In the Prophet’s day, numbers of Christians in Arabia were not only an ignorant people, but belonged to heretical Sects, which, on account of their dangerous influence, had been expelled from the Roman Empire, and thus had taken refuge beyond the border land. They had hardly any acquaintance with the Gospel or Apostolic writings, but were conversant with heretical books and the extravagant tales they contained. Now our argument is that Mohammed having but an imperfect knowledge of the Gospel, learned from these people, who were all around him, what he believed to be the purport of the New Testament. It was his object to establish a faith which should embrace and unite all races of the Peninsula, and the Christians among the rest. He therefore entered in the Koran very much of the teaching and vain imaginations of these ignorant sects. It is our object carefully to test whether this proposition is true, – that is, whether it be the case that such stories form one of the Sources of the Koran or not; and that we propose to make the subject of the pre sent chapter.
1. THE SEVEN SLEEPERS
– The tale as given in the Koran is quoted in full below.’ It is one of Greek origin to be found in a
Surah 18 8-26. Dost thou consider that the Companions of the Cave, and al Rakim, were one of our signs and a great miracle? When the young men took refuge in the Cave, they said, O Lord, grant us mercy from before Thee, and dispose our business for us to a right issue. Wherefore we struck their ears so that they slept in the Cave for a great number of years: then we awakened them….We will relate unto thee their history with truth. They were young men who had believed in their Lord; and we had abundantly directed them; and we fortified their hearts with constancy when they stood before the judge; and they said Our Lord is the Lord of heaven and earth; we will by no means call on any god besides him; for then we should surely utter an extravagance….And they said to one another, When ye shall separate yourselves from them, and from that which they worship besides God, then fly into the Cave: your Lord will pour his mercy upon you abundantly and dispose your business to advantage. And thou mightest have seen the sun, when it had risen to decline from their Cave to the right hand, and when it went down, to leave them on the left hand: and they were in the spacious part of the Cave. This was one of the signs of God….And thou wouldest have judged them to have been awake, while they were sleeping; and we caused them to turn themselves to the right hand and to the left. And their dog stretched forth his fore-legs in the mouth of the Cave; if thou hadst come suddenly upon them, verily thou wouldst have turned thy back and fled from them, and thou wouldst have been filled with fear at the sight of them. And so we awaked them out of their sleep, that they might ask questions of one another. One of them said, How long have ye tarried here? They answered, We have tarried a day, or part of a day. Others said: Your Lord best knoweth the time ye have tarried. And now send one of you with this your money into the City, and let him see which of its people hath the best and cheapest food, and let him bring you provision from him; and let him behave circumspectly, and not discover you to anyone. Verily, if they come up against you, they will stone you, or force you to return to their religion; and then shall you not prosper for ever. And so we made their people acquainted with what had happened to them….And they said, Erect a Chapel over them; their Lord best knoweth their condition…. Some say the Sleepers were three, and their dog was the fourth; others say they were five, and their dog the sixth, guessing at a secret matter; and others say they were Seven, and their dog the eigth.Say, My Lord best knoweth their numbers; none shall know them except a few. Wherefore dispute not concerning them, unless with a clear disputation, and ask not any (of the Christians) concerning them….And they remained in their Cave 300 years and 9 years over.
Latin work of Gregory of Tours,’ and may be described in brief as referring to the age of the Emperor Decius (249-251 A.D.), when Christians were terribly persecuted, and every endeavor made to destroy the Faith. To escape with their lives, seven men of Ephesus took refuge in a Cave near their city, and fell asleep for two hundred years, till the reign of Theodorus II. (447 A.D.). On awaking, one of them ventured into the City to see what in the interval had happened, and was overcome with amazement to find the Christian faith triumphant over all other religions. The Cross, once the sign of shame and disgrace, now the crown of the Emperor, and the mark of Empire; and nearly the whole people of the land turned Christians. All this is of course a mere story, composed no doubt to illustrate the rapidity with which, by the grace of the Holy Spirit and shedding of Martyrs’ blood, the Faith had gained ascendancy at the last. No Christian ever dreamt that the tale was true; but such as the nurse tells her children of “the cat and the mouse,” etc. But the Prophet has entered it with all gravity in the Koran for the instruction of his followers. Is it needful for us to add that such a tale could never have been placed by the Most High upon the heavenly Table, and from thence sent down to the Prophet; but was learned by him from some of the ignorant Christians around him?
2. HISTORY OF MARY
. The History of Mary. – In Surah Mariam we are told that after the birth of the Holy Child, the people came to her and said, O Mary, now hast thou done a strange thing; O sister of Aaron, thy father was not a bad man, neither was thy mother a wicked woman.(Surah 19:28-29) According to Mohammed, therefore, Mary (Miriam) was the sister of Aaron, Moses’ brother; which is all the plainer as elsewhere she is named Mary daughter of Imran (Surah 25:37) and again, We gave unto Moses the Book, and appointed him his brother Aaron as Vizier.(Surah 66:12, Surah 3:31) Hence it is clear that Imran, Moses, Aaron, and Mary (Mariam) are the same persons as are so named in the Torah – excepting only that in the Hebrew the name of the first is Amram; and in( Numbers 26. 59) we are told that “the name Of Amram’s wife was Jochebed the daughter of Levi, Who was born to Levi in Egypt, and she bare unto Amram, Aaron and Moses and Miriam their sister”; and also in( Exodus 15. 20) we read of “Miriam (Mary) the prophetess, the sister of Aaron.” Now looking to the words in the Koran above quoted: O Mary! O sister of Aaron, it is quite evident that Mohammed is speaking of Mary the sister of Aaron.” and daughter of Imran, as the same Mary who, some 1570 years after, became the mother of our blessed Savior! The Commentators have in vain endeavored to explain this marvelous confusion .of time and space. One attempt may be set down to the fabulous Jewish story regarding Mary the sister of Aaron, that “the angel of death had no power over her, that she passed away with the kiss of the Lord, and that no insect or worm could touch her person” — A strange conceit this: nor have any of the Jews ever said that she survived to the Christian era.
As regards Mary the mother of Jesus, we find many passages in the Koran opposed to the Four Gospels, and taken evidently from the Apocryphal writings of the heretical sects. For example, the following is from (Surah iii. vv. 31 and 32)
Then the wife of Imran said, O Lord, I have presented unto Thee that which is in my womb as dedicated to thy service. Accept it, therefore, from me; for thou art he that both heareth and knoweth. So when she was delivered of the child, she said, O I,ord, truly I have brought forth a female (and God knoweth what she had brought forth), and a male is not as a female. I have called her Mary; and I commend her unto thee, and her issue, against Satan the stoned one. Whereupon the Lord accepted her with a gracious acceptance, and caused her to bear art excellent offspring. And Zacharias took care of the child; and as often as Zacharias entered the chamber unto her, he found provisions laid beside her, and he said, O Mary, whence hast thou this? She answered, This is from God; for the Lord provideth for whom he pleaseth without measure.
We read also in Beidhawi and other Commentators that Imran’s wife, who was aged and barren, one day saw a bird feeding its little ones, and at once longed for a child herself, and cried: – O Lord, if thou wilt give me either a son or a daughter, I will present it unto Thee in the Temple,
thy Holy House. The Lord heard her prayer; she conceived and bore a daughter, whom she called Mary. Jelal ood Deen also tells us that some years after, Mary’s mother, called Hanna, taking the child to the Temple, made her over to the priests, who in their turn made her over to Zacharias to take care of; and he placed her in a chamber shut off from anyone else to enter. But the angels came there to tend and nourish her.
Again, we read in the same
Surah, vv. 37-42:Now when the angels said, O Mary, verily God hath chosen thee, and purified thee, and hath chosen thee over all the women of the world: O Mary, be devout towards thy Lord, and worship, and bow down with those who bow down. This is a secret history. We reveal it unto thee, although thou wast not present with them when they cast their rods as to which of them should have the education of Mary; nor wast thou with them when they strove among themselves. When the angels said, O Mary, verily God sendeth thee good tidings regarding the Word from himself; his name is Jesus the Messiah son of Mary honourable, in this world and in that to come, and one of those that approach nigh to the Almighty. And he shall speak unto men in the cradle, and when he is grown up, and he shall be one of the righteous. She said, Lord, how shall I have a son, since no man hath touched me. He said:– Thus the Lord createth that which he pleaseth. When he decreeth a thing, he but saith unto it, — Be, and it is.
The notice here given of the “casting of rods” is thus explained by Beidhawi and Jelal ood Deen. Zecharias with six and twenty other priests who sought to have the charge of Mary, went to the river, in order to choose which should be the favoured one, and cast their rods Into it. All sank but that of Zacharias, who thus became Mary’s guardian. Regarding all this we read in
Surah 19 vs. 16-31, as follows:
And in the Book make mention of Mary, when she retired from her people to a place towards the East, and took a veil, apart from them. And we sent unto her our Spirit, who appeared unto her as a real man. She said, I flee for refuge from thee unto the Merciful, if thou fearest the Lord. He answered:
Verily I am the Messenger of thy Lord that I may give unto thee a holy Son. She said, How shall I have a son, for no man hath touched me, and I am no harlot. He said, So shall it be. Thy Lord saith, This is easy with me, and we shall make him a sign unto mankind, and a mercy from us; for it is a thing decreed. Whereupon she conceived him, and retired with him (in her womb) to a distant place; and the pains of childbirth came upon her by the trunk of a palm-tree. She said, Would to God I had died before this, and had become a thing forgotten, lost in oblivion! And one from beneath her called out: Grieve not: verily thy Lord hath provided a rivulet under thee; and do thou shake the body of the palm-tree, and it shall Iet fall upon thee ripe dates ready gathered; so do thou eat and drink, and comfort thine eyes. Moreover, if thou’ seest any man, say, I have vowed a fast unto the Merciful, and I will speak to no man this day. So she came to her people, carrying the child in her arms.They said, O Mary, thou hast done a strange thing: O sister of Aaron, thy father was not a bad man, neither was thy mother a harlot. Then she made signs to the child. They said, – How shall we speak to an infant in the cradle? Whereupon the child said, Verily I am the servant of God: He hath given me the Book and hath made me a prophet.
Such, then, are the tales regarding the Virgin Mary which we find in the Koran and ancient Moslem Commentators. From whence did such strange fictions come? Clearly not from the true Gospel; but nearly all of them from the schismatic writings of ignorant men, spread abroad in ancient times amongst a people given to wild fictitious stories. To prove this, we now give full and satisfactory evidence. In the Protevangelium of James the Less, written in Hellenic Greek, we have the following:-
Anna looking upwards to the heavens, saw a sparrow in its nest, and sighed saying, O me! O me! Would it, vere the same with me. O me! to what thing am I alike? Not like unto the birds of heaven, for the birds of heaven are fruitful before thee, O Lord….And lo! an angel of the Lord from above spake thus unto her: Anna, Anna! the Lord God hath heard thy cry, and thy seed shall be spoken of over the whole earth. Anna said, As the Lord my God liveth, if a child, either male or female, be born unto me, I will offer it as a gift to the Lord my God, and it will be in his service all the days of its life….And when her full time had come in the ninth month, Anna was delivered….And she gave the breast to the child and called its name Mary.
In an Arabic apocryphal book, called the History of our holy Father the Aged, the Carpenter (Joseph), there is given the following account of Mary as a child. Her parents took her to the Temple when three years old, and she remained there nine years. Then when the Priests saw that the Holy Virgin had grown up, they spoke among themselves, – Let us call a righteous man, one that fears the Lord, to take charge of Mary till the time of her marriage, that she may not remain in the Temple. But before that time when her parents brought her, a new occasion had arisen, of which we read as follows in the Protevangelium:
The Priest accepted the child, and having kissed and blessed her, spake thus to her:– May the Lord glorify thy name over all the races on the face of the_earth. The Lord God will in the latter days manifest to thee the ransom of the house of Israel. And Mary remained like a dove in the Temple of the Lord, and received food at an angel’s hand. And when she was twelve years of age, the Priests came together saying:-See now, Mary is twelve years old, and still in the Temple of the Lord; what then shall we do with her?….And behold an angel of the Lord stood beside him and said: — Zacharias, Zacharias! come forth, and bring together all the widowers of thy people, and let each carry his rod, and whom the Lord God will signify, his wife shall she be. And the criers went over the whole land of Judea, and Proclaimed it by the trumpet of the Lord, and all flocked together; and Joseph also carrying his rod hurried to the Synagogue. So having come together, they went to the Priest, who, gathering all their rods, went into the Temple and prayed. Having finished the prayer, he came forth, and gave to each man his rod, but upon none of them was there any mark. Joseph’s rod came to him last of all. lo! a dove came out of the rod, and sat upon Joseph’s head. Then the Priest said to him: – Thou hast been chosen to take the Virgin of the Lord; take her therefore under thy protection…
And Mary, taking a pitcher went forth to fill it with water; and lo! a voice saying, – “Hail thou highly favoured one: the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.” And she looked to the right and to the left to see whence the voice came; trembling she returned to the house, and putting down the pitcher, sat upon her seat….And lo, the angel of the Lord from over her cried, “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with the Lord and shalt conceive by his word.” Mary hearing it~ became anxious in her soul, saying, Am I to conceive, as every woman doth, and bring forth? And the angel said unto her: – “Not thus, Mary, for the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore that Holy Child shall be called the Son of Highest, and thou shalt call his name Jesus”
Anyone reading the above will see that it gives a close account of Mary’s residence in the Holy Temple. We have pretty much the Same in other books, such as the following from the Coptic book on the Virgin Mary:-
Coptic History of the Virgin
When placed by Hanna in the Temple, Mary was fed there like the doves, as the angels of the Lord brought her food from the heavens. When she worshipped the Lord in the Temple, they did reverence to her, and often brought her fruit from the Tree of Life, which she did eat with cheerfulness. ….Mary
lived in the Temple, a pure and holy worshipper, till twelve years of age. She had been her first three years in her parents’ home, and nine years in the Temple. Then the Priests seeing that she was growing up a virtuous and God-fearing maiden, consulted together, saying:- “We must seek for a righteous God-fearing man to whom she may be given in marriage.” And so having summoned the tribe of Judah together, they chose twelve men according to the names of each of the twelve tribes of Israel, and the lot came out upon that good old man Joseph. (Story of
Then when she became with child, Mary was summoned with Joseph before the High priest, who thus addressed her:-O Mary, what is this thou hast done, and debased thy. soul: thou who in the Holy of holies feddest from the hand of an angel, and heardest their hymns what is this thou hast done? Weeping bitterly she answered:- By the living God I swear that I am pure before him and have known no man. (Protoevangelium)
After that we have the account of Joseph and Mary leaving Nazareth for Bethlehem, where they rested in a cave, and there Jesus was born:-
And Joseph having found a cavern, brought Mary into it…. And he tells us:– I looked up to the heavens, and saw the heavenly vault standing still, and the birds of the air trembling; then looking down upon the earth, I beheld a dish laid, and the workers sitting at meat around it, their hands therein, yet not taking out anything, or putting a morsel to their mouths, but their faces all looking upwards. And~I saw sheep being driven, but they stood still, and the shepherd raised his crook to strike them, but his hand remained raised. And by the bed of the river I saw kids with their mouths as it were touching the water, but stopped from drinking. All things in rear and alarm. 1
Referring now to what is told us in a quotation from the Koran given above, regarding Mary, the Palm-tree, etc., we give an extract from an apocryphal book called the
History of the Nativity of Mary and the Savior’s Infancy:-
Now on the third day after she had set out, Mary was wearied in the desert by the heat, and asked Joseph to rest for a little under the shade of a palm-tree. So he made haste and made her sit down beneath it. Then Mary looking up and seeing its branches laden with fruit, said, – I desire if It were possible to have some of that fruit. Joseph answered:– I wonder at what thou sayest, since thou must see how lofty the branches of the palm-tree are; and besides, I am anxious to get water. for all in my vessel is done, and there is none anywhere t to fill it with. Just then the child Jesus, looking up with a cheerful smile from his mother’s bosom, said to the palm-tree:– Send down thy branches here below, that my Mother may eat fresh fruit of thee. Forthwith it bent itself at Mary’s feet, and so they all ate of its fruit. When they had gathered all the fruit, it still remained bent, waiting for orders to arise. Then Jesus said:- O palm-tree, arise with cheerfulness, be one of my Father’s trees in Paradise; but with thy roots open the fountain beneath thee; and bring me here for my refreshment some of the water flowing from that fount. At once the tree became erect, and began to pour from its roots water beautifully clear and sweet before them. So when they saw the water, they were all filled with delight, and drank of it with their cattle, and servants, till they were satisfied and praised the Lord
Between this story, as told here and in the Koran, there is just this divergence, that with the latter the Palm-tree appears at the time of the Messiah’s birth, whereas this ancient Christian tale belongs to a somewhat later period, namely, after the journey of Joseph and Mary into Egypt.
3. The Childhood of Jesus. –
In the Koran webranches of the water, for all in about to fill it with a cheerful
are told that the angels, before the infant’s birth, thus addressed Mary:- And he shall speak to men in the cradle….And he shall say, Verily I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, for I shall make unto you of clay the figure as it were of a bird; then I will blow thereon and it shall become a bird, by permission of God.’ (Surah 3.41-43 )
And again in another Surah:-
When God said, O Jesus son of Mary! remember my favour towards thee, and towards thy Mother; when I strengthened thee by the Holy Spirit, that thou shouldest speak unto men
1. Protevangelium. It is remarkable that we have the same story repeated in the Rauzat al Ahbab regarding the birth of Mahomet himself
in the cradle, and when grown up; and when I taught thee the Book and wisdom, and the Torah, and the Gospel; and when thou createdst of clay as it were the figure of a bird by my permission, and didst breathe thereon, and by my permission it became a bird. And when thou didst heal one born blind, and the leper, by my permission; and didst raise up the dead by my permission; and when I held back the children of Israel from thee at the time thou camest unto them with evident miracles; and when such of them as believed not said, This is nothing but manifest sorcery. (Surah 5.119)
It need not be repeated that tales of our Saviour’s childhood such as these have nothing to do with the Gospel, but like those before of the cradle, palm-tree, etc., have been taken from imaginary and fabulous Christian writings, such as the following from a Greek story-book called
The Gospel of Thomas the Israelite:
The child Jesus, when five years of age, was playing on the road by a dirty stream of running water; and having brought it all together into ditches, immediately made it pure and clean; and all this by a single word. Then having moistened some earth, he made of it twelve sparrows. And it was the Sabbath day when he did these things. There were many other children playing with him. Now a Jew, seeing what Jesus did, that he
Was playing on the Sabbath day, forthwith went his way to his father Joseph; Behold, he Said, thy son is at the stream Of dirty water, and having taken up some mud, hath made of it twelve sparrows, and hath thus desecrated the Sabbath. On this Joseph went to the spot~ and cried out:- Why dost thou do these things on the Sabbath day which it is not lawful to do? Whereupon Jesus, clapping his hands at the sparrows, cried aloud to them, – Go off! So they, clucking, flew away. The Jews seeing it, were astonished, and went and told their Rulers what they had seen Jesus do.
in the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy, the whole story is found twice over, in Chapter 36, and again in a different form in Chapter 46, because the latter part of the book is taken from The Gospel of Thomas the Israelite.
In reference to the supposed fact that Jesus spoke when an infant in the cradle, we find it said in the Koran (Surah 19. 29-31) that when the Virgin Mary’s people reproached her, she pointed to Jesus, implying that they should ask him about the matter. And when they asked her, How can we speak to a child in the cradle? then Jesus answered them and said, Verily I am the servant of God, who hath given the Book, and made me a Prophet.
So also in the Gospel of the Infancy, Chapter 1 it is thus written:
In the Book of Josephus, High Priest, who lived in the time Of the Messiah (and men say he was Caiaphas), we find it said that Jesus spake when he was in the cradle, and called out to his mother Mary:- “Verily I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Word, whom thou hast given birth to according to the good tidings given thee by the Angel Gabriel, and my Father hath Sent me for the Salvation of the World.”
Now if we compare the above, taken from this ancient Arabic work on the Infancy of our Saviour, with the Koran, it will be at once apparent that Mohammed has adopted the story, with its very words, changed only so far as to bring them into accord with his own belief and teaching; and doubtless it was all taken from this ancient apocryphal treatise. Should anyone ask, How could this have been? – the answer is that this book of the Childhood was translated into Arabic from the Coptic original, and must have been known to the Prophet’s Coptic hand-maiden, Mary. From her he must have heard the tale, and believing it to have come from the Gospel, adopted it with some little change, and so entered it in the Koran. Now it is clear that such stories of infantile miracles are altogether opposed to what is written in the Gospel of St. John Chapter 2 regarding the turning of water into wine, where it is recorded that “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee and manifested forth his glory.” Jesus was then over thirty years of age; and it is clear that before this no miracle had been done by him. But all the miracles noted in the Koran, beyond what have been mentioned above, and that of the Table to be spoken of below, were undoubtedly true and beyond question, as they correspond with what we read of in the four Gospels.
4.The Heavenly Table
Now as to the Table, the following is the account given in the Koran (Surah 5. 112-115):-
When the Apostles said, O Jesus Son of Mary! is thy Lord able to cause a Table to descend unto us from heaven? He said, Fear God if ye be true believers. They answered, We desire to eat therefrom, and that our hearts may rest at ease, and may know that thou hast told us the truth, and that we may be witnesses thereof. Jesus Son of Mary said, O God our Lord! Cause a Table to descend unto us from heaven, that it may become an fed (day of festival) to the first of us and unto the last; and a sign from thee; and do thou provide food for us, for thou art the best Provider. God said, I will send it down unto you.
This miracle is not mentioned in any Christian book. So strange an imagination never could have had reality. but its origin is no doubt to be found in the Supper which Jesus partook of with his disciples the night before his death. This Lord’s Supper, which -has ever since been observed by Christians as a sacred ordinance according to Christ’s command, is described in each of the four Gospel’s. 1 It is also mentioned in (Luke 22. 30), where Jesus promises his disciples “that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”2
We pass on to other notices in the Koran regarding Jesus and his Mother, that we may observe the Sources from which they were derived. Thus, in Surah 5. 116: When God shall say unto Jesus at the last day, O Jesus Son of Mary! hast thou said unto men, Take me and my Mother for two gods, besides God? And again, in Surah 6. 169:-
O ye people of the Book! Exceed not the Just bounds in your religion; neither say of God other then the truth. Verily the Messiah Jesus Son of Mary is the apostle of God, and his Word which he placed in Mary, and a Spirit, from him.
Believe, therefore, in God and his apostles, and say not there are three (Gods); forbear this; it will be better for you. Verily God is one God. Far be it from him that he should have a son. To him belongeth whatever is in heaven and earth; and he is a sufficient advocate.
And once more, Surah 5.77
They are very unbelievers who say, God is the third of three; for there is no God but the one God. And if they refrain not from what they say, a dreadful torment shall surely be inflicted on such of them as disbelieve.
From these verses it is evident, as Jelal ood Deen and Yahya say, that the Prophet must have heard from some of the heretical Christian sects, that they held the Almighty to be three, namely, God, and Mary and Jesus; and to oppose this evil teaching, it is over and and again repeated in the Koran that God is one. Whoever may read the Torah and the Gospel must know that Unity of the Almighty is at the foundation of the Christian faith;- as we read in (Deut. 6 vs 4): – “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord”; a text quoted and enforced by Jesus himself, Mark 12 vs. 29. The godhead of Mary is held by no real Christian. It is, alas, true that several Churches do worship her, – which is nothing short of idolatry, and altogether opposed to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures; yet it is in accordance with what many of the heretical works contained regarding Mary; and from them no doubt Mohammed learned the strange story he has put in the Koran.
In Surah 4. 156 we find it written that the Jews said: We have slain Jesus son of Mary, the Apostle of God. Yet they slew him not, neither crucified him, but a Iikeness was given unto them……They did not really kill him; but God took him up unto himself; and God is mighty and wise. It need hardly be said that this doctrine of the Koran is entirely opposed to the writings of the Prophets and Apostles, but it is in agreement with the teaching of some of the early heretics. Thus the ancient writer Irenaeus tells us that Basilides, one of their chief men, held this view, for he wrote of Jesus as follows:-
1. Matthew 26,20-29; Mark 14. 17-25; Luke 26. 14-17; John 13. vs.l-30.
2 It is also possible that the dream of Peter in which food was sent down to him in a sheet may have originated the idea of the Table descending from heaven. it was, however, but a dream. Acts x. 9-16.
He suffered not; but Simon a Cyrenian was compelled to carry the cross for him; and he through error and ignorance was crucified, being transfigured by him, that it might be thought he was Jesus himself.
It is evident then that Mohammed learned this story as propagated by the disciples of Basilides; – a story every one must know to be opposed to the writings of the Prophets, who said that the Messiah would come as a sacrifice for the redemption of mankind; and to the testimony of the Apostles, who with their own eyes saw our blessed Redeemer on the cruss. Mohammed, however, failed to see that the object of this heretic was to hold up the vain imagination that Jesus was not clothed with manhood proper, but had only the semblance and not the reality of it. If so, it was not possible that he could have been born of the Virgin, and suffered on the cross; but that men were deceived into thinking that these things happened to him. Now all this heretical teaching is entirely opposed not only to the Gospel, but to the Koran itself. Accordingly, it did not become Mohammed to accept part of the wild imaginations of Basilides, and reject a part; for if the basis of a heretic’s teaching is false, how can the notions and doctrines derived therefrom be true? And yet we see that the Prophet did so, in accepting the vain imagination of the heretic as given in the verse of the Koran quoted above.