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The spurious likeness which Mahometanism so scrupulously maintains with Judaism and Christianity, through all the features in which they have been hitherto compared together, may prepare us for the existence of a corresponding resemblance between the three religious systems, in the character and structure of their respective sacred books.
This particular analogy, like those which have preceded it, will, on more near investigation, be found to obtain just in the extent which we are authorized to expect, from the quality of the natural relationship between Isaac and Ishmael : the Bible being just so far successfully imitated by the Koran, as still sufficiently to keep alive the affinity, between the legitimate, and the spurious revelation.
Respecting this part of our subject, it is almost needless to repeat, that the whole of the resemblances to be considered are, from first to last, little else than studied and servile imitations: in which we are reminded of the divine original, only the more sensibly to perceive and feel, the gross disfigurements of its beauties, and the monstrous perversions of its truths, exhibited by the Koran.
At the same time it is unquestionable, that, in its general design and composition, as well as in its pretensions to inspiration, the latter volume presents a correspondence most circumstantial and extraordinary, with the Jewish and Christian Scriptures : a correspondence, at once, embracing several of the most prominent features of both Testaments, and descending to the minutest peculiarities of their order and distribution.
The groundwork of the proposed comparison has been laid by Mahomet himself: since it was in open and avowed imitation of Moses, and of the tables of the law, that the Arabian impostor pretended to have received, in the chapters of the Koran, a written revelation, sent down to him immediately from heaven. This pseudobible, he further constantly affirmed to have been modelled, by the Spirit of God, after the books of the Law and of the Gospel ; and to have been
revealed, in order to complete the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. And so far did his scheme of plagiarism carry him forward, in perfecting this branch of the analogy, that, as we have elsewhere remarked *, he even went the studied length of shutting up the chapters of the Koran in a coffer, which he styled the chest of his apostleship; professing to do so after the example of Moses, who, by divine commandment, had enclosed, in the ark of the Lord, the tables of his law.
The identity of character with the Jewish lawgiver, thus, from the outset, affected by Mahomet, in the putting forth of his pretended revelation, is followed up by a close and literal coincidence in the several titles, divisions, and subdivisions, technically applied, by the Jews, on the one hand, to the volume of the Old Testament, and by Mahomet and his followers, on the other hand, to the Koran.
These external features of agreement are specimens of Mahometan plagiarism, too palpable to have been let pass without animadversion, by preceding writers. Notice, accordingly, has been taken of them, in the dissertation of Mill t; and this part of the analogy between the Koran and
* Vol. I. p. 285. + De Mohammed. ante Mohamm. p. 361.
the Old Testament, has been very fully set forth by the learned English translator, in his Preliminary Discourse. We will submit the particulars in the words of Mr. Sale ; beginning with the title Koran.
“ The word Korán, derived from the verb karaa, to read, signifies, properly, in Arabic, the reading, or rather, that which ought to be read; by which name the Mohammedans denote, not only the entire book or volume of the Korân, but, also, any particular chapter or section of it: just as the Jews call either the whole Scripture, or any part of it, by the name of Karáh, or Mikra ; words of the same origin and import.
“ Besides this peculiar name, the Korân is also honoured with several appellations, common to other books of Scripture; as, Al Forkán, from the verb faraka, to divide or distinguish: in the same notion that the Jews use the word Perek, or Pirka, from the same root, to denote a section or portion of Scripture.
“ It is also called Al Mosháf, the Volume, and Al Kitâb, the Book, by way of eminence; which answers to the Biblia of the Greeks: and AL Dhikr, the admonition; which name is also given to the Pentateuch and Gospel.
“ The Korân is divided into 114 larger por