The Bible and the Qu'ran

Two Books with Many Similarities in their collection



In Chapter II of Section One we discussed assumptions. The last assumption mentioned was that Dr. Bucaille believes that the “documentary hypothesis” for the origin and development of the Torah is true. This hypothesis, sometimes called the “higher critical theory” or the “Graf-Wellhausen theory” after two of the men who proposed it, was developed in its classical form around 1880 AD, and was built on the following basic assumptions:

1. There is evolution in religion from polytheism to monotheism. As a result, the Old Testament is considered to be more or less the product of the evolving religious consciousness of the Hebrew people. It had nothing to do with God revealing himself through an angel or the Holy Spirit.

2. Since the customs mentioned in the life of Abraham are not mentioned outside the Torah (e.g. he married his half-sister, Sarah, and threw out Hagar his slave-girl wife when Sarah demanded it), and since people like the Hittites are not mentioned outside the Torah; the accounts of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, often referred to as the patriarchs, are not historical. They are only myths and stories.

3. Moses and the Hebrews couldn't write because writing hadn't been invented yet.

4. The five books of the Torah were not, therefore, given by Moses in 1400 or 1300 B.C., as the Bible (and the Qur'an) repeatedly claim, but were compiled hundreds of years later by unknown writers and editors.

According to the theory the first of these men, writing in 900 B.C. spoke of God as Yahweh or Jehovah meaning the Eternal One. He is supposed to have composed Genesis Chapters 2 and 3 among other passages.

A second writer, living a hundred years later is said to have used the Hebrew name Elohim for God. He was responsible for other large sections of the Torah. These two documents were then woven together sometime about 650 B.C.; and the theory holds that one can distinguish between these two authors according to whether the name Jehovah or Elohim is used for God. The divine names being insufficient in themselves, however, the “critics” took into consideration language, style, and theological concepts as criteria which they believed would allow them to identify the different documents.

The fifth book of the Torah called Deuteronomy was written (as a complete fabrication---a lie) in 621 B.C.

Finally some of the Jewish priests, called Priestly Editors added a fourth document which begins with the great creation epic of Genesis 1. They then assembled the Torah in its present form sometime about 400 B.C. -- fully 1000 years after Moses was alive. Following the boldfaced letters shown above this idea is called the “J,E,D,P theory” or the “documentary hypothesis”. From this very brief summary we see that the “documentary hypothesis” calls into question the credibility of the entire Old Testament. One would have to conclude, if their assertions are correct, that the Old Testament is a gigantic literary fraud.

5. In addition, whether they stated it or not, the men who first proposed this theory did not believe in miracles. They did not believe in the miracles of Moses or Jesus, and they did not believe in the miracle of prophecy - that God reveals himself propositionally in word statements. God never talked to Moses or the prophets, or spoke through them. And if these men had been studying the Qur'an seriously they would have said that God never talked to Muhammad.

We might even say that this disbelief in miracles and prophecy is the basic assumption behind the whole theory.

Dr. Bucaille spent many pages of his book giving a detailed analysis of this theory and came out with the conclusion that the Bible is full of contradictions, improbabilities, etc. Muslims have been saying for centuries that we Christians changed our Scriptures. So when Dr. Bucaille, coming from a Christian background and upbringing, says the same thing, Muslims conclude that it must surely be true and are only too glad to accept it.

When I did my premedical studies at the College of Wooster, I was taught this theory as truth. The college was related to the Presbyterian church and my professor was a PhD in religion. One day, the student sitting next to me said to the professor,

“But if what you say is true, then the Bible is not true.”
He answered, as though talking to a six year old, “Well, you can believe the Bible if you want to”.

Not having any facts with which to test the professor's statement that the Torah was not written by Moses, even though Jesus said it was, I accepted the professor's words - words which I now believe to be false. This destroyed my confidence that the Bible was a true revelation from God, so I gave up the Christian faith and became an agnostic. I was not against God, but I no longer knew what to believe about Him.

Praise be to God! “who wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”[1], He did not leave me in ignorance. He led me to men and women who could show me other facts - facts which confirm the Torah and the prophets - facts which we will look at in this chapter.


In Chapter I,A of Section Two, we saw that the Qur'an says there was a true unchanged Torah with Mary, Yahya (John the Baptist), and Jesus in 34 AD. Though all readers may not agree with me that it was the same as our present Torah, there are some facts in those Quranic verses about which we can all agree.

The Qur'an says clearly that Abraham was a real person, to whom God spoke.

It says clearly that Moses performed many miracles and was given tablets from God inscribed with the Torah.

As an example let us look at the Late Meccan Sura of the Heights (Al-A`raf) 7:144-145,

“God said, ‘O Moses, I have chosen thee above other men’ ... and We (God) ordained laws for him in the tablets in all matters, both commanding and explaining all things.”

Any person familiar with the Qur'an will say, “Of course our Book teaches these things. Even the most uninstructed Muslim knows these two facts. Why mention them?”

Because if the stories of Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob are myths in the Torah, then they are myths in the Qur'an. If writing was unknown at the time of Moses in 1400 B.C., then neither Moses or anyone else could read written tablets, and the Qur'an which says that God gave them to Moses is in complete error along with the Torah.

For this reason it is necessary to look very carefully at this “documentary hypothesis”, and we shall start our investigation by looking at what these “higher critics” say about miracles.


In one of his works (De Profeten en de Profetie onder Israel, Vol.I, pp.5, 585) A. Kuenen states his anti-supernaturalist position:

“So long as we attribute a part of Israel's religious life directly to God and allow supernatural or immediate revelation (prophecy) to intervene even in one instance, just so long does our view of the whole remain inexact, and we see ourselves obliged to do violence here or there to the well-assured content of the historical accounts. It is only the assumption of a natural development that takes account of all the phenomena.”

In De Godsdienst van Israel (Vol.I, p.111) Kuenen confesses that,

“The familiar intercourse of the divinity with the patriarchs constitutes for me one of the determining considerations against the historical character of the narratives.

In the first quotation Kuenen says that even one supernatural event makes our view inexact.

In the second he says that because God speaks to Abraham, Hagar, Isaac, and Jacob (the patriarchs), that is proof that the Books of Moses are not historical.

Julius Wellhausen, one of the originators of the Graf-Wellhausen theory, ridicules the account of the miracles that occurred at Sinai when God gave Moses the law (on the tablets) with the scornful exclamation, “Who can seriously believe all that?”[2]

Many modern teachers continue to hold and teach these same ideas because of their continued unbelief in Miracles. Langdon B. Gilkey, from the University of Chicago, writing in 1962, describes the Biblical account of the entire Exodus-Sinai experience as,

“the acts (which the) Hebrews believed God might have done and the words he might have said, had he done and said them - but of course we recognize he did not.

Referring to the Hebrews' crossing of the Red Sea, Gilkey goes on,

“We deny the miraculous character of the event and say its cause was merely an East wind, and then we point to the unusual response of Hebrew faith.”[3]

In these few quotations we see that miracles are considered impossible: the very miracles which we mentioned are all denied.

It is impossible that God would have spoken to Abraham.
It is impossible that Moses could have received the Law from God.
No miracle was done, when by the power of God the Red Sea was divided and then closed again, drowning Pharaoh and his army.

The logical result of such a theory was not lost on Yusuf Ali. On page 283 of his translation of the Qur'an he warns,

“The view of the school of Higher Criticism is radically destructive. According to Renan it is doubtful whether Moses was not a myth.
...we reject the premise which we believe to be false, viz., that God does not send inspired Books through inspired Prophets.

Again it must be stressed, if there is no such thing as prophecy; if Moses never existed, the Qur'an falls along with the Bible.


The unbelief of these men in miracles has a profound affect on their dating of the Old Testament documents. As an example let us consider the prophet Daniel. By revelation, Daniel was told to record his conversations with the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Both Biblical history and secular history give a date of about 600 B.C. for the life of this king, so we would expect that the book of Daniel was written at that time.

Not so for the higher critics!? Why? Because in addition to various miracles which are recorded, Chapter 8:20-21 gives a detailed prophecy of the political future for the next 300 years. It reads,

“The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king,” etc.

This prophecy was given when Belshazzar, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, was still ruler of the Babylonian kingdom. It predicts that the Medes and Persians will overthrow Babylon. They in turn will be conquered by the Greeks, which happened under Alexander the Great around 330 B.C., or almost 300 years after Daniel gave his prophecy.

But the “higher critics” don't believe in the miracle of prophecy so what do they do with a wonderful prophecy like this?

They say that if the book of Daniel prophesies things that happened in 330 B.C., the book had to have been written after 330 B.C. when the events took place, by a writer who just used the name of Daniel so that people would believe what he said. In other words, since miracles are impossible, Daniel cannot have prophesied the future, and the book called by his name is a forgery.

Bucaille quotes one of these “higher critics” as saying that the book of Daniel is “a ‘disconcerting’ apocalypse from an historical point of view”.[4] But the reason that it is disconcerting is because it is so accurate in foretelling hundreds of years of history.

Another reason that it is disconcerting is that it foretells things which did not happen until Christ came and ascended into heaven. In Chapter 9:25-26, Daniel, who is prophesying in the sixth century B.C. about 30 years after Jerusalem and the first Temple had been destroyed, foretells that
(1) Jerusalem and the Temple will be rebuilt, that
(2) the Messiah will come, that
(3) “the Messiah will be cut off, but not for himself”, and
(4) “the people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary”; which the troops of the Roman General Titus did in 70 AD.

The higher critics and Dr. Bucaille have no answer for these fulfilled prophecies, especially the last one which happened more than 200 years after Bucaille himself says that Daniel was written,[5] so they just ignore them. We shall not ignore them however. In a later chapter we shall examine fulfilled prophecy in detail as a proof of the validity of the Bible.


Just as Darwin applied the evolutionary concept to biology and Hegel applied the evolutionary concept to history, so the higher critics posed and believed that religious development went through an evolutionary process which commenced with a belief in spirits in the days of primitive man, to finally arrive at true monotheism. Wellhausen even tried, by means of Hegelian analogy with pre-Islamic and Islamic Arabia, to build a system for the development of Israel's religion.

G. E. Wright explains the view of Wellhausen and many other radical critics as follows,

“The Graf-Wellhausen reconstruction of the history of Israel's religion was, in effect, an assertion that within the pages of the Old Testament we have a perfect example of the evolution of religion from animism in patriarchal monotheism. The last was first achieved in pure form during the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. The patriarchs (Abraham and his sons in 1800 B.C.) worshiped the spirits in trees, stones, springs, mountains, etc. The God of pre-prophetic Israel (1000 B.C.) was a tribal deity, limited in his power to the land of Palestine...It was the prophets who were the true innovators (inventors of monotheism)...”[6]

Thus, according to their theory, there was animism first, then a limited tribal deity, and finally explicit and universal monotheism in the history of Israel.

The higher critics went on from this to conclude that a piece of literature can be dated by its stage of religious teaching. They believed that the high conception of God which the Torah attributes to Abraham and the other patriarchs, was impossible for them. The idea of the unity of God was too elevated and spiritual for their minds. Wellhausen speaking on the creation of the world by One God says that “in a youthful people such a theological abstraction is unheard of”.[7]

The reasoning now goes like this. Having already assumed that there was evolution in religion, the history of Abraham as written in the Torah does not fit. Genesis 22:18 says,

“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed me”,

But this can't be true of Abraham. According to the theory he wasn't developed enough to know that there was One God over “all the nations of the earth”. THEREFORE, that sentence from the Torah had to have been written 1000 years later.

But if this reasoning is true what about the Qur'an? In the late Meccan Sura of the Cattle (Al-An`am) 6:79 Abraham says,

“For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly towards Him who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to God.”

The higher critical theory says that Abraham could not have said those words because he was worshiping the Spirits in trees and stones. Therefore, if the documentary hypothesis, taken up by Dr. Bucaille, is true; then the Qur'an is also false along with the Torah.

Furthermore, recent investigations of primitive cultures have shown that this idea of “evolution in religion” is completely false. In a book called Eternity in Their Hearts,[8] the author, Don Richardson, demonstrates conclusively that, in addition to their animism or polytheism, almost all primitive tribes and cultures believe in a “supreme creator god” who made the heavens and the earth. In addition these tribes often have a story giving some sort of explanation as to why contact was lost with the great supreme god.

Was this not, in fact, the situation among the Quraish in Mecca at the time of Muhammad? Muhammad's father was named Abd-allah, and the Qur'an makes clear that the Meccans believed that Allah was the chief. The others were secondary gods to intercede with Allah on behalf of the Quraish.

Anthropological evidence, therefore, is against any theory of evolution in religion. It supports the Biblical teaching that men knew of the Supreme Creator God from the beginning, but then separated themselves away by sin.


As for the criticism in point 2 above that the social customs of Abraham are just myth and fiction, the Nuzi tablets from 1500 B.C. mention these very customs.
A. There are several accounts of a barren wife who asked her husband to produce a child for her by her maid servant just as Sarah did using Hagar. “In a marriage contract from Nuzi, the bride Kelim-ninu promises in written form to procure for her husband Shennima a slave girl as a second wife, if she fails to bear him children. She also promises that she will not drive out the offspring of such a union”[9] as Sarah did when she threw out Hagar and Ishmael.
B. The victory of Abraham over Chedolaomer and the Mesopotamian kings, described in the Torah, Genesis 14, has been described by the higher critics as “fictitious” and the five Cities of the Plain (Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar) as legendary. Yet the Ebla archives (described in the next section) seem to refer to all five Cities of the Plain, and on one tablet the Cities are listed in the exact same sequence as Genesis 14.[10]

In addition the language of Genesis 14 contains some unique or very rare words and phrases which were not commonly used in later Hebrew writing. “One such word, ‘hanikh’ in verse 14, meaning ‘an armed retainer’, appears but this once in the Bible, where it is used to describe men born and trained in Abraham's household. But it is found in the Egyptian execration texts of the nineteenth- eighteenth centuries B.C. when Abraham was alive, and in a fifteenth century cuneiform inscription from Taanach” in Palestine.[11]
C. Genesis 29 tells how Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, was followed by his father-in-law Laban, because Laban thought that Jacob had stolen the family images or “teraphim”. “Commentators have long wondered why he would go to such pains to recover images which he could have replaced by buying others in the local shops. The Nuzi tablets tell of a son-in-law who, because he possessed the family images, had the legal right to claim his father-in-law's property.” This new finding explains Laban's anxiety. He was afraid that Jacob would come back and use the idols to take the inheritance away from Laban's own sons.[12]

Cyrus Gordon, who abandoned the “documentary hypothesis” after his study of the ancient history and archaeology of the Middle East, writes,

“The cuneiform contracts from Nuzu have demonstrated that the social institutions of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc) are genuine and pre-Mosaic. They cannot have been invented by any post-Mosaic J,E,D, or P.”[13]


This negative argument that since the Hittites were not mentioned outside of the Bible, then the Bible must be wrong, was still being taught to me at Wooster College in 1946, even though Hugo Winckler had discovered the Hittite capital of Boghaz-koi in central Turkey in 1906. In an archive of clay tablets, Winckler found a military treaty between the Hittites and the Egyptians written nearly 1300 years before Christ.

In addition an Egyptian tablet has been found which records a fierce battle between Ramses II and the Hittites at Kadesh on the Orontes river in 1287 B.C.[14]


We saw above that the critics who proposed this hypothesis said that Moses couldn't write. Julius Wellhausen wrote in 1885 that Israel certainly had its laws,

“only they were not fixed in writing”.[15]

and Hermann Schultz, in 1898 said,

“Of the legendary character of the pre-Mosaic narrators (not writers), the time of which they treat is sufficient proof. It was a time prior to all knowledge of writing.”[16]

Then in 1902, a French archaeological expedition under the direction of M. Jacques de Morgan found the law code of Hammurabi at the site of ancient Susa, to the east of Mesopotamia. The code, engraved in stone sometime between 1700 B.C. and 2000 B.C., contained 282 sections or paragraphs, and was found to contain many laws similar to the Mosaic law.

Since then, archaeological discoveries have been made which prove that writing existed in Moses day and long before him. Here is a partial list including the fact that inscriptions have even been found at Mt. Sinai.

  1. “In 1917 Alan Gardiner, noted British Egyptologist, made the first decipherment of the Proto-Semitic inscriptions found at Mt. Sinai...These inscriptions, written in a pictorial script by Canaanites before the middle of the second millennium (1500) B.C., prove that alphabetic writing existed before the time of Moses.”[17]

  2. Starting in 1925, more than 4000 tablets, dating from 1500-1400 B.C., have been found in the town of Nuzi, near ancient Ninevah in Iraq.
  3. In 1929 tablets were found at Ugarit and Ras Shamra on the Syrian north coast. These tablets are from the 14th and 13th centuries B.C., the very age of Moses. The language corresponds closely to the Hebrew poetic language from the Torah-Old Testament, such as the Song of Miriam from Exodus 15:20, and the song of Deborah, found in Judges 5 (12th century B.C.).

  4. In 1933 excavations were started at Mari on the Middle Euphrates in Syria. Three years later thousands of cuneiform tablets were found which dated from 1700 B.C.

  5. In 1964 the ruins of Ebla were discovered in Northern Syria. By 1974, more than 17,000 clay tablets written in 2200 B.C. had been found.

  6. Finally, I myself, sat at the base of an Egyptian obelisk at the place de la Concorde while in Paris in 1961, the sides of which are covered with hieroglyphics from the time of Ramses II.

As early as 1938, without the later finds, W. F. Albright, discussing the various writing systems that existed in the ancient Orient during pre-Mosaic patriarchal times, could write,

“In this connection it may be said that writing was well known in Palestine and Syria throughout the Patriarchal Age (Middle Bronze, 2100-1500 B.C.). No fewer than five scripts are known to have been in use: (1) Egyptian hieroglyphs, used for personal and place names by the Canaanites; (2) Accadian Cuneiform; (3) the hieroglyphiform syllabary of Phoenicia; (4) the linear alphabet of Sinai; and (5) the cuneiform alphabet of Ugarit which was discovered in 1929.”[18]


One can go on and on like this.

Evidence That Demands a Verdict
[**] Summarized from More Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell, Campus Crusade for Christ, San Bernadino, CA. 1975. This book and his first volume, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, are full of quotations indicating the beliefs of the critics, followed by archaeological evidence proving that the critics and their “documentary hypothesis” are wrong, and that the Torah and Gospel are trustworthy and reliable. They have very complete bibliographies and should be read by anyone interested in this problem.

The higher critics said that the laws found in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy of the Torah were too advanced and complicated for Moses knowledge. Then the Code of Hammurabi was found, which was just as complicated, but written between 300 and 500 years before Moses. [**p. 63]

The statement was made that extensive travel such as would be necessary for Abraham to come from Ur of the Chaldees (Iraq) to Palestine (Torah, Genesis 11 and 12) was unknown in those days. But Babylonian excavators (at Mari) have uncovered a tablet of a wagon contract, dated from the time of Abraham. The owner of the wagon leased it to a man for a year on condition that it wouldn't be driven to Kittim on the Mediterranean coast north of Palestine. [**p. 75]

Another tablet found in Babylon records that a man named “Abarama” paid his rent, showing that this form of the name “Abram” (Abraham's original name) was in use when Abraham lived in that area. [**p. 75]

The complicated tent, called a tabernacle, which God ordered Moses to build for the place of worship (Torah, Exodus 36) was considered pure imagination. It was thought to be much too elaborate for the time of Moses. But in 2600 B.C., 1200 years before Moses, the Egyptians had a portable bed canopy, used for their queen, made of vertical rods and corner posts with beams across the top, overlaid with gold, and fitted together with tenons in sockets for rapid erection and dismantling, just like the Hebrew tabernacle.[**p. 110]

Wellhausen says that the bronze mirrors donated by the Jewish woman for the construction of a ceremonial basin (Torah, Exodus 38:8) were unknown until much later. Now specific archaeological evidence proves their existence in Egypt during the Empire Period of 1500 - 1400 B.C. [19]

In view of all this modern evidence, it is sad to find Dr. Bucaille repeating the following quotation from E. Jacobs who says,

“It is probable that what the Old Testament narrates about Moses and the patriarchs only roughly corresponds to the succession of historic facts...” (boldfacing mine)[20]

What a contrast there is between this statement and the following quotation from Nelson Glueck, former president of the Jewish Theological Seminary in the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio and one of the three greatest archaeologists of our time.

“...In all of my archaeological investigation I have never found one artifact of antiquity that contradicts any statement of the Word of God (the Torah-Old Testament).”[21]


In the outline at the beginning of this chapter we saw that Graf and Wellhausen proposed that there were at least four documents which were woven together to make the present Torah. Some later men have pretended to find evidence for many more - ten, twelve, fifteen. They attempt to make these divisions on the basis of word usage.

The most outstanding example of this is the division according to the use of the divine names: Elohim which is used in the Torah, Genesis 1; and Jehovah which is used in Genesis 2 and 3.

A second assumption is that when the Elohim writer, called “E”, and the Jehovah (Yahweh) writer, called “J”, or one of the other writers, would tell the same story in a slightly different form, a later editor would use all of the accounts as different episodes in one story. An example of this is to be found in the naming of Isaac which means Laughter.

In Genesis 17 we read how God through His angel told Abraham that he would have a son in his old age and verses 15-19 says,

“God also said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife ... her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.’

Abraham fell face down; he laughed and said to himself, ‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?’...

“Then God said, ‘Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.’” (Isaac means he laughs in Hebrew)

Sometime later God speaks to Abraham again and repeats this promise in the hearing of Sarah as recorded in Genesis 18:10-15,

“Then the Lord said, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.’

“Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent... Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, ‘After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?’

“Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh...Is anything too hard for the Lord?...’

“Sarah was afraid so she lied and said, ‘I did not laugh.’

“But He said, ‘Yes, you did laugh.’”

Finally there is a third passage concerning laughter at the time of the birth. Genesis 21:1-6 reads,

“Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said...Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old...

“Sarah said, ‘God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.’

What do the critics do with these seemingly straight forward passages? They theorize that three different documents had differing accounts of one event, the naming of Isaac. The three were then woven into one in Genesis. They propose that the first account in Genesis 17 is from the Priestly Editors, the second one is from the “J” document, and the third one is from the “E” document. But is it really unreasonable to assume that both Abraham and Sarah laughed with disbelief when they were individually told that Isaac would be born, and that she later laughed with joy at the birth?

Henri Blocher summarizes the whole process very nicely in his book Revelation des Origines - Le Debut de la Genese. He writes,

“The critics, when they judge the internal phenomena (of the Bible) project into it their customs as modern western readers, and neglect all that we know today of the writing customs used in Biblical times. The taste for repetition, the structure of a global statement - repeated with development, the replacement of a word by its synonyms, especially the change of a divine name in a text (i.e. the names of Osiris on the stele of Ikhernofret), are well attested characteristics of ancient Middle Eastern texts...The Biblical text, as it is, agrees with the literary canons of its time.”[22]


In Arabic the name for God “Allah” parallels the Hebrew Elohim and the name “Rabb” corresponds to the Hebrew Adonai (Lord) which the Jews used later to refer to Jehovah. When we examine the Qur'an we find that the name Rabb is never used in 11 Suras: 24, 48, 49, 58, 61, 62, 77, 88, 95, 104, and 112; and the name Allah is absent in 18 Suras: 54-56, 68, 75, 78, 83, 89, 92-94, 99, 100, 105, 106, 108, 113, and 114. In addition there are 10 very short Early Meccan Suras in which, like the Book of Esther in the Torah-Old Testament, the name of God is not mentioned at all.

Below is an analysis of the use of Allah and Rabb in Suras 48 to 64. I have chosen these 17 Suras because 8 of them are in the above lists.

Sura Number Date of Sura Times Allah used Number of Verses Times per Verse Times Rabb Used Times per Verse
48 6 AH 19 29 .65 0 0.
49 9 AH 27 18 1.50 0 0.
50 Early Meccan 1 45 .02 2 .04
51 Early Meccan 3 60 .05 5 .08
52 Early Meccan 3 49 .06 6 .12
53 Early Meccan 6 62 .10 7 .11
54 Early Meccan 0 55 0. 1 .02
55 Early Meccan 0 78 0. 36 .46
56 Early Meccan 0 96 0. 3 .03
57 8 AH 32 29 1.10 3 .10
58 5-7 AH 40 22 1.81 0 0.
59 4 AH 29 24 1.21 1 .04
60 8 AH 21 13 1.61 4 .31
61 3 AH 17 14 1.21 0 0.
62 2-5 AH 12 11 1.09 0 0.
63 4-5 AH 14 11 1.27 1 .09
64 1 AH 20 18 1.11 1 .06

When we look at this information we see that in Sura 55 the word Rabb was used 36 times - 31 of them along with the word “favors” (al-ala'). This word ala' is a rare word in the Qur'an being found only three other times - once in the Early Meccan Sura 53 and twice in the Late Meccan Sura 7. Furthermore, when we examine Sura 53:19-20, we find that it is the only Sura which mentions the three Goddesses Al-Llat, and Al-`Uzza, and Manat.

A higher critic who believes in the “documentary hypothesis” would now say,

We see here that Allah is used much less often during the Meccan period, never more than once in every 10 verses. While in the Medina period this name is used at least once a verse except for Sura 48.

The Documentary Hypothesis Applied To The Qur'an
We easily made up a new four-document theory for the origin of the Qur'an. We could call it the R,A,Q,D theory. Although this R,A,Q,D theory is fictitious, it demonstrates the type of arbitrary reasoning used by the authors of the “documentary hypothesis”, and shows what would have happened if they had applied the same type of analysis to the Qur'an.

In addition, the word ala' and the three idol goddesses are found only in these Meccan Suras. Therefore there must have been an early Meccan writer called “R” because he used “Rabb” as the name for God, but who was still interested in idols. Later there was a second writer called “A” who used “Allah” and wrote when pure monotheism had developed. It is true, of course, that in Sura 53, Manat, Al-Llat and Al-`Uzza are mentioned with disapproval, so these disapproving words must have been added at a later date by “Q” which stands for editing done by the “Qurra”.[23]

Next we find that there are four accounts in the Qur'an telling how the honored guests came to inform Abraham that he would have a son in his old age. The Early Meccan Sura 51:24-30 mentions how Abraham's wife didn't believe and said “a barren old woman”. This was obviously done by “R”. The Late Meccan Sura 15:51-56 tells how Abraham didn't believe the news and said, “Do you give me glad tidings that old age has seized me?” Since this is Late Meccan the “A” writer was starting to have an influence.

In the Late Meccan Sura 11:69-74 the two stories have been worked together by one of the “Q” editors and the fact is added that Abraham's wife laughed.

Finally there is the early Mid-Meccan account in Sura 37:99-103 which is really concerned with Abraham's sacrifice of his son. Since sacrifices are mentioned this represents another document which we will call the “D” document for (al-dabiha) sacrifice.

As the reader can see we easily made up a new four document theory for the origin of the Qur'an. We could call it the R,A,Q,D theory. Though this R,A,Q,D theory is completely fictitious it demonstrates the type of arbitrary reasoning used by the authors of the “documentary hypothesis”, and shows what would have happened if they had applied the same type of analysis to the Qur'an.


In the light of all this evidence it seems incredible that men would continue to accept and teach this outmoded idea unless it is because of hard-hearted unbelief. Perhaps there is some excuse for Graf and Wellhausen who developed their theory before the archaeological finds of the 20th century. But why modern scholars and Dr. Bucaille continue to present this hypothesis is difficult to understand. Henri Blocher thinks it is because they have the same basic assumption. “They share, in general, Wellhausen's hostility toward any intrusion of the supernatural in the narratives.”[24]

There is no objective evidence for the existence of the J, E, or any of the other documents that are alleged to have been used to construct the Torah. And there is no history, no isnad[25] of anyone claiming to have ever seen them.

K.A. Kitchen, Lecturer in Archaeology at Liverpool University, says,

“The conventional forms of literary criticism (‘J,E,P,D’, etc., oral tradition) were evolved in a vacuum and their criteria can be proven to be non-significant and just plain wrong when compared with the ways in which people really wrote in the Biblical world. The evolutionary scheme of wholly illusory when measured against the entire Biblical world of the Near East...When the Old Testament writings and the theoretical reevaluations of them are finally measured against the visible, tangible...Old Testament world - then it is the extant documents (of the Old Testament) that match with their Near Eastern context, and not the reconstructions based on false premises and false criteria.”[26]

The same conclusion was reached by the late Jewish scholar, Umberto Cassuto. In his book, The Documentary Hypothesis, he devotes six chapters to the five most significant arguments which the higher critics use to support the theory that Moses did not write the Torah. He compares the five reasons to pillars which hold up a house. About these supports or “pillars” of the “documentary hypothesis”, Cassuto says in his concluding chapter,

“I did not prove that the pillars were weak or that each one failed to give decisive support, but I established that they were not pillars at all, that they did not exist, that they were purely imaginary.”[27]

In our little study we have only considered four points or pillars, but I think that we have come to the same conclusion as Cassuto. “They are not pillars, they do not exist, they are purely imaginary.”

Finally we must realize that this theory assumes something about the Jews that few of us are prepared to say. It assumes that ALL of the Jews from Moses' time down to the time of Christ were dishonest - that there were no God-fearing men who would defend and preserve copies of the true Torah. Yet even the Qur'an does not make such an accusation against the Jews of Mecca and Medina. As we saw in Chapter I of Section Two, it admits that some of them were honest and sincere in their religion. The late Meccan Sura of the Heights (Al-A`raf) 7:159 says,

“Of the people of Moses there is a group who guide with truth and judge by it.”

The “documentary hypothesis” stating that Moses did not write the Torah is clearly false and men have followed it because they have made false assumptions in their analysis of the Scriptures. When we analyze the Bible or the Qur'an we should follow in the footsteps of the literary genius and critic Coleridge. Long ago he established this basic rule for the analysis of literature.

“When we meet an apparent error in a good author, we are to presume ourselves ignorant of his understanding, until we are certain that we understand his ignorance.

As Aristotle said in de Arte Poetica, 14606-14616, “the benefit of the doubt is to be given to the document itself, not arrogated [arrogantly taken] by the critic to himself.”

  1. I Timothy 2:4
  2. Israelitische und Juedische Geschichte p.12.
  3. Cosmology, Onthology, & the Travail of Biblical Language, Concordia Theological Monthly, Mar. 1962, Vol 33, pp. 148-150.
  4. Bucaille, op. cit., p. 18.
  5. Bucaille, op. cit., p. 18. He writes, “It is probably a work from the Maccabean period, second century B.C.” Fragments of Daniel found among the Dead Sea Scrolls now prove this is impossible. The previous manuscript from which the copy in our possession was made could not have been later than the 4th century B.C., or at least 200 years before the Maccabeans.
  6. The Study of the Bible Today and Tomorrow. Edited by Harold R. Wiloughby. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1947, pp. 89-90
  7. Prolegomena to the History of Israel, Julius Wellhausen, Adam and Charles Black, Edinburgh, 1885, p. 305.
  8. Regal Books, Ventura, California, 93006, 1981.
  9. More Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell, Campus Crusade for Christ, San Bernardino, CA 92414, 1975, p. 74.
  10. Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell, Here's Life Publishers, Inc., San Bernardino, p. 68 to be called “Evidence”.
  11. Understanding Genesis, Naham Sarna, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1966, p. 111.
  12. ”Archeology and the Bible”, J. P. Free, His Magazine, May 1949. Vol 9, p. 20.
  13. “The Patricrchal Age”, Journal of Bible and Religion, October 1955. Vol. 21, No. 4. p. 241.
  14. McDowell, More Evidence, p. 309-311.
  15. To the History of Israel, Julius Wellhausen, Edinburgh, Adam and Charles Black, 1885, p. 393.
  16. Old Testament Theology, Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1898. p. 25.
  17. “Recent Illumination of the Old Testament”, S. H. Horn, Christianity Today, June 21, 1968, Vol. 12, pp. 925-929.
  18. “Archaeology Confronts Biblical Criticism,” W. F. Albright, The American Scholar. April, 1938, Vol. 7, p. 186.
  19. McDowell, Evidence, p. 70.
  20. Bucaille, The Bible, The Qur'an and Science, p. 4.
  21. McDowell, Evidence p. 22.
  22. Op. cit., Presses Bibliques Universitaires, rue de l'Ale 29, 1003 Lausanne, Switzerland, 1979, p. 234 (translation mine).
  23. The “qurra”, singular “qari”, are those responsible for the correct reading of the Qur'an.
  24. Op. cit., p. 236. (translation mine)
  25. The Arabic word for the chain of people through whom a translation about the prophet Muhammad and/or the Qur'an passed.
  26. The Old Testament in its Context, K. A. Kitchen, Lecturer in the School of Archaeology and Oriental Studies, Liverpool University from the Theological Student Fellowship Bulletin, 39 Bedford Sauare, London WC1B 3EY, 1972, p. 15.
  27. Cassuto, op. cit., Magnes Press, Jerusalem, 1941, 1st English Edition 1961, p. 100.

Table of contents
Answering Islam Home Page