Biblical and Quranic narratives

From WikiAhmadiyya, the free encyclopedia on Islam and Ahmadiyyat

The Quran, the central religious text of Islam, contains references to more than fifty people and events also found in the Bible. While the stories told in each book are generally comparable, important differences sometimes emerge. Anything in the Bible that agrees with the Quran is accepted by Muslims, while anything that disagrees is rejected, because Muslims believe the Biblical tradition was corrupted over time, whereas the Quranic tradition is uncorrupted.

View of Biblical prophets


The Bible and the Quran both offer accounts of prophets such as Abraham, Joseph and Moses. While the narratives share numerous similarities, the Bible regularly describes prophets committing sins while the Quran rejects these allegations against the prophets.


Both the Bible and the Quran accept Noah as a chosen man of God and their narratives are largely similar. However the Quran does not accept the Bible's portrayal of Noah as a drunkard:

Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

Bible, Genesis 9:20-25


The Quran views David as a prophet of God and does not accept Biblical allegations of crimes committed by him such as adultery and murder:

And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.

- Bible, II Samuel 11:2-4

Historical contradictions


Biblical and Quranic narratives contradict one another in numerous places. The Quran states that such contradictions have occurred because the Bible has become corrupted by human hands, while the Quran remains pure:

We Ourself have sent down this Exhortation, and most surely We will be its Guardian.

- Quran 15:10

Where the two narratives contradict one another, the Quran is correcting the errors of the Bible.

Joseph in Egypt

The Bible describes the leader Egypt at the time of Joseph as 'Pharaoh'.

Pharaoh sent and called Joseph

- Bible, Genesis 41:14

The Bible further adds that Moses, appearing centuries later, is also confronted by an Egyptian ruler named 'Pharaoh'. The Quran contradicts this, describing the ruler at the time of Joseph as a King and the ruler at the time of Moses as a Pharaoh:

The King said, ‘Bring him to me that I may take him specially for myself.’ And when he had spoken to him, he said, ‘Thou art this day a man of established position and trust with us.’ He said, ‘Appoint me over the treasures of the land, for I am a good keeper, and possessed of knowledge.’ And thus did We establish Joseph in the land.

- Quran 12:55-57

We sent Moses with Our Signs to Pharaoh 

- Quran 7:104

The Quranic historical terminology is more accurate and the term 'pharaoh' only began to be used by the ancient Egyptians after the time of Joseph. 

Pharaoh's end

The Bible's narrative of Pharaoh ends with his drowning:

The waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea

- Bible, Exodus 14:28

The Quran is unique in adding:

We brought the children of Israel across the sea; and Pharaoh and his hosts pursued them wrongfully and aggressively, till, when the calamity of drowning overtook him, he said, ‘I believe that there is no God but He in Whom the children of Israel believe, and I am of those who submit to Him.’ What! Now! while thou wast disobedient before this and wast of those who create disorder. So this day We will save thee in thy body alone that thou mayest be a Sign to those who come after thee.

- Quran 10:91-93

The Quran adds that Pharaoh's body was recovered and preserved and will one day be rediscovered as a sign. Muslims believe this prophecy was fulfilled in the mummification, preservation and rediscovery of Pharaoh's body in the modern era. 

See also