Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ramadan 2013 – Day 21, The Qur’an and the Prophet Musa (Moses)

Starting my look into how Islam records the life of Moses I quickly realized I had bitten off a bit more than I could chew. Moses is mentioned more in the Qur’an than anyone else, almost 300 passages mention him, which goes to show that he was clearly a very important Prophet to Muslims.

It would a lengthy process to type all the main passages into this post so I’ll just cover some highlights:

 Islam agrees with Biblical tradition that as a baby Moses was put in a basket and sent down the Nile River in order to prevent him from being killed by the Pharaoh. He was then adopted by one of the Pharaoh’s family.

 Moses killed an Egyptian who was beating an Israelite. This caused Moses to flee the area and become a shepherd, much like the Biblical account.

 The story of the burning bush is a bit different in Islam. Moses was lured to the area because he saw a fire and once he reached there Allah spoke to him. Allah did not take the form of fire nor did the fire speak to Moses.

 Like the Biblical account Allah sent various plagues to Egypt (I didn't do a comparison to see if all of the plagues were the same but locusts and frogs were there).

 The parting of the sea occurred to allow Moses and his followers to escape the Pharaoh’s army. The army was drowned when the sea closed in on them.

 The Israelites were punished by Allah to wander for 40 years

 The Qur’an states that Allah “ . . . wrote for him on the Tablets the lessons to be drawn from all things and the explanation of all things . . .” [7:145], which ties into the story of the Ten Commandments but the Qur’an does not state what was written on the tablets nor what number of statements were there. Thus I don't believe Muslims automatically assume it was 10 things. The Torah was reveled to Moses during his time wandering near Mount Sinai.

 Islamic tradition agrees with Biblical accounts that while Moses was away many of his followers started worshiping a statue of a calf, though it is not clear if the calf was golden -- I can’t find any reference specifically saying it was gold in the relevant passages. However, the calf was formed by melting “ornaments” carried by the people so it’s a reasonable assumption.

By and large the Qur’an agrees with much of the Biblical account. There are a few differences but in terms of the major items the differences appear minor (well, except for the Ten Commandments one, I'm sure many would consider that a big difference).


Anonymous said...

There are 613 "mitzvot" or commandments according to Judaism

Glen McKay said...

That must have been a lot of tablets for Moses to carry! (just kidding). It's strange then that the Bible states 10. As for Islam, one website pointed out that the 10 commandments are generally covered in one form or another in the Qur'an so the revelations to Musa likely covered the 10 and more.