Islamo-Biblica I

 

 

 

Islamo-Biblica I : Pre-Mosaic and other Anti-Diluvian Islamic sacred writings.

Stephen Lambden UCMerced,

In progress 1960s- 2017.

Last updated 14-03-2017.

Antediluvian and later Suhuf (‘scriptural pages’, Q. 20:133; 53:37; 74:52; 87:8–19).
Muslims believe in pre-Mosaic divine revelations to numerous prophets who lived between the time of Adam (prophet and the first man in Islam) and the biblical-qur’anic Moses. In the Qur’an and elsewhere, such writings are several times referred to as (pl.) suhuf (sing. sahifa), loosely, scriptural ‘leaves’, ‘pages’ or ‘scrolls’). This is succinctly expressed in the ‘History of Prophets and Kings’ of al-Tabarı (d. 923):

It is said that the leaves [s.uh.uf] which God revealed to Abraham were ten in number.I heard this [related] from . . . Abu Dharr al-Ghifarı: I asked, ‘O Messenger of God! How many books [kitab] did God reveal?’ He said, ‘One hundred and four books. To Adam he revealed ten leaves [saha`if], to Seth fifty leaves, and to Enoch thirty leaves. To Abraham he revealed ten leaves [saha`if] and also the Torah, the Injil, the Zabur, and the Furqan [= the Qur'an].’ I said, ‘O Messenger of God! What were the leaves of Abraham?’ He answered, ‘They were all proverbs . . . And they included parables.’ (al-Tabarı, Tarikh [1997] I:187; trans. Brinner, History II:130–1)

Numerous other Islamic sources register similar traditions which have something of a basis in the vast Jewish, Christian, Gnostic pseudepigraphical literature ascribed to pre-Mosaic figures. These include, for example, writings such as an Apocalypse and Testament of Adam, three or more books of Enoch and writings ascribed to Noah (the Sepher ha-Razim, ‘Book of Mysteries’) and Abraham (Sepher Yetsirah, ‘Book of Formation’). Islamic literatures ascribe many Arabic texts to these and other antediluvian figures as well as later sages and prophets. Most await translation and study.