surah 19:37.4 Although these verses are almost identical in their form and have the same tense for the first verb in their Arabic original, some translators somehow feel at liberty to use present tense for the former but past tense for the latter! To compare and contrast:

Faikhtalafa al-ahzabu min baynihim fawaylun lillatheena kafaroo min mashhadi yawmin AAatheemin (Surah 19:37 Arabic transliteration)

The sects among them differ… (Pickthall)

But the sects differ among themselves… (Yusuf Ali)

Yet the sectaries differ among themselves… (Sale)

Faikhtalafa al-ahzabu min baynihim fawaylun lillatheena thalamoo min AAathabi yawmin aleemin (Surah 43:65 Arabic transliteration)

But the factions among them differed… (Pickthall)

But sects from among themselves fell into disagreement… (Yusuf Ali)

And the confederated sects among them fell to variance… (Sale)

It is a matter of wonder why these clauses show variation when translated into English although they are identical in Arabic. In order to find an answer to this question and solve the mysteries concerning Surah 19:37, we must check some of the traditional Islamic commentaries.

In his comprehensive study on the Qur’an, E. M. Wherry refers to the traditional interpretation of the vague phrase (the sectaries) in Surah 19:37:

Either Jews and Christians differ, or Christians differ among themselves. - Tafsir-i-Raufi. Their appearance. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 138, 139. (Note 38). (Source)

While trying to explain the meaning of the same phrase in Surah 43:65, he quotes from Sale and Baidhawi:

"This may be understood either of the Jews in the time of Jesus, who opposed his doctrine, or of the Christians since, who have fallen into various opinions concerning him, some making him to be God, others the Son of God, and others one of the persons of the Trinity, &c." - Sale, Baidhawi. I think the reference is clearly to the Christians only. (Note 65) (Source)

These explanations show how Islamic scholars ironically fell into variance while making efforts to convey meaning to an obscure Qur’an verse about some unknown people that differed among themselves in reaction to Jesus’ miraculous speech. It was either Jews or Christians that formed religious factions. Of these two options, Wherry obviously chose the second, probably because this particular verse came right after the verses accusing Christians of identifying Jesus as the “Son of Allah” and after stressing Jesus’ strictly monotheistic preaching (Surah 19:35-36 and Surah 43:64).

Actually, it is not reasonable to contend that the sectaries or differing parties in Surah 19:37 and Surah 43:65 refer to Christians, for there were no Christians at the time when Jesus began His prophetic ministry. Further, the Qur’an asserts that Jesus started His mission as soon as He was born and brought by His mother to her folk (Surah 19:27-33) in contrast to the canonical accounts that mark Jesus’ baptism by John as the beginning of His ministry (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34). Thus, if we think that the differing parties were the same people who listened to infant Jesus’ speech (this is what is suggested by the chronology in the Qur’an narrative in Surah 19), we cannot consider them Christians unless we take the reference anachronistically. To put it another way, the argument that the differing sects correspond to Christians turns out to be erroneous if we do not accept the theory that Christian believers pre-existed Jesus’ birth and His supposed speech from the cradle.

However, it is reasonable to conclude that only the Jewish disbelief and Jews’ varying opinions about Jesus are meant in Surah 19:37 and 43:65. This kind of an interpretation would also bring the Qur’an partly in line with the canonical Gospels, for all canonical accounts agree that the Israelites at the time of Jesus’ ministry fell into variance about His identity. For instance, in Matthew, Mark, and Luke Jesus’ apostles report the differing views of the folk with regard to Jesus’ identity:

When Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They answered, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13-16 NET Bible5)

Then Jesus and his disciples went to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said, “John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” (Mark 8:27-29)

Once when Jesus was praying by himself, and his disciples were nearby, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others that one of the prophets of long ago has risen.” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” (Luke 9:18-20)

Further, John the Evangelist relates how the people listening to Jesus and witnessing His miracles repeatedly fell into variance about Him:

When they heard these words, some of the crowd began to say, “This really is the Prophet!” Others said, “This is the Christ!” But still others said, “No, for the Christ doesn’t come from Galilee, does he? Don’t the scriptures say that the Christ is a descendant of David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” So there was a division in the crowd because of Jesus. (John 7:40-43)

Another sharp division took place among the Jewish people because of these words. Many of them were saying, “He is possessed by a demon and has lost his mind! Why do you listen to him?” Others said, “These are not the words of someone possessed by a demon. A demon cannot cause the blind to see, can it?” (John 10:19-21)

Jesus’ designation, particularly in John’s Gospel, as a controversial figure causing division among the people may have prompted Muhammad or his mentor to copy this prominent theme from the canonical Gospels and mistakenly attach it to the narrative of Jesus’ nativity in Surah 19, which was plagiarized from the apocryphal Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and the Arabic Gospel of the Savior’s Infancy. Still, our research shows that Islamic commentators and scholars did not write in favor of this probability, but preferred ascribing the religious partition mentioned in Surah 19:37 and Surah 43:65 particularly to Christians rather than to Jews alone. Below are the traditional comments reported and recorded by Ibn Kathir:

(Then the sects differed,) means that the opinions of the People of the Book differed concerning `Isa even after the explanation of his affair and the clarification of his situation. They disagreed about his being the servant of Allah, His Messenger, and His Word that He cast upon Maryam and a spirit from Himself. So a group of them -- who were the majority of the Jews (may Allah's curses be upon them) -- determined that he was a child of fornication and that his speaking in his cradle was merely sorcery. Another group said that it was Allah Who was speaking (not `Isa). Others said that he (`Isa) was the son of Allah. Some said that he was the third part of a divine trinity with Allah. Yet, others said that he was the servant of Allah and His Messenger. This latter view is the statement of truth, which Allah guided the believers to. (Source)

Obviously, these comments are full of errors and reflect the confusion of the early Muslims struggling to interpret Surah 19:37 and Surah 43:65. First, it was unthinkable for the people listening to infant Jesus’ first speech to disagree about His being “the Word of God cast upon Maryam and a Spirit from God”, for Jesus did not say any of these when he miraculously spoke according to the narrative in Surah 19, nor did He identify Himself as the Word of God or a Spirit from God during His prophetic ministry according to the account in Surah 43. Thus, this claim is not reliable and accurate as it is anachronistic, having been based on two verses of the late Medina period (Surah 3:45 and Surah 4:171).6

Second, we would like to know more about the second group who allegedly said that “it was Allah who was speaking, not Isa”. Did such a group exist in Christian history? Which heretic group was that and what did they mean when they supposedly said actually Allah was speaking although Isa seemed to speak? This uncanny allegation appears to have stemmed from the misinterpretation of the Christian doctrine of Incarnation by Muslims.

Third, the tenet or claim attributed to the third group is evidently anachronistic and inaccurate as it is based on a late Qur’an verse accusing the Christians for worshipping Jesus as “the third of the three” (Surah 5:73), which is nothing but a straw-man argument made up by Muhammad in his zeal to depict Christians as polytheists.7

Ibn Kathir’s commentary on Surah 43:65 is equally fallacious and misleading:

(But the sects from among themselves differed.) means, they differed and became parties and factions, some who stated that he (`Isa) was the servant and Messenger of Allah -- which is true - while others claimed that he was the son of Allah or that he himself was Allah -- glorified be Allah far above what they say. (Source)

He falsely presents the related and complimentary Christian doctrines regarding Jesus’ identity as two separate and contradictory teachings by ascribing them to two different groups although the doctrine of Jesus’ divinity (His being a divine person) is bound to His being the Son of God (the only Son of the Father in John 3:16) and vice versa. Ignoring the fact that Jesus is believed to be BOTH God and the Son of God in Christianity, Ibn Kathir repeats his lie when he gives false information on what happened after Jesus’ physical departure from this world:

When Allah raised `Isa to heaven, his followers divided into sects and groups. Some of them believed in what Allah sent `Isa as, a servant of Allah, His Messenger, and the son of His female-servant. However, some of them went to the extreme over `Isa, believing that he was the son of Allah. Some of them said that `Isa was Allah Himself, while others said that he was one of a Trinity. (Source)

This citation more strongly displays how Ibn Kathir twisted the facts and fell into the straw-man fallacy when he attempted to divide the essential components of the basic Christian doctrine of Christ’s divinity into the three supposedly different tenets of the opposing parties. In contrast to these lies and slanders, Christianity teaches that Jesus is the Son of God and God because He is the second person of the Trinity! In order to manifest the absurdity of Ibn Kathir’s commentary, we should follow a similar strategy after checking what the Qur’an teaches about Jesus:

  • Jesus is a prophet and servant of Allah. (Surah 19:30)
  • Jesus is a sign for mankind. (Surah 21:91)
  • Jesus is an example for the Children of Israel. (Surah 43:59)
  • Jesus is the Messiah. (Surah 3:45)
  • Jesus is the Word of Allah. (Surah 4:171)
  • Jesus is nothing than a messenger. (Surah 5:75)

If we suppose that a non-Muslim equivalent of Ibn Kathir saw these verses, he would write the following commentary:

After Muhammad’s death, his followers divided into several sects and groups about Jesus’ identity. Some of them said Jesus was a prophet and servant of Allah while some others said that He was the Messiah. Another group claimed that Jesus was the Word of Allah. The fourth party contended that He was only a messenger of Allah. Still, another group said …

Above all, Ibn Kathir and the other Islamic commentators’ interpretation of Surah 19:37 and Surah 43:65 overtly contradict the following Qur’an verse:

And when Allah will say: O Isa son of Marium! did you say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah he will say: Glory be to Thee, it did not befit me that I should say what I had no right to (say); if I had said it, Thou wouldst indeed have known it; Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I do not know what is in Thy mind, surely Thou art the great Knower of the unseen things. (Surah 5:116 Shakir)

In sharp contrast to the argument that Allah meant Christians when he referred to the religious sects in chapters 19 and 43, in Surah 5, which is a late chapter of Medina period, Allah seems ignorant of the supposed variety of Christian tenets regarding Jesus’ identity. No matter what a twisted and fallacious Trinitarian doctrine he attributes to Christians, he does not even imply that Christians fell into variance about Jesus or that some of them denied His divinity. According to this verse, Jesus’ divinity was a fundamental tenet of mainstream Christianity!

Sadly enough, not few people fall for the lies put forward in the traditional Islamic commentaries and incline to accept the interpretation of the phrase “the sects” in Surah 19:37 and Surah 43:65 in association with the theological controversies among Christians. The reason for this tendency is the biased and doubtful approach to Christianity because of either a few modern anti-Trinitarian religious groups or the Christological disagreements and fights that could be settled only with the help of the ecumenical councils. This biased approach is most likely a contributing factor to the translation of the first verb in Surah 19:37 in present tense so the argument that Christians’ falling into religious disagreements among themselves is going on today can be strengthened.

Nonetheless, contrary to the popular myths and hoaxes in Islamic or anti-Christian writings, the Church of Christ did not divide into sects at the time of the apostles, and the unity of the Church was not threatened until a certain presbyter named Arius started to preach his controversial teachings about the origin and substance of the Logos (Word of God = Jesus in John’s Gospel 1:1) in the fourth century A.D. More to the point, the first council that had ever convened in Christian history was not the ecumenical council of 325 A.D., but the one that was held in Jerusalem at the time of the twelve apostles (Acts 15:1-31). Strikingly, the first apostolic council did not convene to debate a Christological issue, but to deal with the problems that arose from the conversion of pagans to Christianity and to seek an answer to the question whether such converts would have to fulfill the prescriptions of the Mosaic Law.

Further, none of the Christological controversies that resulted in the ecumenical councils from fourth century onward confirmed or verified the allegations offered in the Islamic commentaries. In such temporary religious divisions that existed until the resolution of a council none of the parties that opposed the teachings of the Church taught that Jesus was but a servant and messenger of God or that He was a part of the Trinity, but not the Son of God. Actually, only four of the seven ecumenical councils until the Great Schism were held in order to debate Christological controversies:

  1. Council of Nicea (325 A.D.): convened to condemn Arius’ controversial teachings about the Son. Arius contended that the Son/Logos was not consubstantial with the Father, but the first of the created beings.
  2. Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.): convened to condemn Nestorius’ (Patriarch of Constantinople) controversial teachings about Christ’s personality. Nestorius argued that God the Son was a different person from Jesus of Nazareth and that there was a unity of two distinct personalities (one divine and one human) in Christ.
  3. Council of Chalcedonia (451 A.D.) convened to condemn Eutyches’ (an archimandrite of Byzantium) controversial teachings about Christ’s natures. Eutyches argued that Christ’s divine nature became dominant and absorbed His human nature, turning Him into a person with one (divine) nature.
  4. Third Council of Constantinople (681 A.D.) convened to condemn Monothelitism, which taught that Christ had one single will and that it was divine. (*)

In short, the faulty Islamic commentaries are of no help for the clarification of the vague statement “the sects fell into variance” in Surah 19 and 43. The other possibility that the disagreeing groups refer to Jews and this assertion was partly taken from the canonical Gospels through hearsay remains weak as the context of the statement in the Qur’an is quite different than the ones in the New Testament. As a final resort, we must analyze the account in Surah 19 once more and compare it to the apocryphal piece of literature it was plagiarized from so that we can solve this mystery.

Solving the mystery

The narrative about Jesus’ nativity and infancy in the 19th chapter of the Qur’an, where the first reference to Jesus’ alleged miraculous speech from the cradle occurs, was evidently devised through plagiarism from two different apocryphal Gospels of Infancy: The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Savior.8 Muhammad followed and distorted the original narrative in Pseudo-Matthew until the account of Mary’s accusation by her folk (chapter 12), after which he suddenly jumped to the Arabic Gospel and copied from there the following section:

We find what follows in the book of Joseph the high priest, who lived in the time of Christ. Some say that he is Caiaphas. He has said that Jesus spoke, and, indeed, when He was lying in His cradle said to Mary His mother: I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Logos, whom you have brought forth, as the Angel Gabriel announced to you; and my Father has sent me for the salvation of the world. (Arabic Gospel of Infancy 1)

Unsurprisingly, Muhammad perverted this account by replacing the Christian terms in it with the Islamic ones and placed it in Surah 19 right after the verses recounting Mary’s interrogation by her folk with the charges of adultery:

Then she brought him to her own folk, carrying him. They said: O Mary! Thou hast come with an amazing thing. O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man nor was thy mother a harlot. Then she pointed to him. They said: How can we talk to one who is in the cradle, a young boy? He spake: Lo! I am the slave of Allah. He hath given me the Scripture and hath appointed me a Prophet. (Surah 19:27-30 Pickthall)

Naturally, the narrative of baby Jesus’ miraculous speech is missing from the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew whilst that of Mary’s accusation by her folk is missing from the Arabic Gospel of Infancy, for it was only Muhammad who combined these two distinct and independent texts in the process of their incorporation into the Qur’an after the necessary modifications. To complicate the issue, the account of baby Jesus’ speech in the Arabic Gospel does not include the statement concerning the disagreement of the sects. Our further comparison demonstrates that Muhammad added some more Islamic material into his version of the narrative after copying only Surah 19:30 from the Arabic Gospel. Accordingly, between verse 30 and 37 occur a few verses that are not plagiarized from any apocryphal Christian writing:9

And hath made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and hath enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving so long as I remain alive. (verse 31)

This verse seems to be the continuation of the previous verse, which stresses Jesus’ prophetic mission and more strongly associates Him with Islamic terminology and rituals. It also looks similar to the narrative of infant Mary’s depiction in Pseudo-Matthew chapter 6.

And (hath made me) dutiful toward her who bore me, and hath not made me arrogant, unblest. Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive! (verses 32-33)

These statements were most likely inserted here to set up a parallelism between Zechariah’s son and Jesus (compare these with the verses 13-15).

Such was Jesus, son of Mary: (this is) a statement of the truth concerning which they doubt. It befitteth not (the Majesty of) Allah that He should take unto Himself a son. Glory be to Him! When He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is. (verses 34-35)

These verses, which awkwardly disrupt the flow of Jesus’ speech, reveal Muhammad’s real aim in narrating these stories as well as altering them. He deemed it necessary to denounce Christians for calling Jesus the Son of Allah right after baby Jesus’ speech because he knew perfectly well that in the original version of the story baby Jesus identified Himself as the Son of God and God as His Father!

And lo! Allah is my Lord and your Lord. So serve Him. That is the right path. (verse 36)

In this verse, the author of Surah 19 returns to Jesus’ alleged speech in the cradle and makes Him deny His divinity in accordance with Muhammad’s heretical teachings. This speech is followed by the problematic verse that talks about the disagreement of the sects and a warning predicting the punishment of the unbelievers on the Day of Judgment:

But the parties differed among themselves; so woe to those who disbelieve, because of the meeting of a grievous day. (Sher Ali)

According to the chronology of the narrative in Surah 19, these parties, who reacted to infant Jesus’ speech, were the same people who accused Jesus’ mother Mary of fornication when she came to them with her baby. The discovery of this connection between verse 27 and 37 of the 19th chapter takes us one step closer to the solution of the mysterious reference to the differing parties. Since the account of Mary’s accusation by her folk occurs in Pseudo-Matthew and was plagiarized by Muhammad from there, we must go back to that particular account and read what actually took place after her people had accused Mary:

Then was assembled a multitude of people which could not be numbered, and Mary was brought to the temple. And the priests, and her relatives, and her parents wept, and said to Mary: Confess to the priests your sin, you that was like a dove in the temple of God, and received food from the hands of an angel. And again Joseph was summoned to the altar, and the water of drinking of the Lord was given him to drink. And when any one that had lied drank this water, and walked seven times round the altar, God used to show some sign in his face. When, therefore, Joseph had drunk in safety, and had walked round the altar seven times, no sign of sin appeared in him. Then all the priests, and the officers, and the people justified him, saying: Blessed are you, seeing that no charge has been found good against you. And they summoned Mary, and said: And what excuse can you have? Or what greater sign can appear in you than the conception of your womb, which betrays you? This only we require of you, that since Joseph is pure regarding you, you confess who it is that has beguiled you. For it is better that your confession should betray you, than that the wrath of God should set a mark on your face, and expose you in the midst of the people. Then Mary said, steadfastly and without trembling: O Lord God, King over all, who know all secrets, if there be any pollution in me, or any sin, or any evil desires, or unchastity, expose me in the sight of all the people, and make me an example of punishment to all. Thus saying, she went up to the altar of the Lord boldly, and drank the water of drinking, and walked round the altar seven times, and no spot was found in her. (Pseudo-Matthew chapter 12)

According to this account, which is missing from Surah 19 due to Muhammad’s unfaithfulness to the original text that he copied from, Mary and Joseph were tested and publicly cleared of all the charges of fornication and sinfulness. However, people found it more difficult to get rid of all their doubts concerning Mary’s innocence with regard to her miraculous pregnancy, which is related by Pseudo-Matthew in the same chapter of this non-canonical Gospel of Infancy:

And when all the people were in the utmost astonishment, seeing that she was with child, and that no sign had appeared in her face, they began to be disturbed among themselves by conflicting statements: some said that she was holy and unspotted, others that she was wicked and defiled. Then Mary, seeing that she was still suspected by the people, and that on that account she did not seem to them to be wholly cleared, said in the hearing of all, with a loud voice, As the Lord Adonai lives, the Lord of Hosts before whom I stand, I have not known man; but I am known by Him to whom from my earliest years I have devoted myself. And this vow I made to my God from my infancy, that I should remain unspotted in Him who created me, and I trust that I shall so live to Him alone, and serve Him alone; and in Him, as long as I shall live, will I remain unpolluted. Then they all began to kiss her feet and to embrace her knees, asking her to pardon them for their wicked suspicions. And she was led down to her house with exultation and joy by the people, and the priests, and all the virgins. And they cried out, and said: Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever, because He has manifested your holiness to all His people Israel. (Pseudo-Matthew 12)

The clash of the two evident facts that Mary was pregnant and that no sign of guilt or sin appeared in her face caused a division (faikhtalafa in the Arabic original of 19:37 and 43:65) among the numerous people who had come together (al-Ahzab in the Arabic original of 19:37 and 43:65) in the Temple to accuse her. This division, which arose from the conflicting statements of the group of people interrogating and testing Mary, bears a stunning and undeniable link to the differing sects or parties vaguely mentioned in Surah 19:37. This association strips the particular Qur’an verse of all its mysteries by answering the following questions:

  1. Who were the people that fell into variance?
  2. What was their disagreement about?
  3. Why did they have differing views?

With the help of the narrative quoted above, Surah 19:37 surprisingly gains meaning and clarity, which are missing from the traditional Islamic commentaries written by people who were either unaware of or chose to ignore the apparent connections between the non-canonical Gospels of Infancy and the narratives about Jesus in the Qur’an and had to fabricate ridiculous assertions through guesswork.

The only problem that made the discovery of these ties difficult was the misplacement of the clause talking about the differing groups in Surah 19. In the original story, the paragraph where the division of the people regarding Mary’s chastity is recounted is naturally attached to the account of Mary’s accusation by her folk due to her unexpected pregnancy. In Surah 19, however, the vague reference to the disagreeing parties occurs at the end of the narrative about Mary and Jesus and is placed right after infant Jesus’ miraculous speech. This difference is actually the only factor that prompts Muslim scholars to associate “the groups falling into variance” in Surah 19:37 particularly with Christians and conclude that the theme of disagreement was Jesus’ identity although the original story and its location in Pseudo-Matthew make it clear that the division was a result of the conflicting statements of the Israelites regarding Mary’s chastity.

Strikingly, the interpretation of Surah 19:37 in the light of the section in Pseudo-Matthew chapter 12 also accounts for and restores the missing textual coherence between Mary’s interrogation by her folk and infant Jesus’ immediate declaration of His prophetic ministry in Surah 19. In the new and twisted form of the story in the Qur’an we fail to find a link between Mary’s accusation by her people and infant Jesus’ first message delivered from the cradle although the aim of this miraculous speech is implied to address the doubts targeting Mary’s chastity. In the Quranic narrative, Mary does not answer the people who revile her with the charge of fornication, but directs them to her baby. However, infant Jesus neither defends Mary’s chastity nor proves her innocent and pure. Actually, He does not even say that He was born miraculously of a virgin mother or gives the reasons underlying the virgin birth.

The lack of this connection is rather natural if we remember once more that Muhammad copied the miracle of infant Jesus’ speech from the Arabic Gospel of Infancy, which does not relate any of the events that happened prior to Jesus’ birth and was recorded by Pseudo-Mathew. Muhammad’s awkwardly combining two independent non-canonical Christian writings for the production of Surah 19 and making an abrupt leap from Pseudo Matthew chapter 12 to the Arabic Gospel chapter 1 thus caused a shift in the theme of the story from Mary’s chastity to Jesus’ identity. This shift also necessitated the replacement of Mary’s folk (the Jews) in Pseudo-Matthew with Jesus’ followers (Christians) in the traditional commentaries on Surah 19:37. Still, the ties between Pseudo-Matthew chapter 12 and the parties falling into variance in verse 37 of chapter 19 were maintained in Ibn Kathir’s commentary:

... So a group of them -- who were the majority of the Jews (may Allah's curses be upon them) -- determined that he was a child of fornication and that his speaking in his cradle was merely sorcery. (Source)

While commenting on Surah 19:37, Ibn Kathir presented the Jews as the first of the many sects that fell into variance about Jesus and claimed that they considered Him a child of fornication. This assertion is significant in that it exhibits the effects of the thematic shift from Pseudo-Matthew chapter 12 (Mary’s folk accused of her fornication!) to the Arabic Gospel chapter 1 (Jesus’ first speech for His identification) in Surah 19 and Muslim scholars’ wish to associate Jesus’ first speech with His mother’s chastity.

In short, the problem in view and the erroneous Islamic legends with regard to the interpretation of Surah 19:37 owed their existence to the hasty combination of the two separate non-canonical writings and the accidental ascription of what was said about Mary in the first text to Jesus’ identity in the second. This mistake illustrates another example of the curse of the apocrypha on the Qur’an, particularly on Surah 19. Having ignored the textual coherence in each text, Muhammad thought that he would be able to combine two different Gospels of Infancy quite easily. The steps he followed in the process of combination and reconciliation of the two texts demonstrate how he was mistaken in that presumption and how his unfaithfulness to the original form of the narratives in the apocryphal writings that he plagiarized from gave birth to inconsistencies in the Qur’an.

The motives that prompted Muhammad to combine the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew with the Arabic Gospel of Infancy

While copying from the two Gospels of Infancy and distorting them for their adaptation to the Islamic ideology, Muhammad often fell into confusion. More, a number of factors contributed to his mistaken conclusions, taking the form of a chain of errors. After plagiarizing from the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, Muhammad deemed it crucial to incorporate the miracle of infant Jesus’ speech in the cradle (Arabic Gospel of Infancy chapter 1) into the Islamic version of the narrative about Jesus and Mary in Surah 19 because he considered this miracle inextricably bound to the fundamental Christian doctrines concerning Jesus’ identity and His birth. As the miraculous speech perfectly summarized what Christians believed and taught about Jesus, it immediately turned into a tool of bashing Christianity in Muhammad’s hands with the help of the simple modifications he applied to it. The fact that Jesus identifies Himself as the Son of God right after His miraculous birth in a Gospel relating both His nativity and infancy also reveals the root of the erroneous and silly association Muhammad drew between Jesus’ miraculous birth and His being the Son of God when he accused Christians of saying Allah took to Himself a son/child in the sense that Allah fathered Jesus through Mary’s pregnancy (Surah 19:35, Surah 19:88-92).

After copying the miracle of infant Jesus’ speech from the Arabic Gospel, Muhammad decided to locate it in the narrative about Mary and Jesus in Surah 19 right after verses 27-28, which related Mary’s accusation by her folk and were plagiarized from Pseudo-Matthew chapter 12. The major reason for the choice of this particular place was the textual link Muhammad or his mentor discovered between these two distinct Gospels of Infancy: both Pseudo-Matthew chapter 12 and Arabic Gospel of Infancy chapter 1 were followed by the account of Jesus’ birth. This made it easy for Muhammad to jump from one text to another for their combination.

Second, both Pseudo-Matthew chapter 12 and the Arabic Gospel chapter 1 had a few minor elements that provided thematic parallelism and made their combination reasonable and smooth. For instance, in the 12th chapter of the first Gospel the divine source of Mary’s pregnancy was manifested with the help of a sign whilst Jesus’ divine personality was manifested with the help of a sign in the first chapter of the second Gospel.

Even superficial similarities between the two sections would not escape Muhammad’s notice, who mostly reached hasty and mistaken conclusions.10 In both accounts the names Joseph and Mary occurred in association with Mary’s having a child in addition to the occurrence of the phrase “high priest”:

After these things there arose a great report that Mary was with child. And Joseph was seized by the officers of the temple, and brought along with Mary to the high priest.

We find what follows in the book of Joseph the high priest, who lived in the time of Christ. Some say that he is Caiaphas. He has said that Jesus spoke, and, indeed, when He was lying in His cradle said to Mary His mother: I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Logos, whom you have brought forth, as the Angel Gabriel announced to you …

Obviously, Muhammad failed to understand that Joseph the high priest in the Arabic Gospel was not the same person as Joseph mentioned in Pseudo-Matthew, but this confusion was not detrimental to him as it functioned to increase the number of similarities between the two texts. Similarly, the fact that Pseudo-Matthew chapter 12 recounted Mary’s interrogation by her people prior to Jesus’ birth in contrast to the Arabic Gospel chapter 1, which related Jesus’ speech after His birth, did not affect Muhammad a bit since he had already depicted Mary’s accusation by her folk in Surah 19 (verse 27-28) as an event happening after Jesus’ birth (verses 23-26) in contrast to Pseudo-Matthew’s chronology. To compare and contrast:

In Pseudo-Matthew

  1. Mary was visited by an angel and miraculously conceived Jesus. (Chapter 9)
  2. Mary was found to be with child and brought to the temple for interrogation. (Chapter 12)
  3. Mary was proven to be innocent and sinless regarding her pregnancy. (Chapter 12)
  4. Mary set out for Bethlehem and gave birth to Jesus in a cave near Bethlehem. (Chapter 13)
  5. Mary left Bethlehem for Egypt when King Herod wanted to have infant Jesus killed. (Chapter 17)
  6. On the third day of the journey to Egypt, Mary rested in the shade of a palm tree in the desert. Infant Jesus performed a miracle to provide fruit and water for His mother. (Chapter 20)

In the Qur’an (Surah 19)

  1. Mary was visited by a messenger of the Lord and miraculously conceived Jesus. (vv.19-21)
  2. Mary went to a distant place right after her conception. (v. 22)
  3. Mary sat under a palm tree when she was in labor. She was miraculously provided with fruit and water. (vv. 23-26)
  4. After the delivery, Mary returned to her folk with her baby. (v. 27)
  5. Mary’s folk accused her of having a baby through fornication. (vv. 27-28)
  6. Jesus miraculously spoke and designated Himself as a prophet of Allah. (vv. 29-30)

As a result of his distortion of Pseudo-Matthew’s chronology, Muhammad claimed that the miracle of Mary’s eating fresh fruit and drinking water under a palm tree coincided with her delivery and that Mary’s accusation by her people took place after Jesus’ birth. This faulty chronology most probably stemmed from Muhammad’s misreading Pseudo-Matthew’s text and accidentally construing the idiomatic expression “being with child” literally in the sense of Mary’s having a baby in her arms rather than in the sense of her pregnancy, that is, Mary’s having a baby in her womb. The other possibility is that Muhammad had to construe this idiomatic expression literally so as to adapt it to the peculiar chronology of the events he himself created.

Muhammad’s heavy plagiarism from the non-canonical Infancy Gospels and his tampering with the original chronology of the events in these writings are mostly reflected in the traditional Islamic commentaries. In a few cases, Muslim commentators testify to Muhammad’s plagiarism from such Christian writings when they try to give additional information and thus aim to clarify the vagueness of some narratives in the Qur’an with the help of further transfer from the same sources, but these additional stories are not exempt from Muhammad’s modification of the time of events. For instance, while commenting on Mary’s conception and pregnancy in Surah 19, Ibn Kathir reports the following information:

Muhammad bin Ishaq said, "When she conceived him and filled her water jug (at a well), she returned (to her people). After this, her menstrual bleeding ceased and she experienced what the pregnant woman experiences of sickness, hunger, change of color and there was even a change in the manner of her speech. After this, no people came to visit any house like they did the house of Zakariyya. …" (Source)

Muhammad bin Ishaq had to refer to Mary’s filling her water jug and associate it with her conception because he was most likely aware of the following verses in the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew:

And on the second day, while Mary was at the fountain to fill her pitcher, the angel of the Lord appeared to her, saying: Blessed are you, Mary; for in your womb you have prepared an habitation for the Lord. For, lo, the light from heaven shall come and dwell in you, and by means of you will shine over the whole world. (Chapter 9)

However, he changed the original chronology of this incident by presenting it as an event happening after Mary’s visitation by the angel and her conception. In short, Muhammad bin Ishaq imitated Muhammad bin Abdallah in terms of not only copying material from the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, but also distorting its chronological settings.

In some cases, particularly when there are differing opinions and reports about a Qur’an verse, some commentators again give answers that are affected by and partly compatible with the information given in Pseudo-Matthew’s Gospel. For example:

(And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a date palm.) This means that her pains of labor compelled her to go to the trunk of a date-palm tree that was at the place where she had secluded herself. The scholars differed over its location. As-Suddi said, "Her place of seclusion was to the east and that was where she would pray at the Sacred House of Jerusalem." Wahb bin Munabbih said, "She ran away and when she reached an area between Ash-Sham and Egypt, she was overcome by labor pains." (Source)

The only reason for a reference to an area close to Egypt in the tafsir above is the fact that in Pseudo-Matthew Chapter 20 Mary’s journey to Egypt is recounted. Of course, in the original narrative the reason for this journey is not Mary’s miraculous conception, but her leaving Israel because of King Herod’s wish to kill infant Jesus. Since Muhammad changed the order of events, he had to bind Mary’s departure to her conception and her sitting under a palm tree to her delivery! This drastic change in the original chronology of the events made the new version of the story in Surah 19 baffling and almost meaningless. Why did Mary’s time of being in labor necessarily coincide with her getting close to a palm tree? Where was that palm tree? Did being in labor make Mary hungry and thirsty? Did she have no food with her? Although Mary did not say that she was tired or hungry, why did Allah choose to provide for her fresh fruit and water? How could Mary shake a palm tree while in labor??? The narrative in the Qur’an fails to answer all these questions.

Another example concerns the source of the voice comforting Mary at the time of her delivery and heralding the miraculous provision of food and water for her:

The scholars of Tafsir have differed over the interpretation of who was calling out. Al-`Awfi and others reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, (Then cried unto her from below her,) "This is referring to Jibril because `Isa did not speak until she brought him to her people." Similarly, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Ad-Dahhak, `Amr bin Maymun, As-Suddi and Qatadah all said, "Verily, this is referring to the angel Jibril. " This means that he (Jibril) called out to her from the bottom of the valley. Mujahid said, (Then cried unto her from below her,) "This is referring to `Isa bin Maryam." Likewise, `Abdur-Razzaq reported from Ma`mar that Qatadah said that Al-Hasan said, "This is referring to her son (`Isa)." This is also one of the two opinions reported from Sa`id bin Jubayr -- that it was her son, `Isa, speaking. (Source)

Some scholars insisted that the voice belonged to Jesus because the original form of the story in Pseudo-Matthew attributed both the voice and the performance of this miracle to infant Jesus:

Then the child Jesus, with a joyful countenance, reposing in the bosom of His mother, said to the palm: O tree, bend your branches, and refresh my mother with your fruit. And immediately at these words the palm bent its top down to the very feet of the blessed Mary; and they gathered from it fruit, with which they were all refreshed. And after they had gathered all its fruit, it remained bent down, waiting the order to rise from Him who had commanded it to stoop. Then Jesus said to it: Raise yourself, O palm tree, and be strong, and be the companion of my trees, which are in the paradise of my Father; and open from your roots a vein of water which has been hid in the earth, and let the waters flow, so that we may be satisfied from you. And it rose up immediately, and at its root there began to come forth a spring of water exceedingly clear and cool and sparkling. (Pseudo-Matthew Chapter 20)

Some scholars, on the other hand, made efforts to replace infant Jesus with Gabriel because they knew that Jesus’ speaking in the bosom of her mother before or at the time of Mary’s delivery would seem abnormal in the Qur’an narrative. In other words, they were probably aware of the change Muhammad applied to the time of this event in Pseudo-Matthew and that this distortion would necessitate the attribution of the voice to someone else than infant Jesus. The only alternative they could come up with was Gabriel, whom they oddly claimed to have talked to Mary from beneath her! Why would Gabriel do that?

This interesting commentary enables us to detect another factor that helped Muhammad combine the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew Chapter 12 with the Arabic Gospel of Infancy chapter 1: compensating for the loss of the original material through its transfer to another place. Although in Pseudo-Matthew it was infant Jesus who spoke in the bosom of His mother under a palm tree and miraculously provided food and drink for her, Muhammad had to delete the reference to Jesus while writing Surah 19:23-26 since he had changed the time of this incident. In order to make up for this deletion, he claimed that Mary remained silent right after her delivery and that Jesus spoke to Mary’s people when she brought Him to them. Thus, infant Jesus’ speech and miracle in Pseudo-Matthew chapter 20 was moved from its original place and associated with infant Jesus’ miracle of speech in the Arabic Gospel.

In order to conclude the combination of Pseudo-Matthew with the Arabic Gospel, Muhammad had to return to the chapter preceding the account of Jesus’ birth in Pseudo-Matthew and copied the verses referring to the conflicting statements of Mary’s people concerning her chastity and innocence.11 Even though this section in Pseudo-Matthew had no thematic link to infant Jesus’ speech in the Arabic Gospel, Muhammad mistakenly attached it to the narrative about Mary and Jesus in Surah 19, disregarding the fact that its placement right after the verses referring to Jesus’ first speech would not make much sense. This was natural for Muhammad as he was a person who did not care about textual coherence of a chapter he devised, but gave priority to the adoption of a theme (people having conflicting views in Pseudo-Matthew 12) that was harmonious with a teaching highlighted in his book (Allah will judge people on the Day of Judgment in what they differ). The result was a mysterious verse from which sprung ridiculous commentaries.

Surah 43:65 came into existence because Surah 19:37 was accidentally copied into it when the statement about the differing sects was regarded as an indispensable and concluding part of Jesus’ speech. Since Surah 19:36 was transferred to Surah 43 in the form of verse 64, the careless transfer of Surah 19:37 to the same chapter inevitably gave birth to verse 65. As a consequence, the mistake in Surah 19 was repeated in Surah 43 when the reference to the differing parties recurred in association with Jesus’ message to the Children of Israel, but this time being detached from His first speech delivered right after His birth.

Finally, it must be noted that the reference to the disagreeing parties in both Surah 19:37 and 43:65 is preceded by the concluding statement of Jesus’ monotheistic speech:

And lo! Allah is my Lord and your Lord. So serve Him. That is the right path. (Surah 19:36 Pickthall)

Lo! Allah, He is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him. This is a right path. (Surah 43:64 Pickthall)

Although this statement recurs in Surah 3 in the narrative of Jesus’ prophetic ministry, it is followed by a verse that does not talk about the conflicting parties:

Lo! Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path. But when Jesus became conscious of their disbelief, he cried: Who will be my helpers in the cause of Allah? The disciples said: We will be Allah's helpers. We believe in Allah, and bear thou witness that we have surrendered (unto Him). (Surah 3:51-52 Pickthall)

Unlike Surah 19:37 and 43:65, Surah 3:52 refers to the disbelief of the Jews living in Jesus’ time, which is a teaching endorsed by the Bible. The reason underlying the lack of a reference to the disagreeing parties in Surah 3 is the fact that Muhammad did not follow the narrative in Pseudo-Matthew while devising this account, but plagiarized from the Gospel of James, another non-canonical Gospel of Infancy. Further, Muhammad did not relate the story of Mary’s accusation by her folk in Surah 3 since he skipped the parts where the events following the annunciation of Jesus’ birth and Mary’s pregnancy are narrated in the Gospel of James. Even if he had copied those narratives, he would not have talked about the disagreeing parties though, for that particular reference to the conflict of the groups is missing from the Gospel of James and peculiar to Pseudo-Matthew. This once more proves that Surah 19:37 was plagiarized by Muhammad from the account of Mary’s accusation by her folk in Pseudo-Matthew chapter 12 and misplaced at the end of infant Jesus’ miraculous speech due to the abrupt leap from the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew to the Arabic Gospel of the Savior’s Infancy in Surah 19.


The Islamic narratives about Mary and Jesus in the Qur’an exhibit Muhammad’s dependence on the popular non-canonical writings of Christianity and the problems stemming from his perversion of the original stories. The chain of mistakes that accompanied Muhammad in the process of his plagiarism made the innovated version of the accounts awkward and erroneous, turning the sources he abused into stumbling blocks that stood in his way and undermined his allegations regarding a divine and faultless revelation.

Muhammad’s indifference to the textual coherence of the apocryphal writings was coupled with his zeal to combine independent accounts and fathered irrelevant and baffling narratives in his scripture. When Islamic scholars failed to discover the original sources of the stories about Christianity in the Qur’an and their prophet’s peculiar strategy of distortion, they invented Islamic legends that were based on faulty claims and accusations, struggling to convey meaning to the vague Qur’an verses. Luckily, we still have access to these non-canonical writings of Christianity for a sound comparison, and with the help of these texts we can figure out how and why inconsistencies and obscurity made their way into the Islamic scripture.



1 Several of these articles will be referenced explicitly later in this paper.

2 I have already analyzed these stories, which were narrated in Ibn Kathir's commentary, in my article entitled “Cain and Abel in the Qur’an”.

3 The author of Surah 19 got his story messed up as he was weaving it together from different threads. We shall unravel the messed-up cords, and when we see the origin of each part, the whole will make sense.

4 The comparison of Surah 19:36-37 with Surah 43:64-65 proves that the latter verses were copied from the former chapter and later incorporated into Surah 43.

5 All the biblical quotes in this study come from the same edition.

6 Strikingly, nowhere in the Qur’an does Jesus say that He is the Word of Allah and a Spirit from Him.

7 This tendency to misinterpret and twist genuine Christian doctrines for the sake of the Qur’an and telling lies about Christianity so that the lies and absurdities in the Qur’an can be concealed is so common that it has almost taken the form of a psychological sickness. For instance, while commenting on Surah 3:55 and seeking the ways of explaining why Christianity has several discrepancies with Islam, Ibn Kathir sped up his lies to the point of claiming that Christians fast 40 days rather than 30 like Muslims because Constantine added 10 more days to the month of fasting due to a sin he committed! (*) In contrast to this blunt lie, Christianity has the fasting period of 40 days not because of Constantine, but because of Christ, who fasted 40 days in the wilderness after He had been baptized by John (Luke 4:2).

8 In my article entitled “Surah Mariam: The Curse of the Apocrypha” I have examined Muhammad’s heavy plagiarism and his modifications to the original stories in these two Gospels, which resulted in a funnily erroneous and awkward account.

9 These verses are quoted from Pickthall’s translation.

10 Due to his same talent he designated Jesus’ mother Mary as the Miriam of Exodus 15:20! See my article entitled The Anatomy of the Qur'an's Mistakes.

11 Accordingly, the idea that Allah was angry with the people who fell into variance and referred to them as “disbelievers” that would be punished on the Day of Judgment (Surah 19:37) may have targeted the Jews of Muhammad’s time that continued having doubts about Mary’s chastity. In Surah 4:156 Muhammad denounced Jews for “uttering a grievous calumny against Mary” (Yusuf Ali’s translation).

Articles by Masud Masihiyyen
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