The Quran and Gnostic Gospels


I found the comparisons of The Quran and Gnostic gospels strikingly similar.

The Quran says:

19:23 . . . [A]nd, when the pain of childbirth drove her to cling to the trunk of the palm tree, she exclaimed, ‘I wish I had been long dead and forgotten before all this!’ 24 but a voice cried to her from below, 'Do not worry: your Lord has provided a stream at your feet 25 and, if you shake the trunk of the palm tree towards you, it will deliver fresh ripe dates for you, 26 so eat, drink, be glad (Haleem)

Gospel of Pseudo—Matthew
Then the child Jesus, who was sitting with a happy countenance in his mother’s lap, said to the palm: ‘Bend down your branches, O tree, and refresh my mother with your fruit.’ And immediately at this command [voice] the palm bent down to the feet of the blessed Mary, and they gathered from its fruit and they all refreshed themselves . . . [Addressing the palm, Jesus says:] ‘And open beneath your roots a vein of water . . . and let the waters flow’ . . . And when they saw the fountain of water, they greatly rejoiced and quenched their thirst . . . (The New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 1, p. 463)

The Quran says:

19:29—31 The people said, ‘How shall we talk with him, who is but an infant in the cradle?’ Whereupon the child spoke out,** 'I am a servant of Allah: He has given me the Book and He has appointed me a Prophet, and He has made me blessed wherever I may be. He has enjoined upon me to offer Salat and give Zakat so long as I shall live**. (Sayyid Abul A’La Maududi, The Meaning of the Qur’an, vol. 3, p. 67)

The Arabic Infancy Gospel says:
We have found it recorded in the book of Josephus the Chief Priest, who was in the time of Christ (and men say that he was Caiaphas), that this man said that Jesus spake when He was in the cradle, and said to Mary His Mother, **‘Verily I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Word which thou hast borne, according as the angel Gabriel gave thee the good news; and My Father hath sent Me for the salvation of the world.’ **

The Quran says
By My leave, you **[Jesus] fashioned the shape of a bird out of clay, breathed into it, and it became, by My leave, a bird **

The Infancy Gospel of Thomas says:

2.1 [Jesus] made soft clay and modeled twelve sparrows from it . . . 4. **Jesus clapped his hands and cried to the sparrows, ‘Be gone.’ And the sparrows flew off chirping. **


The Arabic Infancy Gospel is one of the texts found in the New Testament apocrypha concerning the infancy of Jesus. It is was compiled in the sixth century, and was based on the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, and Protevangelium of James. It consists of three parts:

The birth of Jesus - based on the Protevangelium of James
Miracles during the Flight into Egypt - seemingly based on nothing more than local traditions
The miracles of Jesus as a boy - based on the Infancy Gospel of Thomas
It contains a number of embellishments on the earlier text, however, including a nappy (diaper) (of Jesus) that heals people, sweat (of Jesus) that turns into balm, curing leprosy, and dyeing cloth varied colours using only indigo dye. It also claims earlier encounters for Jesus with Judas Iscariot, and with the thieves whom he is later crucified with, as well as being one of the earliest documents.

According to the analysis of textual criticism, the text was originally written in Syriac, but became translated into Arabic, probably around the time that Christianity began to spread into the Arabian peninsula. the narrative of the Arabic Infancy Gospel, particularly the second part concerning the miracles in Egypt, can also be found in the Qur’an. According to some critical scholarship, its presence in the Qu’ran may be due to the influence the Gospel had amongst the Arabs. It is not known however that the Gospel was present in the Hejaz for this to have occured.


Also there are some comparisons from Jewish sources:

II TARGUM of Ester

At another time, when the heart of Solomon was gladdened with wine, he gave orders for the beasts of the land, the birds of the air, the creeping things of the earth, the demons from above and the Genii, to be brought, that they might dance around him, in order that all the kings waiting upon him might behold his grandeur. And all the royal scribes summoned by their names before him; in fact, all were there except the captives and prisoners and those in charge of them. Just then the Red-cock, enjoying itself, could not be found; and King Solomon said that they should seize and bring it by force, and indeed he sought to kill it. But just then the cock appeared in presence of the King, and said: O Lord, King of the earth! having applied thine ear, listen to my words. It is hardly three months since I made a firm resolution within me that I would not eat a crumb of bread, nor drink a drop of water until I had seen the whole world, and over it make my flight, saying to myself, I must know the city and the kingdom which is not subject to thee, my Lord King. Then I found the fortified city Qitor in the Eastern lands, and around it are stones of gold and silver in the streets plentiful as rubbish, and trees planted from the beginning of the world, and rivers to water it, flowing out of the garden of Eden. Many men are there wearing garlands from the garden close by. They shoot arrows, but cannot use the bow. They are ruled by a woman, called Queen of Sheba. Now if it please my Lord King, thy servant, having bound up my girdle, will set out for the fort Qitor in Sheba; and having “bound their Kings with chains and their Nobles with links of iron,” will bring them into thy presence. The proposal pleased the King, and the scribes prepared a dispatch, which was placed under the bird’s wing, and away it flew high up in the sky. It grew strong surrounded by a crowd of birds, and reached the Fort of Sheba. By chance the Queen of Sheba was out in the morning worshipping the sea; and the air being darkened by the multitude of birds, she became so alarmed as to rend her clothes in trouble and distress. Just then the Cock alighted by her, and she seeing the letter under its wing opened and read it as follows: “King Solomon sendeth to thee his salaam, and saith, The high and holy One hath set me over the beasts of the field, etc.; and the kings of the four Quarters send to ask after my welfare. Now if it please thee to come and ask after my welfare, I will set thee high above them all. But if it please thee not, I will send kings and armies against thee; - the beasts of the field are my people, the birds of the air my riders, the demons and genii thine enemies, – to imprison you, to slay and to feed upon you.” When the Queen of Sheba heard it, she again rent her garments, and sending for her Nobles asked their advice. They knew not Solomon, but advised her to send vessels by the sea, full of beautiful ornaments and gems, together with 6000 boys and girls in purple garments, who had all been born at the same moment; also to send a letter promising to visit him by the end of the year. It was a journey of seven years but she promised to come in three. When at last she came, Solomon sent a messenger shining in brilliant attire, like the morning dawn, to meet her. As they came together, she stepped from her carriage. “Why dost thou thus?” he asked. “Art thou not Solomon?” she said. “Nay, I am but a servant that standeth in his presence.” The queen at once addressed a parable to her followers in compliment to him, and then was led by him to the Court. Solomon hearing she had come, arose and sat down in the Palace of glass. When the Queen of Sheba saw it, she thought that the glass floor was water, and so in crossing over lifted up her garments. When Solomon seeing the hair about her legs, cried out to her: Thy beauty is the beauty of women, but thy hair is as the hair of men; hair is good in man, but in wonian It is not becoming. On this she said: My Lord, I have three enigmas to put to thee. If thou canst answer them, I shall know that thou art a wise man: but if not thou art like all around thee. When he had answered all three, she replied, astonished: Blessed be the Lord thy God, who hath placed thee on the throne that thou mightest rule with right and justice. And she gave to Solomon much gold and silver; and he to her whatsoever she desired.


Continued The Islam Surah of the Ant compared to Ester above.

Surah of the Ant (27.17et seq):

His armies were gathered together unto Solomon, consisting of Genii, men and birds, and they were kept back…Solomon smiled at the ant and said: O I,ord! may I do that which is right and well pleasing unto thee, so that thou introduce me amongst thy servants the righteous. And he viewed the birds and said, Why is it that I see not the Hudhud (Lapwing)? Is she among the absent ones? Truly I will chastise her with a severe chastisement, or will put her to death unless she bring a just excuse. Hut she did not wait long, and said, I have viewed a country that thou hast not seen: and I come unto thee from Saba with certain news. I found a female ruling over them, surrounded with every kind of possession, and having a magnificent Throne. I found her and her people worshipping the Sun apart from God. Satan hath made their deeds pleasant unto them, and hath turned them aside from the right way, and they are not rightly directed, – lest they should worship God who manifesteth that which is in heaven and earth, and knoweth what they conceal and what they discover. God! there is no God but he, the Lord of the great Throne! Solomon said: We shall see whether thou tellest the truth or art amongst the liars. Go with this my letter, and having delivered it to them turn aside, and see what answer they return. The Queen having received it, said: O ye Nobles! verily an honourable letter hath been delivered unto me. It is from Solomon. It is in the name of the Most Merciful God; “Rise not up against me; but come ye submissive unto me.” She said: O ye Nobles! advise me in the affair; I will not resolve upon it, until ye be witnesses thereof. They said: We are men of strength and of great prowess; but the matter belongeth unto thee: see therefore what thou wilt command. She said: Verily kings when they enter a city waste it, and abuse its most powerful inhabitants; and so will they do. But I will send gifts unto them, and wait to see what the messengers will return with. So when they went to Solomon, he said: Ah! do ye present me with wealth? Verily that which God hath given unto me is better than that which he hath given you, but ye do rejoice in your gifts. Return unto them; we will surely come unto them with an army which they cannot withstand, and we shall drive them thence humbled and contemptible. O ye Nobles (he continued), which of you will bring me her Throne, before they come submissive unto me? A giant of the Genii cried, I will bring it unto thee before thou gettest up from thy place, for I am strong in this, and to be trusted. And one who had knowledge of the Scriptures: I will bring it unto thee before the twinkling of thine eye. Now when (Solomon) saw it placed before him he said: This is a favour of my Lord, that he may try me whether I am grateful or ungrateful; he that Is grateful is grateful for his own benefit but he that is ungrateful, verily the Lord is rich and beneficent. And (Solomon) said: Alter her throne, that we may see whether she be rightly directed, or be amongst those who are not rightly directed. And when she came, it was said, Is this thy throne? She said, It is as if it were; and knowledge hath been bestowed upon us before this, and we are resigned (Unto God). But that which she worshipped besides had turned her aside, for she Was of an unbelieving people. It was said to her, Enter the Palace. And when she saw it, she imagined that it was a great surface of water, and she uncovered her legs, when (Solomon) Said, Verily it is a palace floored with glass. And she said, Truly I have done injury to my own soul, and I resign myself, along with Solomon, unto God, the Lord of all creatures. (Surah 27. 20-45).


And if you’d read a bit more, you’d see the Arabic Infancy Gospel didn’t actually exist in Arabic until after Muhammad’s time.

But what exactly are such posts supposed to prove? Since Muslims consider the Qur’an to be the word of God and the truth it’s not going to surprise us that there are some sources that agree with it. What would Christians have against such things? Does it not say at the end of the Gospel of John that there are many things that Jesus (as) did which haven’t been included, and that there was not enough space in the entire world to contain all the books needed to write everything Jesus (as) did? Considering this, how do you know Jesus (as) didn’t speak as a baby?


Arabic Gospel of the Infancy

The Arabic is a translation of a lost Syriac original. The work is a compilation and refers expressly to the “Book of Joseph Caiphas, the High-Priest”, the “Gospel of the Infancy”, and the “Perfect Gospel”. Some of its stories are derived from the Thomas Gospel, and others from a recension of the apocryphal Matthew.** However there are miracles, said to have occurred in Egypt, not found related in any other Gospel, spurious or genuine, among them the healings of leprosy through the water in which Jesus had been washed, and the cures effected through the garments He had worn.** **These have become familiar in pious legend. So also has the episode of the robbers Titus and Dumachus, into whose hands the Holy Family fell. Titus bribes Dumachus not to molest them; the Infant foretells that thirty years thence the thieves will be crucified with Him, Titus on His right and Dumachus on His left and that the former will accompany Him into paradise. The apocryphon abounds in allusions to characters in the real Gospels. Lipsius opines that the work as we have it is a Catholic retouching of a Gnostic compilation. It is impossible to ascertain its date, but it was probably composed before the Mohammedan era. It is very popular with the Syrian Nestorians. **An originally Arabic “History of Joseph the Carpenter” is published in Tischendorf’s collection of apocrypha. It describes St. Joseph’s death, related by Our Lord to His disciples. It is a tasteless and bombastic effort, and seems to date from about the fourth century.


Yes, in Syriac, and that’s only *possibly *before Muhammad (saaw), Arabic versions weren’t around until the late 7th Century.


Hi Kaddaveri the arabic infancy version was a translation from the Syriac version with added folklore.


I think the problem would generally be seen as, “how can the Koran, which is directly dictated, have literary dependency on prior texts?”

If the Koran drew on separate literary sources then it is hard to see-- at first glance-- how this squares with the specific theory of inspiration which Muslims have.

Do I make sense?


P.S. Do you think that if the Koran has literary dependence on another text that it would contradict the Muslim theory of inspiration?



Muhammed was quite shameless in what he stole from Judaism and Christianity. He was an illiterate man and it shows. He even paid Jews (and presumably Christians) for what they knew, and then lamented about having to pay them. This is in the Qur’an, by the by, I am not making this up. It is also supported by the ahadith.

The written form of [the] Qur’an is not even original. It was in use by poets, possibly of Yemeni origin, and who frequented Mecca along the trade routes. Later, one spoke out against Muhammed with typical poetic wit during the early Meccan years. He had her assassinated.

It took me a long time to track down verifiable historical facts from this era and establish – as much as possible – separate lines of evidence to support my conclusion: The Qur’an is a sham and Muhammed was a charlatan snake-oil salesman of religion to gain his own material advantage. TV evangelists have nothing on good old Mo.


P.S. Do you think that if the Koran has literary dependence on another text that it would contradict the Muslim theory of inspiration?

Good question!


Since, Muhammad lived in an oral society, culture. One could arguee that the stories were known orally at that time. Their inclusion in the Koran, could very well be a retelling of those oral stories.

The purpose of the thread as I see is to demonstrate that part of the koran, if not all of it, came from human sources.

The Origins and Sources of the Quran


But the New Testament contains the Truth whereas the Koran is riddled with lies.


Hi Kadavedi, I believe what is being said is that we Catholics wouldn’t touch those Gnostic sources with a ten foot pole. It’s the kiss of death to be tainted by them. That is why, we only accept the 4 gospels and the associated books in the NT. These NT books came to be accepted after a very long period of prayer, tradition, testing and research as what a Christian would take as reliable from those who came from the earilest period. Time, science and scholarship have shown that the Gnostic works were generally written later than they allege and they tried to pass themselves off as the original real deal. Besides, Gnostic works generally pass off some really bogus heretical ideas.


Exactly Daniel. From your link:

The word qaraa qaraaÿ is not an original Arabic word with the simple meaning “to read”. The verbal noun quran QurŸan itself is not found in Arabic writings prior to the quran QurŸan itself and it must be presumed that the word, if not original to the book, is at least contemporary with it. The most probable origin of the word is the Syriac Christian word qiryani meaning the “reading” of a scripture lesson from a lectern in a Church. This is very much the sense in which the word is used in the quran QurŸan and there can be little doubt that it is derived from Christian sources.

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