Parallelism: Wealth of Korah

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Parallelism Between the Qur'an
and Judeo-Christian Scriptures
Talking Baby Jesus
Sanhedrin 37a
The Raven & the Burial of Abel
The Quranic Version of Trinity‎
Jesus Christ & the Clay Birds
Mary & Zachariah
Mary, Jesus & the Palm Tree
Satan & His Refusal to Prostrate
The Queen of Sheba
Abraham & the Idols
The Wealth of Korah

Qur'anic Verse

The Torah and Mishnah tells the story of Korah (or Korach) and his rebellion against Moses (Numbers 16:1-35). This story is also replicated in the Qur'an where Korah is transliterated to Qaaroon.

Korah was surely of the people of Moses, but he oppressed them, and We gave him treasures, so much so that his hoards of wealth would weight down a body of strong men. When his people said to him: Exult not; surely Allah loves not the exultant.

The parallelism between the Qur'an and the Gemara has not escaped noticed, for instance, this site

“Well, those certainly sound like some heavy keys! As it turns out, this tale about Korah's heavy keys is not found in the Bible, but it is mentioned in Talmud Bavli. The story is found in both Sanhedrin 110a and Pesachim 119a, with only minor differences. Let us take a look at the version in tractate Sanhedrin:

V'amar Rabi Levi: "masoi sh'lsh me'ot pardot l'vanot hayu maftchot shel beyt g'nazaiv shel Qorach, V'khulhu aqlidei v'qilfei d'ghilda."

And Rabbi Levi said: "The keys to Korah's treasure house was a load for 300 white mules and the keys and locks were leather."

It is clear that the Islamic literature, be it the Qur'an or the extracanonical traditions and commentaries, show a great deal of Judeo-Christian influence.”

Talmudic Verse

A check of Tractate Sanhedrin 110a shows this to be indeed the case:

“Riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt: Resh Lakish said: This refers to Korah's wealth. And all the substance that was at their feet: R. Eleazar said: This refers to a man's wealth, which puts him on his feet. R. Levi said: The keys of Korah's treasure house were a load for three hundred white mules, though all the keys and locks were of leather. R. Hama son of R. Hanina said: Three treasures did Joseph hide in Egypt: one was revealed to Korah; one to Antoninus the son of Severus, and the third is stored up for the righteous for the future time.”

Jewish scholars have noted that the story of Korah’s wealth is not told in the Torah or Mishnah but by sages. Professor Avigdor Shenan says that the Sages present Korach, among others things, as an extremely wealthy man and the phrase “as wealthy as Korach” is used even today.

Professor Shenan also noted that the Jewish sages had two theories about how Korah acquired his wealth.

“According to the first: “Joseph hid three treasures in Egypt. One was revealed to Korach, one was revealed to Antoninus son of Asviros, and one is hidden away for the righteous in the end of days” (Babylonian Talmud, Pesachim 119a).

Joseph’s great wealth, from when he gathered “all the money which was in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan” (Bereishit 47:14)”

“According to the other opinion, Pharaoh’s wealth reached Korach since he was Pharaoh’s finance minister, “and he had in his hands the keys to his treasures” (Bamidbar Rabba 18:15).”

Here is Professor Shenan’s conclusion about the wealthy Korah story:

“Why do the Sages wish to present Korach as extremely wealthy? It is difficult to find a basis for this in the biblical story. There it is written that the mouth of the earth opened in order to swallow Korach and his followers, their homes “and every man that was for Korach and all the property” (Bamidbar 16:32) and there is not enough in these words to find a basis for the assertion that he was extremely wealthy.”[1]

Thus, it can be seen that there is little or no basis in the Bible for Korah to be assumed a wealthy man, especially since he fled with Moses during the Exodus. It is unlikely, although Jewish tradition has it, that the Hebrews would have fled in haste from a vengeful Pharaoh and his army carrying a load of treasure.


So where did Muhammad get his idea about Korah being so wealthy that the keys to his treasure house themselves were so heavy that they required the strength of a body of strong men?

Apparently, Rabbi Levi; a third century Haggadist who lived in Palestine and who also made up the story of Korah’s keys, was actually none other than Allah in the flesh.


  1. The Jewish Agency for Israel - Nehar Deah: The Sages’ Korach

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