The "Islamic Awareness" team desperately attempts to save the Qur'an from a serious historical and philosophical error - the Qur'an's claim that a Samaritan tempted the Israelites to worship the Golden Calf and that the calf mooed.
Saifullah and Company use a combination of ad hominem attacks against (in their words) the famous Reverend and Saint Rev. W. St. Clair Tisdall and his master Abraham Geiger, and incomplete and selective quotations from various publications in order to defend, what they believe to be, the Word of God.
The "Islamic Awareness" team quotes the The Jewish Encyclopaedia which says that the Pirke De-Rabbi Eli'ezer was written during the post-Islamic period. They conveniently omitted a point that was made in another response to "Islamic Awareness" - that there are at least two ancient manuscripts of the Pirke De-Rabbi Eli'ezer. The ancient Vienna manuscript, which has only in recent years been translated into English, shows every evidence of being pre-Islamic.
The "Islamic Awareness" team cites the Encyclopedia Of Islam to bolster their case that the Midrashic traditions (e.g., Pirke De-Rabbi Eli'ezer and Tanhuma) which contain this story post-date Islam. However, this is not true.
Meyer Waxman's A History of Jewish Literature, a source also used by the "Islamic Awareness" team, tells us on page 139:
Of this kind of Midrashim, we have several versions: (1) An older Midrash which was known to the early scholars of Italy and France by the name Yelamdénu, but which is now practically lost except for a few fragments; (2) the printed Tanhuma; (3) the manuscript Tanhuma which was edited and published in 1883 by the late Solomon Buber. All three belong to one Midrashic cycle, and the Yelamdénu seems to have been the earliet, as collections of such homilies where the Halakah was joined to the Agada, inasmuch as the preacher was a teacher of both, existed in large numbers. It is these collections which served as the background and source books for the late Midrashim, the compilers of which drew upon them in abundance. For this reason, we find the homilies beginning with the formula, "May our master teach us," scattered through all Midrashic cycles such as the Tanhuma, Pesiktu (Sec. 84) and in the books of the Rabba (Sec. 82). The date of the Yelamdénu collection is, therefore, an early one and is probably contemporaneous with the Genesis Rabba, about the beginning of the sixth century C.E., and the place of origin, Palestine.
Of the other two versions, namely the Tanhumas, the printed one seems to have been earlier, but it could not have been the work of the author whose name it bears, as there are evidences which show definitely that the compiler was aquainted with the Karaite movement, with the works of Geonim written in the eighth century and other late events. The date of compilation is, therefore, placed by most scholars to be the second half of the ninth century.... The manuscript Tanhuma is not much younger than the printed one. It dates most likely from the end of the ninth century and is an incomplete version, as it contains new material only on the first three books of Moses; the other two are alike in both.
Please notice that Waxman tells us that the compilation dates from the second half of the ninth century. The man who compiled this Midrash, most likely included material dating from his lifetime in addition to older material dating from the pre-Islamic period. This process is how the Midrashim evolved over the centuries. The compiler was not the author of the entire work, as another source quoted by "Islamic Awareness" points out in another article.
Samuel Berman's A History of Jewish Literature, on page x, tells us:
The Encyclopedia Of Islam entry cited by the "Islamic Awareness" team (page 1046) has some interesting perspectives concerning how, and where, Muhammad lifted the information which he used to create his tale:
The "Islamic Awareness" team desperately attempts to side step the issue of Almighty God being so deceitful as to trick the Israelites into the worship of an idol, something God detests, by causing the Golden Calf to moo. The question of whether, or not, God would deceive people into sinning highlights the differences between the God of Christianity and the god of Islam. The Quran testifies that Allah is a deceiver:
Further passages which claim that Allah is a deceiver or schemer include Suras 8:30 and 3:54. Allah even misleads people and has actually created people to burn in Hell:
"Those whom Allah wills to guide, He opens their breast to Islam; Those whom He wills to leave straying, - he makes their breast close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the skies: thus does Allah lay abomination on those who refuse to believe." Sura 6:125
"Many are the Jinns and men we have made for Hell." Sura 7:179
"Allah leads astray whomsoever He will and guides whomsoever he will." Sura 14:4
With this view of God, I wonder if the "Islamic Awareness" team has ever considered the possibility that Allah is deceiving them? If we compare the Muslim god with the God worshiped by Christians, we find that God is Holy and Faithful,
The quality of Faithfulness is essential to God's being because without it, He would not be God. If God acted in a way that was unfaithful, it would be to act contrary to His nature, and this is impossible:
"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for He is faithful that promised." Hebrews 10:23
For God to mislead the Israelites into worshiping an idol is unthinkable based on the Faithfulness and Holiness of God. God does not test people through deception:
The "Islamic Awareness" team then employs the Tu Quoque fallacy in a somewhat bizarre argument:
In other words, if my religion has a problem, then so does yours. As a Bible believing Christian, I do not accept such things as a sign of anything - God is not the deceiver, that distinction belongs to Satan. Bleeding statues, crying icons, milk drinking Ganesh statues, the Shahada in the tomato, and false prophets such as Muhammad, Joseph Smith, and Sun Yung Moon are deceptions created by man and/or Satan.
The Bible warns us:
For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. (Matthew 24:24)
Does this prove that Muhammad borrowed his tales from the Midrash? No, it does not. In fact, Jewish scholars, such as Berman, tell us that they have no idea of the original text of the Midrash Tanhuma-Yelammedenu, or how much of it can be attributed to Rabbi Tanhuma. However, the question cannot be so easily dismissed with the selective quotations of the "Islamic Awareness" article.
What Is The Source Of The Story Of Cain & Abel In The Qur'ân: Pirke De-Rabbi Eli'ezer Or Midrash Tanhuma?
Is The Qur'ân's Story Of Solomon & Sheba From Targum Sheni? ,