The Torah and the Koranby Rit Nosotro
Compare the Torah and the Koran for historical accuracy.
There are many holy books that religions are based on. Based on the Koran is the religion of Islam. Both Christianity and Judaism are based on the Torah. The Koran was written after the Torah, in the late 7th century, while much of the Torah was written at least 3,000 years ago. Both religions are based in Middle Eastern culture, but in different time periods. The Torah is written in third person, and the Koran is written from allegedly the point of God, who refers to Himself as “We.”
The Torah is written in a linear timeline. In the beginning there is Genesis, which tells of the beginning of the world and the happenings of the forefathers of the nation of Israel. It explains how they went to Egypt, which leads into the next book, Exodus. Exodus is the story of how the Children of Israel were released from their bondage in the land of Egypt. It includes the beginning of the giving of the Law. Leviticus is about the different laws that were given to Moses, who gave them to the Levites, keepers of the law and priests. The book of Numbers is basically a census of how many people there were in each tribe and how many men could fight. Deuteronomy is a summary of all that happened before. It summarizes how the law was given, and the law itself. It ends with the Children of Israel about to go into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua.
Koran means recitation. It is written in the order that the revelations were received. It was dictated by Mohammad, who was illiterate, to scribes. There are many different versions of the Koran. There are 114 sura, or chapters. Mohammad was forty years old when he received his first revelation. Whenever he went into a trance, scribes would write down what he said. The Koran was compiled after his death. It often seems unordered and disjointed.
As a mixture of Arabian paganism, Zoroastrianism, Jewish Mysticism, and Apocryphal Christian writings, the Koran contradicts itself several times. For instance, it says that Moses was at the time of Noah. It says that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the sister of Aaron. Aaron did have a sister named Mary, or Miriam, but she was not the mother of Jesus. Descriptions are contradictory in how Mohammed was called to be a prophet. It says that Mohammed was called by God, that he was called by the Holy Spirit, that he was called by angels, and that Gabriel called him. In some places Muslims are called to love ‘people of the book’, Christians and Jews, and in other places called to kill them. Mohammad's teachings contrast between Medina and Mecca.
In the Koran Abraham goes against his father leaving idols and such. But in the Torah it is Terah, Abraham’s father, who leaves Ur and goes toward Canaan. According to Jewish tradition, Terah was an idol maker. After Terah died, God called Abraham, then called Abram, away from his family, home, and all that was familiar. A significant theological difference is in which son of Abraham receives the promise. The Koran claims Ishmael rather than Isaac, as the Torah reports, receives God's blessing and is nearly sacrificed by Abraham.
In the Koran when one sins one is not sinning against God, but sinning against oneself. There were lesser sins and greater sins, each of which had different punishments. Part of the experience at Mecca is to throw pebbles at a pillar representing Satan who, Islam teaches, stays in the upper part of the nose. In the Torah one is sinning against God and himself. In order to redeem himself he must make a sacrifice to God. No matter how big or small the sin was, although in the end the punishment was death. In the Torah sin was a big deal. Three of the five books of the Torah have to do with the Law, blessings for obedience, and curses (or punishment) for disobedience.
In both the Koran and the Torah, when a woman was found in adultery, she would be stoned. However, the Koran is much harsher on the treatment of women and teaches there are more women in hell than men. In the Koran there needed to be four male witnesses, and only the woman was punished. Also in the Koran, if two men were found together, they would be given the chance to repent. If they did not repent, they would be mildly punished. In the Torah, if adultery was discovered, both the woman and the man were to be stoned. According to the Torah, if two men were caught in improper relations, both were to be stoned.
In the Torah, there are many Messianic prophecies. The Messiah was to be our atonement for sin. The first Messianic prophecy is in Genesis 3:15, where the serpent’s head would be crushed by the seed of the woman, and the serpent would bruise the heel of her seed. In the Koran, Jesus is referred to as a prophet, not the Messiah.1 In fact there is no messiah in the Koran, nor is there a stated need for one. Allah has no son; there is no savior, no atonement.
The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a different story with the same plot. Haman is mentioned as a sidekick of Pharaoh. Haman is not mentioned in the Torah; he is in the book of Esther. In the Koran, it is Pharaoh’s wife who draws Moses from the river. In the Torah it is Pharaoh’s daughter. The next dissimilarity (in the Koran) is when Moses comes across two men fighting, one of Moses’ religion, and the other, his enemy’s religion. Moses kills the foe. In the Torah, the Egyptian was beating the Hebrew slave when Moses kills the Egyptian. The next inconsistency is that when Moses flees to Midian. The Koran says that two women were watering their flock, while the Torah says there were seven women. According to the Koran, Jethro tells him that he can marry one of his daughters if he works for him for eight years. In the Torah, it simply says in Exodus 2:21, “Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage.” The idea of eight years sounds somewhat like what Jacob did for Rachel in the Torah.
There are curious astrological claims in the Koran. For example, Muhammad split the moon and the sun goes down under the waters of a muddy pond. The Torah and the Koran both despise the defilement of pigs and dogs. Mohammad's claimed whoever plays chess is the same as pig’s blood. When the Aiatolla Khomani came to power he tried to kill all dogs in the name of Islam.
The Torah and the Koran have many similarities, but are almost totally different. They both are based on Middle Eastern cultures. But Torah is based on Monotheism, and Koran is a semi-monotheistic book. Although they involve some of the main characters, they are viewed differently. In the Koran the men who were prophets were portrayed as knowing with full knowledge what they were doing. They trusted in God knowing that in the end everything would go their way. In the Torah, the men God chose to carry out his will were sinful doubters. They trusted God, but trusted themselves more. Yet even through all that God used them.
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ENDNOTES1 Surah 3: 40. When the angel said, "O Mary! verily God gives thee the glad tidings of a Word from him; his name shall be Messiah Jesus the son of Mary, regarded in this world and the next and of those whose place is nigh to God."
Surah 4: 156. Their saying, "Verily, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the apostle of God," . . . but they did not kill him.
Surah 4: 169. The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, is but the apostle of God and His Word, which He cast into Mary and a spirit from Him.
EL MESSIH.-This name, The Messiah, sometimes joined to that of Jesus and sometimes used by itself, occurs in the quran Koran eight times in the following passages:-
Surah 4: 170. The Messiah doth surely not disdain to be a servant of God, nor do the angels who are nigh to Him; and whosoever disdains His service and is too proud, He will gather them altogether to Himself.
Surah 5: 19. They misbelieve who say, "Verily God is the Messiah the son of Mary;" say, "Who has any hold on God, if he wished to destroy the Messiah the son of Mary, and his mother, and those who are on the earth altogether ?"
Surah 5: 76. They misbelieve who say, "Verily, God is the Messiah the son of Mary;" but the Messiah said, "O children of Israel! worship God, my Lord and your Lord."
Surah 5: 79. The Messiah the son of Mary is only a prophet: prophets before him have passed away; and his mother was a confessor; they both used to eat food.
Surah 9: 30. The Jews say Ezra is the son of God, and the Christians say that the Messiah is the son of God; that is what they say with their mouths, imitating the sayings of those who misbelieved before. God fight them ! how they lie !
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