Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

From Jonah to Pharaoh?

Part I: What was the Sign of Jonah?

Masud Masihiyyen


Humanity still witnesses the battle between two great faiths: Islam and Christianity. Since the day it arose in Arabia, Islam has presented itself as a rival of Christianity and struggled to replace1 or at least to dominate it through different measures. A quick and basic comparison between Islam and Christianity shows that the latter is essentially connected to the Old Testament: the Christian scriptures (New Testament) reveal the amazing ties between what God said to Moses and Israel in both the Law and the Prophets and what Jesus said and did during His ministry on earth. Even in the first chapter of the first Gospel (Matthew) Jesus’ genealogy and His birth are narrated in association with the promises and prophecies recorded in the Old Testament. In some cases these connections go beyond predictions and appear in the form of typologies. Jesus’ statements and the fundamental Christian theology taught by the apostles in the New Testament function to display how Christ was prefigured in the Old Testament with the help of some characters and incidents.

Islam, on the other hand, does not have any theological ties with the teachings in the Holy Scriptures preceding it although it claims to be the final link in the chain of divine revelations to mankind.2 Even the few allegations in the Qur’an concerning the prediction of Muhammad’s ministry in the Bible (Surah 7:157, Surah 61:6) cannot be proven to this day since the Jewish and Christian scriptures do not contain anything about Muhammad or his supposed mission.3 This fact casts doubt upon the reliability and validity of the Islamic scripture and compels many Muslim scholars to defend it through allegations concerning the textual integrity of the Holy Bible. Despite having no evidence, Muslim scholars traditionally assert that both the Jewish and Christian scriptures4 are not in their original form today as they were textually tampered with and corrupted by men. This baseless assertion, of course, aims to answer the vital question why the teachings of the Qur’an are not in harmony with the former scriptures. Putting the blame on the Bible cannot save Muslim scholars from disgrace or the Qur’an from critique though since the author of the Qur’an repeatedly declares that the reason for the supposed revelation of the book is the confirmation, not the replacement or correction, of the Jewish and Christian scriptures (Surah 2:41, Surah 2:89, Surah 3:3, Surah 4:47, Surah 5:48, Surah 6:92, Surah 35:31).5

This impaired approach to the Holy Bible and the crisis stemming from it in the Islamic circles have caused a few Islamic speakers/writers to take a drastically different stance: attack and try to undermine the essential links between the Old and the New Testament through misinterpretation and distortion of the text. Some others, however, do not bother themselves with the statements and analogies in the Christian scripture, but focus on the Qur’an alone and invent pseudo-miracles/predictions from it through misinterpretation and every sort of distortion in their zeal to rival the Bible. Fabrication of hoaxes and pseudo-miracles in support of the Qur’an against the Bible and Christianity has become trendy since the second half of the last century.

The objections targeting the accuracy of the typological associations established by Jesus in the New Testament between Jonah and Himself under the title “sign of Jonah” exemplify certain Islamic scholars’ desire to dissociate the Old Testament from the New whilst the examination of the Quranic teaching that Pharaoh was made a sign by Allah reveals the root of a famous Islamic hoax related to the supposed preservation of Pharaoh’s body. Thus, Islam has the sign of Pharaoh versus the sign of Jonah in the Bible. Pharaoh’s and Jonah’s story will turn out to have interesting ties that date back to teachings found in the apocryphal Hebrew literature. My comparative study of both these signs will not only refute a pseudo-miracle ascribed to the author of the Qur’an, but will also illustrate another example of the Quranic author’s dependence on the non-biblical teachings of Judaism. 

The Sign of Jonah

In Christianity the Prophet Jonah is considered a remarkable figure related to Jesus and His greatest miracle. In two of the three synoptic Gospels, Jesus is seen as referring to the story of Jonah while responding to the people who demanded to see a mighty miracle from Him:

Then some of the experts in the law along with some Pharisees answered him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. (Matthew 12:38-40)

As the crowds were increasing, Jesus began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it looks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be a sign to this generation. (Luke 11:29-30)6

Despite the fact that in both cases Jesus draws a parallelism between Jonah and the Son of Man (an apocalyptic term pertaining to Christ), these statements are not identical in form as they employ the same theme from a different perspective. In Matthew Jesus’ analogy is precise and more informative as it explains in what regard the sign of Jonah and that of the Son of Man are affiliated: both these figures stay in a place not longer than three days. In Luke, on the other hand, Jesus only refers to Jonah as a sign given to the people of Nineveh and says that the Son of Man will likewise be a sign for the generation of His time.

The difference between Matthew and Luke regarding the form and content of Jesus’ analogy between Jonah and the Son of Man is obviously based on the Evangelists’ differing literary techniques and priorities. As these Evangelists were primarily concerned with the textual coherence of their respective texts, they did not have to write everything in identical form. Matthew chose to record Jesus’ detailed explanation of the parallelism between Jonah and the Son of Man and present it as a prediction of Jesus’ resurrection on the third day since he was the only Evangelist to narrate the Jewish authorities’ awareness of this prediction and their vain efforts to prevent the resurrection (Matthew 27:62-66). Luke, however, did not affiliate Jesus’ teaching on the sign of Jonah with the overt prediction of His resurrection and naturally did not repeat the narrative of the Jewish authorities’ getting Jesus’ tomb sealed until the third day of His death. Instead, Luke focused on the concept of being “a sign” and erected the analogy on this theme, basically reiterating his earlier reference to Jesus as a sign in 2:12 and 2:34.

According to Matthew, Jesus makes a second reference to the sign of Jonah when His adversaries demand a heavenly sign from Him on a different occasion:

Now when the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He said, “When evening comes you say, ‘It will be fair weather, because the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, because the sky is red and darkening.’ You know how to judge correctly the appearance of the sky, but you cannot evaluate the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” (Matthew 16:1-4)

This particular account does not exist in the Gospel of Luke, but is found in the Gospel of Mark:

Then the Pharisees came and began to argue with Jesus, asking for a sign from heaven to test him. Sighing deeply in his spirit he said, “Why does this generation look for a sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to this generation.” (Mark 8:11-12)

This comparative reading raises a seeming contradiction between Matthew and Mark: In the former Jesus mentions the sign of Jonah whereas in the latter He simply says that no sign will be given to that generation as if denying the connection He had established between Jonah and the Son of Man. The source of the discrepancy is Matthew’s adaptation of the narrative in the 16th chapter of his Gospel to Jesus’ earlier and detailed teaching in the 12th chapter. It is not difficult to guess that Jesus’ adversaries asked Him to perform a mighty and heavenly sign on different occasions (see John 6:30). Jesus sometimes needed to emphasize that He would never perform a miracle on request or in return for one’s faith. This doctrine was naturally recorded by Evangelist Mark, who was also the only inspired writer to state that people’s lack of faith sometimes prevented Jesus from working wonders:

Then Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, and among his relatives, and in his own house.” He was not able to do a miracle there, except to lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed because of their unbelief. Then he went around among the villages and taught. (Mark 6:4-6)

Besides, if Mark had copied the account in Matthew chapter 16, the reference to the sign of Jonah would look awkward in the text and not make much sense since in the preceding chapters of the Gospel of Mark there is no mention of Jonah’s story or his relation to the Son of Man. Although it is true that Mark 8:12 is the counterpart of Matthew 16:4, it is crucial to bear in mind that Matthew 12:38-42 has no equivalent in Mark. Actually, Matthew 16:4 is a natural extension of Matthew 12:39-40. This is why in the 16th chapter of his Gospel Matthew does not need to give detailed information on the sign of Jonah, but simply links Jesus’ brief statement to his previous explanation already recorded in chapter 12. In Mark no such link or repetition exists as Mark does not record the account in Matthew 12:38-42. Consequently, the outcome of a textual coherence is mistakenly considered a contradiction by the critics of the Bible.

Finally, we can ask the question why, of the four Evangelists, only Matthew and Luke wrote down Jesus’ analogy between Jonah and the Son of Man. The answer lies in the peculiar material chosen by each Gospel writer. For instance, John’s Gospel does not contain anything about Jonah and his sign, but this is rather natural when we remember that John focused on the relation between Moses and Jesus and even implied in the prologue that his Gospel would compare Moses with Jesus and the Law with the Logos (the Son) (1:18). Accordingly, we read in John that Jesus pointed out a typological connection between His crucifixion and the bronze serpent lifted by Moses in the desert (John 3:14). As for His resurrection on the third day, Jesus drew a parallelism between the Temple and His body (John 2:19-22), which is not directly linked to Moses, but fits John’s peculiar writing style and priorities: he laid emphasis on the reality of Jesus’ body in a few instances and identified the Logos’ incarnation right in the prologue as His putting up a tent among humans (John 1:14), which again reminds us of the Meeting Tent in Moses’ time (Exodus 25:8).

It is likewise by no means surprising to see that Mark did not incorporate into his Gospel the parallelism drawn by Jesus between Jonah and the Son of Man. As an Evangelist giving priority to Jesus’ miracles and presenting the least number of examples for the connection between the Old Testament and Jesus, Mark chose not to talk about Jonah or make an allusion to his story.

It is also noteworthy that Matthew and Luke chose to add Jesus’ specific teaching about the sign of Jonah into their Gospels because this was utterly relevant to a major theme frequently employed by both of them: the critique of the Jewish disbelief through the stunning contrast between the Gentiles and the elected nation of God (Israel) with regard to their faith and repentance. The same theme was also employed by Mark, who related how Jesus once healed the daughter of a foreign woman7 and showed that racial affiliation would neither guarantee nor prevent the divine mercy and grace (Mark 7:24:30). Matthew and Luke presented more examples for this fundamental doctrine. For instance, they both narrated Jesus’ healing the Roman centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10) in order to highlight a Gentile soldier’s faith in contrast to the lack of faith of many Jewish people. The addition of this miracle account into the Gospel by Matthew and Luke also formed a gender-based pair when combined with the narrative of Jesus’ miraculously healing the Gentile woman’s daughter.

Quite interestingly, the Hebrew Bible contains some accounts that endorse Jesus’ teaching concerning the salvation of the Gentiles through faith and repentance. Undoubtedly, the Book of Jonah is the foremost example as it recounts the story of an Israeli prophet sent to a Gentile nation and praises the faith and repentance of the non-Jewish believers. The people of Nineveh believed in Jonah’s words and repented although Jonah did not perform a miracle in public. Jesus’ overt reference to Jonah after the miracle demand of some disbelieving Jewish figures in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke is thus rather fitting and impressive for the intended contrast between the Gentiles and the Jews. Jesus’ discourse in Matthew and Luke, which aims at the denunciation of the Jewish disbelief, contains a reference not only to a Gentile nation (People of Nineveh), but also to a Gentile woman: the Queen of the South (Matthew 12:42, Luke 11:31). By giving two examples of remarkable Jewish figures from the Hebrew Bible (Prophet Jonah and King Solomon), Jesus again stresses that salvation through faith and repentance is open to both sexes from the Gentiles.

As an Evangelist attaching more significance to Jesus’ teachings on the equality of the two sexes and expanding on the theme of the contrast between the faith of the Gentiles and that of the Jews, Luke records that Jesus paid a visit to His hometown Nazareth right at the beginning of His prophetic ministry and referred to two major prophets from the Hebrew Bible (Elijah and Elisha) when people despised Him because He had performed mighty signs in Capernaum, a Gentile territory (Luke 4:16-30). In this narrative peculiar to Luke, Nazareth corresponds to the nation of Israel whilst Capernaum to the Gentiles, and the components of Jesus’ contrastive analogy in Luke 4:16-30 are amazingly associated with His discourse in Matthew 12:38-42 and Luke 11:29-32: two Biblical figures are mentioned, and the story of one of them is related to a Gentile woman. However, Jesus’ parallelisms in Matthew 12:38-42 and Luke 11:29-32 aim to show that the Son of Man is greater than Jonah and Solomon. Solomon was a wise King, but Jesus is the Wisdom of God and the heavenly King. Jesus is greater than Jonah because His death brought salvation to people. More, Jesus experienced death and came back to life in a real sense whereas Jonah’s staying in the belly of the fish only represented his death. This certain contrast would turn in the hands of some Muslim propagandists into a weapon of denying Jesus’ resurrection and the veracity of His death.8

Ahmed Deedat’s attack on the Sign of Jonah

The connection constructed by Jesus in the New Testament between Jonah and Himself with regard to the manifestation of a great sign has been the object of several distortion attempts by the followers of the Ahmadiyya (*) and certain Islamic speakers/writers who try to undermine the typological ties between Jonah’s story and Jesus’ resurrection. Ahmed Deedat, an Islamic propagandist famous for his (mis)interpretation of Jesus’ statements in the Gospels, wrote many articles to promote his fallacious argument that Jesus did not experience death and this was why His resurrection also never occurred. Deedat’s erroneous teachings were first declared by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of Ahmadiyya, a modern sect considered heretical by mainstream and traditional Islam.  This prophet and messiah of the Ahmadiyya sect held the doctrine that Jesus was truly crucified, but fell into a swoon instead of dying.

Although Ahmed Deedat was not a follower of Ahmadiyya, he delighted in defending and promoting similar views regarding the crucifixion. Deedat’s argument gained popularity mostly because it was based on the perversion of Jesus’ analogy between Jonah and the Son of Man in Matthew 12:40 through an erroneous interpretation. In his booklet entitled “What was the sign of Jonah?” Deedat reached the following conclusion: “If Jonah was alive for three days and three nights, then Jesus also ought to have been alive in the tomb as he himself had foretold!” (p. 6). Moreover, Deedat argued that the Christian tenet of Jesus’ bodily resurrection was a pure contradiction because it did not take into account the parallelism Jesus drew between Jonah and Himself:

Well, go to the book of Jonah. I brought the book of Jonah for you - one page by God - it is only one page in the whole Bible. This is the book of Jonah. Four short chapters. … So, according to the system of casting lots, Jonah was found to be the guilty man. And so they took him, and they threw him overboard. … From the fish’s belly, according to the book of Jonah, he cries to God for help. Do dead men pray? Do they pray? Dead people, do they pray? No! So he was alive. Three days and three nights the fish takes him around the ocean. Dead or alive? Alive. On the third day, walking on the seashore, I'm asking - dead or alive? Alive. What does Jesus say? He said, "For as Jonah was." Just like Jonah. "For as Jonah was, so shall the Son of Man be," referring to Himself. How was Jonah - dead or alive? Alive. How was Jesus for three days and three nights in the tomb according to the Christian belief? How was He? Dead or alive? Dead. He was dead according to our belief. In other words, He's unlike Jonah. Can't you see? (Source)

Of course, Christian apologists exposed Ahmed Deedat’s fallacious interpretation and dishonesty. For example, John Gilchrist wrote a rebuttal to Deedat’s booklet about the sign of Jonah and accused him of perverting the Gospel by reading into Jesus’ analogy:

Although Jesus had only said that the likeness between him and Jonah would be in the period of time they were each to undergo an internment - Jonah in a fish, Jesus in the heart of the earth - Deedat omits this qualifying reference and claims that Jesus must have been like Jonah in other ways as well, extending the likeness to include the living state of Jonah inside the fish. When Jesus' statement is read as a whole, however, it is quite clear that the likeness is confined to the time factor. As Jonah was three days and three nights in the stomach of the fish, so Jesus would be a similar period in the heart of the earth. One cannot stretch this further, as Deedat does, to say that as Jonah was ALIVE in the fish, so Jesus would be alive in the tomb. Jesus did not say this and such an interpretation does not arise from his saying but is read into it. (Source)

Ahmed Deedat indeed distorted the Gospel when he disregarded that Jesus’ parallelism was confined to the notion of staying in a place for the same length of time. In an effort to deny Jesus’ resurrection, Deedat closed his eyes to all the contrasts between Jonah and Jesus, the first contrast being present in Jesus’ statement: the place Jonah had spent three days in (belly of a huge fish) would not be identical with the place where the Son of Man would stay for three days (heart of the earth = grave). To further illustrate Deedat’s absurdities, we can focus on some other differences between these two figures:

  • Jonah preached to the People of Nineveh whereas the Son of Man preached in Israel.
  • Jonah was cast into the sea whereas the Son of man was crucified.
  • Jonah was beneath the water whereas the Son of Man was in a grave.

If we take Deedat’s faulty analogy one step further, we must conclude that not only Jesus, but also His grave was alive for three days! As the huge fish moved and then spew out Jonah, Jesus’ grave would also have to move and spew Him out on the third day!

More to the point, Ahmed Deedat either was unaware of or chose to ignore the fact that the Holy Bible explicitly pointed out Jonah’s death. According to the 2nd chapter of the Book of Jonah, which Deedat ironically advised Christians to consult, Jonah prayed and designated the belly of the fish as the belly of the Sheol, the underworld where the dead resided:

I called out to the Lord from my distress, and he answered me; from the belly of Sheol I cried out for help, and you heard my prayer. (Jonah 2:2)

Further, Jonah likened his descent into the belly of the fish beneath the waters to his soul’s imprisonment in the netherworld and in the pit of the dead:

I went down to the very bottoms of the mountains; the gates of the netherworld barred me in forever; but you brought me up from the Pit, O Lord, my God. (Jonah 2:6)

Obviously, the equation of Jonah’s voyage in the belly of the fish to his death resulted in the equation of his exit from the fish to his resurrection. Thus, the three days and nights spent by Jonah in the fish represented his death and constituted a typological affiliation between him and Jesus in regard to resurrection on the third day.

In addition to the Biblical data debunking Ahmed Deedat’s misinterpretation of Jesus’ utterance in Matthew 12:40, we also have evidence from non-canonical Jewish literature that Jonah was considered dead in the fish. For instance, in the Legend of the Jews Jonah is depicted as a person who went down to Sheol, and was later brought back to the land of the living:

Seeing that the Ninevites had undergone a real change of heart, God took mercy upon them, and pardoned them. Thereupon Jonah likewise felt encouraged to plead for himself with God, that He forgive him for his flight. God spoke to him: "Thou wast mindful of Mine honor," the prophet had not wanted to appear a liar, so that men's trust in God might not be shaken "and for this reason thou didst take to sea. Therefore did I deal mercifully with thee, and rescue thee from the bowels of Sheol." (Source)

The Legend also taught that Jonah entered Paradise alive because of the sufferings he experienced in the belly of the huge fish:

Jonah's suffering in the watery abyss had been so severe that by way of compensation of God exempted him from death: living he was permitted to enter Paradise. (Source)

Strikingly, the tendency to consider Jonah dead in the fish and treat the belly of the huge fish as his grave is perfectly expressed in the particular section of the Legend of the Jews where the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon is narrated. In this account the Queen tests King Solomon’s wisdom, and one of the riddles she challenges Solomon with is about Jonah and the fish. The answer given by Solomon shows that Jonah’s stay in the belly of the fish symbolized his death, which naturally turned the huge fish that swallowed him into his grave:

"The dead lived, the grave moved, and the dead prayed: what is that?" "The dead that lived and prayed, Jonah; and the fish, the moving grave." (Source)

In short, neither the biblical nor the traditional and apocryphal teachings about Jonah support the fallacious argument invented by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and promoted by Deedat and many others.

Jonah in the Qur’an

Islamic teachings about the Prophet Jonah in the Qur’an do not necessarily contradict the Biblical statements, and the differences mostly stem from the poor writing style of the Quranic author. In contrast to the detailed and organized form of the story in the Bible, the teachings given about the Prophet Jonah in the Qur’an are nothing more than the repetition of short and vague references that are not necessarily coherent. The name Jonah (Yunus in Arabic, which sounds closer to the Greek form in the Bible) occurs in the entire Qur’an five times in total, one of these being the name of the tenth chapter. In two of those verses, Jonah is reckoned with some of the former prophets (Surah 4:163, Surah 6:86). In Surah 10:98 the people Jonah preached to is accidentally designated as the people (tribe in the original language of the Qur’an) of Jonah although Jonah was Hebrew and did not preach to the Israelites.9 In Surah 21:87 and Surah 68:48 Jonah is identified as the “companion of the fish” and in the latter chapter he is given as an example that Muhammad should not take after in terms of patience.

The narrative about Jonah in chapter 37 is similar in content to and appears to be the summary of the Biblical story in the Book of Jonah:

And lo! Jonah verily was of those sent (to warn). When he fled unto the laden ship, And then drew lots and was of those rejected; And the fish swallowed him while he was blameworthy; And had he not been one of those who glorify (Allah) He would certainly have remained inside the Fish till the Day of Resurrection. Then We cast him on a desert shore while he was sick; And We caused a tree of gourd to grow above him; And We sent him to a hundred thousand (folk) or more.10 And they believed, therefore We gave them comfort for a while. (Surah 37:139-148 Pickthall)

The comparative reading of the verses related to Jonah in the Qur’an reveals that Muhammad incorporated into his scripture what he heard from the People of the Book about Jonah although he made a few minor mistakes and caused discrepancies in his personal version of the story. The only major element added to the Quranic edition is the teaching that Jonah was sick when Allah cast him to the shore. However, this allegation turns out to have been plagiarized from the apocryphal Jewish literature rather than being Muhammad’s invention. Although the biblical story does not say that Jonah was sick when the huge fish spewed him to the shore, the Quranic teaching is found in the Legend of the Jews in more details, proving that Muhammad took this claim from the non-biblical sayings of the Jews. To compare:

Then We cast him on a desert shore while he was sick. (Surah 137:145 Pickthall)

His sojourn in the inside of the fish the prophet could not easily dismiss from his mind, nor did it remain without visible consequences. The intense heat in the belly of the fish had consumed his garments, and made his hair fall out, and he was sore plagued by swarms of insects. (Source)11

Unsurprisingly, the accounts about Jonah in the Qur’an do not say anything about his being a sign for the people of Nineveh and do not establish a typological parallelism between him and Jesus. Still, the following verses in the Islamic scripture make it clear that Muhammad tended to consider Jonah’s staying in the belly of the fish equal to his death:

And the fish swallowed him while he was blameworthy; And had he not been one of those who glorify (Allah) He would have tarried in its belly till the day when they are raised. (Surah 137:142-144 Pickthall)

The apocalyptic tone of the statement equates the fish that Jonah stayed in to graves where people stay until the day of the resurrection. While talking of the state of death, the author of the Qur’an generally employs the word "tarry", which has the idea of staying in a place for a certain period of time (Surah 20:103, Surah 23:112, Surah 18:12). The above statement about Jonah thus describes his stay in the fish in the same terms and implies that Jonah actually came out of his grave when he repented. Consequently, even the Qur’an supports the Biblical understanding and undermines Ahmed Deedat’s teachings about Jonah’s state in the belly of the huge fish.

After examining the sign of Jonah in Christianity and debunking major Muslim polemics targeting it, we now proceed to the examination of an Islamic hoax related to Pharaoh. Accordingly, in the second part of our project we shall reveal the ties between Jonah and Pharaoh and seek answers to the question “What did the Qur’an mean when it referred to the sign of Pharaoh?”

Continue with Part II.


In the entire New Testament Jesus’ explicit reference to Prophet Jonah is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke, but apart from these overt references, a miracle account occurring with slight variations in all the synoptic Gospels illustrates an implicit parallelism between Jonah and Jesus. In the narrative of Jesus’ calming a storm, which is recorded by the three Evangelists (Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, Luke 8:22-25), Jesus keeps sleeping in the stern of the boat during a storm and His disciples awake Him in fear, asking Him to save them. This is obviously similar to the narrative in Jonah 1:4-6: Jonah, who is asleep during a storm, is awakened by the captain of the ship and asked to pray so that the storm can cease. This parallelism, however, does not change the fact that these two stories contain a major contrast: Jesus wakes up to miraculously calm the storm and reveal His authority over the sea and wind whereas Jonah wakes up to confess his guilt and convince the people that he must be cast into the sea if they want the storm to end. Thus, Jonah’s story signifies God’s authority over him whilst the miracle account in the Synoptic Gospels points out Jesus’ divine authority over nature.


1 This article deals with the Islamic argument that Christianity was meant to end through abrogation when Islam came.

2 The Islamic scripture has no theological ties with the Bible although most of its parts came into existence through the repetition of Biblical narratives. The reason underlying this discrepancy was Muhammad’s zeal to rewrite history and reshape the Biblical stories he had heard in accordance with his claims and invented religion/ideology.

3 There is no specific mention of Muhammad, but he is certainly included in the warnings about false prophets that are going to appear and about the deception of mankind that will happen in the end-times. See these articles: [1], [2]

4 The close connection between the Old and New Testament and the break between the Bible and the Qur’an can also be seen in the fact that the Christian Bible includes the Jewish Scriptures. We view them as essentially belonging together, while the former scriptures are NOT included in the Muslim revelation. They are not part of the Islamic scriptures. The continuation is only claimed, but in practice they are simply discarded.

5 Muslims scholars bafflingly believe that confirmation can go hand in hand with correction and replacement although it is obviously nothing but absurdity to suggest that it is possible to confirm a text having errors!

6 All Biblical references in this study come from the NET Bible online.

7 This female figure passed the test of faith given by Jesus Himself.

8 For the examination of a miracle account that occurs in all the Synoptic Gospels and bears strong allusions to Jonah’s story, please see the appendix.

9 For more information on this problem of the Qur’an, see this article.

10 This present form of the account gives the wrong impression that Jonah was sent to Nineveh after a gourd had grown above him. The writer plagiarizing the Biblical story and summarizing it obviously made a mistake and modified God’s direct words to Jonah in the Bible (4:11) to Allah’s supposed recitation to Muhammad.

11 It is not a coincidence that the growth of a gourd above Jonah is related to his being sick in Surah 37. This is also an element drawn from the Jewish legend, which reports that the gourd had the function of comforting Jonah in return for his sufferings.

Articles by Masud Masihiyyen
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