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I found this verses from Qur'an.

Surah 19:1-7

  1. Kaf- Ha-Ya-'Ain-Sad.

  2. (This is) a mention of the mercy of your Lord to His slave Zakariya (Zachariah).

  3. When he called out his Lord (Allah) a call in secret,

  4. Saying: "My Lord! Indeed my bones have grown feeble, and grey hair has spread on my head, And I have never been unblest in my invocation to You, O my Lord!

  5. "And Verily! I fear my relatives after me, since my wife is barren. So give me from Yourself an heir,

  6. "Who shall inherit me, and inherit (also) the posterity of Ya'qub (Jacob) (inheritance of the religious knowledge and Prophethood, not the wealth, etc.). And make him, my Lord, one with whom You are Well-pleased!".

  7. (Allah said) "O Zakariya (Zachariah)! Verily, We give you the glad tidings of a son, His name will be Yahya (John). We have given that name to none before (him)."

Assuming God (Jehovah) never revealed these things to Muhammad (no offence to Muslims), how did Muhammad know about Zachariah's prayer? Did he compose it? We know very well that there are many twisted stories of the Bible and Torah in Qur'an. I assume that Muhammad overheard these stories from the Jews and Christians around him and recited these stories whichever parts he remembered, which leads to incomplete story or sometimes even twisted.

If Muhammad did not compose this, there must be some traditional stories or some unauthentic books on this account.

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Muhammad could read but was not in love of books. While listening to Christian preachers, particularly in the market of Okaz, during his youth, he heard many Bibilical stories and this may be one of them. –  Seek forgiveness Feb 15 '13 at 9:50
    
I found this link about Okaz. –  Mawia Feb 15 '13 at 10:16
    
There is a more general question about how union served dialog was recorded. If someone could link to it, I think it would have the same answer, albeit minus the Muslim perspective. –  Affable Geek Feb 15 '13 at 12:18
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

From a Christian perspective, the most interesting aspect of the question is not "How did anyone overhear this prayer," but rather, from whence did this tradition arse?

Luke 1 tells the story of Elisabeth and Zechariah. The text begins by saying:

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Furthermore, the prayers that Elisabeth and Zechariah offer are only indirectly referenced. The Angel of the Lord says:

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.

At this point, in the earliest manuscripts (for the Gospel of Luke predates the Qu'ran by 600 years), we know that the Angel of the Lord is privy to the contents of the prayer, but we, the reader are not. As such, there is no biblical basis for observed dialogue of any kind. Any interpretation that seeks to "fill in" this prayer, would, from a Christian perspective, be theologically an "innovation," something that is normally frowned upon. The most likely explanation, then, seeing as their is no Scriptural support, is that this prayer was in fact composed by someone else - and Muhammed himself seems as likely a candidate as any other.

To be fair to Muslims, if in fact the Qu'ran was dictated to the Prophet by Gabriel, then it would not be surprising that the Angel of the Lord would have revealed this to Gabriel - but from a Christian perspective (which tends to deny the Gabrielic recitation), this would be pure composition.

In Luke, the focus of the story is not on Zechariah, but rather the birth of John the Baptist (Yah'ya in Muslim scriptures). When Zechariah is told that he will have a son, he, like Abraham's wife Sarai 2000 years earlier, essentially laughs- but unlike Sarai, Zechariah is punished by losing his power of speech. The miracle only comes after the birth of John the Baptist, when Zechariah confirms that in fact the Angel of the Lord had spoken with him.

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There was this question on this site: “Was Jesus Crucified?, which I believe was closed and deleted. There were some good answers for that question which made many things clear as to why Quran deviates from Bible on many events and one of this is because Mohamed was more influenced by Gnostic and other literatures than by actual Bible account of the events.

There are some references from Quran to the events in Bible, which when seen even from neutral perspective clearly shows ignorance of the geographical location and historical dates of these events.

One example is the story of Samaritans and Moses where Muhammad places the Samaritans at the time of Moses when such people had not existed at that time.

Another place he confuses Mary, mother of Jesus with Miriam, sister of Aaron and Moses. These two women lived 1500 years apart. The Quran says.

She brought (the babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms), They said: “O Mary! Truly a strange thing has thou brought! “O sister of Aaron, thy father was not a man of evil, nor your mother a woman unchaste!” Q. 19:27-28

This is repeated in verse 66:12 where Muhammad calls Mary, daughter of `Imran.

The reason for this is because Mary and Miriam are both translated in Arabic as Maryam. Muhammad heard Jesus’ mother was Maryam and also Aarron’s sister was called Maryam. He thought the two are one and the same.

Also Muslims say that Jesus was not crucified but God deceived them by planting a lookalike on cross.

Why would Muhammad say something that is contrary to all Gospels? That’s because Muhammad’s knowledge of the Scriptures was based on hearsay. He personally had not read the Bible.

At the time of Muhammad, there were Christians groups in the Northern Arabia and Damascus who were called Nestorian. They thought that it is impossible to kill the Son of God. Based on this belief they had developed a doctrine that maintained God must have tricked the Pharisees and the person who was crucified must have been someone else who took the resemblance of Jesus. That is how Muhammad came to know about the story of crucifixion. His knowledge about the Bible was superficial as well as sketchy and shows that he had very little understanding of the Bible.

During his youth days while listening to Christian preachers in the market of Okaz, he heard many Biblical stories, but because he did not read that book personally, he confused many of its events as also the protagonists and this may be one of the reason for Surah 19:1-7.

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