The Bible and the Koran are both glorious books of the world’s most flourishing religious cultures, Christianity and Islam respectively.

At first glance, when you read the story of Joseph from the Hebrew bible and the Koran, they fundamentally seem to talk about similar ideals and storylines.They, however, have some deep seated differences, that may be a little philosophical in nature or might depend on the particular paragraph that we’re comparing. The story of Joseph in the Bible begins with explanations of Joseph’s youth and innocence and how his brothers were jealous of him because he was the “blessed son”.It involves a lot of specifics, like it mentions that Joseph was seventeen years old, he was a shepherd, and it involves paragraphs where we see him interacting with his brothers and letting them know about his gift of interpreting dreams.

The Koran version of the story of Joseph on the other hand, begins somewhere in the middle, when Joseph is seen conversing with his father about the power of his interpretation of dreams. It does not mention any more details. Another contrast I noticed in both the texts is the way in which they’re written.The Hebrew bible seems more like a story, a narrative with a meaning at the end, or with little moral lessons on the way.

The Koran focuses more on glorifying “God”. As we see at the beginning of the story of Joseph, it starts with the phrase, “in the name of god, the compassionate, and the merciful”. This emphasizes the fact that all beginnings must be made with the holy name of god in mind. And we see this throughout the text; the reference to god in the Koran is much more frequent, much more powerful and much more stressed on.We can see that clearly in the following lines, “better is the reward of the life to come for those who believe in God and keep from evil”, “But God is the best of guardians: and of all those that show mercy.

He is the most merciful” (p1449), “In Him alone, let the faithful put their trust”, “Do not despair of God’s spirit; none but the unbelievers despair of God’s spirit.” It’s clear that, heavy stress is laid on the importance of god. Similar views are expressed in the Bible but much more subtly.Moving on to the part where Joseph is cast into the pit by his brothers, one major difference that I noticed is the mention of names in the bible, each instance and message has a name behind it, the mention of Reuben, Judah, Benjamin etc, this however is missing from the Koran where all the brothers are referred to as one conglomerate. The mention of the brothers separately is important in this context because clearly Reuben thought differently than the others and Judah was more like the leader so we can’t possibly refer to all of them as one.Further on, in the Hebrew bible, Joseph is sold off to the Ishmaelites, on the other hand , in the Koran he is “ discovered” by passing caravans.

Comparisons can me made by accounting the part where Joseph’s master’s wife tries to seduce him too; in the Hebrew bible, Joseph is accused falsely and sent off to prison whereas in the Koran, the master acknowledges that his wife is the cunning one, “This is but one of your tricks. Your cunning is great indeed! Joseph, say no more about this. Woman, ask pardon for your sin. You have done wrong.” (p1448).

The consequent imprisonment of Joseph is slightly different in both the stories too.While in prison, the interactions Joseph has with the prison mates are almost described in similar fashion except in the Koran, when Joseph talks to the prisoner who he knew would be freed , he says “ Remember me in the presence of the Lord” (p 1448), this is absent from the story of Joseph in the bible where he never says anything to the royal butler when he is released.The following part in the Hebrew bible where Joseph is given the charge of the land of Egypt by the pharaoh, he (the pharaoh king) acknowledges him as the super wise and makes him the ruler of all the land of Egypt and bestows him with the name “Zaphnath- paaneah”. In stark contrast to this, in the Koran, it is Joseph who asks the king to make him the owner of the granaries, “Give me charge of the granaries of the realm. I shall husband them wisely.

Towards the end of the story, in the Hebrew bible, Jacob along with all his ‘seeds’: his sons, his son’s sons, his son’s daughters, comes to Egypt to live with Joseph .There is no mention of this in the Koran, where Joseph welcomes his parents to Egypt but nothing about his entire family is written and the story ends with Joseph thanking the almighty for the glorious ending, “My lord has been gracious to me. He has released me from prison and brought you out of the desert after Satan had stirred up strife between me and my brothers. My lord is gracious to whom He will. He alone is all knowing and wise.”The Bible and the Koran, though based on the same storylines can be compared and contrasted not only for the use of language but also in the way they refer to God.

The bible is mostly in the form of a narrative with a meaningful moral and a teaching perspective , the Koran is more like a preaching for the “ believers” and people of “ faith”.These are fundamental differences between the two scriptures. The fact that the Koran is itself “the miracle” according to the Islamic faith makes a lot of difference since the whole approach towards the text changes. As the concluding lines of the Koran state: “this is no invented tale, but a conformation of previous scriptures, an explanation of all things l, a guide and a blessing to true believers.

” (p 1452). The Bible finishes off like a tale with Jacob and the brethren coming to live with Joseph in the carriages sent by the pharaoh.