The Hoopoe in Bible Versus Quran

By: Prof.dr. Ibrahim Khalil

One of the inherited doctrines of mankind is that the Quran is quoted or borrowed from the Bible. The Bible says that the Hoopoe is detested and unclean and forbid eating the Hoopoe.

The Quran says that the Hoopoe is intelligent, smart, knows and worships his Creator, and communicated with King Solomon.

Leviticus 11

Unclean and Detested bird:

13 "These are the birds you are to detest and not eat because they are detestable: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, 14 the red kite, any kind of black kite, 15 any kind of raven, 16 the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18 the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, 19 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

Deuteronomy 14

Unclean Food:

11 You may eat any clean bird. 12 But these you may not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, 13 the red kite, the black kite, any kind of falcon, 14 any kind of raven, 15 the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 16 the little owl, the great owl, the white owl, 17 the desert owl, the osprey, the cormorant, 18 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

In the Bible dictionary it is said: "Although the hoopoe bird is only referred to once in the Bible, it is known to be a faithful companion of people all over the world".

However, the dictionary does not tell that the hoopoe is detested according to Leviticus 11 and also, there is no verse in the Bible which says that is a faithful companion of people all over the world. I bet that the writers of the Bible dictionary have read the Noble Quran and put such an observation about the hoopoe as a faithful companion of people all over the world.

The story of the hoopoe with King Solomon illustrates how faithful, smart was the hoopoe.

Hoopoe in the Quran:

The Hoopoe is mentioned once in the Noble Quran, in Surah 27.

Prophet Solomon was a king whose armies consisted of troops made of men and Jinns and birds. It is possible that the birds were employed for communicating the messages, hunting and for other suitable services.



Detective and Messenger of Prophets

[20] And he took a muster of the Birds; and he said: "Why is it I see not the Hoopoe? Or is he among the absentees?

[21] "I will certainly punish him with a severe penalty, or execute him, unless he brings me a clear reason (for absence)."

[22] But he (the hoopoe) tarried not far: he (came up and) said: "I have compassed (territory) which thou hast not compassed, and I have come to thee from Saba with tidings true.

[23] "I found (there) a woman ruling over them and provided with every requisite; and she has a magnificent throne.

[24] "I found her and her people worshipping the sun besides Allah: Satan has made their deeds seem pleasing to their eyes, and has kept them away from the Path, so they receive no guidance,

[25] "(Kept them away from the Path) that they should not worship Allah, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what ye hide and what ye reveal.

[26] "Allah! - there is no god but He! - Lord of the Throne supreme!"

[27] (Solomon) said: "Soon shall we see whether thou hast told the truth or lied!

28] "Go thou, with this letter of mine, and deliver it to them: then draw back from them, and (wait to) see what answer they return"...

[29] (The Queen) said: "Ye chiefs! here is - delivered to me - a letter worthy of respect.

[30] "It is from Solomon, and is (as follows): 'In the name of Allah, Most Gracious Most Merciful:

[31] "`Be ye not arrogant against me, but come to me in submission (to the true Religion)."

The story of how Solomon and the Queen of Saba (Yemen) met: One day Solomon inspected his birds but did not find the Hoopoe. When the bird came back he said, "With truthful news I come to you from Saba, where I found a woman reigning over people and they worship the sun instead of Allah.

Solomon ordered the Hoopoe to return to her and give her a message calling her not to exalt herself above him (Solomon), but come to him in all submission. The Hoopoe did his job perfectly.

In the Qur'an (27:20) we read that Prophet Solomon reviewed his birds and found Hoopoe missing. His most movable arm was the birds, which were light on the wing and flew and saw everything like talented scouts. Prophet Solomon conveys his anger and his yearning to punish Hoopoe severely if he does not present himself before Prophet Solomon with a realistic explanation. Within a short time, the Hoopoe came back and said, "I have got knowledge of things which you have no idea about. I have brought sure information about Saba (Yemen now). There, I have seen a woman ruling over her people: she has been given all sorts of provisions, and she has a wonderful throne. I saw that she and her people prostrate themselves before the sun and worshiped the sun, instead of Allah.!"

Prophet Solomon said, "We shall just now see whether what you say is true, or that you are a liar. Take this letter of mine and cast it before them; then get aside and see what reaction they show." Qur'an, 27: 27-28.

Here, ends the role of Hoopoe in the story.

In this story, the Noble Quran gives the Hoopoe some characters that need intense research to be elucidated by the scientists. The Hoopoe had the powers of observation, discrimination and expression that it should pass over a country and should come to know that it is the land of Saba, it has such and such a scheme of government, it is ruled by a certain woman, its faith is sun-worship, that it should have worshipped One Lord, Allah instead of having gone off track, and then on its return to Prophet Solomon it should so clearly make a report of all its observations before him.

In spite of great advances in science and technology, man cannot tell with absolute certainty what powers and abilities the different species of animals and their different individuals have got? Man has not so far been able to know through any certain means what different animals know and what they see and hear, and what they feel and think and understand, and know how the mind of each one of them works. Yet, whatever little observation has been made of the life of the different species of animals, it has revealed some of their wonderful abilities. Now, when Allah, Who is the Creator of these animals, tells us that He had taught the speech of the birds to one of His Prophets and blessed him with the ability to speak to them, and the Prophet's taming and training had so enabled a Hoopoe that it could make certain observations in the foreign lands and could report them to the Prophet, then we should be prepared to revise our little knowledge about the animals in the light of Allah's statement.

"... We raise to degrees (of wisdom) whom We please: but over all endued with knowledge is One, the All-Knowing." Surah 12:76

Back to our main issue; one may ask this: Is the Quran quoted from the Bible? And which book precedes the sciences? The book which that the hoopoe is a detested bird or the book which precedes the sciences and says that the hoopoe has the powers of observation, discrimination and expression and it is one of the best detective and messenger?

Top Searches on
Religion
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Religion