The Prophets as archetypes of peace in the Qur’an: The use and non-use of Isrā’īliyyāt sources in the story of Mūsa

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Prophets play a significant role in Islamic theology, belief and practice. The Qur’an and the traditions are filled with references to prophets as archetypes for human behaviour, ethics and morality. This chapter will examine some of the categories of peace illustrated by the prophetic narratives in the Qur’an with a particular focus on the story of Mūsa (Moses) in the Qur’an. Mūsa is most likened to Prophet Muhammad in the Islamic tradition and is considered to be one of the Ulul ʿAzam (5 Arch prophets) and a champion of peace. This chapter will also examine how the Qur’an and the classical exegesis address some of the more challenging aspects of Mūsa’s story. The careful analysis of the exegetical depictions based on Qur’anic narrative portrays an image of a prophet who stood up for social justice, who brought salvation for his community through the exodus and who displayed a high ethical standard focused on peace despite his violent context. It outlines the significance of the story of Mūsa in the Qur’an and examines his non-violent strategy that delivers the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land. The Qur’anic narration of the story of Mūsa has similarities and critical differences to that of the Biblical narrative. The use and relevance of the isra’iliyyat sources in the story of Mūsa becomes pertinent not only in deciphering the full narrative of Mūsa’s story and his strategy for peace, but also suggests possibilities for a comparative theology with the Biblical texts. The use or non-use (criticism) of isra’iliyyat within the depiction of Mūsa in the Qur’anic exegetical sources will also provide a critical commentary on the classical approach of the Muslim exegetes and their use of texts and traditions from non-Muslim sources to understand the Qur’anic text. In using this analytical tool, the chapter will propose a possible framework of peace that can be applied in modern times.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThings that make for peace
Subtitle of host publicationTraversing text and tradition in Christianity and Islam
EditorsAnthony Rees
Place of Publication Lanham, Maryland
PublisherLexington Books
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781498591652
ISBN (Print)9781498591645
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


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