Pharaoh, Haman, Contradictions & The Qur'an

335 views
Skip to first unread message

M S M Saifullah

unread,
May 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/11/98
to

Assalamu-alaikum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

It has been quite sometime since I wrote a long piece of article on
soc.religion.islam. I started off with many articles which were on my mind
but could not finish most of them because of the lack of time/references.
During this time I also learnt quite a lot about Egyptology and a bit of
Hieroglyphic characters. But alhamdulillah, now I am well settled in Japan
and would be concentrating on writing up/finishing some of the articles.

Below is the full article concerning the Pharaoh, Haman and other issues.
This is a special article for me because I had spent a weeks running
around gathering the references when I was a student in University of
Cambridge.

The article can be seen at

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/5603/haman.html

Please let me know of any mistakes or corrections or typos etc.

Wassalam
Saifullah

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pharaoh, Haman, Contradictions & The Qur'an

This document is to establish the historical nature of some of the
statements made in the story of Moses(P) in Egypt in the Qur'an. To begin
with:

Pharaoh said: "O Chiefs! no god do I know for you but myself: therefore,O
Haman! light me a (kiln to bake bricks) out of clay, and build me a lofty
palace,
that I may mount up to the god of Moses: but as far as I am concerned, I think
(Moses) is a liar!" [Qur'an 28:38]

Pharaoh said: "O Haman! Build me a lofty palace, that I may attain the
ways and means- "The ways and means of (reaching) the heavens, and that I
may mount up to the god of Moses: But as far as I am concerned, I think
(Moses) is a liar!" [Qur'an 40:36-37]

We can clearly see the following historical statements emerging:

1.The Pharaoh as god,

2.Making the bricks out of clay,

3.Manner of addressing of the Pharaoh to the god by climbing up a
building/tower/staircase,

4.And lastly, Haman, who is depicted as a Master of Constructions.

All the above, except statement 2 requires the deep understanding of
Egyptology and Egyptian Hieroglyphs. The Bible does not provide
information regarding the above mentioned statements of historical nature
nor does any secular literature that we are aware of in Arabia during the
time of the Prophet(P).

Hieroglyphs: Its Rise & Fall
----------------------------

The Encylopedia Britannica states (Under Hieroglyph):

In the period of the 3rd dynasty (c. 2650-c. 2575 BC), many of
the principles of hieroglyphic writing were regularized. From
that time on, until the script was supplanted by an early
version of Coptic (about the 3rd and 4th centuries AD), the
system remained virtually unchanged. Even the number of signs
used remained constant at about 700 for more than 2,000 years.
With the rise of Christianity in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD
came the decline and ultimate demise not only of the ancient
Egyptian religion but of its hieroglyphics as well. The use,
by the Egyptian Christians, of an adapted form of the Greek
alphabet, caused a correspondingly widespread disuse of the
native Egyptian script. The last known use of hieroglyphics is
on an inscription dated AD 394. [1]

Further the discovery of Rosetta stone resulted in deciphering the
Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Encylopedia Britannica states (Under Hieroglyph):

The discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799 was to provide the
key to the final unlocking of the mystery. The stone was
inscribed with three different scripts: hieroglyphic, demotic,
and Greek. Based on the stone's own declaration, in the Greek
portion, that the text was identical in all three cases,
several significant advances were made in translation. A.I.
Silvestre de Sacy, a French scholar, and J.D. Akerblad, a
Swedish diplomat, succeeded in identifying a number of proper
names in the demotic text. Akerblad also correctly assigned
phonetic values to a few of the signs. An Englishman, Thomas
Young, correctly identified five of the hieroglyphics. The
full deciphering of the stone was accomplished by another
Frenchman, Jean-Françoise Champollion. He brought to the stone
a natural facility for languages (having, by age 16, become
proficient in six ancient Oriental languages as well as Greek
and Latin). By comparison of one sign with another, he was
able to determine the phonetic values of the hieroglyphics.
Later studies simply confirmed and refined Champollion's
work.[1]

Keeping the recent decipherment of Egyptian Hieroglyphs, let me deal with
the historical facts mentioned above one by one, inshallah.

The Pharaoh As God
------------------

The Qur'an elsewere says:

Then he (Pharaoh) collected (his men) and made a proclamation, Saying, "I
am your Lord, Most High". [Qur'an 79:23-24]

The Pharaoh was indeed a god in the ancient Egypt. Concerning Pharaoh, Nelson's
Illustrated Bible Dictionary says:

The Egyptians believed that he was a god and the keys to the
nation's relationship to the cosmic gods. While the Pharaoh
ruled, he was the son of Ra, the sun god and the incarnation
of Horus. he came from the gods with divine responsibility to
rule the land for them. His word was law, and he owned
everything. When the Pharaoh died, he became the god Osiris,
the ruler of the underworld..... [2]

Further Encylopedia Britannica elaborates (Under Pharaoh):

The Egyptians believed their Pharaoh to be a god, identifying
him with the sky god Horus and with the sun gods Re, Amon, and
Aton. Even after death the Pharaoh remained divine, becoming
transformed into Osiris, the father of Horus and god of the
dead, and passing on his sacred powers and position to the new
Pharaoh, his son. The Pharaoh's divine status was believed to
endow him with magical powers: his uraeus (the snake on his
crown) spat flames at his enemies, he was able to trample
thousands of the enemy on the battlefield, and he was
all-powerful, knowing everything and controlling nature and
fertility.

As a divine ruler, the Pharaoh was the preserver of the
god-given order, called ma'at. He owned a large portion of
Egypt's land and directed its use, was responsible for his
people's economic and spiritual welfare, and dispensed justice
to his subjects. His will was supreme, and he governed by
royal decree. [1]

Making The Bricks Out Of Clay
-----------------------------

A critical reader of the Qur'an would naturally ask a question: Were mud
bricks made and burnt in ancient Egypt? It is a well known fact, borne out
by archeological research, the mud bricks and baked bricks were
manufactured in the ancient Egypt. A J Spencer in his book Brick
Architecture In Ancient Egypt informs us:

The materials used in making bricks in Ancient Egypt were Nile
mud, chopped straw and sand. These were mixed in varying
quantities to produce bricks of different characteristics. The
commonest type of bricks consist of mud and chopped straw with
a small addition of sand, but varieties regularly occur which
made up of nothing but sand and gravelly desert soil. [[3], pp. 3]

It is believed that the art of brick making was imported into Egypt from
Mesopotamia to produce some very maginificient monuments.

Under the sub-section Burnt Bricks the author concludes:

From the foregoing, it must be concluded that burnt brick was
known in Egypt at all periods, but used only when its
durability would give particular advantage overs the mud
brick. [[3], pp. 141]

By 'all periods', the author means the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom and
the New Kingdom period of ancient Egypt. It is also interesting to observe
that the baked bricks were ordered to be made by the Pharaoh not the mud
bricks. The baked bricks, as it is well known, offers greater strength,
stability and durability in lofty structures than the mud bricks.

Manner Of Addressing Of Pharaoh To The Gods
-------------------------------------------

The desire to ascend to the gods in the sky was an article of ancient
Egyptian religion. The idea of the Pharaoh going up the laddar to reach
the God of Moses(P), is in consonance with the mythology of ancient Egypt.
The Pharaoh, asks the gods (or men) to construct a staircase or a tower to
climb and talk to the gods.

Standing before the gods, the Pharaoh shows his authority. He
orders them to construct a staircase so that he may climb to
the sky. If they do not obey him, they will have neither food
nor offerings. But the king takes one precaution. It is not he
himself, as an individual, who speaks, but the divine power:
"It is not I who say this to you, the gods, it is the Magic
who speaks".

When the Pharaoh completes his climb, magic at his feet "The
sky trembles", he asserts, "the earth shivers before me, for I
am a magician, I possess magic". It is also he who installs
the gods on their thrones, thus proving that the cosmos
recognizes his omnipotence. [[4], pp. 11]

In the Qur'an, the Pharaoh orders his close associate Haman to build a
sky-high tower in order to go up into the sky to see the God of Moses(P),
though in his hearts of hearts he believed that Moses(P) was a lying
sorcerer. Two explanations can be offered concerning this:

a.The Pharaoh knew of all other gods who 'served' him and the God of
Moses(P) was something he newly heard of. So he thought Moses(P) was a
liar.

b.The second one is the Islamic belief of where the God is. Moses(P)
might have told him of the existence of the God he worshipped. Hence the
Pharaoh wanted to talk to the God of Moses(P) in order to show that
Moses(P) was a liar.

And Allah knows best.

Haman & The Non-Muslim Scholars
-------------------------------

Controversy has prevailed since 1698 CE about the historicity of Haman,
who according to the Qur'an, was associated with the Court of Pharaoh to
whom Moses(P) was deputed as a Prophet by Almighty Allah. This was because
it was believed that the parts of the Qur'an were copied from the Bible.
The Encylopedia Of Islam which claims to have been prepared by a number of
leading Orientalists says:

Haman, name of the person whom the Kur'an associates with
Pharaoh, because of a still explained confusion with the
minister of Ahasuerus in the Biblical book of Esther. [[5], pp. 110]

After talking about the apparent 'confusion', Jeffery says about the
origin of the word 'Haman':

The probabilities are that the word came to the Arabs from
Jewish sources. [[6], pp. 284]

As stated above, the history of the 'confusion' goes back to 1698 CE. The
first Christian critic to enter the list was Marraccio, confessor to Pope
Innocent XI.

The English rendering of critical Note 1 on page 526 of Marraccio's Latin
translation of the Qur'an states:

Mahumet has mixed up Sacred stories. He took Haman as the
adviser of Pharaoh whereas in reality he was an adviser of
Ahaseures, King of Persia. He also thought that the Pharaoh
ordered construction for him of a lofty tower from the story
of the Tower of Babel. It is certain that in the Sacred
Scriptures there is no such story of the Pharaoh. Be that as
it may, he (Mahumet) has related a most incredible story.[7]

George Sale in his translation of the Qur'an (footnote 'h' on the page) states:

Haman! This name is given to Pharaoh's Chief Minister, from
which it is generally inferred that Muhammad has here made
Haman, the favourite of Ahasueres, King of Persia, and who
indisputably lived many ages after Moses, to be that Prophet's
contemporary. But how-probable-so-ever this mistake may seem
to us, it will be hard, if not possible to convince a
Muhammadan of it. [[8], pp. 239]

Professor Torrey believed that the Prophet Muhammad(P) drew upon the
Rabbanic legends of the Biblical book of Esther and even adpated the story
of the Tower of Babel (See pages 117 and 119 in [9])

On the mention of Haman, Professor Lammens states "the most glaring
anachronism" and "the confusion between Haman, minister of King Ahasuerus
and the minister of Moses' Pharaoh" (See page 39, [10])

Consequently, it is not surprising to find Christian missionaries lapping
up the information and mentioning it as a contradiction in the Qur'an.

Before that it is interesting to know the status of Esther as a 'revealed' book.

Haman & The Bible
-----------------

The mention of Haman in the Bible is in the story of Esther. Under Esther,
Book Of, Encylopedia Britannica states:

Old Testament book that belongs to the third section of the
Judaic biblical canon, known as the Ketuvim, or "Writings." In
the Jewish Bible, Esther follows Ecclesiastes and Lamentations
and is read on the festival of Purim (q.v.), which
commemorates the rescue of the Jews from Haman's plottings.
The Book of Esther is one of the Megillot, five scrolls read
on stated Jewish religious holidays. Esther appears between
Nehemiah and Job in the Protestant canon. In the Roman
Catholic canon, Esther appears between Judith and Job and
includes six chapters that are considered apocryphal in the
Jewish and Protestant traditions.

The book purports to explain how the feast of Purim came to be
celebrated by the Jews. Esther, the beautiful Jewish wife of
the Persian king Ahasuerus (Xerxes I), and her cousin Mordecai
persuade the king to retract an order for the general
annihilation of Jews throughout the empire. The massacre had
been plotted by the king's chief minister, Haman, and the date
decided by casting lots (purim). Instead, Haman was hanged on
the gallows he built for Mordecai; and on the day planned for
their annihilation, the Jews destroyed their enemies.
According to the Book of Esther, the feast of Purim was
established to celebrate that day, but this explanation is
surely legendary. There is nothing close to a consensus,
however, as to what historical event provided the basis for
the story. The book may have been composed as late as the
first half of the 2nd century BC, though the origin of the
Purim festival could date to the Babylonian exile (6th century
BC).

The secular character of the Book of Esther (the divine name
is never mentioned) and its strong nationalistic overtones
made its admission into the biblical canon highly questionable
for both Jews and Christians. Apparently in response to the
conspicuous absence of any reference to God in the book, the
redactors (editors) of its Greek translation in the Septuagint
interspersed many additional verses throughout the text that
demonstrate Esther's and Mordecai's religious devotion. These
so-called Additions to the Book of Esther do not appear in the
Hebrew Bible, are treated as canonical in Roman Catholic
Bibles, and are placed in the Apocrypha in Protestant Bibles.
[1]

It is not suprising to see that some fifty years ago, C C Torrey, writing
about the Book of Esther, asked on the pages of Harvard Theological
Review:

Why is there no Greek translation of the Hebrew text? Every
other book of the Hebrew Bible, whatever its nature, has its
faithful rendering (at least one, often several) in Greek. For
the canonical Esther, on the contrary, no such version is
extant, nor is there evidence that one ever existed.[ [11], pp. 1]

It is common knowledge that the extant Greek versions of Esther are
textually distant from the Hebrew Masoretic version. Very recently it has
been suggested that the Slavonic book of Esther may have been translated
from the lost Greek test. [12]

Concerning the Greek Additions To Esther (Biblical Literature and Its
Critical Interpretation), Encylopedia Britannica states:

The Hebrew Book of Esther had a religious and social value to
the Jews during the time of Greek and Roman anti-Semitism,
though the Hebrew short story did not directly mention God's
intervention in history--and even God himself is not named. To
bring the canonical book up-to-date in connection with
contemporary anti-Semitism and to stress the religious meaning
of the story, additions were made in its Greek translation.
These Greek additions are:

(1) the dream of Mordecai (Esther's uncle), a symbolic vision
written in the spirit of apocalyptic literature;

(2) the edict of King Artaxerxes (considered by some to be
Artaxerxes II, but more probably Xerxes) against the Jews,
containing arguments taken from classical anti-Semitism;

(3) the prayers of Mordecai and of Esther, containing
apologies for what is said in the Book of Esther--Mordecai
saying that he refused to bow before Haman (the grand vizier)
because he is flesh and blood and Esther saying that she
strongly detests her forced marriage with the heathen king;

(4) a description of Esther's audience with the King, during
which the King's mood was favourably changed when he saw that
Esther had fallen down in a faint;

(5) the decree of Artaxerxes on behalf of the Jews, in which
Haman is called a Macedonian who plotted against the King to
transfer the kingdom of Persia to the Macedonians; and

(6) the interpretation of Mordecai's dream and a colophon
(inscription at the end of a manuscript with publication
facts), where the date, namely, "the fourth year of the reign
of Ptolemy and Cleopatra" (i.e., 114 BCE), is given. This
indicates that the additions in the Greek Esther were written
in Egypt under the rule of the Ptolemies. [1]

Again under Myth And Legend In The Persian Period (Judaism), Encylopedia
Britannica mentions:

The principal monument of Jewish story in the Persian period
is the biblical Book of Esther, and this is basically the
Judaized version of a Persian novella about the shrewdness of
harem queens. The story was adapted to account for a popular
festival named Purim, but this is probably a
transmogrification of the Persian New Year. Such leading
elements of the tale as the parade of Mordecai through the
streets dressed in royal robes, the fight between the Jews and
their adversaries, and the hanging of Haman and his sons seem,
indeed, to reflect customs associated with that occasion,
viz., the ceremonial ride of a common citizen through the
capital, the mock combat between two teams representing Old
Year and New Year, and the execution of the Old Year in
effigy.[1]

Neither the Jews nor the Christians have been happy with the Book Of
Esther in the Canon of Holy Scripture. Its status was hotly debated by the
rabbies all through the first two centuries AD, and they obviously
accepted it only because of the masses. Among Christians also there was
question about its status. Martin Luther declared that he wished it did
not exist.

A few conclusions can be immediately drawn:

i.Surprisingly, the 'inspired book' of Esther from God does not
mention God at all! No wonder the characteristics of this book is secular.


ii.As to the historical evidence for this story and hence Haman, we
have not seen it yet. The only thing available is that the chronological
and other data conflict in the identification of the Xerxes.

iii.The story is considered to be legendary and secular.

iv.The Jewish story of Esther is borrowed from Persian novella and its
contents reflect the customs associated with the Persians which got
Judiased.

v.Above all, this book has got some additions to it which do not
appear in the Hebrew Bible, but are treated as canonical in Roman Catholic
Bibles, and are placed in the Apocrypha in the Protestant Bible.

Now it is obvious that the book of Esther can not be trusted as a book
revealed by God since it has no mention of the God, the Most High. The
nature of its contents are dubious. Some scholars doubt about its
authenticity. Using this dubious book, Christian missionaries are calling
Haman as a contradiction in the Qur'an! The example that is parroted can
be seen at:

http://www.answering-islam.org.uk/Quran/Contra/qbhc09.html

So, the book of Esther is something which cannot be used as a useful
document of history, either Babylonian or Egyptian.

Who Is This Haman?
------------------

Dr. Maurice Bucaille narrates an interesting discussion he had with one of
the most prominent French Egyptologists:

I showed him the word Haman that I had copied exactly like it
is written in the Qur'an, and told him that it had been
extracted from a sentence of a document dating back to the 7th
century, the sentence related to somebody connected with
Egyptian history.

He said to me that, in such a case, he would see in this word
the transliteration of a hieroglyphic name but, for him,
undoubtedly it could not be possible that a written document
of the 7th century had contained a hieroglyphic name - unknown
until that time - since, in that time, the hieroglyphs had
been totally forgotten.

In order to confirm his deduction about the name, he advised
me to consult the Dictionary of Personal Names of the New
Kingdom by Ranke... I was stupefied to read the profession of
Haman: "The Chief of the workers in stone-quarries,"
exactly what could be deduced from the Qur'an, though the
words of the Pharaoh suggest a master of construction.

I came again to the expert with a photocopy of the page of the
Dictionary concerning Haman and showed him one of the pages of
the Qur'an... he was speechless...

Moreover, Ranke had noted, as a reference, a book published in
1906 by the Egyptologist Walter Wreszinski: the latter had
mentioned that the name of Haman had been engraved on a stela
kept at the Hof-Museum of Vienna (Austria). [[13], pp. 192-193]

And he went on to say:

Several years later, when I was able to read the profession of
written in hieroglyphs on the stela, I observed that the
determinative joined to the name had emphasized the importance
of the intimate of Pharaoh. [[13], pp. 193]

It is clear from the stela that Haman was the intimate of Pharaoh as the
Qur'an describes it. So, Haman is a historical figure from ancient Egypt.
However, non-Muslim scholars have claimed that Haman is unknown to
Egyptian history.

We will reverse the question and apply it to the Bible:

"Haman occurs in the (Qur'anic story) in Egypt, 1,100 before the story of
Esther. Haman is not a Babylonian name but Egyptian."

The reference to Haman in the story of Esther in the Bible is an anachronism.

Conclusions
-----------

In this article we have tried to show the historicity of various
statements concerning Egypt in the Qur'an. This includes the role of the
Pharaoh in Egyptian society as god, his manner of addressing other gods,
the person Haman and the use of bricks in Egyptian construction.

It is also worth noting that the issue of Haman provides a death-blow to
the Bible-borrowing theory of the Qur'an. If hieroglyphs were long dead
and the Book of Esther had a doubtible history then from where Prophet
Muhammad(P) was getting his information? The Qur'an answers:

Your Companion is neither astray nor being misled. Nor does he say
(aught) of (his own) Desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to
him. He was taught by one mighty in Power. [Qur'an 53:2 - 5]

It is interesting to know that the meaning of ayah i.e., verse of the
Qur'an is a sign and a proof. The existence of Haman and other facts
concerning ancient Egypt in the Qur'an suggests a special reflection.

There is more information that needs to be researched concerning
Egyptology in the Qur'an. We will be updating the information on this page
as soon as new references are obtained, inshallah.

And Allah knows best.

References
----------

[1] Britannica Online: Encylopedia Britannica On The World Wide Web.

[2] Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary: 1986, General Editor, Herbert
Lockyer, Sr., Consulting Editors, F.F. Bruce et al., Thomas Nelson
Publishers.

[3] Brick Architecture In Ancient Egypt: 1979, A J Spencer, Aris &
Phillips Ltd., UK.

[4] Egyptian Magic: 1985, Christian Jacq (Translated By Janet M Davis),
Aris & Phillips Ltd. (In the UK) & Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Chicago
(In the USA).

[5] Encylopedia Of Islam (New Edition): 1971, Edited by B Lewis, V L
Menage, Ch. Pellat & J Schacht, Volume III, E J Brill (Leiden) & Luzac &
Co. (London).

[6] The Foreign Vocabulary Of The Qur'an: 1938, Arthur Jeffery, Oriental
Institute, Baroda.

[7] Alcoranus Textus Universus: 1698, Ludwig Marroccio (Confessor to the
Pope Innocent XI), Published at Paduae, Italy.

[8] The Koran: 1825, Volume II, George Sale, London.

[9] Jewish Foundation Of Islam: 1933, C C Torrey, New York.

[10] Islam: Beliefs & Institutions: 1929, H Lammens (Translated From
French By Sir E Denison Ross), Methuen & Co. Ltd., London.

[11] The Older Book of Esther: 1944, C C Torrey, Harvard Theological
Review, 37, pp. 1-40.

[12] The Slavonic Book Of Esther: Translation From Hebrew Or Evidence For
A Lost Greek Text?: 1994, Horace G Lunt & Moshe Taube, Harvard Theological
Review, 87, pp. 347.

[13] Moses and Pharaoh: The Hebrews in Egypt: 1995, Dr. M. Bucaille, NTT
Mediascope Inc., Tokyo.

--
Dr. M S M Saifullah NTT Basic Research Laboratories
'Islamic Awareness' http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/5603/

Jochen Katz

unread,
May 12, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/12/98
to

Occasionally Saifullah writes some useful articles.

This one had some very good information in it.
However, it contained some strange lapses of logic as well.
And I am interested in exact references to some claims.

Strangly, the first response I wrote was rejected by the moderator.
How can a discussion of an issue of the Sources of the Qur'an
be not relevant to Islam? The overall issue here is if Muhammad
confused the Haman of Ataxerxes with the story of Moses and
Pharaoh and created a 1,100 year anachronism. Saifullah proposes
a solution to this problem. I am going to show that even though
he has some interesting ideas and information, there are some
problems with his conclusions. I hope that makes it relevant
enough...


In article <6j72jn$g...@usenet.srv.cis.pitt.edu>,

sa...@aecl.ntt.co.jp (M S M Saifullah) writes:

} Who Is This Haman?
} ------------------

This is the essence of Saifullah's argument in defense of the
"Qur'anic Haman", so let's be really careful here.

} Dr. Maurice Bucaille narrates an interesting discussion he had with one of
} the most prominent French Egyptologists:

Who is this "most prominent" egyptologist? Is it only Saifullah
who has accidentally forgotten to state the name, or does Bucaille
withhold this name as well so that we cannot follow up on the claim
by asking that man directly?

Given that you quote from

} [13] Moses and Pharaoh: The Hebrews in Egypt: 1995, Dr. M. Bucaille, NTT
} Mediascope Inc., Tokyo.

this man has a chance to still be alive and we might be able to
do some asking. :-) How about that? Who is it? I don't have
Bucaille's book. You tell us.

} I showed him the word Haman that I had copied exactly like it
} is written in the Qur'an, and told him that it had been
} extracted from a sentence of a document dating back to the 7th
} century, the sentence related to somebody connected with
} Egyptian history.

AD of BC? 7th century AD could already be dependent on the Qur'an,
i.e. no independent witness certainly to something that happened
2000 years earlier.

But also 7th century BC is 500 - 700 years away from the time
of Moses and Pharaoh (depending on the chronology you want to accept).
Is this really such a strong confirmation of the Qur'anic "Haman" who
lives supposedly as Moses' time according to several passages in the
Qur'an?

You titled this part of your posting "Who Is This Haman?"
obviously refering to the Haman of the Qur'an, since you conclude
later:

} It is clear from the stela that Haman was the intimate of Pharaoh as the
} Qur'an describes it. So, Haman is a historical figure from ancient Egypt.

But if the stela refers to the 7th century BC then "this Haman" was
certainly NOT the intimate of the Pharaoh which is mentioned in the
Qur'an. But who will be so pedantic to care about some 500 years?

Let's go on...

} He said to me that, in such a case, he would see in this word
} the transliteration of a hieroglyphic name but, for him,
} undoubtedly it could not be possible that a written document
} of the 7th century had contained a hieroglyphic name - unknown
} until that time - since, in that time, the hieroglyphs had
} been totally forgotten.

The hieroglyphs had been forgotten. That is true, but that doesn't
mean that the stories that were written in hieroglyphic signs
were necessarily also forgotten. You live in Japan, you will probably
learn a few Chinese characters while you are there, but if you don't
keep practicing, you will forget them very soon again. But you might
still remember some of the stories and names associated with them
that you have heard while in Japan. Do I have to tell you that the
Middle East has quite an oral culture?

Usually you are quick to praise this oral culture as a strong argument
for the transmission of the Qur'an. Well, other stories got transmitted
too. Even if they were not written anywhere, or if we have not found
written documents of them.

} In order to confirm his deduction about the name, he advised
} me to consult the Dictionary of Personal Names of the New
} Kingdom by Ranke... I was stupefied to read the profession of
} Haman: "The Chief of the workers in stone-quarries,"
} exactly what could be deduced from the Qur'an, though the
} words of the Pharaoh suggest a master of construction.
}
} I came again to the expert with a photocopy of the page of the
} Dictionary concerning Haman and showed him one of the pages of
} the Qur'an... he was speechless...

Now, here comes my main and essential question ...

I searched the world library catalog for 'Ranke & Egypt' and got
22 entries. None of them look even remotely like the title


"Dictionary of Personal Names" of the New Kingdom by Ranke.

I also searched for 'Ranke & dictionary' and there was NO entry
at all.

Quite suspicious. So far, we have the reference to an ANONYMOUS
egyptologist, and a reference to an UNFINDABLE book. Herman
Ranke is an Egyptologist, that is true, but no such title is
listed in either English or German or French (the languages he
has published in).

} Moreover, Ranke had noted, as a reference, a book published in
} 1906 by the Egyptologist Walter Wreszinski: the latter had
} mentioned that the name of Haman had been engraved on a stela
} kept at the Hof-Museum of Vienna (Austria). [[13], pp. 192-193]

Wreszinski is an egyptologist, but none of his books found via the
world catalog is listed as published in 1906, in fact, it seems the
earliest book published by this author is from 1909. Given that he
was born in 1880, it would be possible but surprising if he already
published being only 26 years old.

For both of the above, I want to see *exact* bibliographical
references, i.e. title, publisher, page number, so that we can
check out this core argument of your posting.

Not that I don't trust Saifullah to quote and reference well,
but what use is his careful quote of a claim that cannot be
substantiated? Maurice Bucaille is not noted for careful
scholarship particularly in his more famous book of "The Bible,
The Qur'an and Science." You may have a look at the critique of
this book at

http://answering-islam.org/Campbell/contents.html

Or otherwise, I might have to expand my list on shoddy
referencing in books and articles in Muslim polemics.
My main list of this so far has mainly Misha'al Al-Kadhi
on it and is displayed at

http://answering-islam.org.uk/Responses/Al-Kadhi/verify.html

but I wouldn't mind adding Saifullah and Bucaille to this one
or rather start a new page with links to unverifiable claims
from other authors in Muslim polemical writings in the effort
of buttressing the claims about the Qur'an.

} And he went on to say:
}
} Several years later, when I was able to read the profession of
} written in hieroglyphs on the stela, I observed that the
} determinative joined to the name had emphasized the importance
} of the intimate of Pharaoh. [[13], pp. 193]
}
} It is clear from the stela that Haman was the intimate of Pharaoh as the
} Qur'an describes it. So, Haman is a historical figure from ancient Egypt.
} However, non-Muslim scholars have claimed that Haman is unknown to
} Egyptian history.


Summary of my questions:

Which pharaoh? I.e. what time does this stela refer to?
What is the relationship of that Pharaoh to the Pharaoh of
Moses?

Could you please make clear references available? Does Bucaille
give references? I.e. exact bibliography and page numbers? I
would like to check out these references for obvious reasons.

If the book does NOT contain the references or the name of this
egyptologist, you might consider writing to the publisher of
the book with the question that Bucaille give you his references
more exactly. You use his claim, you should make sure they are
for real.


I am sure you know, making false claims that collapse is worse
than not making claims at all ...

You also had something to say about the following:

} Haman & The Bible
} -----------------
}
} The mention of Haman in the Bible is in the story of Esther. Under Esther,
} Book Of, Encylopedia Britannica states:


long snip ...

} Neither the Jews nor the Christians have been happy with the Book Of
} Esther in the Canon of Holy Scripture.

THE Jews and THE Christians is a bit exaggerated, eh?
Some have debated it, that is true, but that doesn't warrant
the generalization that all of them "in general" have been
unhappy. After all, given that it is included shows the
consensus of its canonical status was finally reached.

Discussing reasons why it should be canonical lead too far
afield and are too irrelevant for the purpose of SRI.

} A few conclusions can be immediately drawn:

...

} Now it is obvious that the book of Esther can not be trusted as a book
} revealed by God since it has no mention of the God, the Most High.

"since it has no mention of the God"?
Who says that God HAS TO always talk about himself?
Strange reasoning.

} The
} nature of its contents are dubious. Some scholars doubt about its
} authenticity.

Some scholars have also many and substantial doubts about the
Qur'an. Is everything to be made subject to "some scholars'
opinion"? You want me to quote some dubious Qur'anic content
to put the whole issue in some perspective?

} Using this dubious book, Christian missionaries are calling
} Haman as a contradiction in the Qur'an!

} So, the book of Esther is something which cannot be used as a useful


} document of history, either Babylonian or Egyptian.

Wow. Listen to yourself.

EVEN if one would not consider it revelation, that doesn't mean
it cannot be a useful document from history. That is your main
fallacy.

Nearly all the sources of history we have are not considered any
god's revelation. Something can very well be of great historical
value without being revelation. I happen to accept the canon of
scripture as it is, so it is also inspired scripture for me, but
you are making an enormous jump of logic here which is plain wrong.

But I understand that you try to established "dubiousity" of the
book that could potentially make the Qur'an even more dubious.
That motivation is obvious. And it is fine. Everyone does the same.

But, would you like to take out basically everything that you
said in this posting because you refered to "historical" sources
which were not revelations at the same time? Books by linguists,
egyptologists, surgeons, ... ?

} We will reverse the question and apply it to the Bible:
}
} "Haman occurs in the (Qur'anic story) in Egypt, 1,100 before the story of
} Esther. Haman is not a Babylonian name but Egyptian."

That doesn't follow. The existence of a name "somewhere else"
doesn't mean it can't also be Babylonian. Fallacy again.

} The reference to Haman in the story of Esther in the Bible is an
] anachronism.

More fallacy of the same kind. There is no motivation or explanation
why the Jews should take a completely unknown Egyptian name and
transplant it to Babylon, about something that is at the center
of their own history and identity.

On the other hand, in the Qur'an this is a story that has
nothing to do with Arabs. It is a far off and long ago story
and given that both Pharaoh and Haman were at that time two of
the most prominent enemies of the Jews, both connected with the
attempt of elimination (genocide) of the Israelites, it is
somewhat natural that their stories could be fused in legendary
accounts of the evil befalling the people. This can be easily
understood.

Maybe (and this depends also on the issue if your / Bucaille's
references can be validated) your argument can weaken or eliminate
that anachronism problem for the Qur'an, but that doesn't therefore
create a problem for the Bible. That is too big a jump. A nice
example of a non sequitur.

} It is also worth noting that the issue of Haman provides a death-blow to
} the Bible-borrowing theory of the Qur'an.

A death-blow? How many do you need to make something die?
Either it is THE death blow or it is a blow that is not fatal.
Certainly, I have not seen yet that this is such a deadly blow.
There are dozens of dependencies of the Qur'an on the Bible, but
more prominently on Jewish folklore, Talmud, Aggada ..

} If hieroglyphs were long dead
} and the Book of Esther had a doubtible history then from where Prophet
} Muhammad(P) was getting his information?

Muhammad could still have gotten it from the legends of the Jews
as he did so many other stories. Even if there exist TWO sources
where a man by that name is mentioned that doesn't mean that
Muhammad didn't have it from the Jews, it only says that the
story of the Qur'an is therefore slightly more credible as it
"potentially" could have come from the other source.

Much more thinking and research has to be done
on this issue.

Jochen Katz


mar...@vom.com

unread,
May 12, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/12/98
to

As-salamu 'alaykum.

First of all, I want to congratulate Saifullah for the work he did in
defending the historicity of the Qur'an.

As Jochen Katz noted, it is "interesting."

Where my brother fell down was in turning and slandering the Bible
with the same slander which he had countered so ably when it was aimed
at the Qur'an.

Debate like this is not a war, where one can lawfully exchange tit for
tat. You slander my book, I'll slander yours. No, we are actually
commanded not to insult the beliefs of others so that they will not
insult ours, or our God. This does *not* mean that the proper response
to slander of the Qur'an is slandering of some other book.

Rather, if we hope to be counted among the people of Truth, we must
confine ourselves to what is true and to what we know, and avoid
slanderous speculation.

That Haman *was* working for Pharaoh does not negate the possibility
of another Haman serving another king. Jochen is right to defend the
Bible on this count.

It was always a possibility, before what Saifullah discovered, that
there were two Hamans, and it would have been scurrilous for us to
attack the Bible on the basis that it was wrong in identifying Haman
as it does. Saifullah's good work does not change that, it merely puts
the shoe on the other foot, by confirming the Qur'an without
contradicting the Bible.

Saifullah is young, and sometimes gets carried away in his enthusiasm.
We can hope that he will learn to curb his tongue, and refrain from
slander.

Where the Bible and the Qur'an appear to contradict each other, our
best response is to seek harmonizing interpretation. We may also raise
the possibility of scribal error or other "corruption," but the latter
term is so easily confused with its common meaning -- which is not the
scholarly meaning -- that it is better to avoid it. In this case,
there is a very easy harmonizing interpretation, that of two Hamans,
and I know of no reason to reject this possibility. It is conceivable
that evidence could be found that the Jewish account was a distorted
memory of Haman of Egypt, transposed, but I have seen none so far; the
similarity of name and occupation is not sufficient: and for the same
reason I was *never* disturbed by the allegation that the Qur'an had
taken the story from the Bible. Such charges were never anything more
than bad feeling pretending to be scholarship.

And I do not rest my faith on the historicity of the events described
in the Qur'an. I have many times indicated that the Qur'an is not a
science textbook. It is also not a history textbook. It is not like
the Bible, which is, partly, an historical account. The purpose of the
Qur'an is simply to remind, and it tells stories in the process. Are
the stories literally true? God is the Best Knower, but I do not find
it necessary to believe that all of them literally happened exactly as
described. (Nor do I deny that they literally happened.) The Qur'an is
True, it is Truth from God, but the truth of it is in its effect on
the heart of a believer.


AbdulraHman Lomax
mar...@vom.com
P.O. Box 423
Sonoma, CA 95476
USA


Dr. M S M Saifullah

unread,
May 13, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/13/98
to

On 12 May 1998, Jochen Katz wrote:

Assalamu-alaikum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

> This one had some very good information in it.


> However, it contained some strange lapses of logic as well.
> And I am interested in exact references to some claims.

It is interesting to see that the missionaries make strange claims of the
logic as well as references. Going back to the original claim of the
missionaries which is at:

http://www.answering-islam.org.uk/Quran/Contra/qbhc09.html

It says:

--------------------

Another example with two items of historical compression in the same story
and the same misinformation in both of these two texts. According to Surah
28:35-42 and 40:36-37, Haman was a minister or official of the Pharoah
(king of Egypt) who lived in the same time as Moses. But history attests
that Haman served as the minister of Ahasuerus (king of Persia, Xerxes I is
his name in Greek). Apart from the error in location, this is a time error
of about 1,000 years. [See Esther 3:1.]

But furthermore, Haman is depicted as building "the Tower of Babel" which
is an event long before Abraham, who lived at least 400 years before Moses.
[See Genesis 11:1-9, especially the verses 3-4, "Let us build make bricks
and bake them thoroughly. ... and build a ... tower that reaches to the
heavens."]

----------------------

Interestingly enough they are devoid of references too. Now let us consider
the first paragraph which says that 'History attests that Haman served as
the minister of Ahasuerus (king of Persia, Xerxes I is his name in Greek)'.
Someone who is well versed with the history of the Book of Esther as well
as archeological evidence would definitely not make such a statement. Let
me start off with some quotes concerning the story of Esther and its
historicity (I am knowing omitting the page numbers here since it is a
homework for Katz since he demands references and I am giving them!)

'the story as such has not been confirmed by any Persian record, and it is
often supposed that it can not be fitted into what is known of Persian
History' (The New Bible Dictionary)

The book of Esther is judged as:

'a tissue of improbabilities and impossibilities... Further,
notwithstanding the dates which he gives us, the author had in reality no
notion of chronology.... That the book of Esther can not be regarded as a
genuine historical work is avowed by many ecclesiastical
traditionalists.... The most essential parts of the story... are altogether
unhistorical and we are forced to the conclusion that the whole narrative
is fictitious.' (Encylopedia Biblica)

On Ahasuerus:

'Name, used in the Bible, of two identified kings of Persia: (i) the great
King whose capital was at Shushan, modern Susa, sometimes identified with
Xerxes the Great, but chronological and other data conflict; (ii) the
father of Darius the Mede.' (Webster's Biographical Dictionary)

Now that is the first problem which the missionaries did not tell us. Now
let us jump on to the next one, i.e., how Haman is identified by the
Judeo-Christian scholars:

Various explnantions have been offered to explain the name and designation
of the would be exterminator of the Jews. The name of both Haman and his
father have been associated with haoma, a sacred drink used in Mithraic
worship, and with the Elamite god Humman. The name Haman has also been
related to the Persian 'Hamayun', 'illustrious', and to the Persian name
Owanes. (Encylopedia Judaica)

Mentioning about various names in the story of Esther:

'Some scholars even trace it to a non-Jewish origin entirely; it is in
their opinion, either a reworking of a triumph of the Babylonian god marduk
(Mordecai) and Isthar (Esther) over the Elamite god Hamman (Haman) and
Masthi (Vasthi) or of the supression of the Magians by Darius or even of
the resistance of the Babylonians to the decree of Artaxerxes II. According
to this view, Purim is a Babylonian feast which was taken over by Jews, and
the story of which was given a Jewish colouring.... The Book of Esther did
not get into the Bible without a struggle' (Universal Jewish Encylopedia)

In conclusion: Neither the historicity of Haman nor that of the story of
Esther has been established by the missionaries. So, after reading all
this, we can wash our hands with this problem and say hey look! prove your
story first before claiming a contradiction in the Qur'an. Of course, it is
the missionary trick of being confident about their claims.

Next, Haman depicting as building the Tower of Babel. This has been dealt
with rather well at

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/5603/haman.html#3

If someone is still unsure about the way Pharaoh addressed gods, I am
willing to provide them couple of more references, inshallah.

> This is the essence of Saifullah's argument in defense of the
> "Qur'anic Haman", so let's be really careful here.

Yes, it was Katz claim that Muhammad(P) confused the history because he
copied the information from the Bible. But then the first three issues

1.The Pharaoh as god,
2.Making the bricks out of clay,
3.Manner of addressing of the Pharaoh to the god by climbing up a
building/tower/staircase,

are rather well attested by our knowledge of Egyptology.

> Who is this "most prominent" egyptologist? Is it only Saifullah
> who has accidentally forgotten to state the name, or does Bucaille
> withhold this name as well so that we cannot follow up on the claim
> by asking that man directly?

Well, I have quoted the relevent bit. If you want more of it here which is
on top and which is on the bottom. Talking about various issues concerning
Haman, the next paragraph starts like this:

'In the book 'Reflections on the Qur'an' (Reflexions sur la Coran), I have
related the result of such a consultation that dates back to a dozen of
years ago and led me to question a specialist who, in addition, knew well
the classical Arabic language. One of the most prominent French
Egyptologists fulfilling these conditions was kind enough to answer the
question. I showed him the word 'Haman' that .......' and the rest is the
quote the I quoted.

So, any one in doubt can consult the book.

>
> } I showed him the word Haman that I had copied exactly like it
> } is written in the Qur'an, and told him that it had been
> } extracted from a sentence of a document dating back to the 7th
> } century, the sentence related to somebody connected with
> } Egyptian history.
>
> AD of BC? 7th century AD could already be dependent on the Qur'an,
> i.e. no independent witness certainly to something that happened
> 2000 years earlier.

Well, problems in reading comprehension.... The document that is Bucaille
talking about it Qur'an.

> } It is clear from the stela that Haman was the intimate of Pharaoh as the
> } Qur'an describes it. So, Haman is a historical figure from ancient Egypt.
>
> But if the stela refers to the 7th century BC then "this Haman" was
> certainly NOT the intimate of the Pharaoh which is mentioned in the
> Qur'an. But who will be so pedantic to care about some 500 years?

Certainly Katz is!

> The hieroglyphs had been forgotten. That is true, but that doesn't
> mean that the stories that were written in hieroglyphic signs
> were necessarily also forgotten. You live in Japan, you will probably
> learn a few Chinese characters while you are there, but if you don't
> keep practicing, you will forget them very soon again. But you might
> still remember some of the stories and names associated with them
> that you have heard while in Japan. Do I have to tell you that the
> Middle East has quite an oral culture?

Okay Katz! since you are acting very smart, get me an Egyptologist who says
that the information that the Qur'an quotes was available at that time in
the Middle East? Or else, we can talk about similarities of Gilgamesh epic
in the Story of Flood, Ugartic sources in the Bible, Mithraic concepts in
the NT etc. I can say that same thing concerning the Bible:

The stories may had been written in other languages in the Middle East.


That is true, but that doesn't mean that the stories that were written in

in those languages were necessarily also forgotten.

> Usually you are quick to praise this oral culture as a strong argument
> for the transmission of the Qur'an. Well, other stories got transmitted
> too. Even if they were not written anywhere, or if we have not found
> written documents of them.

Well, if Katz know his Bible history, he would not be getting into this
argument. Now as he is well aware of the OT, I can make the same claims
about the Bible borrowing from the stories of Babylonia and Middle East.

> Wreszinski is an egyptologist, but none of his books found via the
> world catalog is listed as published in 1906, in fact, it seems the
> earliest book published by this author is from 1909. Given that he
> was born in 1880, it would be possible but surprising if he already
> published being only 26 years old.

Well, at least I found a reference by Walter Wreszenski concerning the K K
Hof Museum in Vienna published in 1906. This is in German.

Wreszinski, W.
Aegyptische Inschriften aus dem K.K. Hofmuseum in Wien, Leipzig, 1906

Surely this is definitely surprising that it came up in my search and with
Maurice Bucaille. Something is definitely wrong with Katz. Wreszinski
appears to be much smarter than what Katz thinks of him.

> For both of the above, I want to see *exact* bibliographical
> references, i.e. title, publisher, page number, so that we can
> check out this core argument of your posting.

You can check this reference at least and let me know what is going on.

> substantiated? Maurice Bucaille is not noted for careful
> scholarship particularly in his more famous book of "The Bible,
> The Qur'an and Science." You may have a look at the critique of
> this book at
>
> http://answering-islam.org/Campbell/contents.html

What makes you trust Campbell instead? Give me a few good reasons. There is
also a reply by Muslim which is called as blemish.html.

http://answering-islam.org/Campbell/blemish.html

And you want Muslims to trust the scholarship of Campbell after that?

> Or otherwise, I might have to expand my list on shoddy
> referencing in books and articles in Muslim polemics.
> My main list of this so far has mainly Misha'al Al-Kadhi
> on it and is displayed at
>
> http://answering-islam.org.uk/Responses/Al-Kadhi/verify.html

Katz, not so fast! You have not establish you claim that Haman and other
characters in the story of Esther are very reliable. No muslim is going to
accept after what I have quoted above concerning the 'revealed' book of
Esther. So, why not prove you claim of reliability of the story of Esther,
Haman, Esther, etc.

By the way, I again forgot something:

'The majority of the scholars, however regard the book as a romance
reflecting the customs of later times and given an ancient historical
setting to avoid offence. They point out that the 127 provinces mentioned
are in the strange contrast to the historical twenty Persian Satrapies;
that it is astonishing that while Mordecai is known to be a Jew, his ward
and cousin Esther, can conceal the fact that she is a Jewess - that the
known queen of Xerxes, Amestris, can be identified with neither Vasthi nor
Esther; that it would have been impossible for a non-Persian person to be
appointed prime minister or for a queen to be selected except from the
seven highest noble families; that Mordecai's ready access to the palaces
in not in consonance with the strictness with which the Persian harems were
guarded; that the laws of the Medes and Persians were never irrevocable;
and that the state of affairs in the book, amounting practically in civil
war, could not have passed unnoticed by historians if this had actually
occurred. The very tone of the book itself, its literary craftmanship and
the patness of its situations, point rather to a romantic story than a
historical chronicle. (Universal Jewish Encylopedia)

> but I wouldn't mind adding Saifullah and Bucaille to this one
> or rather start a new page with links to unverifiable claims
> from other authors in Muslim polemical writings in the effort
> of buttressing the claims about the Qur'an.

I would not mind saying that Katz and his cohorts are using deception and
lies when it comes to talking about their own sources concerning the story
of Esther, its historicity and Haman. Is that fair enough? Now that I have
given you ample evidence, if you are still insisting on it, I do not mind
updating my page with your own Judeo-Christian sources to show that
missionaries are liars. Tell me if that is okay with you? Remember, I have
no dearth of resources, mashallah.

> Which pharaoh? I.e. what time does this stela refer to?
> What is the relationship of that Pharaoh to the Pharaoh of
> Moses?

Okay Katz, since you like to get into the finer points. Who, *for sure*, is
the Pharaoh of oppression and exodus? Show me an evidence where the
archeologists have established a *definite* relationship betweem the
existence of Potiphar and Joseph (AS)? Now do not shell out cheap excuses.
I have heard them before.

Concerning the stela etc. I have to make enquiries and it is already stated
in my page in the Conclusions section that:

--------

In this article we have tried to show the historicity of various statements
concerning Egypt in the Qur'an.

There is more information that needs to be researched concerning Egyptology


in the Qur'an. We will be updating the information on this page as soon as
new references are obtained, inshallah.

---------

I am well aware of the deficiencies of my own work and I would suggest that
YOU better be aware of that too.

> If the book does NOT contain the references or the name of this
> egyptologist, you might consider writing to the publisher of
> the book with the question that Bucaille give you his references
> more exactly. You use his claim, you should make sure they are
> for real.

In the same spirit, Katz claimed that 'the history attests that Haman
served as the minister of Ahasuerus' should be proven. We are not in for
Holy ghost came and spoke to me, Jesus (P) whispered in my ears etc. Get
the proof, prove your claim and let me see where your original argument
stands.

> I am sure you know, making false claims that collapse is worse
> than not making claims at all ...

I have already shown that as regards to your original claim.

> Discussing reasons why it should be canonical lead too far
> afield and are too irrelevant for the purpose of SRI.

Why because it exposes that it was not inspired by God, is it?

> EVEN if one would not consider it revelation, that doesn't mean
> it cannot be a useful document from history. That is your main
> fallacy.

Well, that is what the Judeo-Christian scholars attest. It is better not to
use a source which is not historical and its use even after dubiousness is
called deception.

> More fallacy of the same kind. There is no motivation or explanation
> why the Jews should take a completely unknown Egyptian name and
> transplant it to Babylon, about something that is at the center
> of their own history and identity.

Let me repeat the quotes in case Katz forgot on his way down:

Various explnantions have been offered to explain the name and designation
of the would be exterminator of the Jews. The name of both Haman and his
father have been associated with haoma, a sacred drink used in Mithraic
worship, and with the Elamite god Humman. The name Haman has also been
related to the Persian 'Hamayun', 'illustrious', and to the Persian name
Owanes. (Encylopedia Judaica)

Mentioning about various names in the story of Esther:

'Some scholars even trace it to a non-Jewish origin entirely; it is in
their opinion, either a reworking of a triumph of the Babylonian god marduk
(Mordecai) and Isthar (Esther) over the Elamite god Hamman (Haman) and
Masthi (Vasthi) or of the supression of the Magians by Darius or even of
the resistance of the Babylonians to the decree of Artaxerxes II. According
to this view, Purim is a Babylonian feast which was taken over by Jews, and
the story of which was given a Jewish colouring.... The Book of Esther did
not get into the Bible without a struggle' (Universal Jewish Encylopedia)

May be this is a way to explain why the exact name Haman could not be found.

> A death-blow? How many do you need to make something die?
> Either it is THE death blow or it is a blow that is not fatal.
> Certainly, I have not seen yet that this is such a deadly blow.
> There are dozens of dependencies of the Qur'an on the Bible, but
> more prominently on Jewish folklore, Talmud, Aggada ..

Okay, why not quote all the quotes from the sources which you have told
just now in a different thread. Let us see what you are talking about in
those dozens of dependencies. Remember, it is dozens not a few. I expect to
see at least 12 in a separate thread with of course, proper references and
their origin.

> } If hieroglyphs were long dead
> } and the Book of Esther had a doubtible history then from where Prophet
> } Muhammad(P) was getting his information?
>
> Muhammad could still have gotten it from the legends of the Jews
> as he did so many other stories. Even if there exist TWO sources
> where a man by that name is mentioned that doesn't mean that
> Muhammad didn't have it from the Jews, it only says that the
> story of the Qur'an is therefore slightly more credible as it
> "potentially" could have come from the other source.

I thought we already went through the borrowing theories on the infamous
thread 'Saifullah, Tisdall and Qur'an'? Katz would not mind vomitting the
trash again and again. What was his proof? Mere conjectures and conjectures
do not make evidence, do they?

wassalam
saifullah

Jochen Katz

unread,
May 13, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/13/98
to

In article <6jcn0o$nh9$1...@shell3.ba.best.com>,
"Dr. M S M Saifullah" <sa...@aecl.ntt.co.jp> writes:

} Next, Haman depicting as building the Tower of Babel. This has been dealt
} with rather well at

a little self praise can't harm. :-)

} http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/5603/haman.html#3

} Yes, it was Katz claim that Muhammad(P) confused the history because he
} copied the information from the Bible. But then the first three issues
}
} 1.The Pharaoh as god,

Actually, about two weeks ago, I added a little piece about that as
well, in response to an attack on a Bible verse by a Muslim.

http://answering-islam.org/BibleCom/ex7-1.html

I am glad you confirmed that info and how fitting God's response
was to Pharoah. :-)

} 3.Manner of addressing of the Pharaoh to the god by climbing up a
} building/tower/staircase,
}
} are rather well attested by our knowledge of Egyptology.

That was interesting and I didn't know before.

} > Who is this "most prominent" egyptologist? Is it only Saifullah
} > who has accidentally forgotten to state the name, or does Bucaille
} > withhold this name as well so that we cannot follow up on the claim
} > by asking that man directly?
}
} Well, I have quoted the relevent bit. If you want more of it here which is
} on top and which is on the bottom. Talking about various issues concerning
} Haman, the next paragraph starts like this:
}
} 'In the book 'Reflections on the Qur'an' (Reflexions sur la Coran), I have
} related the result of such a consultation that dates back to a dozen of
} years ago and led me to question a specialist who, in addition, knew well
} the classical Arabic language. One of the most prominent French
} Egyptologists fulfilling these conditions was kind enough to answer the
} question. I showed him the word 'Haman' that .......' and the rest is the
} quote the I quoted.
}
} So, any one in doubt can consult the book.

Well, thanks for confirming that Bucaille does not state the name.
And if I get the other book and we find he doesn't state a name
there either? What are we to think of that then? Could become a wild
goose chase.

} > } I showed him the word Haman that I had copied exactly like it
} > } is written in the Qur'an, and told him that it had been
} > } extracted from a sentence of a document dating back to the 7th
} > } century, the sentence related to somebody connected with
} > } Egyptian history.

} > AD of BC? 7th century AD could already be dependent on the Qur'an,
} > i.e. no independent witness certainly to something that happened
} > 2000 years earlier.

} Well, problems in reading comprehension.... The document that is Bucaille
} talking about it Qur'an.

Okay, that helps, partially. But then the question remains what
age the stela is, and which pharaoh it talks about.

You have not answered this question. Does Bucaille state this
anywhere? Maybe he forgot. Can happen. But it is obviously a
rather important question.

} > Wreszinski is an egyptologist, but none of his books found via the
} > world catalog is listed as published in 1906, in fact, it seems the
} > earliest book published by this author is from 1909. Given that he
} > was born in 1880, it would be possible but surprising if he already
} > published being only 26 years old.

} Well, at least I found a reference by Walter Wreszenski concerning the K K
} Hof Museum in Vienna published in 1906. This is in German.

} Wreszinski, W.
} Aegyptische Inschriften aus dem K.K. Hofmuseum in Wien, Leipzig, 1906

} Surely this is definitely surprising that it came up in my search and with
} Maurice Bucaille. Something is definitely wrong with Katz.

Even with this info, the world catalog comes up empty. Maybe it is
just not listed there. Period. The completeness or lack thereof in
this database is not a reflection on whether there is something
wrong with me personally, even though you like to twist every issue
into something personal.

} > Certainly, I have not seen yet that this is such a deadly blow.
} > There are dozens of dependencies of the Qur'an on the Bible, but
} > more prominently on Jewish folklore, Talmud, Aggada ..
}
} Okay, why not quote all the quotes from the sources which you have told
} just now in a different thread. Let us see what you are talking about in
} those dozens of dependencies. Remember, it is dozens not a few. I expect to
} see at least 12 in a separate thread with of course, proper references and
} their origin.

Ask Mohammad Adnan about the meaning of "dozens". On his authority
(we have several of his postings in this regard) dozens means 3 or 4.
I was astonished too, when I learned about this. But that is a fact. :-)
I am only showing that I am learning fast.

Best regards,

Jochen Katz


Dr. M S M Saifullah

unread,
May 13, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/13/98
to

On 12 May 1998 mar...@vom.com wrote:

> As-salamu 'alaykum.

Walaikumus-salaam wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

> First of all, I want to congratulate Saifullah for the work he did in
> defending the historicity of the Qur'an.

Jazakum allahu khairan for your kind words!

> As Jochen Katz noted, it is "interesting."
>
> Where my brother fell down was in turning and slandering the Bible
> with the same slander which he had countered so ably when it was aimed
> at the Qur'an.

I did not slander the Bible, for I do not know what from it is God's
revelation. What I merely criticized was the Book of Esther. This Book, as
most of us are unaware of, has got a rather dubious history. The Jews had
quite a lot of debate on this Book, i.e., whether to include it in the
Canon or reject it. It was the 'popularity' among the commonfolk to give
credibility to the festival of Purim that made the book in the Canon. Among
other things, there is no mention of God in that book. The Christians too
have problems with it. The Catholic and Protestant Bibles do not agree with
each other when it comes to the Book Of Esther. Some Jewish scholars in the
mediaval period (was it Maimonides? My memory does not serve me right
sometimes) offered an 'explanation' that it only shows the 'finger of God'.
It is an interesting explanation but then the 'finger of God' is also there
in all which is there in the heavens and the earth.

Secondly, the historial evidence of the story of Esther. It is claimed by
Katz that 'History attests that Haman served as the minister of Ahasuerus
(king of Persia, Xerxes I is his name in Greek)'. Of course, as usual the
quote is devoid of any references. It occurred to me lately when my brother
in the UK reminded me that its historicity considered to be very
problematic. Naturally, I took notes from various Judeo-Christian sources.
And lo! they say that the story can be considered as Judaising the Persian
novella and historical facts do not support this story of Esther as well as
this mysterious guy Haman. I have already discussed this part in an another
post.

> Debate like this is not a war, where one can lawfully exchange tit for
> tat. You slander my book, I'll slander yours. No, we are actually
> commanded not to insult the beliefs of others so that they will not
> insult ours, or our God. This does *not* mean that the proper response
> to slander of the Qur'an is slandering of some other book.

Coming back to its use in claiming a contradiction in the Qur'an. When
someone is making a hypothesis/claim, it is better to prove ones own
statements before claiming something. I definitely do not like to make
noise or involving in mud-slinging. I am definitely not in for Bible vs.
Qur'an boxing match. God forbid!

> Rather, if we hope to be counted among the people of Truth, we must
> confine ourselves to what is true and to what we know, and avoid
> slanderous speculation.

Yes, speculation does not stand before truth. That was precisely the
cruchline of this thread. Yesterday night, I started off another
webdocument which deals with another small accuracy in the Qur'an but the
Bible writer made a mistake there and these days it is a well known fact
from our knowledge of Egyptology. Now if we are to admit that the Prophet
(saw) borrowed from the Jewish sources, we would not be able to explain why
the Qur'an gets the finer points of Egyptology correct. In the current
thread itself, the probability that each one of the four statements being
right is 1/16. Compare this to rolling a dice expecting no. 1 to appear
which is about 1/6.

> That Haman *was* working for Pharaoh does not negate the possibility
> of another Haman serving another king. Jochen is right to defend the
> Bible on this count.

Yes, I agree. But since he was saying that the Prophet (saw) copied it from
the Bible, I retorted back and said that it is his turn to prove the
historicity of the Haman in Persia. It is definitely a non-starter as far
as Katz is concerned. I must admit that I missed a reference on the
Babylonian names back in Cambridge. I would ask some brothers to get me
this reference to at least further corroborate my own points.

> It was always a possibility, before what Saifullah discovered, that
> there were two Hamans, and it would have been scurrilous for us to
> attack the Bible on the basis that it was wrong in identifying Haman
> as it does. Saifullah's good work does not change that, it merely puts
> the shoe on the other foot, by confirming the Qur'an without
> contradicting the Bible.

Which actually amounts to saying that the Qur'an is a revelation *not*
merely a copy from the Judeo-Christian sources. 'Abd ar-Rahmaan Robert
Squires sent me an email today in the morning saying that the Jews borrowed
quite a lot of stuff *from* Islam. He has a reference which talks about
that. We had quite a lot of discussion on these borrowing theories. Now it
is like; been there and done that.

The problem of 'borrowing' is greater in the case of the Bible because, it
is a revelation sent to Children of Israel. If one can show that any
outside sources in the Bible, it is a problem for them to harmonize. we
have scriptural justification for our view but they have none for there's.
What I mean by this is that we believe in revelation to the previous
prophets and even to prophets other than the Hebrew/OT prophets. However,
most Jews/Christians believe that God only sent revelation to His "chosen
people" the Children of Israel. Based on this, if elements of Judaism and
Christianity are shown to have roots in other religions/cultures - even
"paganism" - it is much more damaging to them based on their scriptural
world view. Also, our view of the origins of paganism and idolatry is
different from theirs. As Muslims, we know that even nations that were
sent messengers later fell into idolatry, such as the people of Noah and
eventually the Arab descendants of Abraham in Makkah.

The Qur'an clearly says that the Jews/Bani Israa'il "forgot much of what
had been taught to them" (or words to that effect). And if there are some
similarities in the Bible and in the Qur'an can anyone say that Allah did
not reveal the such a thing before?

> Saifullah is young, and sometimes gets carried away in his enthusiasm.
> We can hope that he will learn to curb his tongue, and refrain from
> slander.

Hey! I think I am getting older :) But I am definitely in for a goood
discussion provided the signal to noise ratio is high. If the noise becomes
too much, nobody likes it. Who would like a chocolate pushed down the
throat! I have met good missionaries who are soft-spoken, humble and kind.
It was a pleasure to discuss things with them on a level of mutual
understanding. It definitely feels good to have a good discussion on the
ground of mutual respect and understanding. And unfortunately, I also met
missionaries who are arrogant, loud-mouth and deceptive liars. For them, I
have least respect.

Yes, I must also admit that I get carried away sometimes, please pray that
Allah forgives my short-comings.

> similarity of name and occupation is not sufficient: and for the same
> reason I was *never* disturbed by the allegation that the Qur'an had
> taken the story from the Bible. Such charges were never anything more
> than bad feeling pretending to be scholarship.

False allegations give rise to lot of problems. And it is worthwhile
reminding Muslims as well as Christians that it is a territory not worth
pursuing, for truth ultimately has to trump because it is its
characteristic.

> And I do not rest my faith on the historicity of the events described
> in the Qur'an. I have many times indicated that the Qur'an is not a
> science textbook. It is also not a history textbook. It is not like
> the Bible, which is, partly, an historical account. The purpose of the
> Qur'an is simply to remind, and it tells stories in the process. Are
> the stories literally true? God is the Best Knower, but I do not find
> it necessary to believe that all of them literally happened exactly as
> described. (Nor do I deny that they literally happened.) The Qur'an is
> True, it is Truth from God, but the truth of it is in its effect on
> the heart of a believer.

Yes, I agree. But it is worthwhile doing some reading and it is definitely
the believers' joy to know that it is only the matter of time when the
truth will be known.

Wassalam
Saifullah

Dr. M S M Saifullah

unread,
May 15, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/15/98
to

On 13 May 1998, Jochen Katz wrote:

Assalamu-alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu:

> } are rather well attested by our knowledge of Egyptology.
>
> That was interesting and I didn't know before.

Well, Katz, the Qur'an put the same argument that you did not know the
information before. So, your statement does not surprise me a bit.

> Well, thanks for confirming that Bucaille does not state the name.
> And if I get the other book and we find he doesn't state a name
> there either? What are we to think of that then? Could become a wild
> goose chase.

It is too early to say whether it will be a wild goose chase. At least,
your oxymoronic point was on Haman was dealt with properly, alhamdulillah.
So, it is always an interesting exercise to see whether your own point can
stand the scrutiny before calling a contradiction.

> Okay, that helps, partially. But then the question remains what
> age the stela is, and which pharaoh it talks about.

Well, I do not think Bucaille states that and I have benn telling that I
have to look into this matter too. That is of course, a limitation of the
work that I did.

> You have not answered this question. Does Bucaille state this
> anywhere? Maybe he forgot. Can happen. But it is obviously a
> rather important question.

I agree but then pin-pointing thing to atomistic levels have two problems.
Either we have little info or we are conjecturing. I would prefer to wait.

> Ask Mohammad Adnan about the meaning of "dozens". On his authority
> (we have several of his postings in this regard) dozens means 3 or 4.
> I was astonished too, when I learned about this. But that is a fact. :-)
> I am only showing that I am learning fast.

Apart from that sheepist smile, rest everything tallies with the
information that I have seen on this issue. SRI is surely not a Adnan's
place to use his language. Dozens for me means dozens i.e., at least 12
pieces of information. It is definitely doubtful now whether Muslims can
trust those THOUSANDS of prophecies of Jesus (as) in the OT. Thousands
means at least 2000. Agreed that there are prophecies of Jesus (as) in the
OT but will that amount to that? I am inclined to go for simple numbers and
trust them.

Wassalam
saifullah

OmarAziz

unread,
May 15, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/15/98
to

Salaam

Since Egyptology became an issue of discussion in SRI, I like to share
a theory of mine that still needs to be substantiated. However, this theory
might be the key to solving all the puzzles not solved yet.

I am fascinated by the Quranic story of Pharoh's relative, a believer himself,
who came out very strongly in defense of Moses--after all, Moses grew up
in his household. Anyways, it is all in verses 40:26-45

Now, this person, a member of the Royal family himself, is not only
protecting Moses or giving his opinion, he is actually preaching his faith
in front of Pharoah and all his entourage, and even reproaching them.

He also had a vision and a sense of leadership. He asks Pharoah and
his people to follow him so that he can guide them to the straight path
[40:38]. This man, by all means a heretic to the Egyptions, had some
kind of Royal immunity. Part of Pharaoh's fear of Moses was the new
religion [40:26], yet this man can preach whatever he wants.

Now, Pharoah, Haman, and the "others" where drowned, yet God
saved that man [40:45]. Would that leave him the only hier to the crown?
Quite possible.

Akhenaten, known as the Heretic Pharoah, apparently came to the
throne by accident. The evidence of the time suggests that Amenhotep III,
his father, intended for one of his other sons to became king and that
son went through the rigorous training in religious and administrative skills
required of a monarch. However, the Mummy of Amenhotep III reveals that
he died in a great anguish. The popular theory for the cause of his death
among Egyptologists is a dental infection. But did they ever considered that
he might be the Pharaoh of the Exodus?

Akhenaten was a monotheist who worshiped the "Aten" (the solar disk).
However, the Aten was only a generic representation of God's visible
manifestation, not God himself.

An excerpt from the "Hymn of Aten" from "Akhenaten: King of Egypt".243
by Cyril Aldred, London: Thames and Hudson, 1988:

****How manifold are thy works! They are hidden from the sight of man,
O Sole God, like unto whom there is no other! Thou didst fashion the earth
according to thy desire when thou wast alone---all men, all cattle great
and small, all that are upon the earth that run upon their feet or rise up
on high flying with their wings. And the lands of Syria and Kush and
Egypt---- thou appointest every man to his place and satisfied his needs.
Everyone recieves his sustenance and his days are numbered. Their
tongues are diverse in speech and their qualities likewise, and their
color is differentiated, for thou hast distinguished the nations.****

In "Moses and Monotheism", Sigmund Freud argued that Moses was
an Egyption noble who followed the Atenist beliefs of the heretic Pharaoh,
Akhenaten, and even identified Aten with Adonai, a name the Hebrews
use for God.

Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti, built a new capital city in an area called
"Amarna". However, Pharaoh Horemheb, the fourth successor, systematically
destroyed all public evidence of Akhenaten's existence. Workers erased
Akhenaten's identifying hieroglyphs wherever they were found. They demolished
his newly built capital and recycled the stones. They even omitted his name
from the list of Kings. That is why we don't know enough about Akhenaten, and
perhaps, Moses.

My theory of course is that Akhnaten could be the person mentioned in the
Quran supporting Moses. It is a line of thought that Egyptologist should
consider. And who knows....

Peace


Jochen Katz

unread,
May 15, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/15/98
to

There seems to be some kind of serious language
confusion on the Muslim part of the discussion.

In article <6jdqjg$o2t$1...@shell3.ba.best.com>,

"Dr. M S M Saifullah" <sa...@aecl.ntt.co.jp> writes:

} On 12 May 1998 mar...@vom.com wrote:

} > As Jochen Katz noted, it is "interesting."
} >
} > Where my brother fell down was in turning and slandering the Bible
} > with the same slander which he had countered so ably when it was aimed
} > at the Qur'an.
}
} I did not slander the Bible, for I do not know what from it is God's
} revelation. What I merely criticized was the Book of Esther.

This is a rather interesting observation.

Because YOU do not consider this book revelation, or do not know
if you should consider it inspired, therefore you are free to
critique it. And criticizing what you do not know to be revelation
is not slander. On the other hand, your response seems to indicate
that critique of what you consider revelation is slander (or else
your defense would actually not be any justification).

This means, your definition of what is slander is located
NOT in the form of the critique (there is slanderous critique
and scholarly critique, at least I do see a difference in it)
but you locate the decision whether something is slander
or not in your PERSONAL convictions about the object of
the critique.

That is obviously thorougly subjectivistic.
And this is not the common use of the word in
the English language.

At least I now understand better why you call me a
slanderer just because I am critical of the Qur'an and
Muhammad. It is not that the specific words I use are
particularly "vulgar" or offensive, it is the mere fact
that I am critical that makes me a slanderer. This seems
to be the source of your often very emotional response.

But you are not alone in this, just this week the following
news came in where we can see the same pattern of definition:

-------
The American University in Cairo has withdrawn an allegedly
blasphemous book from its curriculum after complaints from a
newspaper columnist and the ministry of higher education.

In a statement late Wednesday, the university said the book
"Muhammad" by the French author Maxime Rodinson had been
deemed insulting to Islam's Prophet Mohammed.

"The American University in Cairo has responded to official
requests and acted to remove the book `Muhammad,'" the
statement said.
-------

Note: Maxime Rodinson is an established scholar, not a
polemicist. But since it is critical in some aspects,
it is therefore insulting and has to be removed.

The report continues:

-------
The book had been part of the university's "History of Arab
Society" course since February.

Minister of Higher Education Mufeed Shehab told the university
that the book contained "fabrications harmful to the respected
prophet and to the Islamic religion," Egypt's official Middle
East News Agency reported.

The minister appeared to have reacted to a Wednesday morning
article in the leading government-run newspaper, Al-Ahram,
by the columnist Salah Muntasser.

Muntasser quoted passages from the book that, he said,
"insult Islamic beliefs and ridicule Muslims' holy book."

Muntasser said Rodinson tried to prove that the Koran,
Islam's holy book, was written by Mohammed himself.

...

The columnist also said Rodinson tried to show that Mohammed
had lifted stories in the Koran from other religious books,
including the Bible.

"The teaching of this book should be stopped immediately,"
Muntasser said.
--------

Obviously with this kind of censure, how can one ever come
to a FAIR evaluation of Muhammad if only the eulogies are
permitted and critical evaluation is condemned and removed
by the threat of consequences?

Muslim have no hesitation to use all the critical material
amassed in the last two centuries in Biblical studies,
but should anyone approach the Qur'an or Muhammad with the
same methods of scholarship it is called insult, defamation
and fabrication. It has to be forbidden, outlawed, and
expelled.

This is a very common way Muslim countries deal with
scholarship, but if Muslims like Saifullah do the
very same thing regarding the Bible, then it is
unfair to call it slander.

} > That Haman *was* working for Pharaoh does not negate the possibility
} > of another Haman serving another king. Jochen is right to defend the
} > Bible on this count.
}
} Yes, I agree. But since he was saying that the Prophet (saw) copied it from
} the Bible,

Where did I say that Muhammad copied from the Bible?
I never said so, this is yet another claim for which
you will be unable to bring a reference. We had several
already in this thread alone.

} I retorted back and said that it is his turn to prove the
} historicity of the Haman in Persia.

Without discussing the authenticity of Esther etc, it is
very possible that one copies wrong information and messes
it up further. What do you think is happening when certain
news are propagated throughout the press and they become
more fantastic as times go on? Even lies can be copied
and legends can be embellished. Should Esther be a legend
that doesn't prove that it was not one source of the
Qur'anic story. Remember how Muhammad combined the story
of Gideon, Saul and David (150 years apart) into his version
of Talut, Jalut and Dawud? Why is it so entirely unthinkable
that he took two other stories with some striking similarities
and combined them into one (Pharaoh and Haman the two people
in Jewish history that tried to eradicate them by genocide)?

EVEN if there was a Haman in Egypt, the question is still
where exactly the Muhammad got his story from.

But I am happy to let it rest at this place until more
information becomes available.

Best regards,

Jochen Katz


Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages