This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.The Koran contains content of many different categories, from instructions on inheritance to descriptions of Paradise and Hell. However there are three types of content that are of interest to us here: fantastical stories, dubious stories, and secret histories.
Some of the stories related in the Koran seem too fantastical to believe. One such story is that of seven young men who hid in a cave to escape persecution. After awakening, they thought they had slept no more than a day. However, the Koran reports that,
"And they tarried in the Cave three hundred years, and to that they added nine more." (Koran 18:24)However, it must be remembered that since the Flood, no one has ever lived that long, at least no as has been recorded in either the Jewish o Christian literature. Moreover, Rodwell also note that "They entered the cavern under Decius and awoke in the time of Theodosius according to tradition; which cannot be reconciled with the number of years given in the text." (The Koran, J.M. Rodwell) There is also the story of when Jesus was first born and spoke to those who beheld Him,
"Mary pointed to the child then; but they said, 'How shall we speak to one who is still in the cradle, a little child [infant]?' He said, 'Lo, I am God's servant; God has given me the Book, and made me a Prophet." (Koran 19:30-31)A story that is not corroborated by any early Christian accounts or writing. The Koran also contains stories from apocryphal and forged gospels that have been rejected by the church and scholars alike. One such story if of a young Jesus forming a bird out of clay and giving it life.
"And He will teach him the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel, to be a Messenger to the Children of Israel saying, "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird, by the leave of God." (Koran 3:43)This story first appeared in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas which is of doubtful origin and of dubious nature. The Koran also includes what it describes as "secret histories."
"That is of the tiding's of the Unseen [one of the secret histories], that We reveal to thee; thou didst not know it, neither thy people, before this. So be patient; the issue ultimate is to the godfearing." (Koran 11:51)What is striking about this claim is that never before, in either the Jewish or Christian scriptures, does God reveal former histories to a prophet. All the histories we have in these scriptures are written by those who lived in those times and who had either first hand knowledge of what they wrote or at least heard of them from reputable sources. So why would God change now? Why would He now start filling in ancient histories with new revelations? It seems inconsistent with the nature of God and His previous revelations to mankind.
More to come...