Who can tell me about this whole “there were one-hundred-and-four scriptures” thing? This knowledge might be useful for rebutting the claims of Christian missionaries but it’s still awfully hard to sort out on the whole. It’s another one of those matters where I keep finding references without any full citations of primary sources even from notable authors.
Regarding Seth Ibn Kathir wrote:
Abu Dhar [Arabic symbol I can’t type] narrated that the Prophet [Arabic symbol I can’t type] said:
“Allah sent down one hundred and four scriptures. Of those, fifty were upon Sheeth.”
(“Stories of the Prophets”, English Edition 1, page 62)
When trying to track down which prophets got the rest I came across repeated references to the idea that Adam got ten scrolls revealed to him, Seth fifty, Idris thirty, Abraham ten, David one, Moses one, Jesus one, and Muhammad one, or something like that. Thing is, I kept trying to locate any sort of scriptural evidence for Adam receiving ten holy texts and nothing ever seemed to come up. Perhaps I just didn’t find the correct sequence of words to Google but all the same, nadda. I did, however, come across references like the following one. (No matter how many different ways I try to type in the source url here it always becomes a dead link. I got the following quotation from a place with both "al-islam" and "dot-org" in its url; I'll leave it at that.) Note that where the translation here reads “the Bible” the original Arabic apparently just says “al-Injil” (“the Gospel”).
One day, Abu Dhar came into the mosque. He found our Master Muhammad [s] alone. He sat beside him. Our Master Muhammad [s] said:
Abu Dhar, the mosque has greetings. They're two raka’as.
Abu Dhar stood up and said two raka’as. Then he came back and sat beside the Prophet and said:
Allah’s Apostle, which act is the best?
To believe in Allah, the Almighty and to strive in His way.
Which believer is most perfect?
The most polite one.
Allah’s Apostle, which believer is safest?
He, from whose tongue and hand Muslims are safe.
Allah’s Apostle, which immigration is the best?
To immigrate from sins.
Allah’s Apostle, which alms is the best?
The alms of the poor.
Allah’s Apostle, which verse is the best?
The verse of al-Kursi.
Allah’s Apostle, how many are the prophets?
One hundred and twenty four thousand Prophets. Abu Dhar, four prophets are Assyrian. They’re: Adam, Sheth, Idrees—the first to write with pen and Noah. And four prophets are Arab. They’re Hud, Salih, Shuaib and your Prophet.
Allah’s Apostle, how many books has Allah, the Almighty?
One hundred and four books. Fifty scriptures were sent down to Sheth. Thirty scriptures were sent down to Idrees. Ten scriptures were sent down to Ibrahim. Ten scriptures were sent down to Musa before the Torah. The Torah, the Bible, the Zaboor and the Furqaan (Qur’an) were sent down, too.
Allah’s Apostle, what were the scriptures of Ibrahim [a]?
They are all proverbs:
“Authorized, hit, conceited King, I’ve not sent you to put together the things of the world. I’ve sent you to meet the request of the oppressed. I don’t refuse it even if it is unbelievers request.”
Allah’s Apostle, what about Musa’s scriptures?
They’re all lessons:
“I wonder at the person who believes in death then he disbelieves.
I wonder at the person who believes in fire then he laughs.
I wonder at the person who believes in predestination then he becomes tired.
I wonder at the person who sees the world and its changes then he trusts it.
And I wonder at the person who believes in the Day of Resurrection then he doesn’t act.”
Abu Dhar wept humbly and said:
Allah’s Apostle, recommend me!
I recommend you to fear Allah, for it is the head of all religion.
Allah’s Apostle, increase me!
Read the Holy Qur’an. It is light for you in the earth and remembrance for you in the sky.
Allah’s Apostle, increase me!
Love the poor and sit with them.
Since we have on our hands one of those “there were one-hundred-and-twenty-four-thousand prophets” ahadith I used that piece of information to look up the hadith. Apparently it’s somewhere from the Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal collection, which I don’t know anything about. I am so far in over my head here that I may as well be chained to the bottom of the ocean.
says the following:
In one Hadith, it's said that there were 124 prophets which is a quite popular one. (1) In another, it’s said there were 124,000 prophets and 313 messengers. (2) And yet in another one, it’s said that they were 124,000 where five of them had Holy book. (3) It’s said in Tafsir nemone that it can be concluded that there’s not a single news—as said in Tafsir Ruh-al-bayan—however many of Ahadith and news emphasize that there were 124,000 prophets.(4)
(1) Majma-al-bayan, under Ayah 78 from Surah Al-ghafer, in another hadith it's said 8,000 which doesn't contradict the 124,000 assumption since it could be about more important prophets.
(2) Behar-al-anvar, number 11, page 31
(3) Ibid, page 41
(4) Tafsir Nemone, number 20, page 184
So needless to say there is a lot of confusion, and a great deal of it is falling upon me right now. The main thing is this: why would any one prophet need fifty different texts to be revealed to him in the first place??
Surah 87 does refer to “the ancient scrolls…of Abraham and Moses”, plural, but that could just mean something along the lines of “the five books of The Pentateuch collectively, and a similar collection from Abraham”. Is it possible that there really were a-hundred-and-four scriptures but also that people went back after the fact and filled in the blanks regarding who got what by saying that a small number of prophets received a large number of revelations? Or that something got exaggerated in the chain of narration? Or is there some genuinely reliable hadith involved explaining everything and I haven’t been able to find a full and useful reference to it yet? Who can help me here? This is the kind of thing that twists one’s brain into a pretzel.